No, I’m not tone deaf. I’ve been known to sing quite well. But the events of the last near-month have greatly curtailed my range. Long story somewhat shorter: overindulgence of alcohol for years, combined with the sore throat of a cold I picked up, led me to the ER with a severely inflamed throat…it felt like someone was choking me. Since I had trouble breathing, I dialed emergency and had EMTs pick me up. Lemme tell you, those guys were the most beautiful sons of bitches ever. Not only were they strapping lads, they had a calm, reassuring way about them that I, in my near-panic, desperately needed. My BP was 171/97 in the fire engine, but 141/80 once I got to the ER. I used breathing exercises that I’d learned in therapy/DBT skills classes, and that surely helped the BP, but my relief when they took care of me was incredibly palpable.
Anyway, my tonsils were somewhat inflamed, and my throat was very much inflamed. That was on May 10. Nowadays, my symptoms have all but subsided–except for a slight decrease in hearing and my voice breaking when it shouldn’t. I’m waitlisted for an endoscopy. Dunno when that will be.
Two main takeaways from this experience: Firstly,not being able to sing as normal bothers me. A lot. So I’m working to accept this, since non-acceptance will produce hell. Secondly, I’ve finally felt some truly scary effects of my overindulgence of alcohol over the last…what, decade or longer? It’d become part of my routine. But it cannot be my routine any longer. That said, habits can be very hard to break: I got drunk a few nights ago (3 weeks after the ER visit) and some of the same symptoms returned, and scared me.
So the trick will be to abstain at least from hard alcohol, if not from alcohol altogether. I might be able to have a beer or two, but at the moment I really don’t want to test those waters.
Do I have an alcohol problem? Perhaps. But the scariness of the symptoms that led to the ER visit are trumping any drinking right now, and the fact that I went 3 weeks without drinking only to get drunk and have a close approximation of the symptoms return says to me that, for my long-term health, I really need to stop drinking entirely for a long time and let my insides heal after years of abuse. Fortunately I’m not dependent on alcohol, or else stopping drinking would’ve been a major problem.
So, I await my endoscopy, and I seek other ways to occupy my time, and I need to rediscover how to have fun without alcohol. Therein lies the rub for Mr Social Anxiety here. But I think I can do it.