One of the most fucked-up things about addiction is that you cannot logic your way out of it. It isn’t that you aren’t aware of all the damage you are doing to yourself it’s just that nothing about knowing any of that is going to stop you. You need the drug because you need the high because you just need it. By the time you are addicted to it you have dug out your brain to the point where you hate that you are drinking even as you are pouring the drink. But the story is always the goddamn same. The drink wins because it was always winning long before you knew the rules of the game.
The rules being: heads booze wins, tails you lose.
I woke up in a cute little boutique hotel room downtown one morning about ten years ago and realized fairly quickly that I had absolutely zero memory of how I returned to it the night before. We had been on a bar crawl and I made the ‘mistake’ of starting heavy and not letting up because that’s what I always did except that now I was old enough to know better. Apparently, I was talking too loud in a sex shop about stupid things which I found hilarious and then I passed out sitting up on the stairs to the bathroom of some swank restaurant bar. My friends were told to collect me and get the hell out, which we all did. My husband put me to bed. When I asked what happened he told me and I remember feeling a sudden slash of fear cut right from the back of my throat to the center of my stomach.
I had done a lot of stupid reckless shit in my twenties. But when I was still doing it in my thirties it started to panic me. Not for long, but still. I am sure I resumed drinking that Sunday afternoon. I mean, why ruin a sweet get-away weekend by ending the party early. I was still in control, I just needed some help sometimes. Better that than pull some dramatic shit like quit dumping poison into my precious veils. And my man said it wasn’t so bad. It was fine. I was fine. It’s all a good laugh. Just some good clean fun. Something to talk about over drinks with friends.
Now I know what bullshit that was. Not only the event but the response. The writing shit like that off as just an inevitable part of the experience of weekends hanging out on the city bar scene. Except it wasn’t inevitable for anyone but me. Ten plus years later I can still feel how sick I felt the next morning and how when he told me what I did I felt only numbness, only the deadness of blackout space. Like being blindfolded and reaching out into empty air, feeling for something to hold on to but finding absolutely nothing. Nothing at all.
Looking back on it now, I would say that was the beginning of the spark of my recognition of my drinking problem. It burst like a shock out of nowhere, like plugging your finger into an electric outlet yet being stunned by the jolt. I didn’t expect it even though, logically, I know how electricity works. It flashed like a bulb that flares bright as the sun one last time before it burns completely out. But in that split second, the unwelcome glare illuminated every crack in every wall in the dimming halls of my freshly frightened mind.