In college, drinkingseems okay.
Youre just having fun. Its what everyone does, andisnt it all part of the college experience?
Were expected to get too drunk, have war narratives, wake up hungover the next morning and groan, What did I do last night? to our friends over bagels.
Some of us really dont have problems. But some of us( me) left happy hour after two beverages because we felt the familiar drag of That feelings good, more, more, more.
We grabbed a bottle of wine and headed home to be alone without judgment.
Thats where drinking socially ends.
But you ignore it because youre in college. This is how things are.
Plus, its wine, which is basically not alcohol.
Its fine. Youre fine. No one is there to see.
In your early 20 s, it seems okay. Youre blowing off steam after a long week or day.
Youre bonding with coworkers. Youre taking advantage of your youth.
Youre taking advantage of the happy hour specials because you think youll be losing money if you don’t get two beverages instead of one.
Youre drinking a little too much at a date so the conversation flows better.
Youre going out with your friends because you need to construct new friends in a new town.
But then, you open up a bottle of wine at night by yourself because you need to unwind.
Youre going to have one glass.
Who has one glass of wine?
Two is fine. Lets do that.
But this feels good, and you know, that was a heavy pour.
More than half the bottle is run, plus it savours good. Arent you feeling more relaxed?
Lets only finish the bottle. Anyway, its wine, which basically isn’talcohol.
Its fine. Youre fine.
No one is there to see anyway.
I was never a daily drinker.
I could go weeks without having a drink.
I know because I would say to myself, Consider? I went weeks without a drinking. Im fine, and youre overreacting.
I have a great job, which I love.I have friends whoarent only drinking buddies.
Im in a healthy, loving relationship with in my opinion the most wonderful human being who hasever existed.
I love my family.
Ive never get a DUI, Ive never been arrested and Ive never been hospitalized for alcohol use. Ive never lost a job.
My problem is that once I have adrink, everything in me wants another.
But alcoholism doesnt have to mean any of that.
Alcoholism doesnt mean you cant function without alcohol. It doesn’t mean you have the shakes or are chugging mouthwash in the bathroom.
It can mean all those things, but you can be an alcoholic without any of that.
Theres a whole listing of things that indicate alcoholism, but I wont list them here.
Basically, alcoholism means you use alcohol in a way that causes problems. Its not normal drinking.
As Ive learned( and have been shocked by ), normal drinkers arent spending dinner eyeing the bottle of wine, mentally rationing how many glass are left and unable to fully listen to what someone issaying to them.
Normal drinkers can have one drink without every fiber of their beings screaming more, more, more to them.
Neither do they hear more, more, more until they wake up, confused and scared about what they did the night before.
At thatpoint in my life, this was rare a feeling for me.
But it was still a struggle, so I tried to fight it with moderation. I thought ifI could drink in moderation, it would mean I didnt have a problem.
But I’ve slipped up more than once.
It would be a night out at the bar with friends, and Id say, Okay, lets have a few more. Youve been doing well.
Fade to black.
The day I discontinue drinking was the morning after one of those nights.
Did I do anything wrong? No , not this time.
But I sat with myself and felt searing shame.
It was a familiar disgrace that never gets more comfy. It was a dark , noxious cloud that built me believe horrible things about myself and my life.
Then, there was this tiny part of my brain that said, “You know this isn’t normal, right? You know what this is, right? ”
How many more hours was I going to do this and blame it on is available on my 20 s?
When does this stop? So, I decided to stop it.
Whenever I read about alcoholism — and I did it a lot, as I imagine a lot of alcoholics trying to convince themselves they don’t have a problem do — it seemed like there was a formula.
There is the buildup. Then, you hit rockbottom. After, you realise you’re an alcoholic.
Your family will berelieved, and there will be the happily ever after, albeit with struggles.
I sat there on my bed, likely reeking bad and hungover, waiting for my shining “a-ha” moment.
I went to my boyfriend’s apartment. I told him I was an alcoholic, and that I was going to get help.
He was incredibly supportive, but there was no shining moment.
I called my mom and let her know I was an alcoholic and needed help. She took it well and was supportive, but it was a casual conversation.
Again, there was noshining moment.
I texted my friends, who were equally supportive. But there was no glistening moment where I felt redeemed, forgiven and washed clean of my sins.
This wenton. It felt anti-climactic.
I worried I was doing something wrong. Maybe there was a step I’d missed, or maybe I was a fake, newly sober alcoholic.
I fretted I was overreacting, and perhaps I never had a problem.
Again, I hadn’t get a DUI and I’d never been arrested.
Those are the things that signify a number of problems, right?
Over the years, I’ve get really good at saying, “Okay, but I’ve never get into real difficulty, so … ”
But I’ve eventually come around to realise the reason for this is pure luck.
I’m reallygood at lying to myself.
I watch a lot of “Intervention.” For all the self-indulgent navel-gazing I do, I’d never thought about why a show that follows people to the bottom of their addiction is so allaying to me.
While I’m getting sober, I’m realizing why.
There was something comforting about people’s problems being packaged into a single problem with a clear solution.
Once they get assist, they were happy. The end.
Everything was packaged neatly in the span of one hour.
It took a little while, but I finally realise there’s no “shining moment.” Life doesn’t come with soothing music after the commercial breach, witha screaming household thanking God that you accepted the help.
Sometimes, get the help I need is anti-climactic. It doesn’t come with fanfare.
Knowing that I’m doing what’s right for me needs to be enough because if I prosper off external validation, I’m going to constantly be let down.
Recovery is hard work.
I have to be doing it for me. That has to be enough.
I have to be enough for me.
I’m working on it.