Here at the DUI Foundation, we’re excited to partner with Carrie Armstrong, with the How To Be A Sober Girl blog. You can check out her blog here. Over the next thirty days, she has committed to a How To Be A Sober Girl 30 Day Kickstart campaign and we’ll be sharing her stories right here.
And without any more time, here’s Day Fourteen:
It’s always struck me as really odd that nobody talks about this. Anywhere. Forums. Alcohol abuse literature. Medical studies. Alcoholic Meetings. Newspapers etc. Nobody ever talks about this thing that everyone who abuses alcohol has, because for some reason everybody thinks they are the only ones. And that there’s no cure for it.
Both of these assumptions are incorrect.
Everyone who abuses alcohol has a form of Death Anxiety. Some people had it to begin with and use alcohol to numb the fear (which is actually more unusual, but in the UK a famous ex footballer Paul Gascoigne is a classic example of this), but the more usual way it comes about is as a consequence of alcohol abuse.
Death Anxiety is nothing to be afraid of. It’s actually just our brain’s way of shouting a us to get our attention…
When I was abusing alcohol severely at around the age of 22, I was constantly in the grips of Death Anxiety. I could do nothing to shift it except drown the thoughts out with alcohol. Which sadly only worked for a few hours a day, so the pay-off was definitely not worth it. Although it did ease off somewhat when I moved to a different part of the country and started udying for my Masters (because I had less time to fixate on it), I never managed to shake Death Anxiety until I
- Stopped drinking
- Took Care of Business.
My brain knew, (despite my conscious denial of me having a drinking problem) that I was damaging myself by the amount I was drinking. Depsite society telling me it was fine. Despite me easily being able to find examples of people who drank more. Despite me being young and fit and healthy. I knew it was hurting me physically and mentally. All the signs were there. Bu because I refused to acknowledge the truth of it, my subconscious was left to try and deal with it. To try and get that message through to me. Through that steel wall of denial. So it did so through the easiest way it could find: Death Anxiety. that way I got to panic about death without having to make changes in life.
When I stopped drinking the Death Anxiety did no automatically go away. That’s because I hadn’t Taken Care of Business. I had I kept this up? I would have returned back to drinking again.
When we abuse alcohol we don’t take care of ourselves. That includes things like not going to the dentist regularly enough and not being honest when we go to the doctors. We may still go to the doctors (not so with the dentist as much) and we will fixate on an issue that isn’t our main worry, mainly because deep down we feel like the issue is connected to the alcohol problem that we definitely don’t have (how tiring is a life of denial? seriously, I was so worn out with the self-deception by the end, so wearing).
So we will go to the doctors, but not for the thing we need addressing. and we won’t go to the dentist, or the other check ups that are playing on our minds, and they worry us so much in our dark hours and we fixate on them and hey grow warped and completely out of proportion, til it seems like the only hing to be done is o just drink them away.
So. Take Care of Business. Go to your doctor and tell them what is really troubling you. Go to your dentist, tell them you are afraid and ask hem to sedate you if you need a lot of work done. Go get whatever check up you know you are putting off. Take Care of Business and you will be helping yourself so much in your quest to stop or cu down on drinking. I absolutely promise you. It truly is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Your brain will acknowledge that you have taken action and it will reward by stopping all of this shouting at you to get your attention, in the form of Death Anxiety. You won’t be abusing alcohol so it won’t need to try and protect you from yourself. To try and frighten you into cutting down or stopping your drinking anymore. It won’t have the steel wall of denial to constantly contend with.
And once you go see your doctor/ dentist/clinician? You won’t have a mind occupied with what if’s that have you scared and running for the bottle. I will all be taken care of, out in the open. So far less things to “drink about”
Do it. Today. Book that appointment. You will be helping yourself so much. The relief will be palpable.