Hey guys this is Erik Johnson, I want to talk about tips for anxiety that you might be having with your sobriety.
I’ve been sober for over 10 years, and I have some techniques that I’ve used to stay sober, even without AA.
So, stay till the very end of this video/article, I’m going to talk about what I did – and it’s kind of controversial. You know, it’s not in a handbook anywhere. So I want to just tell you what I did and you can discern if it’s right for you or not.
How to Deal with Anxiety in Sobriety
The first thing that I did when I got sober, was I just cut off all ties to all drinking buddies. I didn’t go to places that reminded me of drinking, and I just put my nose down to the grindstone, picked up a second job, and just dove into my work.
I lived in a small town so I was basically the town drunk, and every place reminded me of alcohol, or being blacked out, or being embarrassed or falling down drunk. It was just not a good place to live – only 10,000 people.
The other thing I had to do right away was I had to slowly start eating food again because most people when they’re really hitting the booze hard, they don’t eat anymore, their diaphragm gets swollen, and it’s very uncomfortable to eat.
I couldn’t hold food down, because a year before I quit drinking I decided, brilliantly to stop eating because it was ruining my buzz, I didn’t have a lot of money, I was drinking this crappy 10% Alcohol malt liquor, and I didn’t have a lot of it so I was like I’m not going to eat because I don’t want to ruin my buzz.
Well, a couple months of doing that, you know, my brain is starving, I’m dying, I’m passing out literally standing up because my brain is not getting any nutrients, My vision is blurry.
What I had to do was slowly start eating again. Then I picked up a second job, but I would just go to work, and I would drive home right after work, and before coming home after work, I would get a treat from the store like m&ms or something that was my treat.
I also still smoked cigarettes for two years of my sobriety. So I would look forward to my afterwork cigarette. I didn’t smoke at work, so I would wait until I got off and wait until I got home and I would drink tea and I would smoke a cigarette and eat my peanut m&ms.
That was my little treat. Because alcohol is mainly sugar so when you come off of sugar, cold turkey, almost cold turkey, like I did, I mean, the last day I drank I only had two beers left and I nursed those all day long, almost.
I knew it (drinking) was over, I hit bottom, and I knew that was it. That was the last time I was going to drink. And, you know, I was tired of all the relapses and going back and forth and I knew in my heart I was done.
I still relapsed, a couple times. You know the first year in sobriety or second year in sobriety I had two slip ups where I drank for two days and then I was like, No, I’m not revisiting this I’m done.
I looked forward to my peanut m&ms and I looked forward to my cigarette after work. Eventually I quit cigarettes, and that was pretty scary. Then again I used the peanut m&ms for that and I drank tea or coffee instead of having a cigarette.
I dove into my work and I got rid of the biggest addiction first, and then I whittled away at my cigarette addiction. I also had a little bit of Xanax leftover from my heart attack that I had four years earlier.
So, I had a Xanax pill, you know, but that was only like the first month of sobriety and then I ran out and I wasn’t addicted to Xanax, so I was just like okay.
That’s how I just whittled away at all my addictions, even porn and sugar had to go and rocking back and forth, which is something I’ve been doing since I was two, that had to go, but, I just had to do those things one at a time and eventually I got self confidence.
I joined a gym. I started doing things that I missed doing when I was drunk. I started playing racquetball again. I started listening to music again, I started playing drums, I started to write, I started blogging.
All of these creative juices started coming back after alcohol so I embraced them. Plus I made more money than ever because now I’m completely sober, and I dove into my work and I was single for the first two years of sobriety.
I needed to just dive into who I was, I needed to just get rid of all the distractions and start over and get to the core of my issues, and ask: why did I start drinking in the first place?
So I started to try to answer that question. I started reading about, you know, counseling and different techniques. I discovered CBD oil and CBD oil is great for smoothing out the edges if you’re coming off of alcohol, and you’re all nervous and antsy I definitely look into CBD oil. I’ll leave a link under this video, you can check out what I use. I definitely use the strongest CBD oil available full spectrum CBD oil.
But can you see a trend here. That’s the controversial thing about my recovery is I switched addictions, until I worked on those addictions, the lesser of two evils and then eventually I got rid of all the addictions.
But the first one I wanted to tackle was my alcohol. And of course I had a lot of anxiety, and that’s why I joined a gym and the best thing about a gym is after the workout, you can treat yourself to a hot tub, or a sauna.
I love the sauna, I did the sauna before I started drinking heavily. It just cleanses your whole body, washes out the toxins, it makes your skin nice, you can actually age backwards and melt off that excess fat. Then when you come out 20 minutes later from the sauna you feel so relaxed. You don’t want to drink at all, you know, You’re getting all these natural feel good dopamine endorphins from the workout.
