"Even when I'm done with the cleanse I want to remain alcohol free. It is very difficult in my social circle. Has anyone else 'been here' before? I really want to change but feel that I can find more support in this particular endeavor online than with my friends."
I stopped drinking over 21 months ago. When I decided it was time to stop (many different reasons) this time around, it was easier than ever before. Although, that is not to say it was easy. I was making many changes in that time of my life. I found a women's group that helped me with lots of what I was going through. When I had urges to drink, I questioned myself and asked what was going on, or why did I want a drink or what was I feeling, in that time. When I tried to give myself a 'logical' reason as to why I could drink, I told myself, that might be true BUT... whatever I was trying to reason with, I gave a reason why it did not make sense.
Also, as for the social circle, I still have the same one although I do not spend as much time with them anymore. When I first chose to stop drinking, I told them when we would do something, I do not want to drink tonight. This lasted for about 5-6 months and then I said, I do not drink. I was not going to allow someone to remind me of the 'times I quit before' and didn't succeed.
I do, also, have another group which is closer to who I am today that I socialize with. Both groups drink. I do not.
I can be in social settings with alcohol and it does not bother me. I think when I chose to stop drinking back in October 2005, it was time for me and that is why it has been easier than anytime before.
Good luck on your cleanse and with your decision to not drink.