Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Three reasons why life is better without alcohol and FOMO

I've noticed a change in me over the past two months of alcohol-free living - FOMO* has left the building.  There have been a few times recently, where the husband has turned to me and asked "Do you mind if I stay out?", to which my response has generally been a swift "No!", as I've hastily grabbed my handbag, flagged a cab and rushed home to the luxury of a good book and starfishing in the bed!  Now, the fact that I'm in my mid-forties and am firmly settled into 'middle-age' may provide part of the reason for this change, but I also know that as a sober person I have been able to make more rational decisions with my crystal clear head.

Up until this year, I frequently didn't want the party to end - following the crowd from bar to bar or refusing to leave the party, while feeding my unquenchable thirst for alcohol, until the night inevitably fizzled out or I had to be medevacked into a taxi by the husband.  This was fuelled by a fear of missing out and the desire to keep drinking because, quite frankly, what else do you do late at night when you're a booze hound?

Now that FOMO has exited my life, I understand that this fear is destructive, stressful and it feeds anxiety.  I am without doubt, benefiting from its absence in a number of ways.

I'm no longer there just for the sake of it

Now, when I'm at a party or out with friends, I am there because I have a genuine desire to be there and to spend time with those people.  I don't just accept every invitation on the off-chance that I may miss out if I don't make an appearance.  To be frank, I’ve had to edit FOMO from my life to avoid situations that may trigger a strong desire to drink and divert me off my path to sobriety. Without the fear of missing out I am able to make more reasoned decisions about what I do and steer a course that better aligns with my well-being.

I focus on a smaller group of friends

FOMO can lead you to spreading yourself really thin and not enjoying quality time with anyone.  Nowadays, rather than being out and sniffing around for the 'What next? /Where now?', I am far more content with spending quality time with my network of close friends, enjoying their company and then calling it a day at the right time, rather than fretting about whether I should be elsewhere, potentially having even more fun.  As a result I am far more present, without a head buzzing with FOMO.

I've eradicated self-destructive behaviour

Without that constant desire to stay out, chasing the illusion of greater amusement elsewhere, I've managed to erase the damage instilled through FOMO.  Research carried out by Texas A&M University shows that a 'wanting more' attitude can be detrimental to us both physically and mentally. It goes on to state that "The problem with FOMO is the individuals it impacts are looking outward instead of inward. When you're so tuned in to the 'other,' or the 'better' (in your mind), you lose your authentic sense of self. This constant fear of missing out means you are not participating as a real person in your own world."

In part FOMO had to be expelled from my life through a necessity to ensure I stay alcohol-free, but also its departure is a natural by-product of my new lifestyle.  The result is definitely beneficial as I feel more in control, calmer and less exhausted without FOMO driving the pursuit to be part of all the potential fun and amusement that is going on.  I'm truly enjoying my less hectic, more peaceful life and I'm far more fulfilled and a happier person as a result.

Me and my mocktail

* FOMO: the fear of missing out. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.

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