Binge drinking is the act of consuming alcohol solely to get drunk. Blacking out is typically associated with this behavior. A black out is when you drink so much that your brain literally stops creating memories. When someone is in a black out, they’re fully conscious. They can carry on a normal conversation, drive, even have sex – unfortunately they often can’t remember much of it.
Until the last year or so, this was the only style of drinking that I knew about. I learned how to shoot Jack Daniels and chase it with soda. After a few months of “training”, I no longer needed the soda. Before going out, I was the cheerleader for pre-gaming. While getting ready to go out, my friends and I would take shots. We justified this by telling ourselves, “The more we drink at home, the more money we’ll save when I make it to the bar.” In actuality, we were just getting drunker and ended up being more frivolous with our money. This led to a string of poor choices at the bar.
After a night of partying, I would wake up confused. I would piece together my night by looking at strange bruises on my body. Usually the sloppier I got, the more I would fall down or bump into things. I would look at my phone and cringe as I read the texts I sent the night before. My spelling was terrible, apparently I bought so and so a shot, and would text boys that I didn’t need to be texting. At the time, I thought all of this was funny. My girlfriends and I would put together the pieces of a disturbing puzzle and laugh at the dumb things we did.
Once I was able to pull myself out of bed and was able to start my day, I would walk to my terribly parked car and have no recollection of how I got there. I was lucky enough that my behavior never resulted in a car accident, hurting myself or someone else, or getting arrested. I would spend the first few hours of my day miserable, psyching myself up to go to the other side of the bar and make drinks for people. On my way to work, I’d stop and pick up my go-to hangover fix: a bacon cheeseburger and Dr. Pepper. When I would pay for my food, I would realize how much cash I spent the night before.
This is how I drank several times a week for nearly 15 years.
Until recently, I had no idea what a black out really was. To me, blacking out was just part of drinking. Today, as a 30 year old woman, I’m now dealing with the repercussions of missing memories from half of my life. I thought I was happy. I thought I was just having fun. Hindsight now shows me that I was subconsciously seeking reasons to numb the present, forget the past, and prevent the future.