For the past two months, I've been seeing a chemical health counselor in an attempt to alleviate my tendency to sail well past enjoyable levels of drinking and straight into glassy-eyed, slow motion, blackout drunk. Of course most of us have experienced this at some point in our lives; for me, it happens every time I get near alcohol.
There are a number of reasons I binge drink; one of the big ones is social anxiety. I'm intimidated by parties and clubs and all the people that are probably better than me, until I've had ALL the booze. With the help of my chemical health counselor, I've been working on calming down the binge side of binge drinking so that I can enjoy myself without getting trashed. It's a wet program of sorts... the idea is not to quit drinking altogether, but to slow it down and drink at a reasonable level. It's been going remarkably well.
I thought it might be a good idea to try pushing myself a bit with the social side of things, since I'd experience a couple of social events without blitzing. There's a local gay bar that has a goth/industrial night on Mondays; goth/industrial is the kind of clubbing I grew up on, the kind of music I love dancing to, the kind of people I like to be around - and there is the additional comfort of being in a gay bar. I thought if there was one place I would feel the most relaxed without needing to binge, it would be there.
It turned out I wasn't ready.
One cider became two, which was fine as a start. With the third I gave myself permission to have one shot of cheap vodka (my go-to for getting drunk quick) since I was out and doing this and should be proud and besides it's the first time, I can give myself a break. That was the tipping point of course... once I get the drunk rolling, it's nearly impossible to stop. Shortly after the second cider/shot combination, I found myself kneeling on the floor of the bathroom stall.
As I knelt there with my head hanging over the bowl, I wondered how abasing myself in front of a toilet in a public bathroom with deep beats reverberating through the walls and laughter drifting through the door could possibly be the end result of something so full of hope and desperate need and determination. How it always seems to end this way (or some similar way), every time; how instead of making me loose and fun and witty and desirable the booze only makes me dizzy and confused and sick and pathetic.
I got myself home safe on public transportation and dove into the White Cheddar Cheez-Its which are my guaranteed hangover cure. I didn't slip into a well of self loathing, I didn't cut, I didn't cry. I did wake up with a monster headache, but managed to come through it physically and emotionally unscarred.
It's not the end of the world, I know. It was just... too much, too soon. I think I'll get there eventually, to that place where I don't have to dangle the sparkling bottles in front of my eyes to distract myself from the loneliness and worthlessness that still lives inside me. I hope that someday I'll be able to get out on the floor without the taste of ashes in my mouth; to close my eyes and dance without caring if anyone is watching.