Another long day, and I’m craving wine after work (as usual). But, it’s not too bad today. And by now I know tomorrow will be better.
I’ve been thinking a lot about anxiety today and about the connection between anxiety and alcohol. It seems common that people who have decided to quit drinking have experienced anxiety in their lives. Me, too. My whole life, to varying degrees. At times, my anxiety has been paralyzing. Other times, just a gnawing sensation in my chest that is definitely improved by a few glasses of wine.
I’ve also read a lot that anxiety gets better (eventually) when we quit drinking. That, for some people at least, the alcohol itself may be causing the anxiety. Interesting. I’m afraid that my baseline anxiety is high even without alcohol, however. Even when I was a kid, I was anxious. And when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, my fears were off the charts. And neither time was I drinking.
I’m just not sure about the connection for me except that I have definitely self-medicated with it. But, truly, it seems like I want to drink myself into oblivion regardless of how anxious I am, and I don’t know why. I just do.
In recent years, I have done most of my drinking at home, secretly. For this reason, I haven’t had an embarrassing drinking moment (where I’ve been horrified at my behavior around other people the night before) for years. When I was younger and single, I had plenty of those, but not since I’ve settled down. So, I’m not talking about that kind of drinking anxiety.
Last year, I had a scary medical adventure. At the same time, my mom (who has dementia) got suddenly worse and needed a lot more care. These stressful experiences finally forced me to seek help, and I recently started taking proper doctor-prescribed medication for anxiety. Strangely, though, I wanted to drink EVEN MORE after I started it. Even though it was working. I had LESS control over the drinking after my anxiety was medicated. Not what I expected, and it scared me enough that I now sit here, typing this blog, 24 days sober and seriously contemplating life-long sobriety.
I feel like I’m just rambling here, but I am curious. Anyone else have a similar experience? Any thoughts on anxiety and its relationship with alcohol?