7 Lies I Told Myself (So I Could Keep Drinking)

When I was struggling with admitting the truth about my drinking problem, I spent a lot of time in a magical place called Denial. It was a diverse, overpopulated place filled with delusion, ignorance, and fear. I didn’t just camp out there, I moved in. I paid rent. I unpacked. I decorated. Living years in denial was expensive. Financially. Emotionally. Mentally. And physically. I lied to myself daily. I told myself that I was fine. I told myself that I was happy. The thought of addressing my drinking problem, giving up alcohol, and living a life without booze sounded next to impossible.

I didn’t know anyone who was sober. All I knew about sobriety was what I saw on TV or in movies: someone who’s lost everything and they have to go to AA to rebuild their lives. I told myself that I wasn’t one of “those” people. It was nice to pretend that everything was fine and that I had a healthy relationship with alcohol. That was a big fat lie. Here’s a few other lies I told myself so I could keep drinking…

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The Night I Was Roofied

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.

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What’s Your Why?

This morning, while chatting with one of my clients, she asked, “How do I cope with the guilt of setting myself up for failure by not following through with a set goal?”.  I believe she was actually experiencing shame, not guilt.  (My homegirl, Brene Brown has made a career out of identifying the difference between the two feelings).  The goal my client was referring to was her participation in an online accountability group I started this month called #soberinjune.  A few days into June, my client realized she was not in a place where she can take on this challenge.

I answered her question by asking a few of my own: “What’s your Why?  Why did you initially decide to be sober for a month, and why did you change your mind?”  This “ask why” advice can actually be applied to most aspects of goal setting.

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Ten Years Towards a Bachelor’s Degree

On this day in 2014, I finally graduated college at the age of 28.  I took the scenic route, to say the very least.  I lost sight of my destination, so I stopped to explore as many parties, concerts, and intoxicants as I could.

For as long as I can remember, education was something that I always wrestled with.  I was fighting some internal demons so learning the Pythagorean Theorem and the Periodic Table of the Elements seemed like a waste of time.  I got expelled from high school in my junior year because I passed out in science class due to a dangerous mix of 5 bars of Xanax and copious amounts of weed.  The school nurse had to revive me and carry me to her office.  She found more drugs in my backpack, hence the expulsion.  I had to attend an alternative education program where I finished my GED within months.  In a brief moment of sobriety, I took advantage of being able to start college earlier than most of my friends.

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The Financial Impact of Having a Drinking Problem

 

There are tons of health risks associated with having a drinking problem: cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, cancer, infertility, hurting yourself and others, yada yada yada.  Knowing those things never stopped me from destroying my insides one drink at a time, so that’s the last thing I want to talk about right now.  What I do want to discuss is how much money I have spent on booze.  I made some brutal calculations based on a very low end of my whiskey-soaked spectrum.

On average, I went out for drinks 3 nights a week for 10 years.  I would spend about $50 a night.

$50 x 3 nights = $150 per week

$150 x 4 weeks = $600 per month

$600 x 12 months = $7200 per year

$7200 x 10 years = $72,000

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My Life as a Waco Bartender

 

When I was 17 years old, I was expelled from high school for nearly overdosing in class and having Xanax in my bag.  I was sent to an alternative education program where I cleaned up my act and received my GED.  Shortly after, I got a job as a hostess at Slo-Poke’s BBQ Sports Bar near Baylor.  I thought getting a job would be beneficial for me to start over and meet new people.  I made a commitment to myself and to my mom that I would stay clean.  No more weed and no more pills.  I had no idea how formative that job would be; it was the beginning of an unhealthy love affair with a dark scene in Waco, Texas. Continue reading “My Life as a Waco Bartender”

Binge Drinking & Blacking Out

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. Continue reading “Binge Drinking & Blacking Out”

Where it all Began

Alcohol and I crossed paths when I was 15.  We fell in love for a short period of time, but I soon left him for another love – drugs.  My first night in the other realm was with my high school crush, James.  At school we would talk about rock n roll and I would listen to him talk about his parties.  James was the guy to know because he smoked pot with his parents and they let him have friends over to do the same.  Since I was a child, I was fascinated with the 1960’s scene – Warhol, The Doors, Hendrix, Lou Reed.  When James told me about his parties, I pictured a fabulous Warholian get away .   One night, I finally attended. Continue reading “Where it all Began”