Part Eight: Better the Devil You Know

I cheated myself like I knew I would. I told you I was trouble, you know I’m no good.

You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse

One gin and tonic, then another, a glass of wine, a glass of sangria, a few shots of fireball, a couple more gin and tonics. Ten all together. I had ten fucking drinks last night. How stupid do you have to be to go that overboard after you’ve been sober for four months. You deserve to feel like shit. I am a total garbage person. I feel ashamed; I am mad at myself and I am bombarded by every other negative emotion that exists. Well, that was fun, I guess. Stop sulking! Be proud of yourself that you made it over four months! That’s a huge accomplishment. Part of me believes this is true, the other part of me doesn’t care and wants to throw all of the progress I’ve made on myself out the window.

I open up my day tracker app that is attached to my sober forum account. I can’t even stand to look at it. Instead of resetting it and starting over immediately, I delete the app. I made it sober through four months of happy times, sad times, frustrating times, a wedding, a girls trip, concerts, and other parties yet I just threw it all away and for what? Whatever! It doesn’t matter. I tried being sober, it was fun time and now I’m done. I am back to reality. Last night, not only did I have ten drinks, I got upset with Josh over something stupid, I started crying because a friend of ours was joking around with me over how much I was drinking, and I passed out with the world spinning around me. The past four months sober didn’t cure me of my binge drinking habits or prevent me from turning into “Sad Brooke” like I thought it would. Ok. So, last night was a mess up. But, I can do this. I can control my drinking! I just have to try harder next time. I know! I’ll create some rules for myself to help!

Rule #1: Only drink red wine! Rule #2: No more than three glasses! Rule #3: No shots! Rule #4: No drinking if I have to get up for work the next day. Rule #5 Only drink after Josh’s gigs, not during. Rule #6, Rule #7, Rule #8….

Through gritted teeth, I manage to abide by my rules and drink in moderation for about a month or two with the exception of New Years Eve 2018. New Years Eve is a free pass of course – the other servers and I sneak drinks during our shift since our role tonight is easy. Tonight, we are cocktail waiters and waitresses. We don’t have any responsibility other than to pass around hors d’oeuvre trays and order drinks. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, we merrily celebrating with the guests who have paid $70 a ticket for a buffet, live music, and half price drinks. Our boss is drunk as usual, has already bought the kitchen staff a round or two of shots, and therefore is blissfully unaware that the rest of his staff is getting messed up right in front of his eyes. Not that I am making excuses, but despite the drinking and with the added bonus of barely any responsibility, we all continue to perform our jobs insanely well. I finish my shift, I am good and tipsy and ready to ring in the New Year!

I leave just in time to meet Josh before midnight at his gig but it turns out to be a disaster. The guy he is playing with, an alcoholic in denial, shows up hammered before the gig even starts and by 10, can literally barely stand up to play. He continues to drink despite his behavior and inability to do his job so by the time I show up, it’s all gone to shit. Great. My night is ruined. I can’t spend New Years Eve with Josh the way I want because this guy is falling apart. I can’t get a drink because the bartenders suck. My buzz is wearing off and this whole night is going to hell. Well, at least I’ll be able to remember the night, I don’t really have another choice anyway. By the time we get back from our annual Key West vacation in the middle of February, I am back drinking like I never stopped in the first place. Who did I think I was kidding? It was bound to happen sooner or later. Moderation is a joke. I don’t need to moderate! I’m fine! I don’t have a problem, this whole sobriety thing is stupid.


For the next several months, I try quitting alcohol again and again. I make it two days here, five days there, another day here. I can’t make it an entire week without drinking. I’ve drank every single day since the beginning of May. I’ve started cancelling obligations, including therapy appointments, because I know I’ll be drinking the night before and will be too hungover the next day. What is wrong with me! I’m drinking every day now? I’m prioritizing my drinking over fucking therapy? This has got to stop. I decide for what feels like the hundredth time to get sober and I spend the entire month of June sober as a judge. I even celebrate my 27th birthday sober – the first sober birthday since I was 18 or 19. Honestly, it was the best birthday I’ve had in years. I was genuinely happy. I had a small get together with friends at one of Josh’s gigs. I got up to sing, we had presents and cake, I felt so loved and so incredibly lucky. The words pure joy can’t describe the level of happiness I felt. And I didn’t even think about alcohol. Hold on to this feeling. Don’t ever let it go.

