May 29th, 2015

My name is Carrie and I’m an alcoholic. Or would “addict” be more appropriate? Because, while I haven’t touched the sauce in five months, I remain vulnerable to life’s everyday discomforts. Or of still inhabiting the same skin that drank to live . . . where I would have died to drink.

The power has been out for an hour or so now, though I’m typing from the glare of the tablet while friends of my boyfriend’s and mine play another evening of Dungeon and Dragons by candlelight. Though I struggle to formulate my thoughts amidst the conversation, the setting the darkness provides has always helped me produce creatively in the past.

My therapist recommends I complete exercises in a CBT workbook in order to better help me journal, but I think I might need to start writing before I take my “sobriety” for granted. I put it like that because I haven’t given myself enough distance yet from my other susceptibility, benzos. Xanax, to be specific. I was never prescribed it, and I wouldn’t in my right mind insist on it, but I have had some sort of access to it whenever my dad has been home from the mountains.

Somehow I’m above procuring the substance from anyone else. It’s a different story when it might just be in the room next to yours. It’s as if my body is moving on autopilot when a craving hits. Or maybe like an out-of-body experience where I realize what’s going on but I have little control of it. If not for being pressed for time each time they’ve hit, I might’ve turned his room upsidedown. But of course I was much less conspicuous about it than that.

Dad is back in the mountains again and I’ve got a week of sobriety from benzos as I write. I am currently being prescribed two antidepressants and an antiepileptic for anxiety; I also take a supplement that is a precursor to serotonin. It took about 8 months with my psychiatrist to reach this level of mental stabilization. I was still drinking for the first half. In fact, part of the reason I decided to stop completely was because I wanted the medication to work; I wanted to feel better.

And I do. Indeed, the stabilization the medication has provided has helped curb the compulsion to take anything for the sole purpose of changing how I feel. I drank out of fear. I popped benzos out of fear. I overate out of fear. I spent money I didn’t have out of fear. Going back, I dated men that weren’t good for me out of fear. I didn’t stay in college out of fear. Fear still cripples me but I’m braver with every day I don’t drink or use. With every hour, with every minute. Tonight, I am sober.

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