I attended an AA meeting on Wednesday that I hadn't been to for a while. A woman new to town but not to AA chaired and I found much of what she said really hit home with me. Many people in the program talk about how alcohol saved their lives at first: their social life, their emotional life became a lot easier with the anesthetic of drinking. I don't remember too much of that happening for me. I didn't become the life of the party or handle my relationships with any more ease, but drunk, I just didn't care.
What I was mainly looking for was relief, relief from anxiety, though I didn't know that then. Alcohol was for me a way to relax, a way to let go, a way to be okay. At 25 years sober, I still haven't found a good way to do that. Slowing down, trying to relax, even meditation make me twitchy and more anxious so I push it all away with busyness and productivity. Food, especially, sugar, seemed to hold great promise for a long time, but then I realized I was getting fat, not relief.
I think this is at the top of my bucket list. It isn't Macchu Pichu, it isn't a cruise of the Greek Isles, it isn't a New York Times bestseller. It's learning how to truly relax my body and release the anxiety and vigilance that is so engrained.