It was the summer of 2009. I was 24, living with my at-the-time boyfriend and bartending full time at a fine dining restaurant in Waco, Texas. I was in my own delusional drunken world, unaware of anything that was going on around me – unless it directly affected me.
On July 21, 2009, a group of seven sort-of friends met in Houston, Texas to celebrate their mutual friend’s future nuptials. Each of us rocked heels, dresses, and clutches, as we frantically texted from our Blackberries. We looked damn good and we were ready to party. After a sushi dinner, we got into a limo and sipped champagne. The maid of honor gave each of us a pink, zebra-print mask with a sassy adjective. I, of course, screamed and begged for the one that said “Wild”. I got it.
The first stop on our bar crawl was a gay bar called South Beach in downtown Houston. We were surrounded by shirtless gay men and proud trans women. I sipped my vodka and Red Bull and danced to a ten minute remix of Miley’s hot new summer anthem, “Party in the U.S.A”. I ordered another drink and that’s the last thing I remember. I blacked out.
I woke up with the worst hangover of my life. I was so confused. I had no idea where I was or what had happened the night before. The only thing I did know was that my head was about to explode all over the beautiful, white hotel room.
How did I black out after just a few drinks?!? Back in those days, I was easily tossing back drinks in the double digits. The girls and I talked it out, finally realizing what happened. Somehow, at South Beach, either someone slipped something into my drink or I accidentally grabbed someone else’s drugged drink.
The girls told me that I was out of it. I wasn’t living up to the adjective I so eagerly begged to don on my face just a few hours earlier. Some even said that I was like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s. Apparently, one of my friends offered to take me back to our hotel room, so I could sleep. I declined, choosing to stay out. And party. They had to help me in and out of the limo and keep tabs on me at each bar. I was told that I passed out as soon as we got back to our hotel room. The girls kept partying, jumping on the bed, playing loud music, and I slept through it all.
I didn’t take this seriously. I laughed when they told me how I acted the night before. Looking back, that was a giant red flag, saying “THIS LIFESTYLE IS INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS!”. At the time, I thought that getting roofied was just part of the party, like hooking up with someone I barely knew or driving drunk.
When I got back to Waco and my boyfriend asked how the bachelorette party was, I smiled and said “Great! I got roofied!”. When I posted pictures from that night, I titled the Facebook album, “The Night I Got Roofied”.
I now see the glassy eyes behind that “wild” mask, accompanied by an insincere smile and I cringe. I see a different person. A lost soul. Someone who was desperate for love, but settled for any form of attention. I wish I could give her a hug and tell her she’s looking for love in all the wrong places, but she’ll find it. Soon.
I did finally find the love and attention I thought I was craving. With years of work on personal growth and 7 months of sobriety, I’m finally in a place where I love and respect myself. Looking back, I was too deep in a spiral of binge drinking that I didn’t realize I was living in my own little world. I convinced myself that everyone drinks like this, parties like this, and has hangovers like this. I had to continue to justify my behavior.
People hear “date rape” drugs and they think “roofies”. The reality is that the most common date rape drug is alcohol. And though I was slipped a roofie once, I was in control of every other black out. That night in Houston, a stranger – who I’ll never know – chose that for me.
One might think that after having an experience like that, I’d be more conscious of my behavior and more cognizant of my drinks. It is only by luck that I drank the way that I did and was never taken advantage of. I continued to party just as hard for five more years, naively convincing myself that “it won’t happen again”. Luckily it never did.