This is the story of how I became an alcoholic.
Since the age of 11, I’ve battled depression. By the age of 15, I had attempted suicide twice and had began to self-medicate with alcohol to cope. It first began by drinking a beer whenever I was stressed out. This quickly escalated into stealing bottles of liquor from the kitchen cabinet, downing bottles of hard liquor whenever I had a bad night, and buying booze from others. This became my solution for everything.
I would drink on school nights alone locked in my room. I became dependent on alcohol for my happiness. My friends and family became concerned of my drinking and asked me to stop. After a bad week, I downed half a bottle of vodka on an empty stomach and blacked out for five hours. It was the wake up call I needed to stop.
It’s been a year since then and I’ve found new self-care methods to deal with my problems properly. Addiction is stigmatized by the words we use to define those who are suffering such as a crackhead, or a coke fiend. This belittles those with problems and degrades them instead. This dehumanizes and places judgement on their vices. Addiction should be dealt with understanding and empathy. There are plenty of resources and treatment facilities if help is required.
Addiction develops in stages. It begins from having no usage at all, to experimental use, social use, serious social use, harmful involvement, and then dependency.
The frequency of using these substances increases, your tolerance increases, as well as the consequences they encounter. This determines what stage an individual is on.
The first step begins by acknowledging you have a problem. I fought the idea that I had a problem for two years. I wouldn’t admit to myself that the alcohol was harming my life. In my head, I had everything under control.
Once you have acknowledged your problem, begin to prepare and choose a plan of action and carry this plan out. This can include detox, treatment centres, counselling, etc. Your commitment to change must be maintained in order to prevent relapse triggers. Recovery can be difficult, and relapse is normal. Every time I relapsed I felt as though I had destroyed all of the work I had put in to stop.
Relapsing is a bump in the road, but it still means that you can get back on track.
The focus should be placed on what you’ve learned in the process or what has worked in the past or inspired you to stay sober.
Addiction doesn’t define you. Addiction does not mean you are weak, or incompetent, or less than any other person. Addiction is an ongoing battle, and it shows that you’re fighting. I began to realize that alcohol wasn’t helping my life, it was damaging it instead. I began to journal more, draw more, and learned how to deal with my problems. I didn’t want to escape from it anymore, I wanted to acknowledge it. Alcohol can be a slippery slope, and it’s easy to fall downhill from there. But it’s also important to remind yourself that you are strong enough to fight through anything whether you’re currently struggling, recovering, or relapsing.
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