So I went to my first AA meeting this week. And then another, even though I’m still drinking. My mind has been swirling non-stop and I get caught in the currents. I can’t focus on what I need to, I can’t concentrate on getting my life better, I can’t see anything but loss.
Last Thursday, was a normal Thursday except I had acted up because of alcohol on New Years. I’m a black-outer. It’s not a normal week with out not remembering going to bed, and that’s saying nothing for the weekends. On New Years, my now ex-boyfriend’s and my anniversary, he had surprised me with tickets to go see one of my favorite bands. I booked a hotel room, cause I knew we would probably get sloshed and I shouldn’t say we because this time it was all me. I got so drunk I fell on someone in the stadium seating. I was so drunk I fell down most of a flight of an escalator. I was so drunk that I don’t remember telling the cab driver that I was going to rape him. I woke up and recalled nothing.
Usually we alternate the two of us, between me having an embarrassing night, we would fight/talk/etc about it (or sometimes just never mention it) and eventually it all was fine. We joke about alcoholism all the time, and it’s not unlikely that his night ends in puke, and mine blacked out somewhere. That’s how it used to go. I’ve always been someone who “finds the line”, a particular sort of art. I’m that girl who goes far, far too far.
Well after New Years, I was thinking I might ought to slow down a bit. I felt shit-guilty, I mean upset. It was like I couldn’t conceive that it had happened, surely that wasn’t me and this was all just a dream I would wake up from and we would wake up in each other’s arms.
Thursday night, I came home from work—and though I don’t deserve any excuse—I didn’t want to drink that night. But my other three twenty-something’s roommates (my then boyfriend and two best friends) were playing Drunk-ass and had been since three o clock, a normal occurrence for me to come home to around 6. I even said, “I can’t drink a lot, I’ve got to go to bed early,” but true to me and my magic line finding skills, I found it crossed, set the son-of –a-bitch on fire.
What happened that night? I couldn’t tell you truly, I have no idea. What I was told? I cussed out my two roommates, vented every frustration with the both of them I’d ever had. Their lifestyle, the mess in the apartment (they are messy, I am clean enough to mind cockroaches), their laziness and lack of drive, I imagine even their collected mental health issues or weight problems… I haven’t gotten their side of it yet… But what did I do to the man who I have claimed to love for over a year? The person that has been there for me more than anyone, my best friend? I tell him I hate him, slam him up against the wall, hit him and break his glasses. This had happened before, but now was ‘third strike’. He ended it with me and I can’t even remember being there for why.
So, I’m definitely an alcoholic. This is not the first time it has interfered with my life in a big way, it’s just the most sweeping, all-at-once embarrassment. I feel so much pressure because of this. It’s like I’ve been underwater and now I can just barely see the surface; I’m struggling to take it all in. There’s a lot of pain, a lot of anger (mostly at myself). I see all the way since, god I was probably 15 and now I’m 23 almost, and so 8 years? Almost a decade that it has just been creeping along: waiting for a big move and only every now then acting insidiously on my behalf. Compared to that, the big fuck ups aren’t scaring me so bad right now. That fuck up: I just lost my boyfriend, I was kicked out of my apartment, I lost friendship and companionship and most importantly—if I am to take to some changes—stability. But even then, what has alcohol taught me but to hold on to it and together we’d pull me up from the most disastrous of places.
In the Russell Brand documentary about heroine addiction, he interviews a woman who prescribes methadone to recovering patients. Brand is a strong proponent of abstinence rehabilitation, so he began debating with the doctor. Her argument goes something along the lines that people have been beaten and broken by addiction and its underlying causes for so long that they wouldn’t survive or heal without any sort of assistance. Like a “cast,” methadone—she believes—is to help hold everything in place to foster a slower and safer rehabilitation. He does not buy any of this and neither do I. If the substance can sweep my life out from under me, why can’t I sweep its? But still, I’ve been drinking here lately because I’ve been keeping this kind of mentality. “I can’t just cut myself off, I won’t survive. Plus I’m already healing a broken heart and pride and I have to go on somehow. I can’t do it by myself!” I will want to drink soon. I want one now thinking about it and I’ll want one tonight. And tomorrow. I’ll want to escape from everything like I always have.
What’s really terrible is this is the first time that I’m seriously looking at any of this and I’m so scared of what I’m seeing. What’s that? A girl who was first generation college, AP and extracurricular star, on track to top universities, a girl with dreams and hopes, big ones, well loved and loved well. I don’t dream much anymore. I delude myself in the future and grieve for the past. I’ve wrapped myself so tightly between the two I can’t love, can’t give, can’t see anything but myself. I’ve become wholly selfish. And even though I say alcohol has taught me how to navigate hard times, through these kinds of struggles, the more I think, it really hasn’t. I haven’t navigated shit. I’ve never learned how to really cope. I took big hits personally a long time ago and started drinking and never stopped. I never pulled my self up by my boot straps and did work to get back on track or accept anything about me or my actions long enough to find a new one… Alcoholic-me was telling me I was going to get there, I was doing fine because I was keeping a job. I was doing fine because I had a boyfriend and two good friends. This wasn’t reality and certainly isn’t the truth now that the loss of those things have dragged me back up to the surface. All I’ve been doing all these years: dodging bullets. I haven’t gotten over shit. I’ve just moved out of its way and let it roll me right over. The only thing I’ve accepted is that dodging and evading and getting plowed over is life.