Sunday, November 14, 2010

Anxiety 13

A lot of people drink to decrease anxiety.  Alcohol is a drug that does a fair bit of anxiety reducing, after all.  The question becomes, as always, how often you drink, and how intense the drinking goes--i.e. how much.  Sobriety is a bit of an imperfect experiment in some regard, because it is hard to gauge anxiety levels in a social situation when I'm the only one not drinking and everyone else has continued on with their typical evening.  To wit, if I really wanted to see what my anxiety levels might be without alcohol (and during some sort of social outing), then they'd have to be sober too.  And often, they're not.  If they were, we might all have higher levels of apprehension, hesitation, or paranoia.

[As an aside, I'm not counting out all of the lovely social times I have that are with sober people, or saying that I only see people when they're drinking.

On a whole, though, I posit that any increased levels of anxiety, individual or collective, can and will be overcome by similarly increased levels of mental acuity, and a very general concept: time.  Time helps everyone relax a little bit, so long as initial introductions/interactions aren't too brittle or fast paced or incendiary or whatever to induce particularly flaming reactions.  Over a little bit of time and some forced interaction--i.e. what happens in any social outing whereby some strangers/non-totally familiar people appear--people will become looser, more liquid if you will, in their ability to flow with the situation.  They'll hopefully let their guard down a little bit, and you know, laugh.  It might take a little while, and require slightly more patience, but it will still be worth it, if you've got the patience, and can hold on, you know, brace yourself for the inevitably more stilted learning curve that frames the beginning of the non-drinking situation. etc.

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