Chronic Anxiety and The Click

It has occurred to me that removing alcohol from my life is really not going to solve the problem. Because it is not my inability to tolerate alcohol that is at the heart of the matter. What lies beneath is my inability to tolerate my emotional and embodied experience.
It is the dreaded, deafening single-note monotone that is Chronic Anxiety. This is the funnel through which emotional nuance is passed, and all that comes out of the end is FEAR.
I can’t say I’ve ever been any good at identifying, let alone reacting appropriately to, my feelings.
And the problem is that all my feelings are now long-term drunk, all saying what they don’t mean, meaning what they don’t say and talking shit. Is it possible for me to learn to listen to them sober? And to try and build up a brand new shiny self around them instead of anaesthetising them with substances? It feels daunting. I read somewhere that emotional development stalls at the onset of problem drinking. If this is true and I am 14, that would certainly explain a few things.
I’m trying to stay curious. And withstand THE FEAR. The absolute panic that times will come when I just won’t be able to stand it. And I’m not talking about crisis times here. I’m talking about inexplicably intolerable Tuesday afternoons.
As soon as I found alcohol I heard ‘the click.’ I’ve read about this idea of ‘the click’ in numerous addiction memoirs, and am yet to find a more efficient description of the effect alcohol has, on me at least. It comes from a play by Tennessee Williams called ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ In the play, a man tries to explain to his Father why he drinks. He says he needs to keep drinking until he hears “the click…. this click that I hear in my head that makes me feel peaceful. I got to drink until I hear it.” The Father’s response to this is “Boy, you’re an alcoholic!.”
But what is the point to this self-indulgent waffle? This attempt at writing instead of drinking, at least SOME of the time, is about trying to hold myself accountable. It’s a quest for authenticity, a clearer conscience, and a creative outlet to replace in some way the medical management of unmanageable experiences. It’s an attempt to work with a harm reduction approach, as I continue my efforts to side-step the infinity and seeming impossibility of a total abstinence based approach to recovery from addiction.
It’s about trying find ways to live with feelings. Horrible feelings. Awful, intolerable feelings of fear, anxiety, dread, anger, guilt, rage, indecision, disgust, loneliness, boredom, loss, grief, despair and indifference. If I am to reduce/remove alcohol from my life, I need to have SOMEWHERE I can put all these fucking feelings. I have drowned them into drunkenness for so long that I can’t tell them apart from one another, and all I can hear is the relentless, deafening call to stop it all.
To drink until I feel the ‘click.’

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