The 1000 Days Sober Blog

Blog Posts From 1000 Days Sober

How to experience anxiety without reaching for the bottle


My daughter Zia’s skipping along the pavement, looking every inch the perfect Dorothy Gale in her blue dress and ruby red shoes. 

 

“I have a stone in my foot.”

 

It’s the fifth stone ‘in her foot,’ and we’ve not gone ten yards from the house. 

 

I’m in a mood.

 

I’ve been in a mood all day. 

 

I don’t know what it is, but my energy has been on the low end - the hangover, sitting in bed watching TV all day, end. 

 

I stopped ‘work’ at 4 pm and tried to slip into my father skin, but man, it’s been a struggle. Zia is like a machine gun, words piercing my temple and flying through my brain. 

 

She’s non-stop.

 

I am sure a doctor would diagnose her with one acronym or another if they could get hold of her. 

 

I won’t let them get hold of her.

 

As I take the stone out of her foot and let her skip along the yellow brick road, one last time, I check in with myself and ask, what’s up? 

 

Ah, my old mucker, anxiety.

 

Anxiety is best buddies with Fear, another emotion that likes to hop into the driver’s seat and steer me right into a brick wall. Its role is to remind me that something needs doing. Anxiety is a time-traveller and always has the gear shift pressed into the ‘future’ groove.

 

Edgy.

 

I feel edgy.

 

I recognise edgy as a softer version of anxiety, meaning I have time to turn this ship around. It’s only when my anxiety becomes intense that I start spewing my vitriol over all and sundry. 

 

When I drank alcohol, edgy was enough to make me want to drink. Had I been in this spot, with Zia’s energy choking the life out of me, I would have had a drink. I don't know about you, but I was taught to repress my emotions, not feel them.

 

But I don’t drink.

 

Not anymore. 

 

Because of that decision, I can stand in the middle of the kerb, watching my daughter disappear behind a bush (she’s going to scare me) while talking to my anxiety. 

 

“What truly needs to get done?”

 

And.

 

Then.

 

I have my answer.

 

I need to be present for my daughter.

 

I thank my anxiety, tell edgy to get the f*CK, and head for the bush in full-on scaredy-cat lion mode.