Confessions of an Alcoholic: Things I Wish People Knew About Addiction
Confessions of an Alcoholic
I would never wish the disease of addiction on anybody — the pain and suffering that accompanies alcoholism is self-destructive, terrifying, and unbearable. If you are not an addict yourself, you most likely look at alcoholics with confusion. How could somebody continue to abuse substances even when their life is crumbling to pieces because of it? Why does a person continue to get high despite all of the destructive consequences? In short, we continue to drink and drug because we have a disease affecting our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. But addiction is a complex disease with many facets. When I try to explain my alcoholism to a non-addict, say my loving Grandmother who just cannot wrap her head around the concept, I am unable to properly express my thoughts. I have decided to try and use the written word in the form of Confessions of an Alcoholic to shed some light on a few of the more complex reasons for why I drank to oblivion day after day, year after year.
Confessions of an Alcoholic: I drank hoping to fix my broken parts
I truly believe I have been an addict from day one — since I was young, I have been obsessed with seeking outside comfort to numb my inner pain. In the beginning, substances were a quick fix for me. I temporarily forgot about all the aspects of my being that I despised. Self-loathing is exhausting and over the years, it broke me down until I was just a shell of a person. As my brain became addicted to the chemicals, my soul did as well. I cradled and protected my whiskey with all my heart, believing that it was the answer to all of my problems. With every fifth, I honestly thought I was filling the emptiness inside of me. As my addiction progressed, this thought eventually left my consciousness and I relied on alcohol merely to survive.
Confessions of an Alcoholic: I drank to forget the pain
I’m sure that non-addicts also use drugs and alcohol to temporarily numb their pain, but for me, it wasn’t just a temporary fix. In some of the darkest days of my life, I remember truly believing that I would always be an addict because I would never be able to manage the pain on my own. Today, remembering that makes me so sad — I knew no other way out other than alcohol and pills. I struggled on a daily basis with intrusive memories, nightmarish flashbacks, and emotional shame as a result of PTSD. I used drugs and alcohol to be free from the constant pain my brain would not let me forget. But even before the trauma, I used alcohol to numb the depression, anxiety, and severe self-hatred that shook me to my core on a daily basis.
Confessions of an Alcoholic: I drank with the intention of killing myself
It wasn’t always this way, but in the last year of my addiction, I drank every single day with the intention of dying. The alcohol had stopped working — it no longer numbed the pain and I recognized that it wasn’t “fixing” me. One day my roommate came home and had to call the police to escort me the emergency room just across the street. I vividly remember the ER staff telling me that my blood alcohol level was so high I should be an alcoholic coma, but instead I was conscious and remember much of that hospital visit. I share that story with a heavy heart because it was not an uncommon situation with me and I promptly left the ER and started using again. By that point, I was praying to just not wake up. I couldn’t imagine coming to at 2am and having to turn to the bottle once again — it was too much for me. I would hurt myself at all hours of the day, waking up with blood surrounding me, frustrated that I was still in this world and had to carry on for another day.
Confessions of an Alcoholic: I drank because I have a disease
I have the mental, physical, and spiritual disease of addiction. Even when I am completely physically detoxed of all substances, my mind will convince me that drugs and alcohol are not only a great idea, but a necessary solution to all of my problems. As soon as I put alcohol into my system, my body will not stop. I relapsed often — no matter how badly I wanted to stop drinking, I could not do so until I sought a spiritual solution. The disease of addiction is real — addicts do not lack willpower or moral values, we have a disease that tells us we don’t have a disease.
Writing this Confessions of an Alcoholic blog was challenging for me — it took me back to very dark days that are painful to remember. I hope I have shed some light on the disease of addiction, and how there is more to addiction than just the drugs and alcohol. In my active addiction, I didn’t believe there was a way out, but today, my life is better than I could ever have imagined. Of course there are challenges and road bumps, but I love my life and no longer wish to end it. With the help of my sober supports, outpatient treatment team, and the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I learn how to live life on life’s terms and be a better friend, daughter, sister, niece, etc.
To the struggling addict, addiction help is available. You do not need to live in pain anymore, nor carry around the heaviness that plagues you on a daily basis. There is a solution, and it is a wonderful, life-changing one. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, Recovery Advocates is here to help. If you would like to submit your own Confessions of an Alcoholic to help shed some light on addiction, email it to email@example.com