An Antidote to Autism
I understand now why I was borderline alcoholic for over ten years. I functioned okay, missed work quite a bit, had a lot of mental health breaks. But all in all, I did manage to stay afloat, despite my problematic relationship with alcohol. Now, without alcohol, I feel as though I'm drowning.
Alcohol was the solvent that allowed me to fit. Booze was the plaster I placed over my constant angst. Liquor was my medication, my meditation, my mask, my comfort. And I never knew. I never realised.
Before I stopped drinking, I'd never been on anti-depressants or mood stabilisers or tranquillisers.
Finding out I am autistic explains everything. It explains why I drank so often and found sobriety impossible. I suppose when I finally did quit, two years ago, I must have felt as though I was in a safe enough environment to be sober.
The flood that has happened since my sobriety has been engulfing. All-encompassing. Consuming my entire life. I am writing this during a mini-breakdown. I have to write about it. It's my only tool.
Anxiety is the prime emotion for many people with ASD, and this is certainly true for me. I live alone now, something I have needed for a long time due to my particular nature and rigidity. But I never anticipated the horror of being relentlessly alone with my head. It is insane. It is impossible. It makes me nauseous. I cannot see a way through. And I want very badly to reach for the bottle.
If we weren't in the midst of a lockdown, things might be different. But being a student, I am at home all day every day, listening to the incessant monologue of horror in my brain.
I realise now, I medicated with alcohol for a long time. It was escape. Escape from a brain that never sleeps. I can't envision a life without medication. Can't imagine how I'd ever make it through.
When I drank I was 'normal'. When I drank I could fit into the conversation and make people laugh.
When I drank, I wasn't autistic.