being introverted in an extrovert’s world

Despite popular belief…I’m a total introvert.

I don’t know if I was always this way or if I just ended up being this way as I got older, but at this point in my life, I will admit that I am not naturally outgoing in the slightest. Being friendly yet anti-social is my personality in a nutshell.

I love being weird, funny, and goofy, but only in the presence of people that I’m 100% comfortable with. And there is a very small amount of people in this world that I feel that way around. And when you live in a society where being popular and well-liked by others seems more important than truly liking yourself, it’s easy to turn to alcohol so you can adopt a more extroverted personality to fit in with the crowd.

Sometimes, I wonder if my dependence on alcohol is what made me shyer as I grew up. I forgot what it was like to make friends and develop intimate relationships with people without alcohol. Alcohol is what led me to my boyfriend, but getting to really know each other years later when we hung out sober is what made us fall in love. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my closest friends are the people who have known me since before I took my first sip of alcohol. But the fleeting friendships that I built on the foundation of happy hours and nights on the town came and went. They were friendships of circumstance, not forever friendships. After all, it’s hard to create long-lasting relationships with people when the only thing you have in common is a love for booze and bad decisions.

Getting betrayed by people who I once trusted is also a contributing factor to my alcohol dependency. My past has created a hard shell around my heart. It’s easy for me to love people when I’m drunk, but it’s really hard for me to do when I’m sober. Learning how to crack open the shell around my heart and be truly vulnerable without alcohol is a battle that I’m going to have to face along this sober journey of mine. I’m not even close to getting over that hurdle, but I’ll get there…eventually.

I used to be the student who got “Excessive Talking” on every report card. My best friend’s parents used to refer to me as “the girl who talks a lot.” I used to have so much on my mind and I had no problem saying it all, and somehow along the way, I became the girl who would rather stay silent and mind her own business. Instead of being made fun of for not being able to shut up, now my co-workers make fun of me for being too quiet. Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like if I still expressed myself confidently without a care in the world.

Regardless of what caused me to be this way, I’m gradually learning to accept that this is what I’m like sober. I’m on the quieter, shyer side. I’d rather be reading in bed or cuddling up with my boyfriend and some take-out than putting on airs. When I was drinking, alcohol was the push I needed to get myself out there and not give a fuck or shit about who liked me and who didn’t. But when I’m not drinking, my social anxiety keeps me in my comfort zone, my safe space.

I’m an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Maybe I’ll get over it, maybe I won’t. But being sober definitely puts you in front of the mirror and forces you to face who you really are. Hopefully, I’ll learn to like that person, and maybe I won’t have to silence her so often. Maybe I’ll let her yap everyone’s ear off like I used to. Only time will tell, but I’m praying that the new, sober me learns how to feel comfortable in her own skin. I’m not used to that feeling.

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