Hi, Years ago when I was working in a rehab there was a guy in there who had been sober for a short amount of time. I mean it was days rather than weeks and he was invited to a wedding. Now it was quite a big wedding because his nephew was a celebrity. Not just a local celebrity but a big celebrity at that time. Maybe not an actual A-lister but very well known.
So it was a big wedding and he was going along to it and as you can imagine he was concerned. He was concerned that he was going to end up drinking because, as he knew, everybody drank and everybody would be drinking at this wedding and how was going to avoid it. He knew that he was going to end up drinking, so he was a bit frightened of it. So, I sat down with him for quite a long time and went through a number of strategies that he could take. We rehearsed things that he could say to stop people offering him alcohol.
Then he went off to this wedding. and I have to say see he was still anxious, but he went. He felt a little bit more confident because you know, as I said we had covered a lot of the things that he could say.
Next day I saw him again and he had been at the wedding and he came in and he was elated because he’d gone to this wedding with all these people, all these important people and he had come back and he hadn’t been drinking so he felt rightly proud of himself.
But he discovered something which was really interesting for him, because one of the things that we told him is stay away from the bar. Sit in the main hall, don’t hang around in the bar because if you do you’ll be hanging around with the heavy drinkers and therefore you’ll put more pressure on yourself. So he sat out in the hall with most of the other people and he said it was amazing.
Because what he discovered was the majority of people weren’t drinking very much and a lot of them weren’t even drinking at all. They were drinking orange juice, coca-cola things like that. They just they weren’t drinking and he couldn’t believe this because he had always sat in the bar surrounded by drinkers. So, of course what he thought was, well everybody I can see is drinking therefore everybody is drinking. But that is not true.
It’s something to keep in mind if you have to go somewhere. Stay away from the bar, because the heavy drinkers will be at the bar the other moderate drinkers and non-drinkers will be elsewhere. Because they’re not interested in the bar.
So he was very pleased with himself and he went on to be successfully abstinent. But it was an important lesson: not everybody in the world drinks but as drinkers we tend to think that they do.”