My name’s Cate and I’m an alcoholic.
My sobriety date is July 19, 2015, but I didn’t say those words out loud until almost 3 weeks later at my third AA meeting.
I suppose I should start off by telling a little bit of my story. Growing up I always had this overwhelming feeling of anxiety, and I couldn’t understand why. I was afraid that people wouldn’t like me, afraid to be myself, afraid something bad would happen. So I tried to control everything, and freaked out when things didn’t go exactly as I had planned in my head. I was a basket case. Normally, parents would probably notice that their child was struggling with something and take them to a doctor, but my parents had plenty of issues of their own they were trying to deal with. So I continued on, always feeling anxious. As a teenager, I decided that because I felt so awkward and weird and different, that if I could just make the popular girls like me, that would prove that I’m worthwhile. So I jumped through every stupid hoop they gave me, while they picked apart everything about me and made me feel so small. To this day I don’t understand why I tolerated that, but I did.
When I went to college, I vowed things would be different. I would find real friends. Up until college, I had never really drank. I was afraid to get drunk in high school because I didn’t want to give the popular girls something else to say about me. But in college I was going to be different, so I tried it. And I LOVED it. Alcohol and I were a match made in heaven. When I drank, all my anxiety and fears went away, and made room for me to finally be myself, be the life of the party. I quickly made many friends, and I finally felt at home. But within the first year of drinking, I already started to see the negative affects. The blackouts, the unwanted sexual incounters, the embarrassing actions, the awful hangovers. But I would just laugh it off over brunch in the dining hall and thought that it was just a small price to pay to be able to be myself. My junior year of college, my parents went through a very messy divorce. I had a younger sister who was still in high school, who was an hour and a half away from me dealing with this all on her own. And then I had my mother calling me daily crying to me. And I was the one who had to hold everyone together. This is when my depression fully kicked in, and my drinking increased even more. I spent my entire year blackout drunk, and the few times I was sober I was curled up in a ball in my bed crying. At the age of 21 I was finally sent to a psychiatrist, who prescribed me the antidepressants that pulled me out of my oblivion. I resumed my normal life in my senior year, ready to be the fun, carefree party girl again. In January of 2012, I was coming back from a concert and crashed my car. When the police officer came to see if I was okay, they immediately asked me to step out of the car. I took the field sobriety tests and failed miserably, blowing a .12. I was immediately arrested, and taken to a holding cell until I was sober enough that my parents could take me home. You would think that would have been the wake up call I needed, but less than a week later I was at it again.
My drinking continued after college, where I found a group of friends who loved to party just as much as I did. There I was introduced to drugs, which I thankfully never got addicted to. For the next 2 and a half years after college I partied every weekend, had incredibly dysfunctional relationships, and couldn’t hold a job for more than 6 months. In the fall of 2014, something happened that to this day, I can’t explain or begin to understand, but I am forever grateful for. I met a guy, on tinder of all places, who was nothing like any guy I ever dated. He was incredibly sweet, had his shit together, was slightly nerdy, hilarious, good looking, and for some reason was interested in me. I was hesitant at first, because I was terrified he would see the real me and take off running. I knew nice guys like that had no business with girls like me. But he opened my eyes, and for the first time in my life, I started to realize that my excessive drinking wasn’t normal. We had many fights about me not controlling my drinking, and I almost lost him a few times. Everything came to a head in July 2015, just 11 days after my 25th birthday. I got blackout drunk with my friend and then proceeded to drive to my boyfriend’s house. In the morning, he was fuming. He asked me what would have happened if I got arrested again for drunk driving, and I didn’t really have an answer. He told me that he wouldn’t watch me continue to ruin my life, and that if I didn’t get help he was done. So a week later I went to my first AA meeting.
I’ll save the details of what AA has done for me so far in my 2 months of sobriety and end with the real reason I’m making this blog. I’ve noticed the lack of awareness about addiction and mental illness, and it makes me incredibly sad that something so common in our society is still so taboo. If there had been more information out there, I may have sought help earlier. At first I just wanted to document my experiences in sobriety, but now I think that if my story can help just one person who is suffering, it will be worth me writing it.