Hello Jen, I follow you on Facebook.
I know you are a writer and I had something that I wanted to share with people without them actually knowing it was me. I would be interested in hearing people’s opinions on my topic. I love your “don’t be an asshole” and your amazing quotes. Please do not post my name or anything, I am one of your followers but don’t want this on my page.
Okay, here it is…it probably sucks because I am not a writer but I think it just may help someone not get to this scary place…
Why Am I an Alcoholic?
I don’t know where to begin. I always use the phrase “did the chicken come before the egg or the egg before the chicken?” I know, I know…cliché right? Well I find that I feel the most insightful when I am drinking and everything seems to make complete sense or no sense at all while I am intoxicated. And, honestly, I have no idea when an easy “fun time” became this crazy journey that I am on. I am under the grips of something so incredibly powerful yet so incredibly benign in the eyes of some.
I find myself listening to comments such as “why don’t you just stop?” and “you can stop whenever you want to, but you just don’t want to.”
Truth be told…it’s not even just listening to those comments, but believing them and eventually making myself feel more guilty and miserable and partaking of my alcohol nightmare even more than the day before just to quash the guilt.
I started drinking in college at 19-years-old. I never had done any drugs or had I even had a drink until I was 19. My high school friends were drinking at 15 and 16, which I thought was awful at the time. However, my father was very restrictive of me and basically ran my life so eventually, I rebelled. And, boy did I!
I was very outspoken and spunky and I really knew what I wanted in this world and wouldn’t take no for an answer; I wish I were still that spunky little girl. Now it seems that I am just angry and bitter about meaningless things like the cashier that was rude or the person that didn’t acknowledge my cute kid when they smiled at them; nonsense.
Back then, I wanted to make a difference in the world and I knew just how I would do it, by helping others make their way. I knew that that’s what I wanted to do and I worked hard to get myself through school. I spent my first 2 years in my hometown and after that, I became increasingly unhappy with my crowded, sheltered and routine life. I had a boyfriend for several years that decided that he wanted to experience life without a girlfriend and that finally convinced me to go and do what I wanted to do
I finally gained the courage to leave my home and go away to college.
College drinking is tolerated, in my opinion, and I did lots of it at that time. I never expected it would later become a staple in my life.
I hated the hangovers and I hated the headaches and wasted mornings sleeping both off. I never imagined that I would become someone that would binge on alcohol at the smallest sight of a stressful situation in life. BUT, I did eventually become that person.
As the years passed, I worked on my life, career and relationships and I also worked on drinking…a lot. But only on the weekends so I felt that that was okay.
I mean, why couldn’t I have some drinks on the weekends right? I deserved it; I worked hard and I felt that I had the wherewithal to be a successful woman and then let loose on the weekends.
I thought it was what all 20 somethings were doing. I never saw my drinking as a problem and in fact, at that time, it wasn’t, but it would lay down the bricks for a long road ahead in my life.
After a while, the drinking became more and more prevalent and I began to be out of work here and there to accommodate my late sleeping and then I learned how to lie. Oh, I don’t mean just lie like “my dog ate my homework.” I mean really lying to cover myself and why I was not at work. It interfered with my work, but not enough to make me feel as if this were actually a problem (that was the alcohol lying to me.)
I really just thought that I was working and I DESERVED couple of extra days off no matter how I could get them. I mean, the company had sick days and I was an excellent worker…if I don’t get sick then why can’t I go out and have fun and drink and say screw it the next day and take my sick days…they were mine to take right? Again, lying by the alcohol and lying to myself about what I was doing to accommodate my nightmare and its wishes.
I did this “weekend drinking” for many years. Here comes the LONG ROAD…my younger brother died unexpectedly.
This is where the egg or the chicken comes in. I began to drink more often and more heavily.
I attempted to use logical strategies to explain to myself why I was not an unhappy person and how I could “talk myself” out of being sad or hurting in a way that I was not used to feeling. I tried to be logical about my grief and the stages of it in order to get through it. However, all that self talk was exhausting and was numbed out by simply drinking whenever I could; and so was the pain of the loss of my sibling.
It worked. For a while.
I got married and felt happy, but even this caused me stressful moments. How could I be happy when my little brother was dead? This made no sense to me and the self-talk would again begin, with a little more alcohol at this time…I mean, now I was married, working and successful. There was no way that I was, or could be, an alcoholic (excuses, excuses). I thought that every day that I drank was just one more day that meant nothing but just gave me a simple way to view life and relax.
As it turned out, I was setting myself up for the very long road of sadness and disappointment in the person that I have become. It is still a road for me, I wish I could say that I have gone to A.A. and that I have put in the work to be better and sober but I haven’t done that; YET. I live a life if hiding and excuses even though by all accounts and standards, I am successful and thriving.
It is like the elephant in the room that I am the only one that knows is there.
I am writing this today not just telling you my story, but honestly asking myself why? Why am I an alcoholic? What in my life made me take this road? When exactly did this road become mine? Why can I have this wonderful life and still be plagued by this LIQUID imitation of life? But most importantly, when will I fix myself? When will I stop? Will I ever stop? Will I live to see 50? Will my children ever have to learn that their mom died because of alcohol use and she could have stopped it? How can I ever overcome this?
I find myself thinking about my amazing and supportive husband having to endure the loss of his spouse and my children having to do the same yet, my shame overcomes me and I do NOT want people to know this is my truth so I am afraid to go to a meeting and see anyone that knows me or can jeopardize my career or my life in general. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done…being an alcoholic. My story is ongoing.
If you are reading this and are feeling anywhere near what I feel- don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
Also, learn what your triggers are and learn how to use coping mechanisms that don’t involve alcohol.
Learn that even casual drinking can possibly turn into something that you do not want in your life if you do not make yourself aware of yourself and how alcohol affects you. Parents: educate your children on alcohol and make sure they are aware of the consequences of abusing it.
Something inside me is hiding, embarrassed, and not wanting to make this into a big thing in my life (to “others” because it is a big thing to me and my family.)
I know what I have to do, and yet, I have not done this for fear of embarrassment, even though those closest to me and who actually matter are well aware that I have a problem.
Don’t be that person. Don’t be like me.
Find your beauty, trust your support and your strength and stop hurting yourself. I know that I have a good life, and like I said, egg or chicken first?
I am not sure why I am so sad and punish myself with this nightmare or if this nightmare is what makes me sad and punishes me, but I guarantee you that drinking is not helping to ease my anxiety and pain but actually increases it and is physically and mentally killing me every time I abuse it. Alcohol veils itself as a helper in times of need but actually, it is a hindrance and a shroud. Be your own helper and learn to love yourself no matter what.
Yes, I am trying to get there but I didn’t want to wait to get there to write this to try to help others.
Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder: Please post comments to anonymous below as she will read them. Also, if you are struggling, post below. I moderate comments and strictly enforce my “Don’t Be An Asshole” policy.