The Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO is huge when we first think about quitting drinking and it can make the choice more difficult than it needs to be.
Although this fear might seem real, you shouldn’t let it stand in the way of getting what you want – which is a joyful alcohol-free life. In this article, we are going to look at how to avoid FOMO in sobriety and why sobriety is actually the path to more fun, more freedom, more excitement, and joy.
This fear or anxiety that you will be missing out on some fun or exciting experience, opportunity or conversation is much more prevalent at this time of year when everyone is gearing up for festive parties and get-togethers. Our social media feed is filled with people drinks in hand in sparkly dresses apparently having the time of their lives and enjoying themselves in a way that can only be enjoyed through drinking. Such is our association with alcohol and fun.
This worry that we’ll become boring and never have any fun is perfectly natural and something we all go through in sobriety. However, the fear we experience is not real it is simply our own perception of a situation.
In reality, drinking makes everything in our world smaller and full of ‘same old, same old’ experiences. Same old Sunday morning hangovers, same old drunken, embarrassing office parties, same old Saturday nights down the pub, same old conversations that we never remember.
Not drinking, however, and being free to pursue our own path just opens up the whole world for us. Our idea of fun changes, our friendships deepen and we begin to figure out what it is we really like. I can honestly say that I have done far more since quitting drinking than I ever thought possible and I certainly do not miss getting wasted on a Saturday night – where’s the fun in that?
I know that it can be worrying as you first embark on this journey, so here are few tips on how to avoid FOMO in sobriety
Remind yourself of all the things related to drinking that you will not miss. The hangovers, the crippling anxiety, the regret of missing out on time with your kids, the impulsive purchases you can’t afford, the embarrassment of what you said or did or the boring repetitive conversations you never remember anyway.
“the fear we experience is not real it is simply our own perception of a situation”.
When these fears and thoughts come up, pay attention and ask yourself what is really going on. Why are you feeling this way? What is it you are craving? Is it the social connection, the feeling of letting loose? Can you do this in another, more healthy way like calling a friend or going to a spin class?
Avoiding FOMO in sobriety can be as simple as listening to your own needs. I remember going out or agreeing to have people round, even when I didn’t feel like it. If you really don’t feel like doing something then that’s okay! It is so liberating to be free of the burden of having to go out or socialize when all you want to do is stay at home. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen if you don’t go out. The answer is usually nothing and you will feel far better doing something loving and nourishing for yourself instead of feeling forced into being somewhere you don’t want to be.
If, on the other hand, you love going out to parties and events and don’t feel the slightest bit worried that your sobriety will be affected, then go out, have a great time and practice flexing those social sober muscles. The best part is that you will be in bed, safe and sober with no hangover to worry about. Go for it, if that’s your thing!
Replace the activities you used to do with new ones that don’t involve drinking. Be proactive and make an effort if you feel bored or lonely. There’s loads of fun stuff you can do, from going to the cinema, shopping, a dog walk with a friend, picking up a hobby you’ve neglected, morning coffee dates or exploring new places. When we’re stuck in the cycle of doing the same things all the time it’s easy to forget what is out there and there is so much more to life than sitting in a pub all evening.
It’s also a good idea to give yourself a break from social media. If seeing all these images pop up of people having a wild time are making you feel triggered or tempting you to say ‘F it’ then don’t look at it, turn off your phone and focus your energy on doing something that makes you feel good. Comparing ourselves to others and trying to keep up with what everybody else is doing is not helpful at all.
Honestly, don’t worry about it. Staying true to yourself is far more important than trying to keep up with everybody else. Gradually you will form new friendships, make new connections discover new interests and truly get to understand what it is that you love to do. You will stop worrying about what other people think and begin to grow in strength and self-confidence.
If you are struggling with these feelings then go right back to the start and reconnect with why you are on this sober journey. You are doing it for you, to feel great, to make your life tons better than it was, to discover who you really are, to achieve your goals. These things are far more important in the grand scheme of things than feeling bad because you didn’t go to a party. Often it is our own overthinking and putting a negative spin on things that cause us the most stress.
Let go and be true to you.