Sobriety Gave Me Too Much Time to Think
I never expected to have this problem when I quit drinking.
My drinking was a form of self-medication, at least in part. Although my depression and anxiety weren’t the only reasons that I developed an alcohol addiction, there’s no denying that they were a major driving force.
Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed, sad, anxious, or stressed, my answer was always to start drinking and forget about it. I didn’t think of it as self-medicating at the time. In my mind, I was just “having a beer to relax.”
It sounds so innocuous when I put it that way, but when “having a beer to relax” turns into “getting wasted every single night for years on end,” the dangers and harms of this strategy become obvious.
When it came to improving my mental health, getting sober was a huge step in the right direction. I wasn’t able to tackle my depression and anxiety until after I had quit drinking every night. Sobriety didn’t cure these other mental health problems, but it allowed me to start working on them.
However, I’m only able to say all this with the benefit of six-plus years of hindsight. At the time, when I had just quit drinking, the shock of sobriety was brutal. For the first time in a decade, I had to think about my problems instead of drinking until I forgot them.
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