Many people want to know when you stop wanting to drink, particularly at nights out. They can manage not to drink but do so by denying their want and cannot wait for it to go away.
So, here's the truth, as it applies to me at 2 years 3 months sober.
Last week I was at a formal-ish work-related dinner. It was the kind where you meet for drinks in the bar beforehand, are presented with a flute of alcoholic fizz at the door, and the wine is already on the tables when you enter the function room.
I was running late, slightly on purpose, and missed the pre event bar meet up. I don't mind going to these but find it's just more time to speak to the same people I'm going to be with all evening so no desperate need to meet up earlier than is required.
I turned up in time to get the taxi.
As we entered the venue I walked past the fizzy wine and grabbed a glass of weak-looking orange juice. The first minute sip revealed it to be Buck's Fizz. I put it down and asked for the real orange juice.
I don't know if that toxic sip set my mindset haywire but we took our seats at a table and I really wanted a glass of wine. There were no soft drinks on the table, only 2 bottles of white and a bottle of red. The conversation was already in full flow interrupted only by 'Red?', and 'White?', then 'Neither???' It was a warm evening and inside the heat was oppressive.
My annoyance with the whole thing was rising and I was feeling bitter and wanting. After 10 minutes I broke free and went to the bar to buy a drink. I ordered a soda and lime and a couple of pints of beer for others. I was pleased to find the soft drinks were free, so I made mine a pint of soda and lime.
Back at the table I gulped my thirst quenching drink with pleasure. It tasted fresh and crisp and was just what was needed. My negative vibes began to abate immediately.
I needed a drink. I had a drink.
What that drink contained was not important. It was that my needs were being met. I had a drink the same as everyone else. For me it was thirst quenching and cooling. I relaxed.
I resumed my part in the conversation and confirmed casually to the chap seated beside me that I no longer drank alcohol having given up 'a couple of years ago now'.
The meal was Indian food which I never enjoyed drinking with wine. The two don't seem to go together very well. Many others also avoided the wine and drank pints of lager to wash it down. I continued with my pints of soda and lime (ice cubes and straw) and really enjoyed it. Needless to say, by the time the starter had arrived I was glad I hadn't had the wine.
It seems that as time goes on, the process speeds up. The cycle of wanting, resisting, and relief at our success becomes shorter and shorter and rather than having to manage the whole evening before feeling the relief of sobriety the following morning, it now comes within a period of no longer than 15 minutes.
So there you go. It becomes easier. It becomes quicker. And it becomes second nature to manage the situation in other ways. This will happen for you too. Just keep going and give it time.