Today, a question I got from an email was: will I suffer from anxiety when I stop drinking?
First thing that came to my mind was, are you already so far from anxiety?
The reason I stopped was because I was going through so much anxiety as a result of my drinking.
I was feeling so fucking anxious about everything.
Every part of my life I felt was heading down the tubes.
My relationship with my son, with my partner, with my family, with my friends, what I was doing with my business, my personal life, all these things were causing me anxiety.
I think one of the biggest things was my health.
I think when you start getting pains in your stomach, you start waking up during then night and you think you’re having a heart attack at 3 o’clock in the morning.
That’s a very anxiety causing problem.
So, you have to first think about the anxiety that you’re going through now, at this moment.
Then, think ‘’if I take the alcohol out, then what am I going to go through once I stop?’
Make those comparisons.
I know you’ve got no idea the amount of anxiety that you’re going to go through, and neither do I, so I can’t tell you that.
All you can do is be your own judge.
Hopefully by assessing your anxiety now while you’re drinking, it can give you something to compare it with once you stop.
You never actually know how much anxiety you’re going to go through until you actually stop anyway.
Another area is, I had anxiety while I was drinking, but I was also drinking to cover up the anxiety, so it was like a vicious cycle.
Drinking to cover up the anxiety, but your drinking actually causes the anxiety, which needs a drink to cover up which leads to more anxiety, and on and on and on it goes.
That’s another area.
Alcohol has been a part of our lives from Day 1.
Personally, alcohol has been a part of our lives at least from when we were legal to drink. We could start to drink, for many of us well before that.
It’s really difficult to remember – I can hardly remember anything from back in those days, when I was 13 or 14 and I first started drinking.
I didn’t drink heavily then, it wasn’t until later in my teens that I started to drink heavily once I had the money to do it and I was legal.
It’s very difficult for any child to drink heavily unless they’ve got very bad parents.
People have a way of being able to drink without their parents knowing for instance, or when their parents know but they don’t really care.
That’s a sad situation but it happens.
So, most people don’t really start drinking heavily until they’re in their late teens, until they’re legal or until they go away to college, staying over at their mates’ houses.
That’s basically the only time that I used to get drunk before I was legal was when I could find a way to do it without my parents finding out.
The point is that, throughout your life, you’ve just got used to drinking to socialise, to relax, or as a tool for whatever it is that you’re using it for.
There are a lot of tools and a lot of general reasons why we use them, but this is something that we’ve gotten used to over our lifetime.
I cannot remember when I first started drinking. I find it difficult remembering times afterwards because of the alcohol, but I think in the normal process of a lifetime, remembering back to when you were young and you first started drinking, I think a lot of people have problems with that.
My point is that once you get to this stage where you decide that alcohol is the cause of many of your problems in life, or that life-style is the cause of it, the alcohol is only a part of the life-style, and it’s the life-style that has been built up either around the drinking or just as part of ‘this is our culture, our personal culture, our wider culture’ or whatever way you want to look at it.
We’re so used to drinking alcohol at this stage that we don’t know what else to do.
We have to change a lot of things about our lives in order to get rid of the alcohol, and it makes us uncomfortable in the beginning.
That’s going to cause anxiety, definitely.
But you’ve got to push through that.
That’s the only way that you’re going to get out the other side.
Once you stop drinking and you’ve got only a few days under your belt, then a week, 2 weeks, a month, you start to build experiences of your life without alcohol.
You know what it’s like to come home every day from work and not drink alcohol.
You start to understand what it’s like to deal with stress without alcohol, to deal with the screaming kids, or an argument down the phone or whatever it is in life that you’ve had to deal with.
You’ve gone through a lot of different life events.
Different moments where alcohol hasn’t been a part, and that’s all building new experiences.
It’s so essential to start out this journey with as much preparation as you can, try and figure out what you’re going to do in certain situations, and especially preparing your mind for it, getting your mind into the right framework, to the right way of looking at things from the beginning.
You get that determination.
There is no spontaneous thinking with this, there are going to be times when you have to think spontaneously like when you’ve got to choice about the matter.
You come upon a situation that you didn’t think about and you can’t prepare for.
You’re going to have to be spontaneous in what you’re going to do.
But, you can still prepare for that.
You can say, in a certain eventuality, I’m going to do this or that; and you know you’ve done these things in the past month.
You build these experiences as you go along, and so the more experience you get, the more you’re going to be able to compare afterwards with before.
Most of us stop drinking because of the amount of anxiety that we’re going through, the pressure and the stress.
