Coping without Alcohol

My experience of abusing alcohol to avoid depression and emotions, and how I have learned how to deal with those things in a healthy manor.

We all face trauma’s that have lasting impacts in our lives. Some become so consumed by the tragedies that they are unable to function or perform daily tasks. In order to cope many turn to drugs, alcohol, and sex. These all bring temporary “highs”, it makes one forget all the wrongs that have been done to them, makes them feel that they are whole again, that they can go on.

I remember the first time I drank until I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. I called up my friends, we went to the liquor store got a handle of Fireball and let our night begin. They all seemed so happy and careless as they drank, laughing and smiling. Inside I longed to feel how they felt, to be present in the moment and just enjoy the camaraderie. I went along with them, I laughed when they laughed and smiled when they smiled. We took turns drinking out of the bottle, passing it around and taking a shot. I patiently waited each time for the bottle to be placed in my hand and by the third round I already began to feel the effects. This time I chugged though, I wanted this numbing sensation to overtake my body. My friends all cheered impressed by how much I could drink. I did this over and over, until I no longer felt the burn in my throat. I finally forgot, I let go, I felt free. My friends had no idea how I felt inside, that I was drinking to escape the dark feelings that overwhelmed my soul; why would they know, I was just 16 life should be easy. The night went on and it was the first time in months I felt I could connect with my peers. I was living in the moment, not a care in the world; just laughing, dancing, and having fun. I wanted this happiness to last forever and thought it would.

The next day came and so did the depression, as well as a headache. I was so disappointed, I thought I had gotten rid of my negative feelings and replaced them with the positive ones I was feeling the night before. Weeks went by, highs and lows, but I just wasn’t feeling any better. I still hated life. I walked around empty, angry, sad, and lonely. I had no motivation, no drive, nothing that made me want to push on. A few weeks later one of the lowest lows arrived. I just couldn’t take it anymore, the suicidal thoughts were flooding in every few hours. I tried to remember what brought me joy, what made me feel good…. My boyfriend, but he was more than a thousand miles away, and his text messages weren’t filling the voids. As I thought, I remembered the last time I felt good, that the crushing weights had been lifted off my shoulders, was that night I was with my friends. The night I drank so much I could barely walk, but I laughed so hard I cried. I longed to feel that way again. So I quickly made plans to repeat that night.

As the time went on and life’s problem got bigger and heavier, the drinking increased. It went from once every few months, to once a month, to every few weeks. A decent way into being 17 I soon began to automatically turn to alcohol. I would even drink by myself, when I felt there was nowhere else to turn. I would get drunk weekly. Anytime a problem arouse and I felt overwhelmed I made plans to drink.

Once I began therapy at 18 I started to make major changes in my life. I learned more about myself and why I had felt so lost at such a young age. I soon began to find strength within myself when I had those days that consumed me, made me forget who I was. As the weeks passed, I felt stronger and more courageous. I wanted to face my problems head on, show them I was in charge and that I didn’t need to hide from them, or the pain, behind a bottle. The times I drank per week didn’t decrease but the amount I drank did. I started to drink socially, but not to the point of numbing the pain. I wanted to remain in control and still feel all of my emotions, even the sad ones.

After more than a year of no longer hiding from my fears but learning how to deal with them in a healthy manner, I started to drink even less. I felt more comfortable in my own skin, I didn’t need a “buzz” to be myself. I was able to feel hurt, sad, depressed but manage those feelings and address why I felt that way. I gained so much knowledge about myself; what triggered me into dark places and negative thought processes. I could even relate with others once I embraced my struggles and raw emotions, helping to cure the deep loneliness that once consumed me. I was able to confide in others about my past and receive the help I needed when I was down. Nothing has made me feel stronger than facing my fears. I won’t deny even now sometimes after an especially hard day my mind wonders back and I immediately go “I need to drink!”, but I tell myself no. Drink when you feel good and when you’re happy, not to escape and numb the pain; you will only prolong the healing you deserve. So take a stand and face your struggles, emotions, and dark times, so you too can create your healthy, impenetrable mind.