Submitted by Anonymous:
One year ago this month, I was in rehab. It sucked and it was totally interfering with my plan to drink myself to death. However, wasn't raising any hell over it. My brain was traumatized by the seizure I'd had during my last withdrawal and so much of the stuff that made me myself was disabled. Smartass comments, rationalization, logical thinking, short-term memory, and even anger and fear were all lost in the fog. I allowed others to lead me and put one foot in front of the other because I couldn't see behind or in front of that.
The first time I had a drink, I was 17. My best friend and I made cocktails not to get drunk or have fun or be social. Rather, we wanted to get used to the taste and the effect of alcohol before we started college. We didn't want to be "that girl" who pukes all over herself or winds up in a stranger's bed and can't remember how, so we experimented with booze as with a very combustible substance. My life at that point was all about control. I had an eating disorder and lived with constant, soul-suffocating anxiety over all the things I could not manipulate.
Within days of arriving at school, I was in love with cheap punch mixed in garbage cans and a guy who treated me like garbage. That relationship really put me in touch with the concept that I was worthless and no matter how hard I tried, things were going to fall apart anyway. My goal in life was to be "that girl" as thoroughly as possible. If I couldn't be perfect, I was going to excel at being bad.
Over the next 8 years, I vacillated constantly between success and failure. I didn't like the middle of the road, so I was always pulling to one side or the other and ending up in a ditch. No matter the circumstances - a promotion at work or a fight with my boyfriend - I could reach my happy place, numb and safe, with a drink. Booze was my port in the storm, my key to the VIP room I felt I'd been locked out of my whole life. I identified very strongly as a drinker; I felt most myself, most comfortable in my own skin when I was holding a cocktail or a cold beer. It was incomprehensible to me that a life without this magic potion could be worth living.
My sponsor tells me I drove 80 miles an hour straight into a brick wall. I never wanted to stop drinking longterm and never made empty "I'll never drink again!" promises to myself, even in the depths of a hangover. When my hangovers started intensifying - including days of throwing up, insomnia, and shaking - I turned my attention towards becoming a more successful drinker, a moderate drinker. The Mythical Moderate Drinker. The Big Book of AA says it is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker to be able to drink normally. The "one glass of wine with dinner," "take it or leave it" mindset was my holy grail. At that point, I was drinking a couple of bottles of wine a night. When I lost my job due to my alcoholism, I drank all day, every day and that's what brought my body to a crisis point, culminating in the seizure that saved my life.
I mentioned earlier that I had planned to drink myself to death. I was not pursuing this goal in any organized way, but I was resigned to dying an alcoholic death if it meant I didn't have to quit drinking. Pouring a drink was the only coping mechanism I had. Without it, I was left with some seriously screwed up brain chemistry (almost entirely attributable to my alcohol consumption) and no idea how to navigate in the world. I was caught in a place where the only thing keeping me alive was simultaneously killing me.
Today, I'm happier than I've ever been. The chronic anxiety and depression I suffered during my drinking life (and even before I started using alcohol to self-medicate) have become manageable. I have coping mechanisms that work. And that has become the acid test, the principle around which I construct my life: What's true is what works.
I don't live in a place of endless contrarian nay-saying anymore. The peace of mind I have found in sobriety is a self-evident truth, regardless of any attempt on my part to logically explain or disprove it. I go to AA meetings regularly and I am developing a spiritual consciousness because that works for me. It is my daily reprieve from an alcoholic death. Simple (and miraculous) as that.