Being social without alcohol can be really hard at first for some recovering alcoholics. This of course depends entirely on personality. Some alcoholics are very social and outspoken and outgoing even when they are stone sober. But some alcoholics drank in order to loosen up a bit, and these are the people who might struggle in the early stages of recovery.
When I first drank alcohol, it absolutely fixed that part of me that held me back from being social with other people. Alcohol fixed my shyness. It curbed my social anxiety. It did such a great job at this that I could not resist it. And it worked for a quite a while, too. It is not like disaster struck instantly after I discovered that alcohol could fix this part of me. Alcohol did its job for me for quite a long time. It did just what I wanted it to do and allowed me to be more social in situations where normally I would be shy and reserved.
Of course eventually the alcohol reversed this and stopped doing its job. In fact, I got to the point eventually where I would still act shy and nervous even if I was in a complete blackout. This is proof enough for me that alcohol eventually stops working. It stops doing what you want it to do. Of course we all remember the good times, and the points in our life when we could have a few drinks and get the courage that we needed to reach out to other people, but those are memories of a past that we can never get back. Denial is living with the hope that we can recapture that and experience it every day. The way to break through denial is to see that we can not sustain the good times, and that over a long period of time, alcohol stops medicating us the way we want it to.
So can you be social in recovery? Absolutely. It might take time for the truly shy people to get there and to find their path, but you don’t necessarily have to be the life of the party again while you are sober.
We can find new ways in recovery to reach out to others and to connect with people. It is not about just being social for the sake of socializing, it is about finding connections and real meaning and helping others. You can find this in recovery, no matter how shy you might be.