What gets me through

A few hours ago, I was crying in the shower.

I cried again, curled up with the covers over my head.

Again, when I was finally able to tell Ethan all the demented dark thoughts that had been lingering in my head since about noon.

This is what anxiety looks like. It strangles your life at inconvenient times and you can fight back, but your only real defense is time.

Ethan and I talked through our frustrations, individually and as a couple, and we looked at our own faults but also noted what we can’t change. I quoted Oprah and we both declared our next right move for the evening. Our storms passed, and we both could smile and breathe again.

Treats were in order, for both of us, after fighting our inner demons. We each turned to chocolate and something mindless to watch. When I recover through an anxiety episode, I am quick to give myself whatever I need to restore my courage and energy for the next day.

For a long time, I turned to alcohol during anxious moments believing I needed it get through those prickly emotions. I swore that I deserved it. And so I drank and drank until I was numb, thinking I had persevered when really I just pushed it all down and not dealt with it, like an overstuff closet.

There are a few bottles of wine in my cupboard, along with a small bottle of champagne. They have been there for more than a year. As I was hurling insults at myself, I thought about opening one of them, letting the alcohol soothe me. I am allowed to drink now, I could do that.

I didn’t though. I stayed sober through the fight, and when it was done, I told myself I could celebrate with a victory pour. But when I went to the kitchen, I reached for a La Croix instead.

My year of sobriety is over, yes, which means I don’t have to refrain from drinking when I want to. And, yet, I know that I don’t need alcohol to get me through my anxiety, or even celebrate when I’ve outlasted it. I can beat it on my own, and that’s celebration enough.

 

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