I'm printing up your post and those great replies to show my family and friends.
I never was any good at drinking 'beverages' of any kind...coffee, tea, milk, or pop. The only exceptions were 'rye and 7', 'gin and tonic', and 'vodka and orange juice', at parties, long ago.
Wine, too, at certain holiday meals.
Oh yes, a few other mixed drinks, once in a while.
Even those began to pall after a while, partly because of the phony taste of 'pretend' juices.
And, I was the most uptight and anxious person you'd ever want to meet.
I am a 'thinker'...that's the only way I could figure out how to avoid making all the 'mistakes' I was accused of, since infancy.
Of course, those making the accusations weren't 'thinkers', so my appearing to be 'smart' caused no end of trouble...and, because I didn't see that I was being abused by people who ought to know better, I became more anxious than ever.
You ever had a dream where you're running, very slowly, and grabbing at grasses to pull yourself along...with some nameless, invisible terror behind you?
I thought there was some 'secret' to social ease and effective living that I couldn't decipher. I thought I wasn't 'smart' enough. I didn't know that I was entitled to feel good, comfortable, accomplished, beautiful, valuable...worthy.
Eventually I couldn't stand the tension I felt on formal occasions, and I came up with an easy out. "If they don't like me, they can ask me to go home."
Nobody did, of course, so I began to relax.
Many awful experiences later, I learned from books that I was just as valuable as the next person...maybe even a bit better in some areas because of my uniqueness.
One book said that a person doesn't even have to get out of bed in the morning, to be just as worthy and valuable as anyone else. You'd likely get pretty thirsty and hungry, but you don't have to 'earn' your place in this world...you already own it.
THAT made me sit up and take notice, I must say.
I see your pain, my friend. And it ain't worth it!
One person I read about who really helped me was the red-headed tigress who always has to be the center of attention. If she wasn't, say, at a dinner, she'd manage to flip a glass of water, with one long red fingernail, into the lap of anyone she percieved as more beautiful.
You see, I began to imagine her being asked to take some of the abuse heaped on the heads of 'nice' people.
"YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?!!!" She would exclaim loudly. And she'd laugh!
Abusers just wouldn't ASK her to swallow some of the things I'd been taking for years.
Abusers wouldn't even THINK of asking a big, blowsy, red-clawed, redhead to do anything!
They'd run in the other direction!
Oh, I loved that lady!
Her strident question began to echo in my head at the most auspicious moments. "You want me to do WHAT?!"
Another clue came from Joyce. She is a kindly and efficient lady. One day she told me that, when people told her negative or whiny things, she would say, inside her head, "Cancel."
"No," is a very good word...or "Applesauce!"
The first few times I used those stoppers, in my head, I was amazed that the pesky thoughts just melted!
Another very useful protection was Jose Silva's bullet-proof glass.
Whenever you see something frightening in your mind's eye, draw a bullet-proof glass between you and the worrisome thing.
His reasoning is that all our imaginings belong to us. We own them.
If one gets troublesome, we can protect ourselves...just as surely as God made little green apples!
Once we are safe, we can start building our own 'circle of warmth', our own understanding and happiness.
What do you think drug-takers are trying to do?! ...Trying to feel safe and happy. Nothing more. And they lose their health in the meantime. Poor beggars!
You are very brave to post your worries here, 53776.
I thank you for doing so. There are millions of us in this crazy world. Every one of us thinks we are alone. 'Tain't so!!!
Have my big, blowsy, redhead, surrounded by bullet-proof glass, for an example.
You can do anything you darn well want! Tell them I said so!
P.S. Read two pages at http://www.geniuspress.com
You'll love it! Then read http://www.wishcraft.com
Truth, if I ever saw it! And it's all free.