I know I Will be OK

Tomorrow (5/10/2017) will be 11 months since the last time I was completely intoxicated. At that time I was still pretty deep in my denial of having a drinking problem. Clearly I had a boundary problem, but I didn’t have a drinking problem.

I was with a couple of friends at our usual bar. It was 10am on a Friday. I hadn’t planned on getting drunk that day.  I was just going to have a few and go home. I should’ve known better than to think that was how my day was actually going to go. After several hours into drinking I received a text from my Dad, I can still remember word for word what it said, “Are you home yet? Mother is worried.” I responded with “no, still at the bar”. There I was well into my cups at the bar while my mom laid in a hospital bed, recovering from a pretty extensive surgery she had just days before, worrying about me. I believe the word, you as a reader, are looking for is selfish. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it hit pretty hard the next morning.

I was completely filled with shame when I woke the next day, trying to recall driving home the night before. The pieces of the night that I could recall were the pieces that filled me with shame. I had let myself down, again. Why the hell could I not hold this damn boundary? There were several little things I did that night that I told myself I wouldn’t do. Nothing huge, but promises I made to myself and broke.

I reached a point where I told myself if I can’t hold a boundary I set for drinking then I just won’t drink! So I didn’t, until October 28, 2016. About 4.5 months without drinking and I was fine with it, psht, no way I had a drinking problem…right?

October 28, 2016 was the night my coworkers and I had gotten together to celebrate my getting a new job and to say farewell knowing we wouldn’t see each other very often anymore. On this night I decided I wasn’t going to drink. I was going to stick with my raspberry lemonade and enjoy the night. Then I decided I would just have one with everyone. How could I not? These guys had become like family. Then the waiter brought me two more after the first one. I didn’t even order them, he just brought them to me. I didn’t want to be rude, so I drank them. When he brought the 3rd one I told myself that was my last one. It was after I finished the 3rd one that I realized I was drinking too fast and needed to slow down. I was NOT getting drunk and driving home again. I did slow down, I had 2-3 more beers after that and I milked them. Then I switched back to raspberry lemonade and didn’t drive home for a few hours after I stopped drinking. WOOHOO, success, right?

WRONG!

I didn’t drive home drunk. I caught myself, slowed down, stopped drinking, and hung-out for another few hours before driving. Where did I go wrong then? Why was this not a success, I controlled my drinking?

  1. I set a boundary to not drink at all
  2. I set a new boundary to only drink one
  3. I set a boundary to stop at 3
  4. I drank a few more after beer 3

Then I realized I didn’t have a boundary problem with drinking, I had a drinking problem with drinking. That was the last time I drank (10/28/2016)

For months now I’ve been acknowledging both the last time I got intoxicated and the last time I drank. It’s time I let go of keeping track of the last time I was intoxicated. I hadn’t come to a place of being honest with myself at that point. I was still in denial and I drank again after that, I may not have gotten shit faced, but I drank, period.

As of 5/10/2017, I’ve been sober for 6 months and 13 days.

If you want to find out who your true friends are, quit drinking. I’m building an amazing circle of sober friends though. I’m truly happy with where my life is now and where it is going. I also plan to attend my first AA meeting this weekend. A little nervous, but I know it’ll be ok, I know I will be ok.

 

A Dark Place

A Dark Place
  • Eating
  • Hydrating
  • Sleeping
  • Bathroom Breaks
  • Showering
  • Getting Dressed
  • Getting out of Bed
  • Talking
  • Laughing
  • Working
  • Feeling
  • Thinking Logically

These all seem like pretty easy everyday tasks, right? For many people the answer is yes, but for some of us the answer is “not always” or “no”.

There is a place, a dark place. It is almost like a parallel universe. From the outside looking in everything appears fine, but on the inside, it is a universe where darkness lives. The weight of the darkness is paralyzing and suffocating. It sucks the happiness and life from your body, mind, and soul. The air is thick and breathing is difficult. The people here try to fight it, they try to over power it, but it’s useless, at least that’s how it seems in this place.

This place creates a numbness, within the people here, that is so incredibly painful. People who have never been to this place have no idea how painful numbness really is. It is like you are completely void of any emotion except hurt, sadness, agony, despair. This place causes people to feel utterly alone in the world, both the inside world and the outside world.

This place is indescribable. It is dark, it is heavy, it is suffocating, it is without hope, it is dense, it is painful, it is a private hell built for each individual person who has been there; though all of this is true, it doesn’t come anywhere near describing what this dark place is or what it feels like to be there.

Some people are lucky enough to pass through once or twice, but others aren’t so luck. Some people are regulars who have the misfortune of frequenting this dark place. While you are in this place it feels like you will be stuck there for eternity, there is no escape, this place has become a permanent residence. In time people will escape, but it feels more like a trick because this place allowed us to escape, and many of us know it is only a matter of time before it comes back for us. During the reprieve these people try to make the best of the time they’ve been given, knowing that at any moment the darkness will come calling, and never knowing how long they will be captive to it next time around.

This dark place has a name, it’s called Depression. If you’ve never visited this dark place you can’t begin to imagine what it is like. It’s not just a bad day. It’s not just feeling a lack of energy. It’s not just the feeling people get on a gloomy rainy day. It’s not something a Vitamin D supplement will cure. It’s not just a lazy day.

It is like having your heartbroken everyday. It is like losing a loved one everyday. It is like the sun has been destroyed and everyday for the rest of time will be gloomy and rainy. It is like your best friend moving to a different state everyday for the rest of your life. It is like putting your pet down day after day after day. It is like a private hell in which there is no escape. It eats at you. It brings you further and further away from goodness and happiness.  It messes with your emotions and reasonable thinking. It tricks your mind in to believing you aren’t worthy of anything good in the world.

People with chronic/clinical depression know what needs to be done to help keep this dark place at bay, but depression is a tricky little bitch. It never sends a warning or an invitation. It shows up anywhere at anytime and often for no reason at all. Once it’s got it’s grip on you and it’s pulled you into the dark place it doesn’t matter how much you know about how to help yourself, it doesn’t matter how badly you want to help yourself, it doesn’t matter how desperately you want to get up and move, to eat, to get fresh air, to sleep, to talk, to laugh, to shower, to function. Depression does not care! It is debilitating and it has a hold on you until it’s ready to let you go.

This dark place, called Depression, is very real. If you’ve never experienced all of the above, I hope that you never do. All I ask is that you don’t dismiss others who are struggling with depression. Depression, as well as all other mental health disorders, are very serious. Please respect those with it, be kind and compassionate. Don’t tell them to just “get over it”, don’t tell them “everyone goes through this” don’t belittle them, don’t tell them they are lazy, don’t make them feel worse than they already do. Just Love them and be supportive. Sometimes that might mean from a distance, but check in with them daily with a phone call or on social media. Don’t drop by unexpected, the house is probably a mess and this will cause the person to feel more shame. Let them know you care and that you’re there, without judgement, if they need you.

You never know when you could be the light in someone’s dark place. No one likes to feel alone.

For those of you who are all too familiar with this dark place, know that you are not alone. Know that sooner or later it will pass and you will have better days, even when it doesn’t feel that way…especially when it doesn’t feel that way!

You are lovable. You are worthy. You are more than enough. You matter.

-Dani