Lesbian Life/Feeling Normal

Advertisement


Question
I drink to feel normal before going to classes everyday, because I need to feel normal to perform well in classes. This drinking to feel relaxed in my own skin before classes started towards the ending of undergraduate classes when I was feeling very self-conscious about being gay and just in general feeling a heaviness in my chest and a block in my throat everytime I was in class and I had to speak or interact with fellow students. The strange thing is that I perform better when I drink than when I do not. Three days a week, one shot, show up to class, read, speak, write, and then do it over again. That's my routine.
I don't drink exorbitantly, but I need to have a drink before any social interaction with people other than family and close friends.
Can you share some perspective for people in my situation?

Answer
Dear Friend,

Though I am not an expert on the subject of alcoholism, I will provide the following link regarding 'Alcohol Dependence' alcoholism.about.com/od/about/a/symptoms.htm  

And I will attempt to answer based on what I do know.

Fifty percent of the US population is made up of those who may be classified, at varying levels as introverts. I suspect that many of them feel pressured to perform at what is the standard, acceptable public behavior. Extroversion, seems to be the more acceptable behavior in the west.

Furthermore, not to minimize the immediate dangers of alcoholism -- but you may be using it as a crutch. Because you cannot be someone you are not, you try to alleviate the level of anxiety you feel, out of the pressure of what you sense may be expected of you.

Here's the plan:

Step 1 -- Get help. Alcoholics Anonymous is an excellent source, if not for meetings, at least take advantage of the information they offer. The reason I suggest this is that, you cannot begin to get better until you remove this mayor roadblock. Most folks cannot get through this, along.

Step 2 -- Get help. Find a behavioral health professional with whom you feel comfortable, who is knowledgeable and has done work on the subject of introversion and anxiety.

Step 3 -- You do not "perform better when you drink" it is an illusion. Eventually, you will become unable to perform at all and things like, your short-term memory -- a critical tool for studying and retention, will become severely affected. You will become impaired, unable to function and this will be only the beginning of the downward spiral.

Many drinkers are under the mistaken impression that, problems only come about, as a result of excessive drinking or daily drinking -- not so. It is not the frequency, but the resulting backlash and unmanageability of daily routine, that is the problem.

Please write back and let me know what help you have been able to avail yourself of, whether it is in your area or on-line? This will be helpful to other readers, as well.

All the best.  

Lesbian Life

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Lena Torres

Expertise

Can Answer Questions about Lesbian Life: Dating, Relationships, Breakups, Cheating and Every day life. Prefer not to Respond to: Intricate Psychological Disorder questions (though I can refer readers to other resources i.e. websites/counceling for information and help on these issues). No questions with sexual content, especially from under-age readers.

Experience

Worked within the domestic violence field, assisting victims to get their lives back on track; through facilitating support-groups, workshops and individual counceling. Continue to be an active member of the lesbian community, providing referals and support to fellow lesbians through church and other groups.

Organizations
FVS (domestic violence group in Florida) and various church groups.

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Journalism, with heavy research concentration in Social Psychology and Human Relations. Working toward Masters.

Awards and Honors
Received commendation award for public relations work and teamwork/unity and team-leadership awards within a corporate setting.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.