Well did I let it go! I let it go big time. I thought I was miserable after the assault? Ha! – misery takes many forms and it was about to consume my life all over again. July and August of 2018 were two of worst months of my life. I’ve been working in a restaurant riddled with alcoholism and drugs like many of the restaurants in the resort town I live in. So, starting to drink again means the devil on my shoulder is at full force. I begin to literally self sabotage everything good in my life and I have hit an all new low. I am drinking more than I was before and lying about it. After I confess to drinking again, I start lying about how much I am drinking and hiding my drinking. I picked up smoking, I’m eating garbage, I am miserable to be around. I am mad at my mom and Josh all of the time when all they are trying to do is help save me from myself. I’m burning the candles at both ends and I am completely freaked out about the future. How is school going to impact my life and my relationship with Josh? It’s going to change everything! I flip my own life completely upside down – I’m a train barreling down the tracks about to go off the rails. I am about to completely crash and burn.


I begin to destroy my life by telling Josh I want to take a break from our relationship. I am trying to preemptively strike – I’ll be gone for school several days a week, it will change everything, and there is no way that we will be able to stay together. So, I might as well just ends things now to save us from heartache later. Josh tries to change my mind, he tells me every encouraging and supportive thing he can think of but I am adamant. I know it’s a mistake the second the words come out of my mouth but the damage has been done. I cry myself to sleep for the next several weeks and try to numb myself with drinking. Despite the immense amount of pain we are both feeling, we try to continue to see each other. People are talking, awful rumors are spreading, and our friends are talking shit about both of us (but mostly about me) behind my back. It’s a horrible situation no matter which way you look at it. After one night of heavy drinking, I come home and have a full blown mental break down to the point where my mom asks if I want to go to the hospital. I say no and just cry. I feel so helpless, so lost, and so ashamed. Why are these feelings haunting me so.

Earlier in the summer, I gave my two weeks notice at the restaurant that allowed me some time to prepare for school. Now, it’s the middle of August and time is closing in. I am beyond ready. Turns out, the universe wanted to speed up the process a little bit. An argument of epic proportion explodes between me and my boss. He is drunk and completely goes off the handle about a situation that wasn’t a problem to begin with. It took everything in me and the friendly words of a co-worker to keep me from walking out on the spot. I still sent in my resignation immediately. Fuck this place. I’m done. I’m not putting up with this bullshit anymore. I don’t need this place.

When my shift is over at midnight, do I leave and go home? Do I put on my pajamas, crawl into bed, and go to sleep? No. I decide the way to handle such an eventful night is by drinking two long island ice teas after working a 12 hour shift without eating. I black out by the start of my second drink. I apparently drank both drinks in their entirety, walked across the street to meet some co-workers, had another drink, ranted about work, and left. Next thing I know, I come out of my black out behind the wheel of my car. FUCK! What am I doing!? I need to pull over. The road looks like it’s been replaced with the Rainbow road from Mario Kart. How long have I been driving!? I pull over onto the side of the road and call my mom to pick me up. “Stay there, sweetie. I’m on my way right now”. I decide this would be a good idea to call Josh and drunkenly try to tell him that I’ve quit my job like he’s been saying I should. I don’t remember much of the actual conversation or of his repsonse. My mom arrives in record time and takes me home. I text Josh before going to sleep “I’m so sorry I disappointed you”.

I go to therapy the next morning and spill my guts. It’s cathartic but it doesn’t change the fact that I am still actively ruining my life. The fact that I haven’t been arrested or hurt myself or someone else, is sheer dumb luck. Yet, I still twist the details around to support my actions. If I had a problem, I would have just kept drinking at home. I wouldn’t have pulled over and called to get picked up. So, actually, I’m being pretty responsible. I finish out the remainder of my shifts at work and on my last day I decide to try and fix at least one aspect of my life. That day I send Josh a text telling him that I want to enjoy the rest of my summer, that I want to be happy, and that I want to be with him. I apologize for my behavior and tell him that I am far from perfect right now but that I am trying. That the only thing I know for sure is that I love him and that I feel better when we are together. He texts me back and says I can come over later if I want to. I feel somewhat relieved, I’m just hoping that he will want to work on things. I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t – I’ve put us both through an enormous rollercoaster of pain. I have no idea who I am anymore. I’ve turned into a horrible version of myself and I was unaware even existed. Now, it’s time to salvage any chance I have left at pulling my life together before school starts.

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