Pregnancy forced me to confront my toxic relationship with alcohol

Woman drinking at a restaurant
The author didn't realize how all her social outings revolved around alcohol until she got pregnant.Courtesy of the author
  • After knowing I was pregnant I realized all my social events were based around alcohol.

  • I'm health conscious and drink green smoothies all the time.

  • I still felt lonely when all my friends were drinking and I couldn't.

When the two lines flashed up on my pregnancy test three months ago, I knew my life was never going to be the same again. None of my friends have even thought about having a baby yet, choosing to focus on their careers, and I don't even know how to change a diaper.

I expected sickness, tiredness, and strange cravings, but one thing I didn't imagine was that pregnancy would force me to confront my toxic relationship with alcohol.

All my social events revolved around alcohol

After becoming aware of the tiny seed growing inside me, I suddenly started to realize that almost every single social event and friendship of my adult life has been defined by alcohol. As teenagers, we would spend weekends drinking cheap liquor in fields, when in college almost every night became entangled in alcohol, and the drinking didn't slow down as we started our shiny grown-up graduate jobs in the city.

We would meet in bars after work, sharing tales of mean bosses and office crushes over cocktails. Stressed, young, and with few responsibilities, we would spend weekends at parties whirled by in a drunken haze. The constant drinking made time speed up and mundane nights seem more exciting, but it eroded friendships. There are hundreds of conversations I have forgotten. All I ever wanted to do was exchange a few pleasantries and then dance. I couldn't or wouldn't have any meaningful conversations as all my emotions were numbed.

It's not like I was obsessed with alcohol, and I would never ever drink on my own. I've always been a high achiever and extremely health conscious. I'm a yoga teacher and am known by friends for my love of green smoothies. It's more that I don't have a single adult friend who doesn't drink, and my entire social life revolved around meeting at the newest bar, trying the new cocktail, or slinking into a taxi to the next party. Like most of my friends, I never slowed down the drinking as I got further into my 20s.

I'm the first one in our group to get pregnant

As the first of my friends to become pregnant, I felt lonely and unsure how to socialize without alcohol. In the early days of my pregnancy, when I was keeping it a secret, I also felt guilty lying about why I wasn't drinking, and at parties, it was all too apparent to me that I didn't have that support blanket anymore.

A few weeks before Christmas and nine weeks into my pregnancy, a friend swung by unannounced with a bottle of wine and poured a glass for us all. I took the glass and froze. I had no idea what to do. I gave the glass a few tiny sips and slipped the remainder to my partner. I didn't know how to say no. I was worried I'd lose friends, stop being invited to events, and lose my identity as the girl who loves to party.

But now that I'm further into my pregnancy, I don't crave a glass of wine at all, and I definitely don't miss the old times when weekends would be wiped straight into the abyss. I'm enjoying remembering every single conversation I have with friends, and with no more lost memories, my alcohol-related anxiety has entirely vanished.

I was initially worried that pregnancy would become my whole identity, much like drinking had been before, but I have loved engaging in new activities like board game nights, sober raving, and learning to dance bachata.

For the first time in my life, I have started to enjoy spending quiet evenings at home. Also my friends have all been really supportive and are excited for this new chapter in my life. It's still early days, but I'm seriously considering keeping up my sobriety long after my pregnancy is over.

Read the original article on Business Insider