February 18, 2019
Is the day I stopped drinking alcohol. This isn’t a first for me. I’ve a history with struggles of alcohol addiction.
My struggles with alcohol can be read in these blogs:
Life is Good
Life truly is better without alcohol. I feel healthier. I have more energy. My face isn’t puffy. My belly isn’t bloated. My heartburn is gone. My marriage is better. I’m learning to sit with uncomfortable emotions instead of numbing them. I’m much more aware, and present in my life. I’m creating healthy habits that enhance my life like running (I’m training towards running a half marathon this year), cardio exercise, biking, eating healthy, and new hobbies like snowboarding, learning (slowly) how to play the guitar and painting rocks!
Here is a picture of my first painted rock! My husband is the real artist, and he traced the peace sign for me!
I’ve a history of anxiety and depression as a result of PTSD. I’ve just recently come through an acute episode of crisis, where my stress levels were very high. The stressors have mitigated, and I feel much more in control now. Lorazepam helped me through that, and I’m on my last prescription.
What I do notice, more-so now than ever, is this undercurrent of anxiety, that I’ve always had. Drinking alcohol to “calm” me, in reality brought me more stress. Now that I’m not drinking, that I have removed this stressor, it is easier to identify with this undercurrent anxiety.
As of today, this simmering of anxiety, according to my new therapist, is perpetuated by fear-based cognitive distortions, that I am having difficulties managing. The lorazepam helps with this, immensely. This magical little pill slows the swirling thoughts, and takes them away. I feel peaceful, calm, present and in the moment.
But, lorazepam is an addictive prescription drug. I can’t stay on it forever. So, my question is – THE QUESTION IS – will I be able to achieve this level of calm mind that lorazepam gives me, on my own? Or will I have have to transition to an non-addictive prescription to help manage my anxiety?
Anxiety that is all caused by my thoughts.
I can be alone or with other people – my cognitive distortions are a constant battle in my mind.
My husband and I talk about when my anxiety is at a minimum, and it is always when I am engrossed in an activity that I truly enjoy.
Running and exercise of course help – they are my natural anti-depressants! I always exercise in the mornings – that is when I have the energy to do so. It is the afternoons and evenings that I struggle the most with my thoughts. This is when I take lorazepam.
I’ve built some scaffolding along with lorazepam to help me with my thinking. I have started individual counseling, again. I’ve downloaded the app Calm, and listen to it before bed – practicing a 10 minute meditation called the Daily Calm – that helps to strengthen the muscles in my mind to follow my breath, and not follow the story it has just created. I’ve stepped back into practicing Reiki again – just small sessions – here and there – when I have time.
Then another noticing happened…while I am on lorazepam (always the afternoon and into the evening) and feeling peaceful and calm…
I Miss That Fun Mind Altering Feeling
I find myself feeling bored with all this peacefulness and calm!! I miss the buzz that I would get after two glasses of wine! I don’t miss drinking. I don’t miss getting drunk. I miss that silly, bubbly, goofy, heady, fun, mind-altering feeling. All this calm that lorazepam gives me – is, at times….. boring!!
I have lots of things to do!! My life is far from boring!!! I am not at a loss of activities to participate in. It is when I’m tired out at the end of a day – and don’t have the energy or desire or focus to participate in something meaningful or fun – that I want an easy in to that fun, mind altering feeling to make the moment more interesting; a bit more exciting than peaceful and calm!
My Wild Woman is like “What the F*&K! I get that we’re not drinking anymore, I get that we’re living healthy and making better choices. I get this whole calm, peaceful living. But it sure can be boring at times!”
I get it, Dr. Dyer!! But, damn, sometimes I miss the mild altering fun of my mind being altered in a fun way!!
Filling the Void
I’m not sure this void of “missing that fun feeling of my mind being altered in a fun way” can be filled?
Well, I’m sure it can – if I want to use drugs (in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous – alcohol is a drug – period).
Yes, lorazepam is a drug – that is altering my mind, to feel peaceful and calm. But this is a doctor prescribed, monitored drug for short-term use to help with acute anxiety.
It is the “fun” & “party” mind altering feelings I miss, that is creating this void.
This void, I don’t think, can be filled naturally – if I want to live a clean life.
These are my musing for today. My noticings. My awareness of where I am at living alcohol free.
Hopefully, this void is just a passing phase on the path of living life alcohol free.
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.