I started drinking at age 13. I know it’s young, but I suppose growing up witnessing alcoholism led me into a life of trying to escape really early on. My drinking lasted me years and years and I really don’t know when I stopped. It just sort of phased out of my life. I never really officially stopped; it just wasn’t what I wanted anymore in my life.
I remember thinking several times how hyper and fun I was without booze, and how it was really a waste of money for me. When I was sober, I felt as though I actually was drunk, so it began with that. The first time I felt that way I was probably 13 or 14, but it didn’t last long, as I continued to drink every single weekend. We got older “friends” to buy it for us, or we just stole it from our parents. As a parent of a 13 year old, I don’t have any booze in my house! Drinking led to smoking pot, then to hash, mushrooms and acid. I did a lot of acid around age 14 and 15 as it was super cheap and it kept me high for hours. By age 17, I was back to only drinking and had left drugs behind, for the most part.
From age 17 and into my late 20s, I drank like a fish. I lost friends, made friends, fought with friends, drank and drove, gained and lost partners, made a fool of myself, hurt myself, hurt others, embarrassed others and hated myself. I didn’t like who I became when I drank, but I didn’t want to stop. Drinking helped me cope with my crazy, self-loathing life.
Then one day, while participating in a workshop that someone created for their master’s thesis on self-esteem, it just clicked. All the hate I had for myself and others had to go away and I needed to start loving myself. I finished the workshop and was on my way to my new self. At this point I was 25 and still drank quite a bit, but was well away from drinking and driving. Years before, I had stopped drinking and driving, began volunteering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and was an advocate that helped raise awareness around this important issue.
However, I was still fighting with people and with myself and I wanted this to stop too. It got to the point where after a night of drinking I wanted to sleep in my own bed but could not afford taxis. Instead, I only drank a beer or two early on in the evening and drove home hours later. I didn’t have a lot of money to buy alcohol when out with friends, so I brought tea in my large Nalgene bottle to drink throughout the night. When at friends’ places, I would make tea all night long. Even though I still drank a lot some nights, those nights became fewer and further between.
I hated the idea of losing control of myself. I felt so much better the morning after and was much more productive. I had no more feelings of guilt from what I had done the night before and I saved a crap-load of money. The lifestyle just phased out of my life; it wasn’t worth it anymore.
I am still tons of fun, still have a social life and (usually) work with a clear mind. Instead of going out drinking, I do other fun things such as meet friends for breakfast or dinner, and eating at various delicious restaurants around Winnipeg. I enjoy myself and my life so much better now.