I am British and have been living in Paris for a couple of years, and I'm worried about my relationship with alcohol. Since I came here, I have been suffering from a kind of social anxiety which I think started out from the initial language barrier and cultural differences. Although things have gotten easier since my French has become a lot better, and I have a lot of international friends, I still feel anxious about being around people (often even my own friends that I have made here). I somehow got into a habit of drinking by myself.

Sometimes it's not very severe (a couple of beers before going out to meet friends to take the edge off my nervousness), but lately I have started to enjoy staying in by myself and drinking MANY beers in the course of an evening, ending up drunk and lonely and emailing my friends in the UK. I need to find a way to get out of this cycle, as I'm usually a sociable and outgoing person, and I get on well with many people. I am worried that I'm developing a dependency on alcohol - whether to escape the anxiety of being around other people, or to enjoy my own company more. I feel guilty and anxious all the time and I really don't know who to turn to for support. Thank you for listening and thank you in advance for any advice you might have.

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