This post deals with alcoholism and may be triggering for some readers.
I thought alcohol was the solution to my anxiety – turns out it was the cause.
As the clock approached 5pm, I could feel the physical changes in my body begin as the anticipation of pouring that first glass of wine began to take hold. It had been another busy and highly stressful day of juggling work deadlines, meetings, two young kids, after-school activities, fitting in time for the gym and making sure there was food in the fridge to put something together that vaguely resembled a passable meal that evening.
Fueled by caffeine, protein shakes and adrenalin, I had almost made it through another day.
I felt tense, agitated and overwhelmed. The only thing in my toolkit that I knew would calm me down and ensure I could fall asleep, was my wine.
Watch Your Body After 1 Year Without Alcohol. Post continues after video.
I’d always been a binge drinker before kids. I loved a party and while it did register somewhere at the back of my mind that I seemed to love a party just a bit more than my friends; I brushed it off and dismissed it as me loving to have a good time.
However, after settling down and having kids, my relationship with alcohol changed. Previously I had never really drunk much during the week or outside of social occasions, but I found my drinking habits creeping into my evening routine most nights.
I was struggling with managing the demands of two young children alongside managing my own business, running a household and having no family close by (we had emigrated from the UK just a year after our son was born and had no family in Australia).
As my daily stress levels kept rising, so too did my drinking.
However, at no point did I register the correlation in the increase of my anxiety alongside the increase in my drinking. I simply thought my worry was all part and parcel of the daily stress I, along with many others, were experiencing and that wine was the answer. My evening wine was my ‘me time’. It was what I had to look forward to after a stressful day. It was my switch off and my distraction from worrying about all the things I hadn’t done, didn’t have time for and felt I was failing at.
As someone who had never suffered from anxiety before, these regular feelings of worry, overwhelm and constant ruminating were all new to me. I obsessed over the smallest thing and previous situations that I would have not blinked an eye at, began to overwhelm me. As someone who was naturally bubbly and outgoing, I began to feel like a shell of my former self and I couldn’t understand why things had changed so much.