Booze is No Friend of Mine

Drinking scares me.

It didn’t used to. It should have, but it didn’t. I was able to compartmentalize different areas of my life so well that I allowed myself to believe that I was fine… no problem here, sir… keep on walkin’ along.

Drinking didn’t scare me when I got a DUI. It didn’t scare me when some of my friends slowly drifted away, tired of my preoccupation with finding the next party. It didn’t scare me when I spent many mornings and some full days in bed hungover. It didn’t scare me when I was making a mess of my finances because I was drinking too much to act like a responsible adult. It didn’t scare me when I lied about having migraines or food poisoning to get out of going to work or school because I felt too bad to go. It didn’t scare me when I peed the bed because I was too drunk to wake up and use the bathroom.

Drinking didn’t scare me when I had a horrible car accident and spent two days in the hospital for a head injury. Well, that’s not exactly true. It scared me for two or three weeks, but I was 25 and thought that I was invincible.  Eventually I felt better, my head healed, and I began drinking once more.

Drinking didn’t scare me when I had a two-day bender that ended with multiple friends looking for me and my boyfriend breaking it off with me. Actually, that did scare me a little. I was scared of losing my friends and my boyfriend, so I quit drinking for a month. Once I realized I still had my friends, and the boyfriend was history, I had no problem slowly returning to my previous consumption of daily booze.

Lately, though, drinking has scared the hell out of me. Even though I quit without problems during my pregnancy, it felt like I started right where I left off when I returned to it after giving birth. A glass of wine to “celebrate” or a beer to “relax” soon turned into anywhere from two to ten on each occasion. And the consequences just kept getting worse. Did I need to lose my husband, my family, my life in order to learn my lesson?

I knew then, and know now for certain, that that is exactly what would happen if I were to continue on a drinking path. I would be placing everything I hold dear in jeopardy. I feel grateful to be looking at the situation clearly for the first time in my life. I feel grateful that I finally scared myself straight, without having my life go up in flames. I feel so thankful for that little voice that told me it was time to stop for good.

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Last Drunk vs. First Drink

I am trying to keep in mind the connection between my drunk self and the desire to have JUST ONE DRINK. I read about the Last Drunk vs. the First Drink** recently and it really rang true with me.

My Last Drunk = Blacking out, an angry husband, morning-after shame, and anxiety for days.  The First Drink = A nice way to unwind after a tough day (or an easy day, anxious day, normal day, happy day, tired day, etc.). Every time I want to have the First Drink, I have to remember that my Last Drunk goes RIGHT along with it.

So, my last drunk. This wasn’t the last time that I ever drank alcohol, but this was the experience that made me feel motivated to stop drinking entirely. It happened the weekend before I quit. My husband was in the mood for a whiskey and soda drink, which he had not had in months, so he brought a bottle of whiskey and some mixers home from work. After the baby was asleep we started pouring ourselves some drinks. I believe I cooked dinner in the process, but we might have skipped food that night to continue drinking. I don’t remember.

Anyway, I got drunk and decided that it would be a good idea to go out to a local bar on my own. My husband and I can not go out together anymore because of the sleeping babe, and none of my friends go out very late at night these days, so I walked the 1/2 mile or so to get there by myself. This is a somewhat seedy but friendly place that I have been going to for years. I am friends with the bartenders and many of the patrons, so I wasn’t worried about my safety too much at the bar itself, but I was still walking/stumbling around town at night alone.

I was drunk. Like browning out, talking WAY to freely to everyone at the bar, being overly friendly, basically acting-stupid-kind of-drunk. I don’t really remember getting home. My husband called/texted me over 10 times while I was out that I didn’t respond to. My phone was on silent, but I was so out of it that I didn’t check my phone to see if he had called.

Meanwhile, my baby was at home asleep. My husband was worried. Everything turned out okay, but it could have not been okay under slightly different circumstances. Ugh. Writing this makes me cringe with shame.

This is why I no longer drink. The First Drink is never, ever worth it for me.

**I have been inhaling sobriety information in my quest for the brainwashing of my alcoholic self (impossible, I know), and can’t give credit where credit is due for the idea of Last Drunk vs. First Drink. Thank you to whomever came up with this idea.