You hear a lot about people hitting bottom before they stopped drinking & using. What I’ve come to realize is that most people don’t hit one bottom and stop digging. There tends to be a build up of events leading to the realization that sobriety is the only way one can survive. I was in this camp – there wasn’t one event that shook me and caused me to get sober – this realization that I had a problem and would problem end up jobless, homeless, and dead occurred over time. The next few posts are going to be dedicated to the big events that should have been red flags for me that I ignored. Theses stories are not going to be inclusive, but will highlight those events which stick out to me. When possible, I will not use names and will change them if it is unavoidable.
The first instance I can think of where my drinking was out of control and there were consequences occurred on reading day of my junior year. I decided that I did not need to study, since the only exam I had the next day was my HR exam and felt I could pass it with flying colors. It was also the weekend of the Abbeville Spring Festival, which I had worked on the marketing for through my internship and was determined to see how the event turned out. I texted a few of my friends and we decided it would be a good idea to pregame. We got together and drank a few bottles of wine between the 5 of us and had a fantastic time at the Festival.
I thought it was going to be a quiet night, however when we returned to campus some of us decided it was a great idea to go to this club in the neighboring town, Jose Bananas. At Jose Bananas everyone was 21 and $10 would buy you unlimited house liquor for the night. For college students, this was the perfect scenario. My friends and I found a designated driver (at this time I would not drive no matter how much I had to drink) and headed to the club. The first part of the night was a blast, we drank and danced and acted like we had no cares in the world.
The trouble began when we left the club – one of my friends was almost passed out drunk and we managed to get them in the car and head back to campus. Approximately halfway back they started to hit and kick me- which I did not appreciate, so I grabbed their arms to keep them at bay. They did not like that and proceeded to climb on top of me and started biting me. I tried to push them off and get the driver to pull over to no avail – they kept going and I was too drunk to fight back.
I woke up several hours later extremely hungover and late for my HR exam. I ran to the exam and was able to start taking it. About 5 minutes after showing up, I ran into the bathroom and vomited. I lied and told the Professor I had a stomach bug and he graciously agreed to let me take the exam the next day. I spent most of the day recovering and finally had a friend bandage my open wounds. There were six bites where the skin was broken and I still have a scar today. I was physically and emotionally wrought – the person who had done this was someone I had considered a close friend and I wasn’t sure how I could forgive them. I never got closure and was not able to fully discuss what happened. This was the first major relationship that alcohol ruined for me.
Looking back on this situation, I can now see how my actions and alcoholism lead me to the situation in which this occurred and take responsibility for that. I also see a pattern of behavior of the individual who attacked me and how alcohol effect their life and I have finally forgiven them for what happened and acknowledge my part in the situation. The point of telling this story is not to blame anyone, but to illustrate how alcohol was slowly causing problems in my life.
This is the first example of many of the ways I was powerless under alcohol and how my life became unmanageable. It was also the first time I tried to stop drinking for a while. My plan was to wait until I was 21 (it was only 3 months at this point), however I only made it 3 weeks until I was able to get my hands on alcohol.