Drinking Alcohol


This is first thing I've written here, please be gentle.

I have used alcohol to cope with my somewhat tumultuous life since I was 25. I'm now in my 30s. 

I have never entertained the thought that I might be on the spectrum until recently (the past year) when, not only my friends suggested it, but also when I tentatively mentioned it and my own brother didn't bat an eye and said "yeah maybe".  

I'm a little shocked and intrigued. I've since spoken to a specialist who just happened to be a friend of my friend - the conversation I had with her felt so relaxed and like a relief. She even said she'd gone through a period of drinking before she was diagnosed.

I'd really be interested to hear if anyone else has had issues with alcohol

It's not really about wanting to drink per se - it's the focus that it gives, and the relief from all the thoughts and feeling uncomfortable. 

To level out this post, I'll also add that I'm a grown woman with values and good cognitive reasoning - I've also achieved good things in my life - but not as many as I intended!!

H x

  • I have mainly been T-total all my life, have only drank on work nights out, when I was younger at house parties, and just generally on special occasions. 

    I've recently found myself using alcohol as a bit of a coping mechanism for work stuff, if there are drinks at a networking event I will happily drink them just to deal with the discomfort of socialising and numbing any sensitivities. 

    Not a healthy way to deal with it, but I rarely go to networking things so it could be worse. 

    It's not really about wanting to drink per se - it's the focus that it gives, and the relief from all the thoughts and feeling uncomfortable. 

    So, yes, I completely relate to that as a 24 yr old woman trying to deal with a job that requires occasional dealing with people!

  • Yes. When I am stressed or I feel anxious one of the first things I want is to get drunk because it slows my brain down and all of the worlds issues just seem to stop. I don't even really enjoy alcohol but I just like not feeling anxious.

  • Hi 

    This is a bit tough for me to say as I never really talk about  this. As a mid to late teenager as most did I used to drink, go to parties and that was the “thing to do”. I had always been a very anxious person and never thought that all this had any connection until I found myself delving into being neurodivergent. Then I discovered substances which I used recreationally at clubs or events/festivals, I would never say I had a big problem with either but it was the belonging and connection to everyone that did it for me. I always knew I was different but the drugs and alcohol put me on the same level as all the others. All throughout my 20’s and into my 30’s they got me by and I enjoyed it so much. The problem was when I started to come down, all my friends wanted to meet somewhere after the clubs and continue to socialise. I was unable to face this and either found my way home or if I was too far away would have to wait it out at the gathering. This part was the punishment, I would not be able to talk and my head could not cope with all those voices talking at the same time (it was awful). What made it worse was that everyone I knew would make a fuss about it which made it even harder for me and I was so inwardly terrified everyone must have thought I was so strange. This is not something I’m proud of but it served a purpose at the time and going out with this crowd is how I met my partner. I don’t drink much at all these days and probably have 3-4 glasses of wine a week. I can’t drink much as I have some sort of intolerance to alcohol, I get pain around my eyes and head as well as my nose keeps streaming and pressure in my sinuses. Very strange. 

  • It takes courage to open up about personal struggles. I can relate to using alcohol as a coping mechanism, especially during tough times. It's interesting to hear about your journey and the possibility of being on the spectrum.

  • Alcohol was my crutch, only thing that has worked.  Self medicated with alcohol since my late teens.

    Im early 40s now.  If i dont drink after a few days, i become much less dulled, more active and produ tive but......my thoughts run wild and i have trouble sleeping.

    Like yourself, i drank to socialise.  As other people were drunk, i guess i seemed more normal lol this helped with interacting with women.  Without it, i was like a mute.  Im getting a better grip on it now.  I no longer drink stupidly strong lager and and have a couple of beers at the weekend now

  • I'll usually stick to water but sometimes I will have a tea but I find it a bit hard to drink. Fizzy stuff is a big no for me. Not only does the taste make me go ugh but it affects my stomach negatively as well. I have IBS and I think it triggers it a little.

  • I'm very similar in that regard. Tea and hot water are about it for me. Once in a blue moon, a soft drink rationed over a week in sips, but generally I don't like cold stuff or fizzy stuff. And just thinking about most alcohol makes me gag, even though it's two decades since I set it aside for good.

  • I don't drink alcohol. I've tried it but I don't like the taste. I'm really sensitive to taste and don't like anything which has a strong taste, so mostly I just drink water and milk. Everything else is a little too much for me to handle.

  • I have used alcohol as a 'social crutch' my whole adult life. If I'm unstressed I tend to drink around a bottle of wine in a week, well under the 14 units recommended limit. If I have a stressful social or work event , say a get together of my wife's extended family, a high-level work meeting or if I have to give a seminar, I self medicate with alcohol to take the edge off my anxiety. I am good at hitting the right amount of alcohol to remain effective, but sufficiently unstressed to avoid panic attacks etc. I attempt to avoid drinking too much and becoming drunk, but if I do I am neither belligerent nor morose, I just get very talkative and have a tendency to be silly.

  • Wow, thanks for sharing, my experience is almost identical. Its interesting in life as we go through certain things solutions like alcohol are the goto or whats available then tools to help us understand. 

  • Hi, I can relate to your feeling of the effects of Alcohol and especially the Feeling it gave me of being able to be more open. I only used to do it during social settings where I’m usually at my most uncomfortable and drinking helped. 

