**Submitted by Diana (and written on St. Patrick's Day), who blogs at Diana Republic
Days like today challenge my sobriety. I am not tempted by the alcohol itself, but by the promise of escape and numbing ; those both sound really good today.
I am an exposed live wire today. It’s early and I have already been frustrated and anxious to the point of tears. My morning has been spent trying to manage the mole hill that my brain keeps telling me is a mountain. The point is that nothing unusual has happened. The dog was barking, the phone was ringing and there were things that had to be accomplished. My faulty brain sent out an all points bulletin on its PA system to freak the hell out. Tonight’s dinner is not a national emergency, but don’t tell that to my brain. It is in full panic mode. Shorten the breathing, hasten the heart beat, see if you can get the palms to sweat, it tells my body. Some tiny logical part of my brain is whispering that this is all nothing, just ride it out, but the PA system is too loud.
And I know just how to shut it down. Nothing shuts down my brain like a few drinks. Vodka immediately disables that PA system and all its ridiculous messages. The anxiety that is currently making me want to scream will melt away with the first sip. In this moment, as the exposed live wire figuratively flinging myself back and forth, a danger to anyone who might accidently come in contact with me, this feels like an appropriate recourse.
The problem with this solution is that it isn’t a solution. The anxiety I feel now would cower in the shadow of the anxiety that drinking would leave in its wake. The chaos that my sober day to day life brings with it is nothing when compared to that of my drinking life. And the dog will still bark and the phone will still ring and dinner will either get prepared or it won’t. And shockingly there is no tragedy in the latter.
The only way I can get through these moments is to breathe. I just need to breathe through the chaos that my brain is creating. I need to ride it out and remember that I am stronger than this. It sucks and I may have to cry and I may have to scream, but I have been here before and I know I will be fine