Drinking Days of Old (Part 1)

Disclaimer: These next posts aren't meant to push anyone toward one way of thinking, nor are they meant to anger or discourage anyone. These thoughts are purely my own, and they're for you to use as you wish. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with addiction, reach out - seek help.


One of many instances I went to visit my brother, and drank too many glasses of wine.

One of many instances I went to visit my brother, and drank too many glasses of wine.

Alcohol has been a hot topic, in my life, lately. As a person who is constantly listening to her body, never have I ever drank alcohol and thought, "Hey, this makes me feel pretty fantastic". After having conversations with my boyfriend, and best friends, it seems like this thought is starting to become more prevalent with everyone. Alcohol isn't healthy; in fact, it's very hard on your liver and pathways of elimination. A couple drinks here and there is fine (as long as you know how to nourish yourself, afterward); however, alcohol seems to always be an "all-or-nothing" sort of thing. Today, I'm beginning to share my story with booze; personal thoughts on why I believe it's important for you to consider your relationship with it, if you need to make a change and how to do so. This post will come in multiple parts, just so you don't feel like you're reading a chapter book!

 

 

 

Your Past Determines Your Future... Sometimes

Me, in high school; drinking cream soda.

Me, in high school; drinking cream soda.

Growing up, my parents rarely drank alcohol. In fact, I don't ever remember alcohol being in our fridge, at home, until I was old enough to put it there. I never drank in high school. As a kid too scared to think of the consequences of getting caught, I spent weekends eating pizza, puppy chow and drinking gallons of soda (like all my other friends did). As I moved into my college-years, my drinking increased, but it never really became an issue, either. Instead of hitting up parties, and getting trashed, I'd order drinks with dinner, or buy fancy six-packs of beer, to consume on my couch.

Dependency

I believe that one of the reasons alcohol wasn't usually an issue was because the people I spent a lot of time with, in my college years, didn't drink much. They had parents with "addiction issues", and therefore, they strayed away from booze, because they didn't want to turn into someone similar. The always-ironic thing to me was that these people who didn't want to have the same "addiction" issues as their parents, were the ones who were abusing some sort of other substance (weed, coke, sex, food, etc).

That's the thing - if it wasn't alcohol, it always seemed to be something else... with everyone. In a society where feeling your feelings is almost taboo, we're meant to feel like we need to become dependent on something in order to "get by". Doesn't that sound awful?!

Fortunately for me, alcohol has never really been an issue; mostly because for as long as I've consumed it, it's made me feel like crap. And regardless of how 'fun' it might be consuming it, the after-math is enough to deter me from going overboard.

A Learning Opportunity

Now don't pin me as a saint, or a goodie-two-shoes; I've had my fair share of situations I've gone overboard in. A couple specific instances come to my mind:

I was around 21, and went to a popular bar in Fort Dodge, one summer night, with a few of my best friends. Drink after drink, we laughed and enjoyed the evening together. At around 1am, I figured it was about time to leave. I drove my car there, and I planned on driving my car home. *I never like leaving my car anywhere, or spending the night at anyone's house; I want to be home. As I was saying my goodbyes, my friend looked at me and yelled, "Let's do a jäger-bomb before you leave!"

OKAY, sure! What could happen?! I've always been in control; always been able to handle any situation I was in. One shot before heading home wouldn't be bad...

WRONG! So, wrong! That summer night, at around 1:30am, I drove the 16-miles from Fort Dodge to my house; on the backroads, with my windows rolled down, trying to stay awake. 45-minutes later, I pulled into my garage, said a little prayer and went inside, to bed.

*Definitely not smart, but I was fine! I got home safely. I was in control.

The beginning of the night i drank too much at a wedding.

The beginning of the night i drank too much at a wedding.

