Mental Health, Addictions, and Healing

When I was a little girl, I remember the feeling of constant fear and worry. I felt different from other people, and I was ashamed of myself. My mother called me a littler worrier. I worried about everything, anything and nothing. As I got older, I saw this a fault — something was wrong with me. I hid my true feelings from most people, as I didn’t want to be seen as weak. It wasn’t until my divorce that I was told I suffered from anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder is what the doctor called my worries.

When the doctor explained the condition to me, it sounded plausible. However, it took years before I finally excepted it. At first, I figured I had fooled the doctor somehow. I wasn’t used to explaining my feelings to people, and I thought that maybe I wasn’t explaining thing correctly. Even when I noticed changes in myself from the medication, I was still in partial denial. I wanted to believe it, as it gave a name to what I felt. Getting my brain to accept it, however, took time. Thankfully, I’m at a place in life where I understand and accept my anxiety.

More recently, I’ve accepted to something else about myself. I have a very bad relationship with alcohol — specifically wine. I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself an alcoholic. From my understanding, an alcoholic has a physical and mental dependency on alcohol. I am not physically dependent on it, but I certainly drink more than I should.

The biggest problem is that I don’t want to stop drinking. Yet part of me thinks that maybe I should. I don’t know exactly when I began drinking as regularly as I do, but I know it’s been several years. The most noticeable side effect for me is weight gain. Especially as I age. My life has been a constant cycle of losing and gaining back 10 – 15lb (sometimes 20lb).

My diet is good, and I exercise more than the average person. Yet, my weight creeps up when I’ve been drinking steadily for a period of time. When I start to feel “too gross,” I get serious and stop drinking for usually a month. Just enough time to take off the extra weight, and then I’m right back to my daily drinking habit. As it stands today, I’ve just started a “dry” month. I’m uncomfortable in my own skin, and I knew I had to take action.

This time was harder than times past, and that scares me. I don’t want to lose myself to alcohol. The 12 step program isn’t for me, but I need to do some healing. Knowing this, I’ve turned to guided meditation and self-hypnosis. Every morning before I start my work day, I shut my office door, and I meditate. I have a small calendar taped to my desk, and each day I don’t drink gets a check mark. My end goal is to gain a better relationship with alcohol. I want to be able to enjoy a glass of wine from time to time without it being a daily habit.

I understand that I need to recognize why I drink as often as I do, and I’m working on it. This post is long enough, so I won’t elaborate on that journey. I have no idea if I’m on the right track, or if I’m fooling myself in thinking I can change my habit. That doesn’t really matter to me, as all I’m focused on is what I can control and do today.