SoberMe

My Not So Secret Diary

Numbing

Numbing with alcohol to overcome anxiety and mental health issues. Me with my son Stanley at Saltram house. Writing for my blog My Not So Secret Fiary, by Claire HatwellI never thought of drinking as a way to
numb my feelings or emotions, although of course that is exactly what it was. I didn’t drink to cope with specific situations and I didn’t drink in the day unless we were eating out or having Sunday lunch.

It’s clear though, now exactly how much of myself I was dampening down with my drinking. It’s easier for a lot of people including me to drink, than it is to deal with emotions or events that are difficult.

As you probably have read before, I am a worrier. I feel other people’s emotions and I’m always concerned about whether I’m doing the right thing or not. I over-think and I over-analyse. I also struggle to let things go. It’s exhausting to feel everything so strongly, it’s hard to deal with it constantly and continually. There’s no off switch in a mind like mine, and without realising, I turned more and more to drinking wine to help me cope. I didn’t see at the beginning what a stress reliever it was for me, I just knew that I enjoyed it. I didn’t see that I relied on it until one day I wanted to drink and couldn’t. Needing something you can’t have is a wake up call but it isn’t always enough to to stop people like me because without the alcohol in our systems our minds race and worry.

It isn’t until you want a drink that isn’t available, that you realise how reliant you’ve become.

We live in a busy world. We juggle many things, work, kids, appointments, our homes, exercise, the list could go on. When we stop it’s hard for our brains to stop, for us to let go of that constant state of busyness and so many of us resort to that evening glass of something to help us unwind. Of course, as time goes on, one glass is seldom enough. Our bodies get so used to it, to expecting it that we often need to increase our intake and that can be where the slippery slope begins.

Cutting out drink unleashed my mind. It made me realise how much I’d been numbing myself and my thoughts. It was so hard in the early days, not only to cope without wine but more, to cope with a buzzing mind that I couldn’t control. It would have been much easier to pour myself a glass (or several glasses) of wine and wash my worries away. I was past it though. I hated relying on something, of needing something that sometimes I just couldn’t get. So I took back control.

It was hard to confront my mind, to come to terms with the fact that I do over think and I do over worry. There’s aspects of myself that I would have changed back then, it certainly would have made it easier, but then I wouldn’t have been me.

It’s taken time to calm down, to contain, to slow myself down, but it’s been a journey I’m glad I’ve been on. I’ve had to come to terms with elements of myself that are hard, but I know I’m an authentic version of myself. I’ve also come to realise that while I might worry a bit, it’s only because I care.

Much love,
Claire x

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