Yesterday as I was grocery shopping I past by the alcohol section of the store and I thought, Hey I’ve been really stressed lately – I could use a drink.
Then as I started looking at the options I felt a surprising aversion, which over the last year or two has increasingly been the case.
I’m not heavy drinker and so I can’t hold my liquor. After two drinks I’m really feeling it. After four I’m totally wasted.
I rarely drink. There was a particular episode after college which involved mania and my attempts to dampen the mania with alcohol (bad decision). As well as mixing alcohol and depression, which is slightly less worse considering motivation and goal-oriented behaviors are low during depression. Due to my experiences I have very clear examples of several occasions in which alcohol has made my mood worse.
I can have a glass or two and feel relaxed or happy. But then, like coffee in some individuals with ADD, drinking will have the opposite effect in me. It acts somewhat like a stimulant in that I’ll feel the irritability and obsessiveness that comes with hypomania.
It’s not horrible. No, not horrible at one or two glasses, and for a little while it seems to put me at ease and seems worth it, but despite how little I drink I always end up grouchy with a headache and digestive issues the next day.
It’s the lure and the lie that used to get to me. I’d only drink maybe once a month, if that, maybe less frequently, but I always drank for the effects of relaxation. Did it actually relax me?
But the thought was still in mind. I’d say, for years. Over the past couple years, however, not only do I not believe the lie but most times I feel a “yuck” sensation when I think about drinking. Like, ugh. 🍷 Wine gives me a headache and dehydrates me. 🍺 Beer makes my tummy feel bloated and gives me a bad taste in my mouth. Liquor is better but it leaves me running to the bathroom the next day because my tummy will hurt so bad.
So now I pass by alcohol for sale and I shake my head and say Nah. My brain even said to me in response What is WRONG with you? Accusing me of not being able to force myself to have “fun” anymore. Brain, you be crazy.
I was barely able to drink at the Halloween party I went to. I did not even finish a full drink even though it tasted good. The people I know were from work and I didn’t want them to see me tipsy. The people I didn’t know I didn’t know enough to trust.
Beyond those legitimate reasons for abstaining, I have gathered psychological tools to not only reduce social anxiety but to create appropriate boundaries. The more I have interacted with others the less anxious I feel about doing that. So to drink to loosen up not only makes me vulnerable in a way I wouldn’t unless I was close to the person but it also feels like a “cheat,” undoing all the therapy work I have done.
At work a couple weeks ago I went to the brewery on-site after work to see some co-workers do their lip-synching routines and I was encouraged to have some beer. But no matter how much and how many people suggested I try the beer I just couldn’t get up and get some. If someone had brought over a glass I’d have drank a few sips, but I was unable to get up and ask for it. I wasn’t able to choose it.
I’m sharing all this because it is so weird to me. The temptation or desire to drink is gone. My physician and psychiatrist say I can drink a glass on special occasions and even two if I’m with people I trust and then only if I’m doing well and not having an episode.
I just don’t want to.
This is DAY TWENTY-SIX