I decided today that I was going to write about something a little more on the messy side of life. If you have read my previous posts, you may have seen that I really enjoy alcohol. This past weekend, I decided that I enjoy alcohol a bit too much. Countless nights of making horrible decisions, driving drunk, completely blacking out and not remembering a thing, multiple relationships and reputations ruined – Enough is enough.
I didn’t really become overly dependent on alcohol until probably around the end of last year. I drank a good bit before that, and quite a bit in college, but I rarely blacked out. It was more of a social thing. Then, I started into a downward spiral. I drank every day. I blacked out most weekends and even some days through the week. When I did get the energy to go to work, I felt like absolute shit and would vow to not drink that night. Guess what? I still did. I would hide my beer cans so people wouldn’t think I had drank that night while I was alone and playing video games. I ruined so many relationships with people. I got severely depressed but kept drinking to try to mute those feelings. It was an endless cycle: drink, do stupid things that most of the time I didn’t even remember doing, wake up with a hangover and feel like pure crap and guilty as hell, then drink to forget about it all. I luckily haven’t gotten into any legal trouble from it but I am sure it was bound to happen at some point if I didn’t slow down.
I did try slowing down and limiting myself. It worked for the most part during the week, but when the weekends rolled around, I went all out again. This weekend was a real eye opener for me. I confided some things in someone that means the world to me and he hit me with some very tough love. He helped me realize that if I kept up my behavior, I was going to end up dead. I decided Sunday morning that I have had enough and I was going to quit for a long time, if not forever. I already feel so much better about myself every day. I know it has only been 5 days, but this time… I got this.
I have family members and friends that have struggled with addiction – from alcohol to hard drugs. I have had aunts and uncles die from liver and stomach cancer. I have seen people I have grown up with overdose on things that I could never imagine trying. I never thought I had a problem. I like to drink. It’s not like I do it ALL day, even if I do indulge just about every single day. But these people doing meth and heroin are throwing their lives away. I always viewed hard drugs as much, much worse than alcohol. Alcohol is legal when you are of age. It can’t be as bad as stuff that is illegal, can it? I was in denial. And I have come to learn that for some people (like me) alcohol can be every bit as dangerous as other drugs.
My own sister was fairly recently released from prison because she was a drug addict. She would make meth so that she could sell it to buy heroin, but I have also heard her say “If you put anything in front of me, I would do it. I wasn’t picky.” It was extremely hard seeing someone that you are so close with going through that. When all of the issues with her started, my drinking wasn’t a HUGE problem. Gradually, it got much worse. I was blacking out more often than not, even through the week. I was constantly in a state of haziness from the lingering effects of the alcohol. I didn’t want to go to work most of the time. I was consistently very emotional yet still seemed to just not give a shit about anything. I hurt many people (emotionally) because I would become totally unaware of what I was doing and wouldn’t even know about it until someone told me the next day. Meanwhile, my sister was on her road to recovery. When I would message her before, she would give short responses or act like an idiot by saying stuff that she knew I wouldn’t approve of, but now, she would respond with thoughtful and clear messages. I was extremely proud of her (and am even more proud of her every single day), but continued to tell her “If you go back to that shit, you know you will be on your own. We love you and we want the old you back…” How convenient that I was spiraling so far to the bottom that I was to come very close to ruining my own life. Who was I to give any advice or lectures at that time? Because alcohol isn’t as bad as controlled substances? I think I have finally come to the conclusion that I was delusional and what I was doing could have ended just as badly as what happened to my sister; possibly worse.
So here I am… joining her in this path to recovery. I don’t know where the future will take either of us, but I am willing to bet that these once life-controlling substances won’t be what is controlling our lives – We will. They say that at first it is hard, then it is different, and then it gets better. The first year is about physically healing. The second year is about emotional healing. The third is about spiritual healing. I say bring it all on!
Have you thought about quitting something that does more harm than good to your body and mind? Maybe you already have and would like to share your experiences. Let me know about it in the comments below!