I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.
is actually a very common reason that a lot of people drink - it is a social lubricant and it does make it easier to approach and talk to others because it eases feelings of anxiety and reduces tension. Actually, around 20% of people with social anxiety drink for these reasons. So, you're not alone - but you don't have to suffer with these feelings, either - and you don't have to drink just to be able to cope with social anxiety.
There are a few things I would suggest that might help you. There are certain medications that have been shown to help social anxiety - SSRIs - which are also used as antidepressants - used on a long-term basis, and other medications like beta blockers - which are used on the short-term to help you cope at the moment (i.e. right before you go to a party or have to give a public performance.) You might find this information from the Mayo Clinic to be helpful, as it discusses the different medical treatments that can help social anxiety:
Psychotherapy is also a common method for treating social anxiety - it can help by uncovering the subconscious reasons you feel fearful around others, and help you develop more realistic thought patterns and coping mechanisms. Some people are naturally shy or more introverted, of course, but that doesn't mean you have to feel anxious or nervous in social settings - therapy, and specifically, a type of therapy known as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help. If you are interested, you can read more about this type of treatment, as well as find a counselor in your area, on this website:
A good book to get: The Shyness and Social Phobia
It has a lot of self-help tips and techniques you can use to help yourself - and this is particularly useful if you don't want to see a therapist.
There are also other self-help and holistic techniques that some people find helpful, such as meditation
and other stress
relief techniques, exercise, which helps to release too much adrenaline and cortisol - stress hormones that can make you feel more nervous, some people use natural remedies like Kava kava or Valerian, and some people use biofeedback, a type of treatment that teaches you to control your bodily responses to anxiety.
If you'd like to learn more about biofeedback, you can read more here:
Just practicing positive self-talk and trying not to catastrophize prior to a social event can also help, too. So, trying not to imagine the worst, realizing that people aren't out to judge you or criticize you, can be beneficial.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Best wishes.