People think that when someone is overcoming an addiction, the hardest part is quitting the substance. But from my experience, the hardest part wasn’t quitting; it was dealing with all of the things that were hidden for so long that began to surface all at once. The things that made people want to go back to the substance and not have to deal with them.
Oh my gaawwwwd, the shit that came up.
I realized that I drank because I desperately wanted to fit in, but I didn’t know how to fit in.
I realized that I didn’t like who I was and I didn’t love myself, so I drank to ignore the fact that I didn’t like myself.
I realized that I was unhappy, and even though drinking didn’t necessarily make me happy, it could at least cover the unhappiness.
I began having flashbacks. Flashbacks to all of the things I’ve done, the things I’ve said, the time I embarrassed myself. I have never experienced shame like that in my entire life.
I drank before because I didn’t like who I was, but when I had to remember all of the things I did, then I REALLY didn’t like myself. I almost hated myself. How could I have behaved that way? What part of me thought that was okay?
Those blackouts turned into “brownouts”, and then no outs at all. It ALL came back. Holy shit, this is torture. How can I live with myself knowing how I acted?
When I say torture, I mean it. It was HORRIBLE. I’ve never felt so low. Throughout my life, I had periods of depression and sadness but it was external. Now that it was internal and my own fault, this was another ball game. A game I was not ready for at all. But I’m here, so I better learn how to play.
I began to think back to where this all began. I started being able to see the progression that I was blind to before. Drinking here and there in high school with the “cool kids”. Then drinking a little bit more. Then drinking a little more often. Going to college and partying. Telling myself that because I was in college, it was okay and what people were supposed to do. Remembering the late nights at the library with my alcohol in my coffee mug. Remembering the times my roommates would be out studying while I was home drinking. Remembering when I graduated college and got my first real job. That because I had a “grown up job”, I made enough money to go to the bar all the time. The process of beginning to drink by myself at home all the time. When I began only going to events that had alcohol involved, otherwise I wan’t interested. Realizing that I never made a true connection with the “friends” I thought I made along the way. When I moved to a new city and didn’t know what to do with myself other than drink and go out. When “friends” would tell me I acted a little crazy the night before but blowing them off and not listening to it.
Woah. WOAH. WOAH. Was this my life? How the hell did it get here? How the hell did I let it get here? How did I not notice what was happening this entire time? What’s wrong with me?
Then the real question came…
Who am I?