I notice a greater awareness of my options right now and I know that means I’m growing. I don’t just buy a bottle of wine at the first feeling of anxiety and then drink the whole thing to block out my feelings. I’m cognizant that that behavior leads to a hangover the next day which makes me unproductive and things start to pile up in terms of chores, errands, and especially sleep deprivation. Poor sleep causes havoc with my mood and energy level and although I don’t think it causes my depression, it certainly doesn’t help me get out of it.
I’m listening to my urges and considering what they mean. I’m asking myself why do you want a drink? And I find the answer is anxiety and force of habit. So, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I took the clonazepam (anti-anxiety medication) instead of drinking my typical 3-5 glasses of wine. It worked like a charm, relieving the sense of stress I usually feel once I get home from work. Most evenings, the list of never-ending chores as mom-of-the-house makes me feel like running away. Last night I had to work late and all day I dreamed of the glass of wine I would have later. (Mental reward to get me through the stress.) But, when the thing was over and I got home, I consciously chose to take the anxiety medication instead of having a drink. I realized drinking will just snowball into being tired and hung over the next day. This ability to have an option instead of drinking is completely new to me. Amazingly awesome that I can get relief without alcohol. And it feels good to know the therapist prescribed the medication for exactly what I took it for — this is a new concept to me — that I have help with anxiety and I’m not alone, self-medicating with my bottle of wine.
Now, will you be surprised if I admit that tonight I drank 2 glasses of wine instead of taking the clonazepan? I figure tomorrow is Friday and I can get through one day a wee bit hung over, if I am at all. I may not be because I didn’t over indulge and drank a lot of water.
Okay, so I’m playing around with fire a bit, mixing up my antidepressant, my anti-anxiety and my alcohol addiction. At least I didn’t drink on the anxiety medication and I didn’t drink too much. What can I say except old habits die hard, as the saying goes. Learned behaviors are extremely hard to change. No doubt about it. I give myself credit because I’m doing remarkably well, considering how long I have self-medicated to treat my depression and anxiety.