I have a deep love/hate relationship with alcohol. I love drinking. I love feeling like someone else for a while. I have more confidence after a few drinks and I’m convinced I am much more fun when I’m tipsy. In my mind, I’m hilarious when I’ve got a good buzz going and people really enjoy being around me. I am carefree and goofy. I’m not a mean drunk, well, most of the time. There have been times when I’ve become maybe a bit irrational or jealous, but they are few and far between, from what I remember.
I hate alcohol because I become someone I’m not when I’m drunk. Yes, I know, I just said that’s one of the things I love about drinking. I usually find some way to embarrass myself, whether it’s getting too personal and sharing details of my life with people that I really shouldn’t or thinking I can sing like Celine Dion. I hate being hungover. I’m very emotional after a binge night. I never remember details of the night before, so I spend hours texting people and asking, “did I do anything really embarrassing last night?” or “I’m sorry I was such an idiot.” It’s one or the other, every time.
Being drunk is an easy out. If you’re being a complete jerk, or have a jealous rage moment, say something awful to someone, offend people or act like a fool, you can easily just say, “I was drunk.” Which is another reason I love/hate drinking. Some mornings you can laugh with your friends about the night before. And some mornings, you’re so disgusted with yourself you feel like you need to just disappear. It’s really a toss-up. Sure, let’s party and just see what version of ourselves comes alive. Will I be crying in a few hours? Will I be twirling around in circles, singing “Your Body is a Wonderland”? Will I think about the people I’ve lost and want to talk about heaven? Will I convince myself that I’m still able to do a perfect round off and end up eating queso off the kitchen floor? No one knows!
It’s great to just unwind and let go occasionally. I see nothing wrong with having a few drinks once in a while. The problem is, for me, “unwinding” means drinking until I am no longer myself and “once in a while” is more like 5 nights a week. I think I like who I become after about 2 drinks. I have some confidence. I still like myself after my 3rd drink. I’m getting louder by now, which in my head translates to “more awesome”. By my 4th or 5th drink, I may start to become emotional or insecure. Or I just won’t care about anything at all. Again, it could go either way. Regardless, the reality is that I am avoiding reality.
The first time I got really drunk, I was 14. I was at a sleepover and ended up puking most of the night while a guy at the sleepover violated my body from behind. Yes, while I was puking. A year later, I was living in Michigan and my dad lived in Wisconsin, where you can legally drink if you’re under 21 if you are with a parent. So, I made a several trips to Wisconsin. My dad would come back to Michigan sometimes and buy me alcohol. We would drink together and have a blast. I think my dad felt so guilty about the divorce, that he just wanted to connect with me in any way he could. I don’t fault him. He was being the “cool” parent.
I was introduced to the bar scene much too young. I got attention and I really liked the attention. Once I turned 21, I was pregnant, so I quit drinking until I was done breastfeeding. The only other time I quit drinking was when I became pregnant with my 2nd son. I didn’t drink for 2 years because I nursed him as well. Looking back, I don’t think I have ever felt more fulfilled at any time in my life, then when I was completely sober and pregnant or breastfeeding my baby. I desperately miss feeling so full of love and being so needed. Once I could drink again, I would use alcohol to fill every void, every empty space. It seemed better to feel numb than to feel like me.
The last few weeks, I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting. Looking back on every angry encounter, traumatic experience, hateful spoken word, broken bone, regretful decision and painful truth, there is one common denominator. Booze. Yeah, I said broken bone. That’s what happens when you’re really drunk, and a cover band plays a Motley Crue song, so you run on to the dance floor before realizing you left your coordination at home. Oh, and then there’s the night I got arrested.
Anyways, I’ve been a drunken idiot. And I have spent way too much time crying over what happened to me while I was hammered. I have spent way too many days feeling completely mortified about my behavior. I’m tired of the lie. It’s so ironic, isn’t it? We drink because we don’t like who we are and then the drink makes us hate ourselves even more. We drink to escape our pain and reality instead of facing it and ever truly healing. We drink to fill the void and the next day we’re left with even more emptiness. I’ve heard it so many times that what you say when you’re drunk is how you really feel. And maybe sometimes that is true. Maybe sometimes that liquid courage can be of benefit, like if you have a crush on someone or something is bothering you that you just need to get off your chest. When my anxiety kicks in, the first thing I say is, “My God, I need a drink!” I have come to realize that I got part of that right. I just should have stopped after “My God”, because that is all I truly need.
With becoming closer to God, I’ve been able to see things for what they really are, or at least a little clearer. I’ve been running away from Him and from myself and finding every possible excuse to justify it. I’m stressed, I’ve been traumatized, I need to forget the past, I just want to feel better, I’ll be more likeable and more fun if I just drink up. The truth is though, most of my pain comes from things that happened when I was drinking. Another vicious cycle. I have seen so much hatred and darkness come from people who I never thought could be cruel, because their minds were fogged by liquor. Pointless fights, immature arguments, drama. Enough already! Think about it. We put something into our body that literally distorts our brain function!
I will continue this path towards self-love and with God, He will make it possible for me to do it without feeling like I need a mask. Let’s face it, when we are drunk, we are not ourselves. I want to be real. I want to be me. I want to feel loved just as I am. Every day that I pray, it becomes ingrained deeper and deeper into my being, that the only love I need to fight for is the love of God. God is what I need to fight my demons. God is my comfort when I feel broken. He is the almighty healer. Not beer or liquor. I don’t want to feel numb anymore. I don’t want to be embarrassed anymore. I’m too old for this nonsense. I need to pray. God is the only way to fill these voids. He will become my source of fulfillment once again. I could die tomorrow. I no longer want a life filled with bad decisions and headaches. I want to feel good by God’s grace. His love has never and will never fail me.
I write this because when I write, God hears me and somehow, the things I write about always manifests into reality. It’s a beautiful thing.