I began drinking in my early 40s. I was a wife and a mother . . . and a complete wreck. Depression and anxiety saw me living each day in a place akin to hell. At that point in time, I sought to do anything that would give me relief from those symptoms. Drinking worked just fine.
For a bit.
From Self-medication to Full-blown Addiction
When a liter of whiskey each day was no longer enough to quell my pain, I added opiates to the mix. I was sick—emotionally, physically and spiritually. I was an ‘addict’ in every sense of that word.
I do recall often in sobriety (with some nausea and a shudder) the ‘Black Outs’ taking hold. Obviously, I don’t remember my behavior during them, but I can recall that extended periods of time would pass while I was inebriated, yet not sleeping.
My black outs were frequent, perhaps three per week. Generally, I would visit that zone, manage to get myself in bed and awake the next morning with a foggy recollection that I had blacked out.
Of course I handled that emotion as I handled all of my emotions: I drank and ate a handful of pills.
A Completely Different Person
One evening, I became enraged with my dear friend who was visiting. The next day ‘Pam’ would fill me in as to why she was picking me up at the police department.
I had kicked in doors, broken a railing and spewed obscenities and garbled verbiage for over an hour.
I did that?
I like to think of myself as a pacifist, a defender of gentle communication and non-violent behavior. My black outs took me to an opposite place.
Calling the police for assistance with this out of control woman, Pam let them take me to the station to be monitored and to sleep it off on a cement bench.
I do not remember the police coming to my home, nor do I have memories of being at the Police Department. Honestly, I will say that is almost unbelievable for a lady that prides herself on being in control at all times. But that’s what happened when I drank.
Remembering the Past to Safeguard My Future
My alcohol and drug abuse took me to places that I don’t care to remember. Keeping those memories alive however, are powerful tools in maintaining my sobriety.
In early sobriety, I had many episodes where I came close to using booze and/or pills. Black out recollections were one method to help me to stay away from that evilness.
In my humble opinion, one should not obsess about the past. But sometimes, a good kick in the pants by a painful memory can be quite cathartic.
As Saul Bellow said, “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”
Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.