I did not grow up hoping to be an alcoholic. Drinking and doing drugs started out as recreational, fun. It began with hanging out with friends in the evening and smoking a joint, and cigarettes. It felt exciting and I became part of a clique, a group dedicated to each other and someone always has your back. People who shared your secret and the thrill of getting away with something illegal. And of course, getting high.
And then the realization that when anything unpleasant happened, getting high can make things easier. Gives all problems and difficulties a softer edge, an easier way to deal with reality. Sorta made it all go away.
As I got older, drinking – which was always a pleasure for me – became more socially acceptable than pot. And it was easier to buy as well. But most importantly, that could make reality a little bit easier to deal with, to discuss. And many Friday nights were spent in bars where we could “tie one on.” Where getting drunk was the goal, and where many memories were made or not remembered. Then Sunday was the day before the start of the week, so let’s get prepared for that by getting drunk. Don’t forget that Thursday was the day before Friday when we only had to deal with one day hungover and at the end of that day the weekend. Saturday, of course, was always party night.
So as time went on, opportunities for drinking became more frequent. Became easier to rationalize and to justify. Of course, I never missed work, so it was never a problem. I always paid my bills so it was just a phase. And every time I was questioned about my behavior while drinking I always had a reason. Too tired, too stressed, taking a new medication, And alcoholism was rampant in my family and I was not like THAT.
And in a big city, one could move a few blocks and have a whole new life. I had opportunities to move across the country and would also start new relationships where no one really knew who I was and my behavior would change a bit, I would slow down and hope to become better. And it never worked.
So remember I didn’t grow up hoping to become an alcoholic. It just happened. Without any coping skills, and a huge amount of anger inside, drinking became easier and it worked. Until it did not.