I used to make fun of people that didn’t drink
I used to make fun of people that didn’t drink. We used to have friends that would come over to our house and drink diet cokes all night and my husband and I used to laugh at them behind their backs. How boring! How many diet cokes could they drink? Meanwhile we would make another cocktail and slowly become inebriated. Just keep drinking! We were home and we didn’t have to drive. This was a perfect opportunity to get drunk! Sometimes I would feel a headache coming on, or my stomach starting to get upset but I would ignore it. Instead, I would have a nightcap to numb all these symptoms. Then I would make my way upstairs and flop into my bed. I would fall into a deep sleep for the first couple of hours, but then wake up at 3AM with my heart pounding, my mouth dry, and my skin feeling like sandpaper.
The bathroom light definitely stayed off as I fumbled around in the dark
I would lay there and try to focus my eyes enough to get out of bed and get a drink of water. It was a minute by minute journey to get from my bed to the bathroom, find a glass, turn the faucet on, and get a glass of water. I would try not to look in the mirror at my puffy eyes and my blotchy skin. The bathroom light definitely stayed off as I fumbled around in the dark. Then the search for the Motrin. It was always in the last drawer I would look in, and that darn child proof cap would take forever to open. I would swallow 2 pills with the glass of water. Then I would stand for a second to steady my dizziness, before I slowly stepped my way back to bed. Once I got under the covers I would say a small prayer to please allow me sleep so that I didn’t have to feel my body rejecting all the liquids I had put in it the night before. I didn’t want to feel my head pounding as it tried to process the toxins that I voluntarily ingested into my brain.
The next day was nothing
I would slowly drift off and my dreams would be like hallucinations of my past. I would dream of the house I grew up in, but it would be like a fun house and my family members would be strange characters with faces that I couldn’t quite see. I would feel alone and neglected in these dreams. There would be chaos and confusion around me that I would try and understand, but never could. I would sleep for an hour at a time, finally waking up covered in sweat and feeling like I had traveled to the other side of the world during the night. The next day nothing was funny, nothing was interesting, nothing was worth doing. The next day was nothing. I didn’t want to engage with anyone, listen to anyone, or be with anyone. I didn’t even want to be with myself. Well, actually I especially didn’t want to be with myself. I would hate myself. I would crawl so far into my own pity party that I wouldn’t see anything else.
I didn’t think that maybe I should stop drinking so that I wouldn’t feel this way anymore
I didn’t think at the time that my friends that drank the diet cokes the night before were probably feeling great right now. I didn’t think that maybe I should stop drinking so that I wouldn’t feel this way anymore. I didn’t think about how this was damaging my body, brain, skin and deteriorating my health. I didn’t think about any of that. I was too busy inside myself, in my own world where no new information could penetrate. On some level I unconsciously believed that I deserved to feel that bad. I was a bad person, and bad people should feel bad. There was a weird satisfaction in it. Almost saying that if no one else was going to take control and punish me, I was going to punish myself. My place in life was to be an observer of love and connection, not to have it for myself. And I never questioned my place. It just was. So in not questioning it, I didn’t think it was possible to change it. I accepted it.
I wasn’t going to be a ‘sober’ person, how embarrassing!
Questioning it was scary. Especially since I had already decided that those people who questioned their place and didn’t drink were nerds. I didn’t want to be one of them! I made fun of them! They were boring and judgmental and didn’t have any friends. My cloudy toxin filled brain believed these statements that I told it. I didn’t even know where I first got those ideas, or developed that way of thinking. But it was there, like a concrete wall that nothing was going to knock down. Sobriety? That was for losers that had problems. I wasn’t going to be a ‘sober’ person, how embarrassing! I would be embarrassed to say that I lived a sober lifestyle and stopped drinking. Embarrassed!
So, maybe embarrassed was the wrong word, maybe I was ashamed
But I wasn’t embarrassed about my current behavior? I wasn’t embarrassed about slowly destroying myself by voluntarily ingesting toxins into my body? I wasn’t embarrassed about losing whole days, weeks and who knows how many years to being drunk and hungover? But I was embarrassed to stop all of this and treat myself better? So, maybe embarrassed was the wrong word, maybe I was ashamed. Maybe my shame didn’t allow me to treat myself better. I was in a place where no new ideas, or ways of being were allowed in. In this dark place my same toxic ideas and patterns were recycled again and again and served to reenforce the wall that I had built around me.
It was only ever about me
But I slowly started to realize that if I created this wall, I could also take it down. I started to think about why my friends that drank diet cokes bothered me so much. Was I just jealous of them that they valued themselves enough to stand up for what they believed in? Had I just been in awe of them that they declined alcohol without a flinch self consciousness? Why did I feel a need to make fun of them? I know now that it was because what they were doing scared the hell out of me and I didn’t have the courage do it myself. And in my fear I lashed out and made them the enemy, when really it was only ever about me.