“Loving you was young, and wild, and free. Loving you was cool, and hot, and sweet. Loving you was sunshine, safe and sound. A steady place to let down my defenses. But loving you had consequences.”Consequences – Camillia Cabello
Over 9 years I broke every vow I made to myself when it came to drinking. I got so drunk I couldn’t walk, blackout drinking became the norm for me, and I drank and drove more times than I feel comfortable to admit. When it came to parties, I bought two large bottles of wine for myself, and would label them with my name, and hide them. I got jealous if I ever had to share a bottle of wine or a pitcher of Sangria/Margaritas. If I had to share, I would make sure I filled my glass a hair more than everyone else’s. I would drink a little faster so I could refill mine more quickly and to make sure I got the most.
Over the years, alcohol was the cause of so many unnecessary arguments, misunderstanding, threatenings of suicide, acts of self harm, embarrassing, stupid, promiscuous behavior, jealousy, and meltdowns. It was the reason for horrible hangovers that would last for days. Yet, despite all of the problems alcohol caused in my life, I was still blind to the fact that it was causing any problems at all.
My college years were a blast and a nightmare simultaneously. There was great loss, chaos, and self destructive behavior. It was a rollercoaster ride of depression, debilitating panic attacks, mood swings and lots and lots of drinking. Still, everybody drinks in college! Everyone goes to class hungover! Everyone writes their best work drunk at 2am! (My great grades only supported my delusions which underscored the fact that I really was fine with my relationship to alcohol). People who lose their homes, fail out of school, get arrested, lose their husbands/wives, their jobs, and their lives are the ones who have a problem. Not me.
I could write about all of the chaos but to he honest, most of it is a mix of my own blackouts, hazy nightclub memories, trashy apartment parties, walks of shame and the game of what’s your name again?
As much I was drinking, it didn’t compare to the drinking of others. My significant 5 year relationship during college was with someone who was further along on the scale of problem drinking. Our relationship consisted of lying, cheating, fighting, drunk driving, drunken physical abuse, control and manipulation, a dui (not on my part) and jealousy. The word co-dependent doesn’t even begin to describe it. There were a lot of great times but it was a unhealthy relationship all around. I wasn’t happy and even though we were best friends, the relationship also brought out the absolute worst in both of us. I knew I had to leave.
In March of 2015, I have started a new and casual relationship with someone else at home. What should have been a one time encounter turned into several months of chaos. I ended one tumultuous relationship only to get into another one filled with disappearing acts, empty promises, a dui, and of course more drinking and drugs – none of which was on my part. I should have known there was something unusual about this relationship from the very beginning. Our first encounter was anything but normal.
I’m out with my mom and a friend of ours, Laura. They take me to a bar specifically for an open mic night. We take a seat at the bar and strike up a conversation with the bartender Nick. There’s an immediate connection between us, everyone at the bar takes notice. “So, you’re going to sing?” Nick asks. I look down at my drink and smile, “yeah, I think so.” “Well, I can’t wait to hear it.” I sing a few songs throughout the night, everyone loves it, the guy running the open mic night calls his friend Tim, to come listen to me. Tim is pretty well known around this incredibly small town. He’s part of the local music scene and incredibly talented.
The night is winding down, and people are heading home. “Hey, would you like to head back to my place for a drink after I close down?” Nick asks. “Sure. I can do that” I promise my mom I’ll call her in a little while to let her know I’m ok. After all, this guy could be an axe murderer for all we know.
Nick closes the bar and we head back to his house. I check my phone, the battery is dead. “Hey, do you have a phone charger I could use?” I ask. “Not one that will work with your phone.” He says. “Would you mind if I borrow your phone? I told my mom I would check in with her to let her know everything is ok and that you’re not some crazy person.” I say. “My phone is dead and my charger doesn’t work. It’s the only one I have.” he responds. Wait. What? Who only has one phone charger? Who doesn’t have a car charger? How do you charge your phone if your charger doesn’t work? Should I consider this a red flag? This guy is pretty much telling me he doesn’t have access to a workable phone. I immediately feel uneasy. I know my mom and I know if she doesn’t hear from me, she will flip out.
I mention this to Nick as we walk in the house. He nonchalantly tells me to relax and that everything will be fine. He obviously has never met anyone like my mom before. Through his charming ways he distracts me from the phone issue and we enjoy the night. The next time I look at the clock, it’s 3am, and all I assume my mom has sent our a search party to look for me. It turns out I am not that far off. There’s a knock on the door. It’s a state trooper asking for me; he has my mom on the phone. He’s trying not to laugh. Yes. My mom sent the state police to track me down. I am beyond embarrassed. As if parachuting out of the sky, my mom and Laura show up in Nick’s driveway. He walks me out to the car and is way too understanding about the situation which makes me wonder what kind of life he’s lived that he isn’t running away from me screaming. He ever tells me he will call me in the morning to make sure I’m ok.
Not only does he call but he meets my mom and I for lunch. He’s beyond charming and by the time he leaves, she’s actually in support of us seeing each other despite the previous nights event. For months, I ignore red flag after red flag after red flag including when he straight out asks me if I do drugs to which I respond with a laughed “I smoke pot sometimes, but I don’t do anything like cocaine or heroin.” Despite the massive consumption of alcohol with my friends in college, none of us got into the hard core drugs. Some of my friends smoke pot, or took shrooms every once in a while but it was alcohol that took over the parties. So, it didn’t occur to me that anyone I would be involved with would be a drug addict.
I didn’t care about the consequences. He is incredibly sweet, charming, and funny. He can cook, he is Mr. Fix-It when it comes to cars and things around the house, and he comes from a well to do family. I wake up in the mornings to the sun rising over the bay and end the nights hanging out in the hot tub under the stairs. I am so incredibly taken by him and the idea of what could be, I keep choosing him over having stability in my life. But the universe was tired of watching me voluntarily choose chaos over peace. It was time to wave the white flag.