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  • Writer's pictureAli

Sobriety & Me: How Young Adulthood Shaped My Views of Alcohol

Welcome to part 3! I'm eager and ready to share this part of my story where my own decisions, both wise and unwise, ultimately lead me to a life of eventual, complete sobriety. While debatable, the beginning of adulthood begins at 18, and for the sake of this blog post, that's exactly where we will start.


Trigger warning: rape and abuse. If you feel as though you have not healed from those events in your life, I urge you to ask for help and seek healing. My words will remain tactful and full of thought, but please be aware of the stories being discussed below.


 

When I was 18, I waited tables at a restaurant close to the high school I graduated from, which was a different school than the one I had attended beginning my freshman year. I transferred to another high school for my last semester of my senior year due to some changes in my family dynamics, AKA: my dad married my step-mom, they moved in together in her house, I decided I'd move in with them, and that forced me to change schools. I didn't really fit in at my new school, and I had a major case of senioritis - the sweat pants and hair up in a bun kind of wardrobe wasn't exactly what was considered "cool" or "in style". To paint a picture of my personality, I've never really cared what other people my age thought about me in terms of my clothing style or how I finished my make-up. I was always loyal to my own interests and the way that I presented, which is most often very feminine. The one place I felt accepted and understood was at O'Charley's, the restaurant I worked at part-time after school that semester. When I first started working there, I made friends immediately and instantaneously. It was fast-paced, exhilarating, and the comradery was undeniable. Not long after meeting my new friends, we'd go to someone's house for the evening, get drunk, other people would smoke marijuana in a back room, and at times I'd hook up with an older guy that worked with me. While we were at this person's house, I'd leave my purse on the couch or a chair feeling confident that nobody would take anything of mine, and I was right. As many times as I went to that house with those same people, nothing was ever stolen from me; most importantly my trust. I felt safe and surrounded by security. At that point in my life, I was completely okay with a friends with benefits situation and drinking to excess every weekend. I didn't see the harm in my behaviors at that point in time.

Later that year, I started college on the other side of Atlanta, and unfortunately, my friends couldn't accompany me. I was invited to a party with a different group of friends that I had previously worked with in my hometown. I went to this party with the same assumptions: I am safe. I am secure. I can trust these people like I've trusted people before. That night, I drank rum, vodka and any other available alcoholic drink I could consume to the point of blacking out and very possibly losing consciousness. The only details that I can vaguely remember right before blacking out were when I started to lean against the guy that invited me to the party, he proceeded to take my phone and hide it, he took me to his bedroom, took

my clothes off and put them behind the bed where I couldn't reach them. From there, things go completely black. I don't remember any details up to the point of waking up to him dripping sweat from being on top of me so long. As soon as I gained consciousness again, I told him to stop repeatedly, to which he dismissed by request and continued his sexual acts. I trauma blocked the rest of the night's details, and to this day do not remember any vivid details of the interaction with him. While I do not blame myself for what happened to me, I also recognize my choice to drink to excess has the possibility of opening doors to negative situations happening to me. I take responsibility for my choice to drink. I do not take responsibility for being raped, and if you've experienced that (as many people have) you are not to blame for what happened to you. Let me repeat that: YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME.


As I transitioned out of my friends with benefits and "party" stage, I abruptly went to the other extreme and married a man I dated for only six months at the age of 19. During the early days in our marriage, we spent afternoons with his long time, high school friend playing Bad Golf or "drunk golf" as we called it, on the XBOX, which is just another way of saying that we'd drown ourselves in drunkenness while playing the game given certain rules. My ex-husband and I didn't drink to that extent all the time, but it was more often that I'd care to admit. While I can't say that our relationship revolved around alcohol (because it certainly did not), we made choices while being intoxicated that weren't the wisest or safest. We never drove or made any major choices while being drunk, but we operated like a very immature couple, and it trickled down into other areas of our relationship.

Not long after being married, I went to a friend's house that I was staying at during a wishful thinking transition period of my life. I desperately wanted to move closer to where I grew up, and my ex and I were stuck in North Georgia - a place I despised like the plague. We decided that until he found a job in the town that we wanted to live that I could stay with a friend of mine and her then fiancé until we found a place of our own. One night after work, I arrived at their apartment, ready to celebrate my belated birthday and party it up. Too many drinks later, and I made a very unwise decision. I regretfully cheated on my husband that night with my best friend and her then fiancé, and I eventually lost friendships with them. In all of that, alcohol and my choice to drink took too much from my life, but I still wasn't ready to give it up.


After my divorce in 2016, I stayed single for a period of time while I got back on my feet and healed from ending the previous chapter of my life. Eventually, time went on and I was ready to be out in the dating world again. I had lost some weight, I was feeling myself, and I was happy about where I was going in life.

*Side note: I believe in body positivity and that weight is not a true indicator of happiness. I just needed to do it for me and my own inward feelings.

I met my now ex-girlfriend and eventual ex-fiancé at the hospital I worked at full time, and after many failed, awkward, in-person attempts to strike up a conversation with her, I sent her a Facebook message in hopes that my efforts were reciprocated. Spoiler alert: it worked. Another spoiler alert: I started drinking every night. Looking back, I'm not sure if it was the adrenaline, the endorphins or the nervousness of starting over that persuaded my decision to drink Chardonnay every night while texting her, but that was the decision I made. I became flirty (too flirty too soon, honestly), and unfiltered in my efforts to woo and seduce her by sending seductive selfies in pajamas and lingerie. I reeaallllyyyyy wanted her, both sexually and otherwise. Eventually, I got more than I asked for: an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with a partner whom I loved - even more than myself. I sacrificed my wants and needs in order to please her, and I lost my true self in the process. I was simultaneously scared of her and in love with her all in the same breath. There were so many complex emotions driving the force behind staying in such an abusive relationship, as there are in many other abusive relationships. After months of feeling haunted by the thought of needing to get out, I walked away from that relationship at the end of October 2018. It was devastatingly hard to leave, but staying in the dysfunction was even harder. It's an unfortunate fact that unless you've experienced that kind of trauma, there's no way to adequately describe all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that persuade a person to stay until they're forced to run away. And if you are one of those people who share in that level of trauma and hurt, please know this: I'm sincerely sorry that happened to you. You did nothing to deserve the way that they treated you, and you are not to blame. Let me repeat: YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME.


I, too am on the journey of unlearning negative thought patterns in myself, and it's a tough work in progress. In part 4 of this series, we'll dive deeper into other relationship dynamics and factors that led me to unhealthy levels of drinking, while discovering who I am as a sober girl. I can't wait to share more of my story with you! While you're waiting to read the next part of Sobriety & Me, keep these truths hidden in the deepest parts of who you are:


what happened to you is not your fault

you are more than what other people say or believe about you

you are not to blame for the trauma you've experienced

you are worth so much more


SO

MUCH

MORE





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