Facing My Own Addiction: Losing the Self in Alcoholism and Addiction

Alcohol and Addiction

This story is re-written and left in the first person, as requested by “Sara M.”, who has been renamed for her privacy. All events are true, and only the names of people have been changed.

I was in my early twenties when it started to bother me more and more. As a college student, everyone else was doing what I was doing, it seemed normal to drink until I threw up every night – well, ok, most of them only did that on the weekends. So I spent my time with the kids who drank all week long, and then did coke and Ritalin to keep ourselves awake long enough to finish our papers.But after I graduated, everyone else seemed to “grow up”. My drinking buddies disappeared. I still had a few friends, the ones I had made from outside of school – you know, my “connections” where I got drugs and hung out when I had to get off campus.

The Willingness to “Grow Up”

So I figured it was time for me to grow up, too. I married one of the guys that I knew from the town I went to school in, that’s what grown ups do, right? We partied, drank, and I worked on and off at waitressing jobs, quitting whenever my hangovers got to be too much for the early morning hours or the evening shifts were in the way of concerts or clubs.

There might have been one or two times when I was a little too drunk and went home with the wrong man, but my husband generally didn’t care, it happened to him too. After all, that’s what happens sometimes.There was one night after work, I had just made quite a bit of money, that I was sitting at the bar wondering what I would do. I had enough to go out and really get wasted, drink at a bar and get some good dope or coke, or even get more and invite some friends over to the apartment, we could have a great time back there. I could go home and go to bed, and spend it all at the mall the next day. I could, of course, save it to pay the rent. That’s the moment that it hit me – how I really didn’t care. About the money, about anything. I was totally empty inside.

What Happens when Emptiness Takes Over

And as that emptiness filled me, I reached for a drink. It burned all the way down, really stung, but I just kept gulping. I asked for more, and the next few didn’t taste so bad. The next morning my pockets were empty, I was sick as a dog, and my heart hurt. I was empty again, and there wasn’t a drop of booze in the house to fix it.I decided to call my best friend Lisa – she would help me figure out what was wrong. I was beginning to think, just maybe, there might be a problem with the way I was doing things. Well, Lisa assured me that all I needed was some pot, and she arrived soon with the “solution”.

By the time my husband came home, we were passed out on the couch and I was late for work. All that night at the restaurant, my stomach nagged at me. It wasn’t hunger – not for food. I was still empty. I looked at the bar, I wanted to drink to get out of my head, but at the same time I could almost see myself there, sloshed, and the image sickened me. All I wanted to do was run – away from me and my own head.I kept running, using drugs more than alcohol to cover up my feelings and so that people wouldn’t smell it on my breath. I ran for another year or so, until I just couldn’t stand the sound of my own conscience – nothing would quiet it. I dreaded waking up in the morning. I knew I had to changeSomething had to change, anything.

When Something Good Happens Out of Desperation

In desperation I went to the police station, and reported one of my drug dealers, thinking that if he were in jail I would stop using, and my problem would be gone. The detective took one look at me, my arms, and my eyes, and smiled a very sad smile. “Let’s talk about You” he said. I was terrified, I thought I was going to be arrested on the spot. I wasn’t. He spent the next hour helping me find resources to get into a treatment facility, get to an AA meeting, and meet some other people in our town who could keep helping me.

I never did “rat out” that dealer – ends up they were about to get him anyway, and chances are I would have been there when it happened and been tied up in the mess. Something bigger than me was on my side.Today I have two and a half years sober, no drugs, alcohol, none of it. Yes, my husband and I did split up, he just didn’t want to stop using and I couldn’t live in that situation. My entire world didn’t fall apart because of my drinking and drugging, but I was falling apart from the inside. Now I have ME back.

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