From denial to self diagnosis of my alcoholism.
They say ignorance is bliss. I look back on my own ignorant, careless ways… and cringe so hard. Yet AA tells me I must “not wish to shut the door” on my past. Here are some character defects as an ignorant alcoholic you might be surprised to know about me:
– I didn’t give a rat’s ass about my family. I skipped as many family events as I could in favor of partying and rock shows.
– I talked shit about vegetarians, made fun of them incessantly at Yard barbecues.
-I also talked shit to people who didn’t drink alcohol while at my party house. I would make fun of them to their face and try to peer pressure them into drinking with us.
-I also talked shit to people’s faces if they didn’t like the kind of music I liked.
-I didn’t give a flying fock about my landlord or his neighbors. I caused them endless stress from damaging my landlord’s property for years and aggravating. My neighbors with loud music and randos coming through the neighborhood to come buy weed from my roommate and get fucked up.
-I was incapable of giving my beloved cat a dignified death. She disappeared with horrible health problems because I couldn’t get it together to afford her vet payments.
Looking back, I am disgusted by myself. I thought I was sooo cool too.
I *thought* I was a very social, loved person in my community. While a handful of people I lived with and some people who frequently visited I do consider friends to this day, about 90% of the visitors we had and a few of my old roommates disappeared from my life over time after I had to quit drinking.
How did I get to that point? It started out innocent. Before I ever drank, I was addicted to video games. It was the one thing that I could do with my new step-brothers that made me feel accepted by them. They were “cool” and knew normal stuff about the outside world that my sisters and I were completely sheltered from.
Before video games… I was just a totally sheltered pre-teen with no social skills or fashion sense. I was made fun of in school (private christian school at that…) for being overly obsessed with cats. I had a couple friends in middle school who were nerdy too, which was nice. But after the 8th grade, I couldn’t stand the strictness of the christian school, so I transferred to public… where I was completely outcast. I ate lunch alone and made ZERO new friends there.
I discovered alcohol when I was 15. When I got drunk, my nervousness to speak disappeared. People talked to me, and I responded with liquid confidence. I was no longer outcast or crippled by shyness or insecurity. Euphoria filled me and I felt I could connect with people “out in the real world” finally.
The first time I used alcohol as a medication for sadness, it was when I was dumped by someone I was completely in love with at age 19. He had cheated on me in front of all the people at his druggy party apartment when I wasn’t there, after we were dating almost a year. I was so distraught, I had one of my of-age coworkers buy me a red bottle of southern comfort and I drank half of it after getting off work. I blacked out in my room and my first roommate found me trashed in there… she was worried about me. I discovered I could numb my pain and anxiety with booze.
I thought I was “getting more experienced in life” by progressing through these stages of alcoholism. I truly thought “this was the way”, that what I was doing was completely normal. My parents drank, and I had seen them intoxicated before. I went a few steps further and also smoked weed and tried out psychedelics and ecstasy. I even sold drugs out of my first apartment. I felt sooo cool.
Years went by and I lived in complete ignorance, I did not acknowledge alcoholism to be a valid issue. Though I was regularly puking myself and blacking out at least once a week, I told myself America’s a free country, and it’s an American tradition to drink and get drunk, and justified my daily drinking. Throwing parties and being the “cool party girl at the party house” became my whole identity. I let it ruin my relationship with Travis back then. I told him he wasn’t manly enough for me. The regretful words that came out of my mouth were painful even to me for years after our split. I eventually lost my job, my car, the house we were renting… and I was busted for a second DUI all within a couple months, during the winter at age 24.
STILL I did not admit I had a problem. It was only when the second DUI started to catch up to me, I finally had to go to court and was ordered not to drink or do drugs, to go to AA and a state behavioral health program for 2 years. The first couple months of being in that program, I was not committed to sobriety at all, I planned to drink as soon as the phase of state mandated classes went from three times a week down to one… but something changed within me after a little over a month of not drinking.
I began to recognize that all the problems in my life were a result of alcohol. Against all odds, and with a *very* unsupportive new boyfriend, AND while still living in that party environment, I remained sober. I was the only one whose name was on the lease at that new party house, so I stayed until the lease was up, about 10 more months.