Saturday, January 7, 2017

Understanding Anxiety (and Alcohol)

Anxiety is a bit of a quandary.  It isn't easy to define. What is it precisely?  Hard to say--maybe sweaty hands?  Maybe very quick heart beat?   Is that all, though, or even the core of it?  I don't think so, though I'm not sure. The core of it seems to be more about a mental state, and that mental state is one that can only be defined by what it is not: satisfied and secure.  It is everything but secure, warm in a snug cabin as snow falls.  It is as if the bottom has dropped out, as if all the accumulate framework of knowledge that you've relied on to broker inner life with reality has disintegrated, that every breath, every assumption is somehow insecure in its moorings.

And that's frightening at base.  What may be more frightening is that it may allow us a glimpse into more of reality "as it is" and less of just our cocky human mind layers of confidence.  

Which is also to say that anxiety allows truth to emerge in fractured and jagged beauty.  I'd hope that this, too, could ameliorate the dread involved, but perhaps not.  Even after all of it, anxiety is not controllable, and that lack of control can itself trigger further heightening of fear and panic.  

Alcohol is also about control.  And oddly enough, after every drink, every bit of loosening of the reigns of one's control, there is I believe in effect a zero sum overall game in relation to anxiety.  In other words, it will be back, and it will be back stronger and more lasting than before.  The only way a lot of us deal with it is to have another drink, thus pushing the intensification and latency of anxiety further.  Which starts a vicious cycle, of course.

So, how to tame alcoholism?  Be able to deal with anxiety without alcohol.  If you cannot, then you cannot drink.  It really is all logical deep down, somewhere that we do not want to often see.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Alcohol and Anxiety

The single hardest thing to do when getting sober is tamping down anxiety.


It is at the core of all good alcoholics out there.

Anxiety is not a very easy subject, mostly because it cannot be conquered.  It cannot be concluded.  That's the nature of it. To quiet it is to die.  And death only begets more anxiety.

Can't die to stay sober.  Gotta live.

And if you've gotta live, and you gotta figure out sobriety, you gotta figure out anxiety.

Sticky wicket that.

But conquer anxiety and you conquer alcohol.  Now, how to do that exactly?