Yes, but…let’s discuss how drugs and alcohol can actually have a beneficial effect on your social life (or at least appear to). In the second section let’s discuss why drug and alcohol use can still be a bad idea for you.
How Drinking and Drugging Can Help Your Social Life
One of the most frequent reasons people use drugs, and especially alcohol, is to improve their social ability, either in social groups or on dates: “I didn’t know how to enjoy myself with others unless I did this. And I could go on a date more easily.” Related to this benefit of using is the possibility of overcoming social awkwardness: “When I did this I didn’t feel insecure, bashful, shy, ill at ease, inadequate, or left out.”
Perhaps you don’t think you belong to any group. It is easy to join a group of other users/drinkers by joining in their activity: “When I did this, I knew that I fit in with them, that I was one of them. By doing it I could be involved with others I would not have been able to be involved with otherwise because they wouldn’t have accepted me.”
Sometimes we are already in a group, and we get pressure to drink or use. The easiest way to deal with this pressure is to give in to it: “When others put pressure on me, it was just easier to do it.” Or, in the group we already belong to, we want to feel more important: “By doing it I felt that I was important and special, I was somebody.”
The Pitfalls of Conflict Resolution
When conflict comes up, perhaps in a group, but more often in a couple or family, one way to respond is to drink or use, which can have the momentary effect of blocking out the conflict: “This was a way to deal with the conflict we had. I couldn’t cope with him/her (or a group) very well otherwise.”
Sometimes the group we are interested in communicating with is society in general, and we want to assert our freedom: “By doing this I could show others that I do what I want to do, not what others want me to do.” Sometimes the group is our family, and especially our (little) children, from whom we want to escape: “They would have driven me crazy otherwise!”
So you may be thinking, “this is an impressive list of benefits of drinking and drugging.” Indeed, it is. This list helps explain why so many people drink and drug!
How it Can Create More Problems Than it Solves
So why wouldn’t everyone drink and drug? There are two primary reasons. The examples given here show how drinking/drugging provides a short-term escape or coping device for the underlying problem but also does not provide a real solution. This means that if you don’t find a real solution, you just tend to keep drinking and drugging to deal with the problem.
You could keep drinking and drugging to deal with problems (of any type). But there is a good chance the drinking and drugging will over time become a bigger problem than the original problem. The risk of creating an even bigger problem is the second primary reason not to rely on drinking/drugging to improve your social life!