Today is my brother’s birthday. Today is also the day, 5 years ago, when I should have started making a change, but did not.
5 years ago. I am 24 years old. I am at a bar, celebrating my brothers 21st birthday. I am hammered. We are all hammered. We are at a bar that proudly proclaims, “Unlimited wings and beer!”
I am with my boyfriend, who I love very much. He is my everything. Everything is right with the world.
Until 2am that morning, when I find myself in a car, sans boyfriend, with a friend of the boyfriend, and a kiss is shared. I feel awful. I go home. I torture myself for a week, then tell my boyfriend. We get through it, painfully. I fall into a depression that lasts over a year. I self-medicate with alcohol. Finally I see a therapist. She refers me to a psychologist and I start antidepressants.
Two years later, I have a handle on the depression, my relationship moves forward, I get engaged, then married. Everything is wonderful again. I am still drinking like a fish, and so is my husband, and so is his family, my family, our friends.
We go on a camping trip, almost 5 years later, and I blackout, wake up in a male friends tent scared, disoriented, confused. You can guess the rest. I tell my husband immediately. We cry, we fight. I am disgusted with myself. I finally realize that, while I understand there are some underlying issues here, no doubt- Alcohol is always there to help make my life miserable. It sneaks in my body and runs through my veins, poisoning my morals and spirit and willpower. “But I’m a good person!” I cry out. It sticks its tongue out at me and pulls me further down.
I am 29 years old. I will not go into a 30 this same person. I spent 17 sober days rethinking my drinking life. Total abstinence sounds scary, so I will start here. I sit here in my kitchen, detailing out on my little notepad how many drinks I had last night and how they made me feel. I plan the next few days. I feel at once empowered for making a change, and pathetic for needing to. But it’s a start. I owe it to myself, my marriage, my friendships, my health, my family to make this change. I hope you will all follow my journey. I know I’ll be following yours. It helps to not feel so alone.
So now I’ll close my computer, tuck my pad away, and move forward, one step at a time.