I’ve done this all before.
I’m sitting at the office on a Monday morning sipping iced tea from a clear plastic cup while repeatedly marveling at how closely the golden brown color tries desperately to be whiskey. My mind independently repurposes the actuality of my beverage with what it COULD be in my imagined paradise of never ending intoxication in a world void of hangovers and responsibilities. I know for a fact that iced tea wishes it could be whiskey. I wish it could be, too. Iced tea, however delicious, would give anything to be as cool and carefree as a glass full of Bulleit and I don’t blame it for aspiring to such beauty. I’ve spent the past six years flooding myself with beautiful alcohol in what appeared to be an attempt to actually become it. Or at least get as close to its calming perfection as humanly possible. Obsessive wandering of the mind and for what? I should be working. After all, this is the first Monday I’ve been on the job without feeling deathly ill. I didn’t even drink whiskey and somehow that’s what tea is making me long for. I could switch to lemon lime seltzer but the mere taste of it immediately fills my mind with thoughts of vodka sodas and makes me seriously question whether or not I’m beginning to feel the tip of a buzz even though I know there is nothing buzzworthy in my cup.
Last Monday I sat at this same desk with my head in my hands trying not to vomit. I had the kind of hangover that makes you literally question whether or not you might die. It’s difficult to describe this kind of profound illness to someone who has never experienced it. In fact, it probably should have its own name altogether. There exists an overwhelming sense of doom and anxiety that makes any task completely impossible to execute. You repeat phrases to yourself rhythmically and rock yourself back and forth while you wonder if you might be losing your mind. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what do. I don’t know what to do.” My pulse was racing and I kept my hand over my chest as if that might keep a heart attack from showing up. I left my desk and took refuge in the handicap stall in the men’s restroom where I realistically weighed my options and assessed the likelihood of being able to make it through the day. It quickly became apparent that this one was too bad to endure upright. I had already missed several Mondays this year as a result of my Sunday night binge drinking and I knew this was not going to go over well with management. Still, I made my way from the restroom, gathered my things, walked to the office manager’s desk, and told her that I had just started vomiting in the bathroom (I hadn’t) and that I needed to leave immediately.
While walking to the train, something entirely unexpected happened. After years of hiding, rationalizing, downplaying, and avoiding, I seemingly became possessed. I opened a blank text message to my boyfriend and typed:
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you but I have a problem with alcohol. I’m tired and exhausted and can’t pretend everything is okay anymore. I need help and need to be sober. And I need your support. Desperately.
I waited for what seemed like days before he finally responded:
Absolutely. I’m there for your. Whatever we need to do.
I sobbed on the train the entire way home, went to McDonalds and ordered disgusting grease saturated breakfast food, walked the rest of the way to my house, and climbed into bed for one of the most miserable 8 hours I’ve ever endured. He eventually arrived at home after his work day and I sobbed all over again in his arms.
It has been one week since my last drink. I haven’t sought help other than opening up to my thus far supportive partner. I haven’t gone to meetings. I’ve only been able to find the courage to read blogs, articles, and message boards online. I’m hanging on by a thread and know that I need to start doing the work again. Did I mention I’ve done this before? I don’t have the energy to tell you about last time because I’m too busy dealing with this time. Maybe later. I hope there are some readers to be had out there. I could use the encouragement.