While digging through old Facebook photos from my party girl days, uncomfortable feelings arise. Pain, shame, and embarrassment grip me with the intensity that I used to grip a bottle of Jack Daniels.
The pain is triggering real emotion; emotion that I’m just now learning how to feel. This clarity is uncomfortable, filling my head with questions. Do I need rehab? Do I need therapy? Did he ever like me or were we just a hook up? Will I ever find a healthy relationship with alcohol or do I have to be sober forever? Do I really have a drinking problem or did I just love getting drunk? Yes, I’m still trying to convince myself that I will one day be able to drink again.
The shame inspires me to stay sober and keep writing. Half of me wishes that I could go back and shake some sense into the younger version of me. The other half is grateful for going through it all and getting out alive.
The embarrassment makes me want to hide.
The recurring smile in these photos now mocks me. I look past my delusional happiness and see the glassy eyes, the sloppy make up, and the drinking buddies that I confused for friends. I see darkness – not just in the poorly lit bar, but in the soul of a girl desperately searching for truth. I was “happy” because I found pleasure while living in a self-made bubble of ignorance.
While researching addictive behavior, I’ve learned that the emotional and mental growth of an addict stops when they first begin using. So basically, I’m a 30 year old woman in New York City with the emotional maturity of a 15 year girl in Waco, Texas. I am now being properly introduced to the girl that I was and to the woman that I’m becoming.