    To add this happened an age ago, I started to drink at 14 (peer pressure) and when my peers began to ‘like and respect’ me more it gave me a qualified reason to stick with it as a social tool. I stopped when I was 18 - for 2 reasons I had drank too much one time and had a negative experience in a social setting and decided that was it for me. I also had entered a relationship too at that same point and never touched drink since. 

    i surely don’t miss it, never wanted to try it again, even though I struggle hard in social settings, I take comfort in the understanding of how alcohol affects my mindstate and I prefer to be without and be my ‘actual authentic’ self. All this happened way before Autism was even I thing I realised in life (now 36 and only learned about my autism a few years ago). And being able to distinguish my lived experiences and difficulties and success knowing that my condition had an impact on them was an epiphany. 

    Not sure what my point is haha. (One of the quirks of my condition - I see a topic, thread story and my words and experiences pour out). 

    hope this adds some value to understanding things for yourself

  • Hi, I started drinking in my teens, most probably it was when I had to be sociable and try to fit it. I tend to limit where I interact with others. Alcohol is the only way that I can attend any social occasion. It kills the inner me off for a few hours, I can then act like, most probably the wrong word but ‘ normal’ people. The anxiety and awkwardness can be kept at bay for a few hours .I try not to drink in the week now and I’m fine as I work alone and don’t have to talk very much.  I am one of those people who can’t have one drink. I’m now in my 50’s and waiting for an assessment at the moment.

  • I don't go alongside with booze, probably because my 'dad', except wine, I like portugese red, and pretty much anything and everything else in moderation now, after more extreme explorations in my twenties.

    I read somewhere that before 25y.o brain isn't fullly developed and it's next to impossible to break addiction

  • IF you MUST drink alcohol in quantity, a golden rule that seems to save my bacon is to switch immediately to a non alcoholic and caffeinated drink as soon as I realise that I am "feeling thirsty".

    Later I might be able to resume drinking,alcohol, but whilst I am "thirsty" I know I should not be drinking alcohol, and a bit of caffeine will clear the excess quickly, before I do make a scene.

    But I hardly ever drink past a single alcoholic beverage, selected for it's taste and general appropriateness. I found I liked pot better... I do wish they would get on with legalising the stuff. Although for biological reasons involving brain formation and chemistry I think it should be an over 21 thing ideally, and over 18 definitely (and then only with a doctors note). For some people alcohol, although less harmful legally, and socially, is physiologically or even psychologically just the wrong drug to be taking, especially regularly. They'd NEVER legalise it now...  

  • i had a drink problem in my 20's and late teens, because i would use it to "function" in places i would otherwise 'shutdown" in, and surprise surprise, i always ended up all over the place mentally and emotionally, and one of those "you cant take him anywhere" people.

    i managed to stop in early stages of alcoholism thankfully, and i know i need total abstinence from it because of what it does to me and one drinks never enough and impulse control problems

    although, i have the odd moment of not caring anymore and getting drunk just to spite myself, but i do my best not to, a lot depends on that.

  • I don't drink excessively but I do have a glass of wine or two each night to unwind and get over the day that just happened. Anxiety is a constant in my life since my teens and I find a little glass of wine helps me to chill.

  • I will be 20 years tee total in two months. I never went crazy with the drink when I was younger but I did yield to the peer pressure that drinking was normal on the scarce occasions I was coaxed into going out for the night - which I always hated, making me feel weird when it was clear everyone else spent the week at school/university looking forward to hitting the pubs and clubs. If I knew I was going along I spent the entire week in a state of dread and just wanting to get to the next ‘staying in’ weekend. Anyway, I never liked the taste of anything (the thought of beer makes me gag now) though vodka was sort of ok and I realised I was just using it to blunt the slightest edge off feeling awful, not actually enjoying the buzz. By the final time I was drinking - at a cousin’s wedding (I hate those, especially the disco) just to help me get through, and then ended up having an anxiety attack and spending half an hour hiding in the gents, it was clear where this path was going. Self-medication. And addiction runs rampant through one side of my family (and one of my parents struggled with sobriety unpredictability throughout my childhood and early adulthood) , and the anxiety gene is very strongly on both sides of the family tree. So being a non drinker was the only sensible option from there, even if it’s made my social and generalised anxiety almost unendurable in so many situations where the social lubrication may have made a  (in my case minimal) difference to the intense discomfort of so many situations I’ve these two decades. 

  • I was lucky. My early experiments with Alcohol were pretty disastrous, then a bloke at work introduced me to hashish.

    That suited me far better.  

  • Hi, I use to drink, before I was diagnosed. Not a lot, but every day after work I'd have 1 or 2 somethings! I was diagnosed just over a year ago, at 46.

    I've always analysed the *** out of everything, but post diagnosis I really focused that on me. I used the forum for a lot of my musings too. This then led me to assess my use of alcohol and caffeine. Neither of which I drink now.

    For me I realised that I would get that initial surge of relief and false confidence from alcohol, but the following day I would be "tired" and irritable (depressed). This would lead me to coffee to perk myself up, because that's what everyone else in the office did! However, caffeine would spike my anxiety and the slightest thing would put me on the verge of a panic episode. So I'd go home at the end of the day and drink alcohol to relax!

    Round and round and round we go! Thinking back now I did this routine for a good 10 or 15 years. Now I have cut them out though I feel so much more level. No mood spike, anxiety is at ASD normal, my head is clearer. It was definitely part of my masking behaviour.

    Good luck.