When I began to entertain the thought of going alcohol free, I was filled with dread. It was not just the thought of life without my faithful friend wine but also the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Whenever I considered going a month alcohol free I could not imagine doing anything social without having a drink.
Lunches, dinners, going to the movies, a weekend away – I just could not contemplate that I could do any of those things without alcohol being involved.
I thought that if I didn’t drink it would impact on the relationships with my drinking friends, i.e. most people in my social circle. Would we have that closeness that stems from spilling your heart out to someone else late at night after one too many drinks? Would I have fun – be able to laugh, dance, enjoy? Or would I just be a sad sack in the corner nursing a sparkling water while those around me cracked open bottles of their drink of choice and had a good time?
As it turned out, my fear of missing out was, like so many fears, something I had conjured in my head yet had no basis in reality.
I’m seven months sober and I have continued to socialise and have good relationships. In fact, those relationships are becoming closer and stronger because I’m being more vulnerable and open about myself.
Instead of missing out on anything, I’m actually gaining. When I’m with my family, friends and partner I’m fully present with them. I’m not distracted with thoughts of should I / shouldn’t I have another drink. I don’t forget the conversations that I had in the later part of the night because my drinking impacted my memory. I’m not getting argumentative and emotional with my partner, leading to a loss of intimacy rather than strengthening it.
The only things I’m missing out on are waking up at 3am unable to get back to sleep because my mind is racing. I’m missing out on feeling tired, nauseous and headachy the day after a night of drinking. And I’m missing out on continually beating myself up for my lack of control over my drinking.
Fear of missing out? Absolutely not. It’s JOMO – the joy of missing out – and I would highly recommend it!