I had my first sip of alcohol when I was 14 years old. I was in the eighth grade and at a party. I lived in a tiny town growing up, and there wasn’t a lot for teenagers to do for entertainment. Many of my friends and peers started to experiment with drinking around the same time as me simply to escape the boredom that we encountered during our downtime.
I feel in love with the way that alcohol made me feel the first time I tried it. I could barely stomach the taste of it, but the sense of calm that filled my normally anxiety-ridden mind was all the fuel I needed to learn to like the taste over time. By the time I got to be a high schooler, my alcohol use escalated from a couple of times a month to a few days a week. At one point I was even bringing water bottles full of vodka to school with me. My friends and I would drink out of them during our lunch and study hall time and spend our time at school drunk when we were supposed to be learning. I struggled to graduate by somehow made it through.
When Things Started to Spiral out of Control
When I turned 21 things got really bad. I could get alcohol whenever I wanted to without having to convince somebody older to buy it for me. I didn’t have to sneak around my family anymore now that I was of legal age. I started drinking a bottle of wine a day in my downtime and would spend about 4 or 5 days a week staying out later at the bars, drinking even more alcohol on top of the bottle of wine I had usually already consumed early in the day.
My drinking problem continued to escalate into my mid-twenties. By the time that I had reached the age of 26 most of my friends had grown tired of dealing with me because I was always drunk. I wasn’t myself anymore, and I didn’t really even have a personality outside of being obnoxious. At the age of 27, I became suicidal due to my addiction to alcohol. I would try to stop only to find that my body physically would not let me. When I tried to stop, my body would start to shake. I would grow irritable and sometimes violent. I would try to stop drinking every few months or so and come out feeling defeated every single time. What had started out as something that I used to cope with my anxiety and depression lead to my symptoms getting worse over the years instead of better? Alcohol was holding me prisoner, and making me resent the fact that I was alive. This was when a family member convinced me to get professional help.
Starting treatment was a very scary process for me. Alcohol was the only coping mechanism that I had known for over a decade of my life. I didn’t have the opportunity to develop healthy coping mechanisms during my adolescence like most people, because I spent the time that I was supposed to be learning how to cope with life’s challenges getting drunk instead. I wasn’t sure what I would be exposed to during treatment. I wasn’t sure what emotion baggage would arise during my detox process. I was so afraid of going that I almost backed out of it on multiple occasions. Although it was scary at first, it was the best decision I had ever made for myself.