I dated an alcoholic for two years. The day I left, my ex went to an AA meeting and as far as I know, has been sober ever since. We reconnected briefly during the Make Amends step and it wasn’t terrible. Although, I feel like it was better for my ex than it was for me. It left me feeling bombarded; as if I’d opened up the closet door and the whole cemetery fell out.
I was 24 when we started dating and it was my first legitimate relationship. We were bound by alcohol from the get-go. Our relationship grew until we’d built a fortress out of beer and whiskey bottles. It kept us inside, pickled and bloated, and it kept everyone else out. It was not unusual to start the day with a shot of whiskey and a Coors Light, followed by a healthy walk downtown to any bar that was open. Like everything, it was fun until it wasn’t. Life was volatile. I gained weight. I lost myself and my friends. My ex was a jealous, mean drunk and I was a quiet, complacent drunk – a toxic combination. Bulimia returned, self-harm became my normal again. I filled journal after journal with dark drawings and a sadness I thought I’d left behind.
I barely remember getting out. One day I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, I suppose. I realized that even though I had committed to this relationship, I was allowed to leave. It was a lot of help from family and friends, too – the people I thought I’d lost. Through it all, I never really made the connection that I had a problem with alcohol. No, my ex had a problem. I was fine. It was a hell of a lot of denial and it was one of those skeletons that I dealt with years later after we’d met for coffee.
Many of the booze-related things I am ashamed of happened in that 2-year span. It has been 10 years, and I still feel the weight of those poor decisions. It’s nothing that I dwell on, but as I’m practicing this whole “coming to terms” thing and “feeling all the feelings”, those thoughts and memories are some of the most difficult.
Too many wonderful things have happened since those turbulent years for me to brood, but I can tell it’s stuff that I was drinking to forget. One of these days I will write the memories down. I’m thinking of transcribing and dissecting some of my journal entries from that time period. Drinking for the sole purpose of forgetting is no longer an option, so I guess I’ll have to remember for the sole purpose of healing, instead.