What My Mental Health Did to Me: Substance Abuse.

I don’t like the word “alcoholic.” My fear may be rooted in finding out that another thing is wrong with me, but I don’t think that I am one. From my understanding, alcoholics have a body dependency on alcohol, and I am not that way. I hate alcohol. I think it tastes terrible unless mixed to the point where you can’t taste the alcohol anymore. And after a long night of drinking, followed by the inevitable hangover, I avoid alcohol for a long time (ranging from a few days to a few weeks).

But that all sort of changed when Donald Trump became the United States’ president-elect. I felt so defeated, and I needed a drink. And then the following week, a student harassed me to a point where I had to have him removed from my class, and I was angry. So, I needed a drink. And my life has been spiraling down. I have no job prospects, my current job ends in a week, and I’ve been wanting to die for the past few months. I can’t breathe. And my mood affects my friendships and relationships, so I feel bad about that. And nothing seems to be going my way. So, I needed a drink.

I’ve been so angry for so long; everything sets me off. So, one day after being as angry as I’ve ever been, I tried cleaning the carpet at home because my therapist suggested I channel that energy into other projects. But our carpet cleaner was broken. I lost it. I threw a temper tantrum, threw everything around the house, stormed out and ended up at a bar. I needed a drink. So, I ordered two shots of tequila and eight glasses of wine, and I felt great.

I told myself I wouldn’t drink for a while after that. And I didn’t. And that’s how I convinced myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic because I didn’t drink alcohol for a while because I didn’t want to. Then, I was invited out to lunch with my friends from out of town. They asked me what was going on with my life, and I said, “I have no job, no prospects, and I want to die every day.” Everyone knows me as a huge joker, so they probably didn’t take me seriously. But it was true. And once I admitted that out loud, I lost the ability to be happy in person. I felt everyone feel so uncomfortable around me, so I had to leave. I walked out, called one of my other friends, showed up at her house with a bottle of wine, and drank most of it. I felt better, met up with my friends, and realized that I was so much more fun. So, I kept drinking. And every time someone told me to slow down, I kept going. Because I knew that if I stopped, I’d want to kill myself, and I didn’t want to feel that way. But it turns out, I was forced to feel that way anyways. Problems seem to catch up with you sooner or later. That night, I was so drunk that I passed out at the bar, threw up in public, and left my friend’s house without any warning.

I recognize now that I’ve been numbing my problems whenever I had the chance because I couldn’t deal with them, my depression and suicidal thoughts. And I know that I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t depend on alcohol to get through my day. I drink because all my friends do, and I feel like if I’m not drinking, I’m missing out. I know that I wouldn’t miss alcohol, but I would feel left out because that’s what 25-year-olds do when they socialize. But I can’t do that anymore because I’ve come to this undeniable truth. I have a substance abuse problem, whether I want to admit it or not. And even though I don’t want more things to happen to me, I guess it’s important to recognize your problems instead of hiding them.

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