Anxiety relief — medication or alcohol?

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.

4 responses to “Anxiety relief — medication or alcohol?

  1. I am glad you are finding the Klonpin helpful. It really was the one med that I clung too for many years. I wish I hadn’t gone down the road of taking it they way I did, but looking back it is hard to deny what a help it was. You mentioned your “alcohol addiction” and I may be way out of bounds here, but have you considered AA? I ask for two reasons. The first is obviously the alcohol use, but I also got to know an older man when I was in my early twenties that had been a recovering alcoholic for years, and his perspective on things was amazingly healthy and it all stemmed from his experience in AA. I often found the things he had to say helpful and that was back in the days when I was struggling the worst.

  2. I occasionally go to WFS meetings, which stands for Women for Sobriety. I haven’t quite resigned myself to the idea of absolutely no alcohol whatsoever. My drinking is a symptom of anxiety and depression and I, perhaps foolishly, think if I can get my mental illness under control I can drink socially. I stopped drinking for 2 years at a time during pregnancy and breastfeeding and one time I stopped for a year when I was on Effexor.

    Perhaps it’s denial but I don’t feel I have many things in common with the alcoholic that blacks out and drinks and drives and gets verbally abusive leading to a whole lot of regrets the next day. My regret is mostly that I harm myself by doing it.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I’m a work in progress!

  3. And to think I’m fantasizing about an eighth of a bag of chocolate chips left in my cupboard. It’s not quite the same I guess. I don’t have anxiety attacks as such just an irritating constantly anxious interfering presence which necessitates the taking of the placebo of all anxiety meds – buspar. I think it works but maybe I’m wrong because it’s subtle. I’m still a frightening person to be around but I don’t frighten myself so much!

    • Go ahead and eat those chocolates in the cupboard. I am guilty of buying a bag of chocolate chips, promising to make my kids cookies, and then over the course of a week, I’ve eaten too many of them by the fistfull to make a batch of cookies.

      What you share sounds interesting, I don’t really know much about buspar but doesn’t “placepo” mean it really doesn’t have an effect but you believing it does may cause you to be helped? HOW’S THAT GOING?

      Thanks for visiting my blog and I will check out yours, too.

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