At the end of the day, regardless of what the health problems were, if you didn’t give a shit about it, then you wouldn’t be stopping.
You wouldn’t care.
You’d be saying ‘I don’t care about that, we all have to die of something even if it’s a fucked up liver’.
If you don’t care about it, then you’re not going to be anxious about it.
But if you do care about it, then it’s going to cause you fear, stress and anxiety.
So, surely when you get past that stage and you’ve stopped drinking, you’ve stopped doing one of the most damaging things that you’ve been doing in your life, then surely that anxiety is going to lift.
There are going to be moments when you think ‘is my liver still damaged? Have I caused this?’, but that’s another area you can start to deal with once you don’t have this problem.
I mean alcohol is such a big problem that once you get that out of your system, then you can start to deal with other things.
You’ll start to uncover other problems, and that’s not a bad thing so long as you don’t look at it like it’s a big problem.
You start looking at things and instead of looking at the problems, you look at the solutions.
You say ‘alcohol caused me this. This is what alcohol has been doing to me. I got rid of the alcohol and lo, and behold, I found this other thing’.
For me, I found that when I was eating shitty food, I’d start to notice it because I wasn’t covering everything else up with the alcohol anymore.
I noticed when I wasn’t exercising.
Because I got rid of the alcohol, it put me in a good frame of mind to start thinking about what other areas of my life I could look at.
What other areas of my life can I improve, because I’m feeling really good at this stage, so how can I feel even better?
It just starts a whole process, starts the ball rolling, starts a snowball going down the hill, and you get momentum, and the anxiety will disappear.
I guarantee you that, unless you’re doing it to yourself by thinking about problems, and you’re thinking about the alcohol way too much.
Then the anxiety afterwards is going to be a lot less than it was before.
So, I wouldn’t worry about that.
So, I say focus on the goal in front of you.
Focus on the targets and how you’re going to get there instead of focusing on what’s gone behind, because what’s gone behind, you can’t do anything about.
And if you concentrate on the alcohol, what you focus on expands.
If you focus on the alcohol, it’s going to cause you anxiety.
It’s a different type of anxiety when you’re focusing on something that you want in your life rather than focusing on something that you really don’t want in your life.
That’s it for today.
If you have any comments, leave them down below.
Come over to the website and you’ll find the audio for this and the transcript.
You can also sign up for the newsletter, there’s a free video course there for you as soon as you sign up.
If you’ve already signed up and you haven’t got the course then send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you a link.
Until next time, have a great day, stay safe, keep the alcohol out your mouth and do your best to reduce the anxiety.
Stop stressing your life.
That video course is 80 videos by the way and that’s all about relaxation and different ways of looking at things.
It’s 8 hours long.
There’s a book with it and you can flip through it.
If you get one thing out of it, or if you get nothing and it makes you think about something else, some other way that you can relax or destress, then it’s worth taking a look at, and it’s free.
NO AMOUNT OF REGRET CAN CHANGE THE PAST. NO AMOUNT OF ANXIETY CAN CHANGE THE FUTURE.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!
You are right on target with that one. I remember being a stressed kid-always.
And a stressed
adult-it just makes things harder but is horribly difficult to change.
Thanks for the good help Julie
I quit because of the anxiety and physical symptoms I was perceiving because of it (the anxiety). It became ridiculous. Sitting in traffic on the highway was the worse for me. I started to notice my anxiety only seemed to surface the day after drinking whilst in the throws of a hangover. Even mild hangovers brought it on. The more I drank the worse it was. I quit drinking 42 days ago and am much better. I got a script of Lexapro from my family doc but decided not to take it. I’ll let my brain work it out instead of altering my neuro chemistry with another substance. To be clear, I am not against meds if you truly need them but for me I wanted to try and let my body adjust to not having alcohol. I heard Dr. Phil say it can take a full year before your brain completely clears of the toxin. I believe it. 42 days out and I’m still having withdrawal symptoms. But it’s completely worth it. Everything is getting better.
Your message is spot on.I left you 2 years ago,but am back and looking forward to fatching/listening. Please keep up the good work! 1 day sober and I feel great,time to go for a walk!
Greg–Kevin’s stuff seems awesome in conjunction with AA. I have been sober for over 7 years and the friends that I have made and the support system I have is second to none. I could not have done it without my friends. Kevin seems to also have some amazing tools, but I highly, highly recommend AA. The friends you make will change your life. I’m rootin’ for ya! Lori