So you might have to replace your addictions with working out, you might have to dive into your job, you might want to look into the creative stuff you did before you drank. If you were into fly fishing before you became a drunk, look into that again, then eventually you’ll find friends but I would really just try to do this without having a lot of noise.
You’re probably gonna have to get rid of your old friends, especially your drinking friends, They don’t really care about your sobriety, they’ll pretend that they do, but they’ll start getting lonely because misery loves company, and they’ll start trying to sneak it in their conversation like, you know, do you miss drinking, you want to you want to try drinking again?
And it’s just lies guys I mean, you have to do this on your own, it’s life or death if you want to live, you have to get rid of all those people. The places that remind you of drinking, people, places, things you have to change all of that up.
Two years into my sobriety, I got a new girlfriend, she didn’t drink, she didn’t know my past, she was from another town. We got together and she was an energy healer. She taught me about meditation and ayahuasca. We went to Peru and did Ayahuasca, and I just wanted to find myself and spirituality was really cool for that.
Then we moved out of that town. So I got the new girl, and I moved away from that old town, and that town sucked because everywhere I looked there was a reminder of my drinking and the destruction I left behind.
So you definitely have to change everything; maybe your job, all of your friends, and even where you live, ideally, if you live in a big city, you could just move to the other side of town, you know, but you have to start over.
If you want, check out the 12 steps of AA, you can look that up online and see what they go through because it is a spiritual process, and you have to admit that you’re powerless over alcohol.
Then you have to turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understood him or understand it, whatever you believe is a higher power, but you have to get your head around a higher power because left to your own will and your own devices, and vices, you’re going to get in trouble.
That’s why you’re here in the first place because your stinking thinking and your will and you being in the driver’s seat of your life got you to where you are so you have to admit that you’re powerless over the alcohol, that’s step number one, then you turn your will over to the care of God as you understood him. Okay.
So, I would start looking into getting close to God again, You know, or Jesus, you know, definitely a lot of people are very angry at God when they get sober. But you gotta, you got to take accountability for what you did, you know, no one forced you to drink and drive. No one forced you to hit that person, no one forced you to speed.
You have to take accountability and once you do that, you can start to grow again. You can wipe the slate clean and start all over. It’s okay, don’t worry about your pride and your ego, you’re gonna have to put those things aside and humble yourself and humiliation is actually very key to sobriety, you have to admit your wrongs and that’s fine.
Then you’re gonna have to make amends to all the people that you hurt, but I had fun with that, you know, I was ready, I was like, Hey, um, you know, I want to tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I yelled at you. And most people that I made amends to, they didn’t even remember or they pretended they didn’t even remember what happened, they’re like, dude, they’re like, forget about it – I don’t even remember that, you know, you’re cool, I like you.
So that’s pretty much how I got rid of the anxiety, I basically dove into work and I dove into my workouts, I changed my diet, I stopped fast food and junk from the 24 seven stores and started eating Whole Foods and organic vegetables and salmon and chicken, and I started taking CBD oil and I would drink chamomile tea at night.
I discovered kava, and GABA, those are good supplements. But, you know, I had a lot of anxiety. I was very nervous and so I started to jog and I would play racquetball. I played racquetball with these kids from recovery, they all went to the same gym that I did so I would play up to 15 games with three to five different guys from this recovery center.
It was really cool because I bonded with guys because I didn’t have friends anymore. So when I started hanging out with these sober guys, it was really cool, but I was still a loner.
I still liked being home alone. I was an introvert, and if I got lonely I could always just create videos like this and start attracting people that have like minded interest to me, you know, like right now.
So if you’re lonely start creating content, maybe you want to help others get sober, that’s a good thing to look into. You can become a drug and alcohol counselor, go to community college online and get your certificate to be a drug and alcohol counselor and help others.
The only reason I’m still alive after surviving a heart attack and drinking hundreds of times, nearly dying from tons of other things, the only reason I’m still here is to give back because alcoholics are the most self centered people in the world.
40 years of my life was a waste because I was just thinking about myself. And yeah, it’s not all of my fault you know, I was in fight or flight from my childhood. My dad was a rageaholic and he scared me. And so when I discovered alcohol, it was a great escape, but in the end alcohol was the killer. It was the lie, it was the big deceiver.
Okay. Sobriety is where it’s at and you’ll pick up everything that alcohol took away, you’ll pick it back up, you’ll get passion and compassion back and you’ll be interested in things again and you’ll have a light in your eyes and maybe you’ll attract sober people to you, and you’ll start picking up your hobbies that you loved before alcohol took them.
Alcohol almost destroyed all of my hobbies and my creativity but I picked it up, and I was more creative than ever in sobriety. So, I hope this helps. Click the subscribe button and check out the CBD oil, and we’ll talk to you soon.
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Erik C Johnson