Mind over matter
I've never done this before but my post deals with mental illness and alcohol dependency issues and I know, especially at the moment, everyone has enough to deal with. So please don't read on if you think it will affect you.
Alcohol dependency and self-medicating
I wasn't sure whether to talk about this but I think it's probably way more common than people realise, and especially during and since lockdown. So here goes.
I've noticed increasingly that I'm misusing alcohol. Don't get me wrong, I can go days, weeks, even months without having any alcohol at all, or even wanting a drink. But then too many worries fill my brain and overwhelm my already busy mind and I can't control the spiralling anxiety. So I drink wine to numb my brain and quieten my thoughts. I basically self-medicate.
No one needs to tell me that it's the wrong thing to do, or that it ultimately makes you feel worse, because I know. Believe me. But over the years each self-medicating *binge* seems to have got worse and more troubling.
Things have come to ahead in recent weeks as I realised that I was drinking way more than I should and that my anxiety and low mood were getting worse. You'd think I'd be able to see that the correlation was all wrong wouldn't you? I could hear myself in my head saying, "Tomorrow will be better and you won't need to drink, so don't feel bad about having a few glasses tonight." But then tomorrow would come and I'd feel worse. The idiot in my brain just lies to me. And then to cover up for the lying little sh*t I start trying to hide the evidence, almost like I'm having an affair or something. I start making excuses for drinking too, like victims of domestic abuse make excuses for their abusers... because it's only a one off, right? They won't beat me up again. Tomorrow will be ok.
A little over a week ago I decided enough was enough. I poured away the 2 bottles of wine that were lurking in the fridge (just waiting to beat me again) and phoned my doctor.
Today I went for an introductory meeting at New Directions in Bradford. I was terrified but I went. I now have a telephone appointment with a recovery coordinator and an appointment with a nurse booked. On top of that I've also arranged my own private counselling face-to-face session with a therapist I know and trust. The man running the group today said that if you go into battle alone, armed only with a little pistol, you're not going to get very far. He's right, so I'm gathering an army.
I wanted to be honest and share this partly because I think talking and getting things into the open helps me personally, I've spent far too much of my life pretending to be ok and all it does is set you up for a greater fall. But also in case other people are in the same boat, or have loved ones who are, so you don't feel alone.
I don't think the next few weeks are going to be easy but I've been truthful to myself and the people around me and have made a start. Admitting there's a problem and seeking help is often the hardest bit.