“I remember the first time that I had actually gotten drunk off of liquor and it almost felt like this “switch” went off inside of me. I couldn’t believe how AMAZING I felt. It felt like the missing puzzle piece had finally been placed in my life. After this first encounter in college, I began drinking about three times a week. “Drinking” meant taking as many shots as I could before blacking out. I absolutely loved feeling so free and limitless when I was drunk. Without social inhibitions, I felt like I could actually be the person that I should be. I simply felt like an improved version of myself.
At first, my “friends” encouraged me with my drinking and each black out seemed to be the next adventure. I started to both anticipate and dread the morning after drinking because I never knew what I would do while drunk. With so much encouragement, I hardly realized there was a problem with having black outs. I also didn’t recognize the cravings that I started having. I wanted to drink with almost every activity because drinking made everything so much more exciting.
After only a few months, a few of my closer friends and even complete strangers had started telling me that I was having problems with alcohol, but this seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. How on earth could an 18 year old girl have a problem with alcohol?? I thought that was only for middle aged men who drank all day long. In any case, this pattern of drinking continues for about three more years. The black outs and hangovers get worse, and I started putting myself into extremely dangerous situations. It got to the point that I actually passed out in the middle of a busy street. Luckily for me, complete strangers picked me up and took me home (although I don’t actually remember this). I realized that I could hardly ever resist alcohol when it was around and that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t stop drinking once I started. But even then, I still couldn’t believe that I was an alcoholic… there were simply too many reasons why I shouldn’t be.
I finally reached a turning point in my drinking when I realized that it was absolutely destroying my relationship with someone I loved. To be truthful, I didn’t actually realize this until they forced me to. I always had too many excuses for how my drinking wasn’t really a problem, but this person constantly told me how much my drinking bothered him. He wouldn’t be around me when I drank and he asked me to call any time when I felt like drinking. Even so, I continued to drink but with much more manipulative strategies (aka lying). It finally reached the point when I knew our relationship was about to end and that I was entirely responsible. I couldn’t stand this horrible guilt I felt every time I drank. I felt like I would completely lose myself if I continued to drink. I had become someone I couldn’t even recognize. I started making actual attempts to stay sober and I slowly started staying sober for longer periods of time until I finally stopped completely. The absolute keys to my success were changing my environment and my old social circle. I completely stopped going to bars and hanging out with friends who I used to drink with. I still have my struggles with temptations, but after 2.5 years of sobriety, I finally feel happy with myself.
I really wanted to share my story because I feel like alcoholism is completely misunderstood in college aged kids. I saw others going through similar situations as me, but alcoholism was never mentioned because that could only happen to older adults. I also think alcoholism presents itself in many different ways, but most people are only aware of the stereotypical 40 year old male who drinks all day, every day. I never once drank in the morning or every day, but that didn’t stop alcohol from almost ruining my life.”