blackoutFor years I thought that I wasn’t any fun to be around unless I had a few drinks in me, I was shy and self-conscious, but give me a few drinks and I developed a rubber jaw that just wouldn’t quit. My zest for life only increased when my blood alcohol level increased and in my mind all was well with the world as long as I had alcohol in my system.

Alcohol was my life because it allowed me to function and ‘live’. Life was boring and tedious at best and since the age of 13 when I first discovered this luscious liquid I’d been using it to numb my mind.  Without it I was condemned to a life of boredom and tired teetotaldom. Ugh! Whenever I wasn’t drinking I was preoccupied with planning my next drink. Then when I was actually drinking, I’d think, God I need more of this stuff until I’d finally reach my goal which was total and utter oblivion. Unfortunately with oblivion came consequences and ultimately the morning after. Even now, a few years into sobriety I can still recall the fear and utter dread I felt on a regular basis when I opened my eyes to face the world. Earlier in my drinking career, I had a husband to wake up to and friends to rely on to give me the run down of the previous night’s debauchery. Let’s just say, it was never pleasant.  

Later on as my alcoholism progressed, I no longer had a husband to wake up to or friends to tell me how bad it was, I had succeeded in driving all those people away. At the end of my drinking years, when I did wake up from an alcohol induced sleep, I’d reach for the clock to see what time it was and often I wouldn’t know if it was 5am or 5pm. I was in seclusion with the curtains drawn and the lights off. But there was definitely dread, a different kind that I faced when I came too and I’d look for my bottle only to see there was no booze left. Nothing could be worse in my mind than waking up with an empty bottle followed by more terror as I realized it was 5am and the liquor store didn’t open until 9am. Once in a while, I’d have a rare moment of clarity and go to a de-tox center only to change my mind before the paperwork was done. On one such occasion, I was in one of the nicer places that didn’t have bars on the windows and as soon as I saw an open window I fled through it, wearing only my hospital pj’s and booties, stumbling through the night with absolutely no idea where I was going except that I needed a drink.

I spent many days and nights in de-tox, ER rooms, psych wards and treatment centers and when I no longer had a job, money or a place to live I went to a Salvation Army Rehab Centre, lasting 3 months before I was off to the races again.  Alcohol had turned on me… long gone were the days of fun and joking in the bar with friends. this was replaced with an obsession that left me never satisfied and always craving more until my body pretty much closed down and I fell into an unconscious state.

So what’s the point of this mini drunkalog? Well, often when we first think about quitting drinking or doing drugs, we are put off by thoughts of how we’ll stop having fun and we’ll no longer be the life and soul of the party. But, the image we have of ourselves and how other people perceive us can be a little skewed to say the least.  I was sick and other people could see that well before I could. The people who saw it first were my friends and family, followed by a procession of employers, therapists and ultimately bartenders who’d no longer serve me, next came the hospital staff who looked at me shaking their heads with a sense of hopelessness at my situation, then the liquor store owners selling me booze at 9am in the morning. 

This was my life with alcohol and when I was in the early stages of my drinking career, I couldn’t see past the ‘fun’ I was having and I dismissed all the warning signs. Ultimately as my disease progressed, I found out what was waiting for me down the line and it really wasn’t any fun at all.

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