Thursday, August 10, 2017

1 Year of No Drinking : Part 3

Wahoo! On to the last and final part of my story with anxiety and sobriety.

Hello, my name is Ceci, and I have anxiety.


After my appointment with my therapist, my mom helped me book an appointment with a local Psychiatrist to talk about my recent experiences with panic attacks and anxiety.

Throughout this whole process I felt as if I was at fault for getting anxiety. I felt weak that I wasn't "strong" enough to beat anxiety and this darkness that was all-consuming.

Thankfully, my psychiatrist quickly understood how I operated and began explaining the science  and chemistry behind anxiety. Anxiety can literally be a chemical imbalance in your body where your brain may need a helping hand in getting it back to tip top shape. He also mentioned how anxiety is very much passed down through genetics, which in my case is very true.

I tried to do without daily medication even after my first appointment, as I just hadn't let go of that stigma that comes with medication. I truly felt as if weak people took medication, and I didn't need that. I thought I was better than that. Little did I know that was FAR from the truth.

Then one day I woke up and realized Xanax wasn't enough. I needed to be on a daily medication to get my life back. I was tired. Exhausted of sitting on the sidelines of my life, and I wanted to enjoy the little things again.

Now, I'm not saying medication is the end all be all. I'm simply saying it was my solution, and even that being said, it's not a 100% guarantee. I tried everything before getting on anti-anxiety medication. I tried meditating, exercise, natural supplements, single session therapy, group therapy, you name it I more than likely have tried it. At first I felt defeated when I started my medication. I still experienced panic attacks, and noticed I was developing a new series of temporary side effects due to the influx of serotonin being released in my body thanks to the medication.

I stayed in bed for about 2 weeks while my medication was trying to kick in. Napping, eating, watching TV, looking out the window, praying this all would be over and soon. Then one day I woke up from my medication coma, and I had a glimmer of hope.

I saw the light in things again, and I even felt motivated. Motivated to make a to-do list, work again, grocery shop. I even started calling my friends back, and eventually making plans to meet up to go grab food.

Throughout this process I remained sober, as my psychiatrist told me my medication didn't mix well with alcohol. So I did what he told me, and laid off the booze.


About a month or so after I started taking my medication, I created a profile on Bumble and decided it was time to put myself back out in the dating world. Looking back on this, I have NO idea how I had the courage to do this as I seriously was just starting to feel comfortable leaving the house again on my own. I think there was some Divine Intervention with this process as I clearly was just beginning to take baby steps towards getting my life back again.

My first day on the dating app, I came across a familiar face. Someone who I knew from my Middle School and High School days. I knew him as Max, a freckled boy with pretty green eyes that was good at math. We had a few classes together back in the day, and a few mutual friends, however we never really knew each other too well.

After our first date, I knew I wanted to spend as much time with this man as humanly possible.
Of course, I was very much still adjusting to my medication and even handling the responsibilities of every day life again, but when I got together with Maxwell, everything shifted. I forgot about my anxiety. I forgot about feeling sick. I was able to have fun again. Not to mention, he too was (and still is) living a clean and sober lifestyle.

Without Maxwell, I wouldn't be where I am today in terms of healing and growth. He helped show me how to rebuild my life again in a way that I would be proud of, anxiety and all. And as much as I wanted to run away from my anxiety forever, there were definitely still glimpses of darkness in my beginning days of dating him. I struggled with random anxiety attacks, as everything was so new and foreign to me. As much as I wanted it to be gone forever, I would still bump into issues that eventually Maxwell saw. I was horrified that he would run away once seeing how I had some baggage that came along with dating me, but he stayed and loved me for exactly who I was and still am.


Dating Maxwell has been nothing but a breath of fresh air. He has taught me a lot about recovery, rebuilding, and how to have fun in life the old fashioned way...SOBER. What's been most rewarding about this new clean lifestyle for me is the fact that I am facing everything head on and feeling what is going on with my body directly, rather than immediately reacting and numbing myself with alcohol.

Of course, I am in no way shape or form 100% free of anxiety, but I am proud of having one year of sobriety under my belt.

I have learned that being sober, and having anxiety, doesn't mean you have to live a boring life. I live an even more exciting and exhilarating life than I ever have. I still go out with friends to see shows, and dance the night away for bachelorette parties. I still actively participate in my social group, and attend happy hours with my friends. Yes, my role may have shifted from sad party girl, to sober girl, but guess what...I'm never hung over (yep, imagine that for a few seconds. It's wonderful) and I still manage to dance like a crazy person.

Not drinking has brought me clarity. It has brought me peace, it has brought me freedom and it has restored my light from within. Not to mention it has strengthened my relationship with myself, which is the relationship I value the most.

I am still learning what works for me in terms of tools on how to accept my anxiety rather than fight it. I have learned that my struggle and pain, has lead me to a life that I am proud of. A life that is worth fighting for, even if I do have a few more hiccups than I used to.


"It's simple, really: things go wrong, people upset us, accidents happen. These things make us feel like shit. And that's fine. Negative emotions are a necessary component of emotional health. To deny that negativity is to perpetuate problems rather than solve them.

The trick with negative emotions is to 1) express them in a socially acceptable and healthy manner and 2) express them in a way that aligns with your values.

When we force ourselves to stay positive at all times, we deny the existence of our life's problems. And when we deny our problems, we rob ourselves of the chance to solve them and generate happiness. Problems add a sense of meaning and importance to our life."

-Mark Manson / The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck-


As always, I want to thank the people near and dear to me during this time in my life.

           picture found on pinterest

To my sister, Hannah: I can't thank you enough for always watching TV with me during my bad days. No matter how many times I said "I don't feel good", you would lay with me and distract me from what was happening. Whether that be with silly snapchat filters, or wrestling and getting bit by a wild raccoon, you helped me immensely. Thank you for being you and always making me laugh.

To my Mom: Thank you for taking care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. Thank you for ALL the nights of sleeping in my bed, and scratching my head. Thank you for driving me around everywhere and constantly setting me up for success. I love you!

To my stepdad, Buster: Thank you for always being so kind and loving. I will always remember last Summer, and swimming at the dock with you and Mom at sunset.

To my dear friend, Emilie: Thank you for always checking in on me, and messaging my sister to see how I was feeling. You were one of the only people I trusted to take me out of the house on your weekly errands. Through thick and thin, you will always be my rock.

To my friends Lauryn, Melanie, Sammi, Erica & Jocelyn: Thank you for being so patient with me, and calling me endlessly until I finally answered. Thank you for still being my friends after all these years, and letting me be a part of all your bachelorette parties, weddings, and every day life.

To my dear boyfriend, Maxwell: Thank you for loving me at a time where I didn't even love myself. Thank you for continuing to love me and teach me every single day how strong I really am. I am so thankful we were brought back together again after all these years.


I can only hope my story will inspire you, or someone close to you, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life can be hard, but guess what, it also can be amazing. All you have to do is find what works for you. Sometimes it may be a year long journey such as mine, or it might be just a few days. The whole point is to stop focusing on how others live their life, and find out what works for you. If that includes medication then by all means, get on that medication. If it includes yoga, then sign up for a yoga class. There is no right or wrong answer for how to do things. This is just simply my story.


The next blog post will feature some of my favorite tools I have used throughout my journey of living a clean and natural lifestyle. I was also thinking of including a Q&A section, so if you have any questions please feel free to email me or comment below.