I popped into (actually I made an appointment and then kept it) my psychiatrist’s office today. I have not been since January and I let my rx expire, weaning myself off.  I took antidepressants after my father died and the rest of my life had imploded at the same time. Have been off them for years. Then I drank to manage my anxiety because I’m a genius like that.

Last fall when I began to realize that I was on the Elvis ride to a bloated, miserable end I found a psychiatrist and admitted that I was stuck so far down in the ditch that I could barely get up to get groceries. Did not admit the whole story on my drinking AND I know that any good doctor doubles the amount of alcohol you admit to so I really, really lowballed the estimate. An SSRI helped me get up out of the ditch and start helping myself. But there is a stigma still with properly managing your mental health so when I started doing better, I ripped the training wheels off as fast as possible. Isn’t it absurd that there is absolutely no societal stigma around a woman who reaches for wine because she’s happy, sad or awake but there is a stigma around a woman who sees a psychiatrist?

Anyway, as many positive changes as I’ve made the last year and the last 2 months especially…I still have difficulty with anxiety some days. I was a nervous child, I had a bug-out bag packed just in case the house caught on fire. When I was 7. I imagine that God gave me to my parents because I would have become an emotional invalid had I not been raised in a very stable home by people who loved each other. So my anxious moments are down from CONSTANT to one or two days a week that it’s hard for me to adult. I want to try medication while I’m making a real balls (ovaries?) to the wall effort to make a life that requires no novocaine so I got my scripts renewed. I feel mostly good about that. We agreed to do six months on an SSRI and then wean off if I’m still doing well and want to come off.

I went to shrink, I went to gym, I went to the grocery store. Adulting!! Then I bought concert tickets. Adulting with joy!! Then I had a nice long phone chat with an old college friend. Catching up on all the new dramas of our lives and giggling at what has changed and what has stayed the same….ohhhhhhh, it is my habit to pour a glass of rotten grapes or fermented potatoes to curl up with while I chat. For about ten minutes there was a minor skirmish within me over this. I had to tell myself…this urge is just a habit, you don’t need to drink to talk with your friend, this is a pleasant activity, you’re perfectly happy, drinking does not make this better, stop it, stop it, you stupid drunk girl. I didn’t drink, “you stupid drunk girl” is just my pet name for the instant gratification monkey that tries to get control of my brain on occasion.

This is why I am writing…somebody in the wordpress sober blogosphere mentioned to me that she has a Pellegrino in the evenings now. When my inner drunk girl was starting to rumble, I told my friend to hang on a minute because I want bourbon, scotch and beer but I’m not drinking anymore so I’m gonna grab a Pellegrino which lacks alcohol but makes up for it in sugar. And it worked. A fizzy sugary treat in my hand was plenty to sip on while we dissected her marriage and my inability to play well enough with others to even have an ex-husband.

I’m glad that last bottle of vodka still sits on the kitchen table because I got to make a choice. Do I *really* want to drink or do I want to enjoy talking and not numb myself for no discernible reason? Were it not there, this minor hiccup could have become a whole deprivation rage thing. But it was there and I never looked at it. I drank my orange Pellegrino. Huzzah! Adulting! I’m scaling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs like…well I don’t know any famous rock climbers but if I did, this is where I’d drop their names.

Thanks, Pellegrino lady!

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