Many people have started noticing that I don’t drink anymore. I will always choose water over a Bud Light no matter how much you ask. I get asked about it a lot. “Why don’t you drink? You’re 22 years old, in college, and you did a few months ago?” The short answer is because I don’t want to anymore. The long answer….well here we go….
There’s debate in the psychology world as to whether or not there’s such thing as an addictive personality, but I, for one, believe it. When you hear “addiction,” I bet most of you think of an alcoholic, heroin addict, etc. But there’s more to it than that. I have a history of addictions – eating disorder, self-harm, diet pills….all of which technically classify as addictions. I’m sure not everyone would agree with those, but overall, psychologists do.
However, addiction is a strong word, and one I don’t like to use much when it comes to myself, but the reality is I’ve dealt with addictions. For example, the diet pills were far worse than anyone knew about, and also not something I talk much about. Lately that seems to be out the window, so here we go!
They were always with me. I kept them in an Advil container so no one questioned what they were. I just hoped no one had a headache because I couldn’t explain why I had pills in the container but no Advil. At my worst, I had MANY different kinds I took throughout the day. The travel size Advil wasn’t big enough to hold a day’s worth anymore. I had to refill it at least twice. The amount of money I spent on them, because, to me, they were working, looking back, is unreal. Was I losing weight? Yes, but I also wasn’t eating. The pills did nothing but mess with my body. I started having irregular heartbeats because of all the caffeine, and at one point, in class had chest pain so bad I couldn’t breathe, let alone move. I was jittery, extra anxious and nauseated all the time.
The withdrawal was almost worse. It was like an absolutely awful hangover that lasted for days. But my parents didn’t know about them, so I had to pretend that I didn’t feel like death. I continued with life, while trying to keep from throwing up from the pounding headache.
6 months ago, I drank – not a lot but I’m also not real big. A little goes a long way! However, it turned into a coping mechanism. Have a bad day? Drink. Stressed out? Drink. Problems with a friend? Drink. When one wasn’t enough – why not have two or three? It started becoming a nightly thing, which itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was secretive. No one knew that I was drinking. Then shit went down with a friend, and my reaction was to get trashed. The days followed, and I drank more. One night I didn’t have any more beer or anything, so I couldn’t have a drink. The weather was awful, so I wasn’t going to go out and risk it. The anxiety that followed was unexpected. I didn’t realize that it had become something I “needed” and that was not something I was prepared for.
I had my epiphany moment. My eating disorder recovery was rapidly going south. Did I want another addiction to have to fight? No, absolutely not! I know I’m strong, but I don’t know if I’d be strong enough to overcome all of that. Going back to treatment is not something I want to do.
People think I’m weird for making this decision and, hell, maybe I am. But it’s my life, my choice. I don’t care what you think. Not about this anyway. So what if I’d rather stay home and watch Netflix, curled up in a blanket? Or go on adventure with friends, that I’ll actually remember? I’ve been through so much and missed out on so much in life. Why put myself at risk to miss any more? That’s not to say that down the road, when my recovery is more solid, I won’t reevaluate. But for the time being, I’m choosing to stay sober, and you can either deal with it or pack your bags.