In the Grip of Insatiable Hunger

The sun burned as I struggled to open my eyes. As the reality of my situation became clearer, I thought, Where am I? The rush of running water from a nearby shower confirmed what I couldn’t remember. Another night of heavy drinking led to a meaningless hookup with a guy whose name escaped me.

Just another evening, in a series of them, when the craving for alcohol led to my demon within being unleashed. It was the need for sex that prompted my reckless drinking — and the more liquor, the better. That way I wouldn’t remember the deplorable things I had done to gain the attention of a guy.

The painful void in my heart kept me coming back for more self-destruction, resulting in further self-loathing and embarrassment. I felt like I couldn’t stop, even though I desperately wanted to. Sure, the “next morning” remorse might keep me from repeating the pattern, but only for a short time.

An invisible force would overtake any good sense I once possessed and turn it into an insatiable hunger that was never entirely satisfied.

It wouldn’t be long before an invisible force would overtake any good sense I once possessed and turn it into an insatiable hunger that was never entirely satisfied. All my relationships had become shallow and distant because of my addictions. Degradation and self-condemnation were my constant companions.

Like so many other times, I felt trapped. I quickly scanned the room, locating my clothes at different points on the floor. I tried to get out of there expediently and without detection. Little did I know that the shower had a bird’s eye view of the bed — and my attempt at departure had been discovered. Time to put on a show.

I slowed my steps as he called out for me to join him. My stomach turned into even tighter knots. I became increasingly nauseous. I just wanted to go home and forget last night had ever happened. I was so disgusted with myself and this nameless man.

Instead, I pasted on a fake smile and acted as though he was my world — while my skin crawled each time he touched me. After finishing, I made an excuse to leave and called for a ride. The drive home was surreal, with little being said besides me trying to make light of the previous night’s humiliation.

I used to have hope. I used to dream about what my life would be like — and this wasn’t it.

I went straight to my room. I needed to be away from everyone and everything. I looked at myself in the mirror. Dark circles and bloodshot eyes now dressed the mere shell of the woman I had become. I was never more disgraced with myself than in those moments.

“I can’t do this anymore,” I said out loud as I looked at myself in the mirror that day. I used to have hope. I used to dream about what my life would be like — and this wasn’t it. There had to be more. That day, I acknowledged the terrifying truth that if I continued living like this, I might not ever overcome my addictions. The sex and alcohol pendulum had imprisoned and owned me, taking away any chance of escape. They felt like a prison sentence, without the possibility of parole.

It had to be a brutal and immediate resolution. The resonating reality of losing the very essence of who I should be, or wanted to be, had manifested itself as an erupting volcano — and it could no longer be ignored. Without much of an explanation, I told my roommate I was moving out. It seemed like I couldn’t pack my things quickly enough. I made a change before it made me. I turned away from the lifestyle that was destroying me, and it felt right.

I turned my attention to other things to keep me from tempting situations. I journaled more and found a trusted female friend in whom I could safely ask for help. Though I may not have spilled my guts about the extent of my indiscretion, getting the poison that had been annihilating my potential out into the open felt incredibly freeing.

Today, it’s hard to fathom I ever lived a life like that. And no, my efforts to change my circumstances weren’t always completely successful. But because of my deep need to survive and my hope for something more, things did eventually change for good. They had to.

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Photo Credit: Lauren Rushing (Flickr CC)