A short while ago I had a major relapse. By ‘relapse’ I mean I drank half a litre of vodka, took a lot of pills and landed myself in hospital. So I was back to square one with the whole sobriety effort.
I’ve been sober for just over two weeks. I’ve even resisted the always alluring Lorazepam. I don’t feel especially pleased with myself. I still want to drink every day. I still spend a lot of time fantasising about oblivion.
What’s the healthy alternative to getting wasted? Nothing else has that mellowing effect, there is no other emotional anesthetic. I’m told to take Lorazepam when I feel like getting drunk, but that has the effect of making me feel quite stoned or just sending me to sleep. Aside from being impractical, I don’t really want to displace the problem. I don’t see how replacing alcohol with benzos is a sensible solution.
I’m doing therapy and mindfulness. I’m working. I see friends and I do sport. I walk for hours every day. I’m trying everything everyone says works. While these things can make me feel briefly calmer, or more positive, none of it offers me the chance to escape from myself. Not even for a moment. It’s so claustrophobic being trapped with your thoughts, hating what goes through your own head and not being able to get any peace.
I can’t even have a break when I go to bed. My dreams are frightening, anxious, stressful. I dream of violence, loss and humiliation. I wake up panicked and sweating, or my wife wakes me because I’m crying in my sleep.
Who could blame me for wanting to shut that all down for a while? I know alcohol doesn’t make me happier, but I also know that after a few drinks everything slows down a bit. The crappy thoughts are still there, but they are just a little easier to tolerate.