I first turned to alcohol because I liked the way it made me feel. With booze in my belly, I could be the cool and confident social butterfly I wanted to be. After a few more drinks, blackout would set in, and I would be numbed from all emotions. All the pain from my past, any problem I was facing in my present, and worry for my future would be washed away by the bottle. Alcohol was my medicine, and the more I took, the more I needed.
For six years, I turned to alcohol in moments of insecurity, hurt, and loneliness. I also used alcohol in celebration, when things were good, and when the social atmosphere called for it. Basically: I found any excuse to drink. In doing so, alcohol quickly became my only coping mechanism, the only way I knew how to deal with the world and my emotions.
Alcohol was a distractor. It made me feel good for a moment, and as my drinking progressed, the moment of feeling good grew shorter. While alcohol was filling the void I felt inside, it leached away at other parts of me. Alcohol made me more anxious and depressed. Alcohol made me neglect my physical, mental, and spiritual health. Alcohol made me sick and addicted. My first thought in the morning became, “God, I can’t wait to drink tonight.” I would spend all day obsessing about how I would get alcohol, who I would drink with, what I would do, and how I would get home safely. When I would finally be able to drink, I tried every possible combination I could think of to ensure only a good time, but nothing seemed to work. I would drink to blackout and wake up hours later puking. Mornings greeted me with headaches, heartburn, and hangxiety. I felt nothing but shame about my drinking, and I didn’t want anybody else to know that. I did everything I could to seem like a normal drinker, hiding behind a facade of having my shit together. But that’s all it was, a facade.
In the last few months of my drinking, I lost motivation, willpower, and self-worth. My attitude and outlook changed. I became unable to communicate my needs and wants with anybody, because I couldn’t even be honest with myself. I hated getting up in the mornings, and doing so got harder and harder. I started slipping with obligations. I started not caring about what would happen to me. All I wanted to do was drink. Though I never dared drink during the day, my school and work performance started to suffer. Coworkers could sense something was wrong, they just didn’t know what. My personal relationships suffered. I even chose alcohol over the love of my life, the person who I thought was my “forever” person.
At this point, I was in deep denial. The problem lied within everybody else, or the season, or my past. I drank to deal with issues both in my past and in my present. I drank “at” people, hoping it would make me feel better and them feel worse. The people who were concerned about my drinking were a problem, and they just needed to look away.
After one terrible night, I realized alcohol was my problem. I knew what I had to do, but I was so scared to do it. I didn’t know how to deal with life without alcohol, I forgot what my life was like before I met booze. My adult life was built on drinking. I don’t think I’d ever truly been comfortable in my own skin before. I didn’t think I could do it.
I kept drinking after that night, but it lost its glamour. It wasn’t medicine anymore. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was killing me, but I physically needed it.
I resolved to quit drinking in 2022, beginning with my “problem” alcohols- the only booze I used as medicine- wine and liquor. I drank beer if that was the only option, or if I was already blackout. I had never been able to get drunk off beer (until one night, months without any wine or liquor, I lost my tolerance and got drunk off of malts. I quit drinking all alcohol after that). But I couldn’t wait until 2022, I wanted to quit now. A few minutes after midnight on 12/26/21, I realized I had a choice and poured vodka down the drain. Nearly eight months later, I haven’t turned back.
I turned to Alcoholics Anonymous for help. I was somewhat familiar with the program through my career choice and coursework and I figured that if anybody could help me, it would probably be another drunk.
What I found in the halls of AA was beautiful. I found a community of incredible people who have faced the same disease as me. I found a bunch of perfect strangers whom I could find so much in common with. I found steps to recovery, a roadmap to healing my spiritual self which had been so badly afflicted by alcohol. I found a book I could turn to when I need answers.
After about a month of attending meetings and carefully listening to others’ stories, I realized an important truth: Alcohol isn’t my problem. I’m my problem. It’s me. I’ve been the one fucking myself over, turning to the drink time and again despite the negative consequences it was having on my life. I was so uncomfortable with myself-my past, my present, and my future- that I wanted to numb out instead of dealing with it. The only way I knew how to be my extroverted self, uninhibited by shyness, was with alcohol. Sure, alcohol stole from me. Alcohol had me dwelling on things I couldn’t change about my past, alcohol had me ignoring problems in my present instead of facing them with skill and resolve, alcohol had me worrying incessantly about things that haven’t even happened yet and might not ever happen. Alcohol isolated me and made me feel worthless and shameful. But I LET alcohol steal from me, because I didn’t want to do the self-development I needed in order to heal, learn, and grow. I thought it was easier that way. It’s really not, and I’m so grateful to see that now.
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