One of my more recent posts eluded to a crisis in my life. I haven’t revealed it yet, because in all truth, I am rather ashamed of some of the realities of my life. In personal writing lately, a rambling piece entitled “Write it Out, Right it Out“, I went on say:
I’ve always been caught in my own world of the mindf***, you know? And when I’m drunk, I am more susceptible to mindf***ery. I don’t like it. I start to lose grasp on my reality, and sometimes it disappears completely – my grasp, that is.
I have made references to my alcoholism in the past, but never with much detail or emphasis. I neglected to mention that alcoholism is a real part of my present, mainly because I didn’t consider recreational drinking to fall under that category. I was sorely mistaken. I wrote to a friend:
Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking substance abuse seriously, like it wasn’t a fact in my life. I’m going to guess that mania had a little to do with it. Like I was above it all because I had gotten away with it.
And another in the same piece, “Write it Out, Right it Out”:
I don’t think I actually believed myself when I have described the seriousness of my alcoholism in my past. Or maybe I thought that it was somehow different, because this is a different situation. Or maybe I thought I was just too young and immature to handle myself.
The fact of the matter is this. I have been suffering from terrible alcoholism from the age of 19. At the age of 17, I took up drinking as a recreational activity. When life events sent me into a tailspin, I spent the last six months of my 18th year in a state of perpetual intoxication. By the time I was 19, alcohol was a regular fixture in my life, and was a part of every recreational activity. Finally, it progressed the point of functional alcoholism by the time I was 21. I described it to a friend as:
Except, I know that there was two years that I spent drunk every single night. I made excuses, like friends and parties, but I would drink by myself. I remember there were nights I’d drink until 4am, and have my boss call me at 6:30am to ask where the hell I was.
During the two years, I had a solid schedule. Wake up at 2pm, leave for work at 2:30pm, work three to nine, drink and eat nine thirty to four or six in the morning, and do it again. I had even devised strategies to avoid vicious hangovers and physical withdrawal. Occasionally, I would venture out with a bottle in my purse, just in case there wasn’t any alcohol where I was going.
Since my son was born, there have only been a handful of what I consider to be benders, which were periods of time where I would invent a reason to have friends over for drinks. I never intended on getting wasted, and I usually didn’t. But, there were occasions. Some relatively benign, ending with me waking up with a vicious hangover and swearing off alcohol entirely for awhile. Others, they ended disastrously with an altercation, and I would find myself resolving the situation by dumping all of the booze down the drain, with a certain satisfaction at my self-restraint and determination.
Here’s the truth. I never get complimented on my resolve. Because, everyone knows that I will always go back to the same old, same old. No matter how much I appear to change.
I am not always forthcoming about my weaknesses, especially the ones that spark shame. I am embarrassed by my lack of self-control, especially in matters that are extremely frowned upon. There are a lot of bad character traits that I can identify, and openly and honestly admit to. However, lack of self-control is not one of them. I’ve never considered myself as impulsive, and people often view it as immature and juvenile. I have always considered myself to be mature and responsible, with certain exceptions, like during college, because impulsive actions and lack of restraint were commonplace, and socially accepted.
Many can argue that impulsivity is not necessarily a character trait of mine, rather, a feature of Bipolar Disorder. Maybe that is true, because there really was a brief period in my childhood that I recall being very responsible, consistent, and mindful. And yet, there are still incidents that I recall as being not well thought out before execution. A condition of childhood? Maybe. Facet of personality or symptom of psychological disorder, it stands as probably the weakest trait I have.