S- When Did I First Question My Drinking?
I have been asked by a few people, when should one begin to question their alcohol/drug consumption? How does someone know they are an alcoholic? Well, there is no mathematical formula that answers these questions. Every alcoholic experiences that powerful realization differently. I can only share my experience and the momentary slivers of clarity I had prior to getting sober.
Before sobriety, life was dark. People were scary. And everyday felt like a groundhogs Monday. My head was filled with strong words of discouragement. I would tell myself how minuscule I was. How unsuccessful I was at life, love, and purpose. I had a great job in advertising that I held on to for 10 plus years. I had a great place to live in an awesome part of Los Angeles. Things on the outside looked really perfect. But on the inside, I was depressed, fearful, and totally lost. And my head fed me lies about how imperfect and unworthy I was.
My alcoholism started long before adulthood. It began with my social fears and feelings of not being good enough that grew with the daily emotional beatings from childhood bullies. I was taught early on by my peers that I was not worthy of positive attention. Daily tears and humiliation were normal during my childhood. It was the perfect cocktail for the development of those eerie feelings of insecurity. And those feelings grew with me, as I grew into adulthood. I didn’t realize it at the time, but because of the insecurities I had that were fueled by my peers, I was constantly trying to find ways to “hide” from the world. Alcohol would soon become my shield.
Because of this experience, I grew up to be a very kind, loving woman. Unable to utter verbal harm towards others. Feeling empathy for those who are made fun of or treated less than. But on the inside I was still a very insecure woman, with feelings of being less than myself and fearing judgment from the very critical world around me. However, I hid this well, for the most part.
So when did the alcohol enter the picture…lets rewind…
I got a taste of alcohol at a rather young age. My tastebuds first experienced the enhanced sensitivity of alcohol through a sip of budweiser beer my grandma gave me. I was in grade school. And the hunt for my next drink began immediately. Although I didn’t become a raging alcoholic still barely out of diapers, I did seek that drink whenever I saw it nearby. And I would be given (or steal) a sip here and there in early childhood, which only aggravated my budding allergy to alcohol. As time past, and I grew, alcohol became easier and easier to get. High school became about weekend drinking, and not just casually. The goal was to not feel…not feel scared of you, not feel less than. The goal was to be able to open my mouth and speak with confidence. To hide all those feelings of not being good enough. And what better way to gain such confidence and not feel beneath the rest in my social surroundings? Booze. And lots of it!
My drinking progressively got worse as I aged. Drugs entered into my story and my self destructive behavior worsened.
Although I successfully completed college, and went on to get my masters degree, graduating with honors, my life was getting smaller and bleaker quickly, although it didn’t look that way from the outside. By the age of 22 I had landed a terrific job at a successful production company, where I shined with a great work ethic. Things were pretty good for awhile. But then the progression of my alcoholism began it’s journey. Life and the people in it became harder for me to deal with. The only way I could handle social situations was hiding behind alcohol. Getting that good buzz going so I could speak to you and interact like a normal person. But it never stopped at that “buzz.” Once I started, I always needed more. and more. Weekend drinking turned into daily drinking and daily drinking turned into morning drinking. Before I knew it, I couldn’t get into the shower without a shot of Vodka. This was not what I imagined my life would look like. I was a good woman. A hard worker. An ethical & compassionate human being. How could I be so driven to drink myself into oblivian?
I would soon find out, I was powerless.
I woke up one morning, terrified of who i had become. I was drinking daily. I was so depressed and spiritually depleted. I had no desire to speak to another human being. I ignored most phone calls. I lied to my friends and family so I wouldn’t have to see them. I was so sad and ashamed and humiliated in more ways then I have time to describe here. I had hit bottom. No I didn’t lose my job. I didn’t get a DUI. I didn’t kill or physically harm anyone, and I didn’t get arrested. Why I escaped those experiences, I do not know. But I am grateful I did. This allowed for my emotional bottom to be a deep enough wound for me to seek help. I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live as I was. It was too painful. On this particular morning, I had a brief moment of clarity. I realized the drinking was no longer working for me. It was no longer masking my pains and insecurities. Instead it was magnifying them and bringing me further into hell. That is the moment I truly questioned my drinking.
And that is the moment I asked for help. And I turned myself over to Alcoholics Anonymous.
It has been 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days since my last drink or drug.