Sometimes, people in my life will recall events from our shared history. I often find myself barely remembering the details, only capturing a fog of what actually occurred. I began drinking at the age of 14. I have been drunk or hungover a good portion of my life. It’s no wonder I can’t remember much detail from certain aspects of my life. I have given a large portion of my life over to alcohol. I learned at a very young age how to over drink, that partying was fun and worth looking forward to, that drowning in alcohol helped me to avoid my emotions. My freshman year of high school, I was accepted onto the varsity softball team. What a victory for me! I threw it all away to the hands of alcohol. I decided to get drunk with a friend and we stupidly went to softball practice completely wasted. Consequences followed, kicked off the team, suspended from school, and grounded. I remember laying on the living room floor, in a pool of shame. I felt as though my body melted into that rug, the day turned into night and I laid there beating myself up until my parents arrived home, for me to tell them the news. The big question that continued to bubble up was, Why? Why did you do this? Why did I do this? As I reflect back on this situation, I was just running away from my emotions and experiences, I was acting out in a way. My actions were screaming, “Help me, help me please from my self-destruction!” Did I stop drinking? Nope. I just continued, grabbed alcohol’s hand and deepened our unhealthy friendship together. We walked down that road again and again. When I got to college, I lived for partying on the weekend. Strengthening my habits of relying on alcohol for my fun, my escape. I received my first minor in possession of alcohol during my freshman year of college. I was cuffed, had my criminal picture taken, and was fingerprinted, then thrown in a holding tank. Did I stop drinking then? Nope. Alcohol, my old friend, kept bringing me out. It was better there, I didn’t have to think, I didn’t have to feel any of my emotions, with my old friend alcohol I didn’t have to care. I received my second minor in possession of alcohol my sophomore year of college. I had to go to the real jail, attend alcohol classes on campus, attend alcohol court, and pee in a cup in front of my case manager. Pretty humiliating and frustrating. My background carried with me into the career world, held me back emotionally and professionally. Slowly, I slipped further and further away from myself, away from God. If I wasn’t getting into trouble with the law, I was damaging my friendships and relationships. Always saying stupid shit, getting into weird scenarios, making scenes, angrily berating my boyfriend and on and on and on and on. I would show up to work so hungover, that I couldn’t fully function. I was constantly in a fog, feeling my lowest. I had jumped ship, my anchor brought me to the bottom of the bottle. There I wallowed, there I deteriorated, became so wrinkly that I couldn’t even recognize myself.
During this time, I was kind of teaching and working for a before and after school program and I felt like a failure. I thought I had a life purpose, but this was not it. I was not fulfilling it and I began to feel like a waste of space. I began to turn alcohol into a deeper addiction, drinking now moved from the weekends to during the weekdays and drinking alone. I would drink myself into a stupor and sit on the couch, crying myself into oblivion. Thinking about how worthless I was, I had no purpose here on this earth, what was the point? I would think about the different ways I could kill myself, which is serious and dangerous thinking, especially when in an influenced state. I would scream to God, why am I here!? I’m not going anywhere; I’m not serving a purpose!! This happened on more nights than I could count. I never felt so alone, so helpless, so incredibly worthless. But somehow, I pulled out of this thinking each time. The memory of a close friend who was taken by suicide would ripple up. Her face would burn in the forefront of my mind and I would remember the impact of the incident on her family, her dear friends, and myself. I would slowly talk myself out of the dark hole I was stepping into. I always felt a paw on my leg during this time and I would look down to see my dog, Xena. Her eyes looking at me with compassion and pure love, the warmth of her body next me. I would think I can’t do this, I can’t leave. I don’t want my family to experience that. I don’t want to leave Xena behind. I’m glad she was there to save me, to remind me of my importance here on earth. But I frequently would venture to this dark place within myself, until I became strong enough to see the light.