Driving at night
Sunlight in the early morning hours
Smells never noticed
Colors never noticed
Writing without rambling (work in progress)
Incessant (renewed) need to draw, paint, create
Waking without shaking
Remembering the endings of movies
Eating spicy, new foods
Eating a meal instantly, without needing to drink first
Much less argumentative
Appreciating the love and support in my life
Keeping the house clean
Showering/hygiene in general
All things that I’m newly appreciating with my recently extended life. A life where I don’t wake up trying to balance drinking alcohol first thing in the morning to stave off my withdraw in between throwing up because nothing will stay down from my looming liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen problems and constant severe acid reflux. Between all of that it would take me on average 2-3 hours in the morning to get enough alcohol in me to function and act as a temporary buffer for my health problems and allow me to get to be a semi-functional member of society. Most of the time it was the routine of throwing up, then taking a shot to try to find the balance of being buzzed enough to make my stomach pain and vomiting stop.
I never drank growing up except a few times in high school to try to appear cooler than I was the few times the “cool” kids allowed me near them or at dances senior year with my significant other. But still each time was an effort to try to prove I belonged somewhere I didn’t. Which, on a funny note ended with me being dumped the day after prom for doing exactly that haha – best story ever. C’est la vie…life goes on. In college it began to be a problem that laid the foundation for my adulthood Olympic gold medal career drinking. I’m not making excuses and I take full responsibility for my choices and actions. I’m just backtracking and reminiscing where exactly I slipped off the edge of social/socially appropriate drinking in order to make friends to becoming a full blown, day drinking addict.
I know in adulthood it still was a buffer socially for me. People just seemed to like me better when I was drinking…I was more outgoing and confident. There was also a part of me that had romanticized it in my head from movies and Tv. There were countless shows where people are writing or working late in their offices doing something amazing, dramatic…possibly life changing and they always seemed to have a drink with them. (Thus the Mad Men reference in the blog title) Yet it was that very thought that I got carried away with. And I wish I could put a finger on the moment alcohol changed for me. I remember a doctor I saw in Austin for vague stomach issues that asked if I drank daily. My reply was yes, but only a few glasses of wine. And I’ll never forget that this Doctor looked at me and said prophetically that even if I just drink a little daily it will eventually become a dependence.
Turns out the doctor was right. Social buffer drinking turned into angry, can’t stop even if I wanted to drinking. Hangovers turned into morning drinking because in my failed logic, why deal with a hangover when I can drink it away and feel better. As it grew, each swallow made me cry because I hated it and I couldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried before last Fall. Never once did it occur to me that what I was doing could hurt me permanently. Yea, I could drive and hurt someone or hurt myself mildly like the time I fell during Mardi Gras a few years ago and broke part of my face outside my building…. But I figured I never REALLY hurt myself. I was wrong…It’s pretty humbling to admit something has that kind of hold over you as an adult. Something that I put as more important than anything or person in my life. The world could slide into the ocean and as long as I had a bottle and a floatie I’d watch it all sink away with a smile back then. It’s also humbling when you realize that you have been judging the very people you have become most of your life. When you realize that, you realize how truly awful of a person you have let a substance turn you into.
(disclaimer: my thoughts about writing this letter to my donor family has me being more reminiscent than usual regarding my life choices, and what brought me to need a lifesaving organ from a member of this family born out of their own tragedy)