What it was like…
When I drank, it was a constant, mostly mellow buzz and I had to “feed the beast” often. I woke up in the night most nights had a little “something” to ease my shakes and the anxiety that made my head spin. Certainly, there were times for me that included “wondering what I had said or did” but for 95% of my active drinking days and nights it was just keeping mySELF at bay. That was how I “lived.”
The Fourth of July
In Maine our license plate motto is VACATIONLAND and has been my whole life. And like many “Mainers,” I take off for a long weekend at “camp.” When I drank, I would work to maintain some even keel living before I left – a few “snorts” and grip the steering wheel with both hands trying to navigate the craziness on the highway as well as in my head. Before I left town, if I hadn’t “taken the edge off” everyone paid for it, I was snappy, nervous and extremely short tempered. I was detoxing, or at least now it feels like that was what I was doing. I was like that when I returned home to the Big City, too. Managing the buzz was a full time commitment.
Things Have Changed – I Have Changed
When I got home last night, I noticed last night, I hadn’t gotten anxious driving to camp or back home. The traffic is the traffic – on a Holiday weekend, people come here, spend money and time with their families – we share the same roads. I also figured out that I didn’t get snappy before leaving to go to camp or from camp. It was a level of acceptance that I actually noticed.
It has been 3 years now, the first year or so my anxiety level was thru the roof, especially around driving. The weather, the traffic, snowy roads, all of it. I started turning off the radio when I drove. I played Tibetan bowl music in traffic. It really helped calm me down, I am pretty sure it kept me away from MANY first drinks. I often wonder if the real FEAR was a hangover from drinking days of getting caught by the cops? I was sober after all.
I took the long way home (by 8 miles) to avoid the part of the trip that makes my heart race the most. And an extra 8 miles to stay sober when I would have driven 50 to get a drink, is some “One Day At A Time” thinking. I am glad to see I did it naturally. It is the little things that make my life better. Thank you for being here.