My Life, Wasted
I started abusing alcohol at college. Sure, college kids drink, but I wasn't drinking just to have fun. I was drinking to cope.
My social anxiety made it nearly impossible to leave my dorm room. I wasn't confident enough to make friends or to talk to girls. And even though I knew I had family and friends who loved me, I felt completely alone. I hated myself. Alcohol was a magic potion that, for a few hours anyways, turned me into someone who was cool, confident, and not alone. It numbed the pain.
For two years, alcohol become something it never asked to be — my medication.
When I left college, the only thing that changed about my drinking was the frequency. Living at home with my parents meant that I couldn't bring a lot of alcohol home, so I took advantage of every opportunity to drink outside the house.
No matter how far I had to drive home, I drank as much as I could and I did my best not to kill myself — or anyone else — when I got behind the wheel. Chasing the feelings that alcohol gave me had become the most important thing in my life; in my selfishness, I didn't care about driving completely wasted. I didn't care about the lives I was putting in danger, including the friends who would sometimes be in the car with me.
Eventually, I stopped relying on alcohol to talk to girls, and I started dating the girl of my dreams. She was a single mom of two little girls, so I found myself with not only the responsibility of a relationship, but with the responsibility of being a father figure as well. Though I wouldn't drink when we had the girls, it was a different story when they weren't around.
We got engaged. And even though I had fallen in love, and even though I knew my fiancée loved me, it wasn't enough. I still didn't love myself and I couldn't accept or believe that I deserved to be loved. I continued to drink as if my life didn't matter, because to me, I didn't matter. No one knew that I was spending every Tuesday night drinking myself stupid. No one knew about the drunken outbursts I was having. No one knew how much I hated myself.
Not until it was almost too late.
Alcohol was a problem in my life, but it was just a byproduct of the ultimate problem: me.
Four months before our wedding day, at around 2 a.m., I left my fiancée’s apartment after her birthday party. I was completely wasted. Not even a mile from the apartment, as I was trying to change a CD, I looked up a second before I crashed into a light pole. The pole fell on top of my car, and I'll never understand how it didn't crush me. A week later, the wedding was called off.
Soon after the accident, I realized that I couldn’t blame alcohol for almost taking my life. It was me. I was to blame.
I was the one who ignored my social anxiety instead of seeking help. I was the one who hid my drinking from everyone. I was the one who didn't love myself and almost died because of it. Alcohol was a problem in my life, but it was just a byproduct of the ultimate problem: me.
Owning up to my problems is how I got past my issues with alcohol.
Addiction always goes back to the person addicted. A person gets addicted to something that they use to either deal with their problems or to escape them. Addiction happens when a person runs from their fears instead of facing them. Owning up to my problems is how I got past my issues with alcohol.
I spent four months in Alcoholics Anonymous. Not because I was forced to, but because I knew I needed to face the harsh reality of what alcohol addiction leads to. I needed to hear that I should humble myself and hear wisdom from those who had been through much worse than me.
I faced my issues by being honest with my friends and family. I began meeting with people and honestly letting them know what I was thinking, what I was struggling with, and I started giving honest answers anytime someone asked me how I was. I sought professional help to deal with my social anxiety so I didn't self-medicate with alcohol.
I faced my issues by talking, thinking, and treating myself like I mattered. I learned to truly love the person I am.
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