I was in a wedding, a couple years ago, where I drank... a lot. I don't remember the entire reception; I blacked out. I do remember driving home, pigging out on rice cakes, and my ex boyfriend criticizing me (the next day). What was all the fuss about, though?! Wedding receptions were a time to get hammered, with your friends, and have so much "fun" you had to rely on photos (or others) to piece together the night... right?!

Relying on others to piece together the night - in this case it was that ex boyfriend who was so furious, as I spoke with him the next day. "You were so drunk, you acted like a fool. You shouldn't have driven home. I followed you home, and you shut the garage door, as soon as you pulled into the garage - not even coming out to tell me goodnight."

*Again, definitely not smart, but I was fine! I got home safely; I wasn't hurt (just embarrassed). I was in control.

Me, once we got to the nightclub.

Me, once we got to the nightclub.

Probably the scariest situation is one that I talk about often, now: the time I was roofied. Now, I suppose I don't KNOW for certain whether I was roofied, or not. But all of the signs add-up. I remember starting the night, and remember waking up in a hotel room, later on in the evening. No recollection of the time in-between (except falling at the night-club and puking in the hotel lobby).

The night started like any other normal evening; drinking at a friends' house. I remember eating an entire pizza, as we drank and got ready to go out. I was looking forward to the night; dancing and having a good time; hoping to have the same experience I had had at this night-club the last time I was there.

Once we got to the night-club, I remember ordering one drink - vodka water (my drink of choice). As I picked it up, we headed onto the dance floor and that's where things get cloudy. I vaguely remember the girls I was with trying to pick me up off the floor, and then ordering me a taxi. "You can get home, right?!" they asked, as they put me into a taxi, in downtown Minneapolis, by myself. I was gone, by this point. The driver asked me dozens of times what my address was. I wasn't yet living in the cities, and needed to get to my brother's house, but the incredibly scary thing was I could not tell him where I needed to go.

Now, I know that I rambled off my old Iowa address, which looking back, was my saving grace (since it was the next-best thing I could have said, aside from my brother's address). This driver couldn't find that actual address, and tried for the next couple of hours. Luckily though, that address took us to a decent part of town, where he dropped me off at a hotel.

I puked twice that night. Never, in my entire life, had I ever puked from drinking. That night, however, was different. Once in the taxi and another in the hotel lobby. A few hours later (around midnight), I awoke, foggy-brained, and astonishingly not concerned or freaked out... at all. I looked at my phone, and saw a text from my brother. "Where are you? Are you coming home soon?"

"CODY! My brother! My best friend in the entire world; my saving grace! Please come pick me up! I'm scared! I'm alone! I have no idea what happened to me!" ... That's what I SHOULD have said. That's what any normal, drunk person would have said. However, again, my brain wasn't there. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't even know how to call my brother, or tell him where I was. Finally, he got me to send him a pinned location, and he picked me up.

We got to his house, and I rushed to bed. I was safe.

The next morning, I woke up in a panic. "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!" I called my mom, in tears. For the first time in my entire life, I was NOT, in any way, in control. And the scariest part was that I couldn't remember a thing. Couldn't remember getting from the club to the hotel; couldn't remember the taxi driver; couldn't remember anything.

When You're Not in Control

As humans, being in control gives us comfort. We know that in any situation, we have the say in what happens. When we're put into a situation where control goes out the window, all hell breaks lose... literally.

I was a complete and utter wreck for the next month, or so, after. And really, who wouldn't be?! "Nobody touched me. I woke up by myself. The taxi driver dropped me off at that hotel, and I just got a room and went to bed. RIGHT?!" I asked myself these questions every second of every day, and couldn't recollect a thing, each time.

Finally, about two weeks after, I called the hotel and asked to talk to the manager, "Excuse me, I'm so sorry to call but... you see, I was roofied a few weeks ago and ended up at your hotel. I just wanted to know if anyone there can help me piece anything together?" The hotel manager picked up the phone and was the only person to really calm my anxiety, "Hi, miss. I was there the night you were brought in. Your taxi driver dropped you off, we got you a room and you fell asleep there." {I clarified that I was by myself} "Yes, miss; you were by yourself. Nobody was with you."

