Be wary of transferring your harsh judgments of yourself unto others. When you’re coming down hard on yourself for something you’ve done that you’re ashamed of, it’s hard not to think everyone around you (especially your significant other) feels the same way. This is something I did (do) all the time…particularly after a nice little bout of drinking…and most intensely if I happened to neglect my responsibilities for the day. I’ve gotten a lot better at not hating myself (too much) the next day. My reproaches have progressed from shame (What the fuck is wrong with ME?) to guilt (What the fuck did I DO?). I’ve also gone quite a long time without getting blacked out raging drunk. I actually can’t remember the last time I did this and I’ve been dealing with some pretty heavy shit in my life of late…so victories all around! But, I still think about drinking all the time. [Side note: I first wrote this back in November. Last week, I went hard. Due to my efforts to try to be more mindful when I’m drinking, I didn’t get blacked out drunk…but a little happy hour with old friends turned into an all out night of drinking until four in the morning.]
Before I go on, let me clarify: I’m not an alcoholic in the traditional sense. By this I mean, I don’t need to have a drink everyday. I can go weeks without drinking. But, I learned a long time ago, that alcoholism includes a wide range of drinking patterns; such as continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems or problems with controlling your drinking when you do drink. Ding ding ding! I know that admitting or identifying yourself as an alcoholic in our society today still comes rife with negative connotations. Which is ironic, considering how drinking is such a commonplace activity now. I remember working with a girl back in college who didn’t drink and genuinely wondering, “Then what the hell do you do on the weekends?” 90% of my friends are probably alcoholics, but when I ask them, “Do you think you’re an alcoholic?” they get outright offended and strongly object to such an identification. But that’s what most young adults do every weekend. They go out and get drunk. They don’t think about their relationship with alcohol and what it entails…and, why would they? The whole point of drinking is not to think. To avoid dealing. To numb yourself. To hide. I know there are some people who just drink for fun. But, it’s really hard for me to believe someone who drinks a lot, all the time, and says it’s just for fun. I have one such friend like this. He is almost always drunk when I see him, or well on his way there, and he has no problem admitting that he’s an alcoholic, but he claims he is very happy with his life and just drinks to have fun. It just doesn’t sit true with me. Truly happy, well adjusted, mentally healthy people don’t get shit-faced drunk all the time.
To be clear, I have no problem with people who drink all time. I love drinking, it’s fun as fuck. And if it didn’t cause a host of problems for me the next day (week), I wouldn’t be involved in this ongoing attempt/struggle/commitment to stop using it as my preferred method of coping. Because, honestly, while I’m doing it, it’s fuckin’ amazing. It lifts all the bullshit worries and allows you to enjoy the present moment…as long as the emo/dark side doesn’t take over. It’s like a fantastic little tour through the town of mindfulness…except it gets blurry real quick. And before I know it, it’ll be be 3:30 in the morning and I’ll be at some after party, sitting in a corner hating myself and my life (yes, this was me last weekend).
I woke up the next day and hate, hate, hated myself. I was consumed with regret and rendered immobile and cognitively impaired. I had so many things I wanted to accomplish over the weekend, but all that turned to shit. Now this wasn’t my first visit to the rabbit hole. But, something just felt really different. Of late, I’ve really been committed to becoming the best version of myself. The true version of myself. Someone not marred from their past experiences and living small because they’re scared to try and fail. I want to spend my life doing something that feels true to me. And I know this is not just going to be handed to me. It’s going to take all the strength and courage I have to put myself out there…to really try to make it at something I really want to do instead of something I think I’ll be good at. I’ve been avoiding this my whole life and I get in my own way enough as it is when I’m sober. So, I’ve decided to take out this destructive piece of the puzzle.
I’ve decided to quit many times before. Basically every time I binge drink and feel like death the next day. But, this time I could feel the truth in my desire to quit. This is actually the first time that I’ve really meant it. And I’m not saying that I’m never going to have a drink again. I just want to be able to have one or two drinks without it turning into twelve or twenty. But, in order for me to do that, I know that I need to master some self control and discipline first. First landmark: wedding on Valentine’s Day. That’s 29 days. It’s Day 8. But, this is the easy part. The sting is still too fresh for me to want to get in there again. The upcoming week will be the real test. The memory usually fades after about a week and the cravings start to take over. Let’s see how this goes.