I used to be a pretty social person. Kind of grew up a nerd, but things broke loose in my 20s and I became very outgoing, particularly when fueled by alcohol. Would always be down to go out to dinner, go to a club, watch sports, whatever. I deliberately lived in walking distance of the trendy nightspots. Parties would often happen where I lived, and my free time was spent in the company of others. Sure I spent a lot of money, but I was known as a happy person.
Suddenly not drinking completely turned my social life upside down. Generally I’d be alright hanging out, but eventually being around alcohol would trigger feelings of guilt and shame. Things I used to love, like watching sports, were associated with the drinking so I stopped those too. I have to deliberately make a effort to be social now, most of my free time I spend alone. I do save a lot of money, but I often feel numb.
Recently there was a reminder of this. I’m attending a neighbor’s wedding coming up, and he invited some of his single friends out to dinner, apparently we were all going to be sitting at the same table at the reception. All of us live in the same area, and they seemed like a good group of guys to hang out with. Indeed the following night there were some texts about going out to a bar. I declined, saying I had plans, which was really just to hang out by myself. The next day I thought about asking them meet up for dinner, but then again, just decided to avoid the feelings of awkwardness. Guess this is the new normal.