Finally. A sense of calm came upon me. I didn't remember what had happened that night (and I still don't, two years later); but I knew that I was 'okay', and that helped.

Same Song and Dance

A while after this incident happened, I decided to make a Facebook status about it. I wanted people to know that things can happen when you're not 110% careful. I received mixed feedback: some people were super nice; honestly curious to know about my mental well-being, and thankful I was safe. Some thought I had shared "too much"; feeling uncomfortable about my dilemma and not knowing how to handle it. Again, in a society where feeling your feelings is almost taboo, this wasn't something I was "supposed" to share; it was too much information; I wasn't sharing something "good". And then there were the exchanges that caused my heart to outpour with love, and with heartbreak: the individuals that reached out to me, and told me about similar instances that had happened to them. That's the incredibly heavy truth: instances like this happen far too often... with women and men. A "night out" turned bad.

*My boyfriend gave me permission to share this; an unnerving experience that just happened to him, two weeks ago: Ryan flew to Costa Rica, a couple of weeks ago, for a work trip. The same work trip he had taken so many times before; except this time, he was making the trip by himself. After a long day of traveling, he finally arrived at his hotel, grabbed his room key and headed to the hotel bar, for a couple of drinks. After the drinks, he headed to his room, opened the door and that's all he remembers... The next morning, at around 6:30am, I received a call from him, frantic, "Kate, I just woke up and there's blood everywhere. On the floor, on my pillow and my head is bleeding. There's blood everywhere."

As any person would, I panicked, "What? Are you okay? What happened? Can you call down to the desk? Are you still bleeding? Who knows you're there?" Ryan hung up the phone (because he said he was going to be sick) and the panic continued to kick in, "What if he has a concussion? What if he passes out, again, and nobody knows he's there? Who do I call? What do I do?"

As I mentioned earlier, being in control gives us comfort. We know that in any situation, we have the say in what happens. When we're put into a situation where control goes out the window, all hell breaks lose... literally.

Long story short, Ryan is home. He's okay. And we're going to be okay. He had a coworker [in Costa Rica] pick him up and take him to the hospital, where he got four stitches. He came home early, went back to the doctor and found out he suffered a concussion; the doctor thinks he was drugged.

Learning from Your Experiences

Ryan and I have been talking about this experience a lot, lately - his experience, and mine (from two years ago). So many similarities; a "normal night" gone wrong. When frightening things happen to us, I believe that we always have one of two options: to recognize it happened and learn from it, or to wallow for years to come. Now don't get me wrong; wallowing is PERFECTLY acceptable and good to do... just not for the rest of time. Was what happened scary? Of course it was! Could things have ended far worse than they did? You bet! Does that make it creepier? Sure it does! However, once that situation happens, it can be used as a learning opportunity for the future.

Today

Drinking water at an event. definitely not the worst thing ever!

Drinking water at an event. definitely not the worst thing ever!

Today, I'm a lot more cautious than I used to be. I don't drink unless I'm in a situation I'm 110% comfortable in - with people I trust, wholeheartedly. I don't drink to excess. Sometimes, I don't feel like drinking, even when I'm with people I trust, and then I don't drink. I'm aware of my surroundings.

When I take baths, and lean on the back of the tub just right, my head still hurts from where I fell that night, two years ago. When I think about it, I still get anxiety; still not being able to recollect what, exactly happened. However, because of my experience that night, I am able to understand how my boyfriend is feeling, right now.

Now, alcohol just isn't worth it, to me. Not worth the money. Not worth the sickness. Not worth the opportunity for something to easily go wrong, in the blink of an eye.

That's all, for now. In Part 2, I plan to discuss alcohol from a health standpoint, finding balance and focusing on your future. Take care of yourselves; tell those you love that you love them; and go be well.

xoxo,

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