Alcohol Isn’t Magic and Won’t Make Your Problems Disappear

Now I can sit and watch the time fly. I’ll feel better when tears have gone by. I’ll never again be blind sided by fate. The future will have to wait. I only have time for today as long as I can delay making a plan.

Making A Plan – Semisonic

I’ve started my second year of school for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I’ve loved every single second of being in this program, even when things are difficult. But, last night during my three hour commute, the thoughts of class and amount of work started to rattled around in my head. I started to doubt myself. There’s so much to do and the trimester has barely begun. I feel so overwhelmed already. If I feel like this now, how the hell am I going to make it through the next 14 weeks! My head was spinning. A drink would really take the edge off. I could just take a break and check out for just for a second to get rid of this worry. I don’t want to think about any of this anymore.

The bitch about alcohol and one of the reasons why I loved it so much was because in my head, alcohol solved my problems, erased the stress, anxiety, and overwhelming feelings, and made everything better – it was the magic elixir that made the bad things disappear. Except it wasn’t. Alcohol didn’t magically solve my problems – it just made me forget about them until the next morning. Alcohol didn’t magically erase the negative feelings, it just numbed me temporarily. And alcohol didn’t magically make anything better, it only exacerbated the exact issue I was trying to drown out.

There’s a saying in AA – to play the tape through – instead of romanticizing the drink. Now, I know myself and if you’ve been following my story, you know me too – there is no such thing as one drink for me. But sometimes, my mind pulls out all the magic tricks it can to make me think otherwise. That bad voice breaks through every now and then. So, I’m going to try the new strategy just for kicks and giggles! Let’s play the tape through and see what happens…

I pour myself one glass of wine. Ah…that’s nice. I feel my entire body relaxing more and more with each sip gulp. One glass was great. I feel perfectly fine. I can have one more. I pour myself a second glass, so why not a third. Three is a good number. Three is a respectable number. Well, after three glasses, the bottle is practically empty anyway – it would be just rude not to finish it off. One glass of wine has somehow turned into the entire bottle! Well, damn. I didn’t mean to drink the whole bottle. Oh well, screw it! Since, I’m drinking, I might as well enjoy myself and make a couple gin and tonics! The initial physical relaxation has turned into a serious mental buzz. There is no way on earth I am going to ruin my buzz with homework! I’ll get up early and do it tomorrow! The edges of reality are blurring, everything has become hazy. Time has slipped away; it’s late and I’m tired. I flop down on the bed, clumsily set three alarms, and pass out.

I don’t wake up early. Instead, I snooze my alarms and sleep as late as I can because I feel like total shit. My head is pounding. I feel like I’m going to be sick. The room is spinning. I’m grumpy, groggy, thirsty, tired, and I hate myself and the world. I am not prepared for class and now have to drive myself to school severely hungover. The assignments that I needed to finish for school have not disappeared. Instead, I am now behind on my school work. The stress and overwhelmed feelings have not been erased but have transformed into severe anxiety and dread that floods my body. Physically, I feel like I’ve been hit by a train and I have woken up to the realization that I just threw a little over 11 months of sobriety out the window and it’s day one all over again. Fuck.

I almost don’t want to publish this post. I played the tape through with the mildest scenario possible and frankly, it totally sucked. Alcohol isn’t magic and won’t make your problems disappear. I am nauseous and disgusted after writing that scenario and I am incredibly grateful because I never have to choose that path again. In less than a month, I will celebrate 365 days of living sober, living stronger, and living happier – and that, my friends, is magical.

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