I had concerns because all my friends drink apart from one. Not only that, but everyone also knows me as a drinker. But funnily enough, as time goes on, I think the people around me think about me being sober more than I do.
One example is a group of us going to a rugby test match, it was the All Blacks vs Wallabies playing in the Bledisloe Cup in August. A friend of mine had never been to a test match before and asked if I had. I said I’d been a few times and he responded by saying “this will be the first time you’re going sober though.” I hadn’t even considered that, but obviously he had been thinking about it.
A lot of my friends also don’t expect my sobriety to be a forever thing. They say things like “if you’re still not drinking by then, you’ll be able to drive us” or “we’re celebrating so you’ll need to have a glass of bubbles.” It’s interesting because when you quit smoking, people congratulate you, yet when you stop drinking, people question it as they assume you feel like you’re missing out. Whereas I feel like they are missing out.
Alcohol is such a problem, especially in New Zealand. When I was young, it felt like it was expected that you go out and socialise, and you wouldn’t have a good time without a belly full of booze.