I was sober for almost four months.
I don’t have a solid identity because I was drinking at the age most people try to figure it out. I was drinking at 16.
If someone says something about me, I believe them because I don’t know any better.
Multiple people have told me that they didn’t think I was an alcoholic. That I had only been 21 for a short amount of time and just ran in on some “bad luck” when I got busted for drinking and driving.
I felt that I had to prove to myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic, that I didn’t have a problem. I spent more time comparing myself to other people rather than relating to other people.
I didn’t lose a home, a car, or kids. Maybe I’m not an alcoholic after all.
My sponsor stopped sponsoring me (I don’t blame her) and wasn’t that serious about another one.
I found out that I was off probation, and I started drinking again. At first I was able to control it, then Tuesday night happened.
I had stumbled to the bathroom (to go to the bathroom) and I stumbled back into my room. I was having a hard time breathing and it felt like something was weighing in on my chest. I thought I was dying and started to freak out.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I had had a panic attack. In the midst of this panic attack, my sober self came to me. I never wanted to feel that way again.
I don’t remember much from that night. I don’t even remember going to bed. It wasn’t until later I realized that I had blacked out.
I felt guilty, I felt ashamed. I was worried people, friends that I had met along this journey would hate me. They didn’t. They don’t. They greeted me with so much love and compassion. It was weird.
I had thought about shutting this blog down. I thought about my testimony and how everything that I’ve worked for within these last couple of months meant nothing because of this brief relapse.
After confiding in a close friend of mine, she told me that it’s all a part of my story and that it’s okay.
I decided to keep this blog going. I’m ashamed to admit that I wrote my last blog post while I was under the influence and I’m thinking about deleting that individual post, but still doing something along those lines.
I’m only 21 years old. What 21 year old wants to admit that she’s powerless over alcohol? I do. I don’t want another DUI, I don’t want to lose anything that I’ve worked hard for. I want a future for myself and if I keep on drinking, I won’t find any of that.
I’m thankful for the panic attack I had. Because it was painful. And I didn’t want to experience more pain. And that’s what alcohol will do to me if I continue.
I know that the thoughts of “maybe I’m not an alcoholic” will come back. But that’s when I’ll do something. Read, blog, go to a meeting, do something productive around the house (which would make my dad happy).
I’m thankful that I realize this now and not later. I’m thankful for the friends that didn’t abandon me.
I’m also thankful that this relapse was a quick one. There are a lot of people who relapse, and don’t always make it out.
Today was great. I was happy. I even did something I thought I could never do sober: dance. Funny right? It was weird at first, but I did it. And I did it sober. That’s a huge accomplishment for me.
I even went to a meeting that I had never gone before.
As far as my identity is concerned? I need to pray more, study the bible more, and blog more. Do things that make me happy and content, and finding my strength and peace within God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost.
I don’t know if I’m impacting or inspiring anyone, but I hope that I am.
And to all of my readers that know me personally, please don’t tell me that you don’t think I’m an alcoholic. Don’t tell me that I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t have to explain to you why I think that I’m an alcoholic. The only thing I ask for is support. So far, that hasn’t been an issue.
Maya Angelou once said “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.”
Bethany Hamilton is a surfer. A good surfer. A shark bit her arm off and she felt defeated, but she didn’t give up. She learned how to surf with one arm because she didn’t give up.
Ok so what, I stumbled. The point is I’m getting back up, I’m trying again, and I came out of it. I can look forward, I can move forward, I can look back and realize what got me here as long as I don’t dwell on the past. I’m not giving up.
Not every day is going to be as great as today, but all I have to worry about right now is today.
Photo by Vek Labs on Unsplash