One thing I don’t miss about drinking is the amount of psychic energy it takes to manage it: Manage how much you drink. Manage the guilt. Manage the shame. Manage your life to accommodate your drinking. Uggggghhhh. All of this thinking and thinking and thinking and feeling and feeling about alcohol that robs you of time and energy you could spend thinking about other stuff.
One of the things that got me really serious about quitting — or at least giving it my very best shot — was how that psychic energy needed to justify my drinking was creeping in to my day more and more. I’d come to accept that evenings were for drinking, and thinking about drinking. Starting at five o’clock, my activities and thoughts revolved around drinking, and this was acceptable. Sort of. Or I rationalized it that way. But the last year or so things started happening that made me really uncomfortable:
- I hadn’t got to the point of day drinking (yet) but I was thinking about it more. It was a subtle shift from “Yay! Beer o’clock!” to “Is it beer o’clock yet? How about now? Okay how about now?” In other words, it was earlier and earlier in the day that I was anticipating my first drink. Yikes.
- My evenings, more and more, were becoming anxious because I couldn’t handle the anxiety of not drinking once I got going with the first one. This called for an exhausting balancing act: trying to drink slower than I wanted to, counting my drinks, starting to drink later than I wanted to, and/or going to bed earlier than I wanted to.
- Hangover anxiety. Apparently this is a thing? I’m not sure if its guilt, or something physiological, but I was starting to have these *dread* feelings at night when I woke up. Then you get to think not only about your drinking, but the anxiety and health problems your drinking is causing you. Anxiety about anxiety.
Sometimes when five o’clock rolls around I still have that kind of itchy feeling like I want a drink. But oh my, I don’t miss all the bullshit that came with satisfying that craving.