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[ Personal Narratives ]

Beyond The Bottle #4: Blackout Central

If you, like me, thought blackouts were something that routinely affected everyone who happened to drink alcohol — you’re wrong. I loved and hated blacking out—it often felt like time traveling. I’d come to or wake up, sometimes in a different state, sometimes in a different place, often mid-conversation with no recollection of how I got there or what I’d said 10 seconds before. It’s trippy. If you’ve experienced one (or more), you know the feeling. WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I BEEN DOING/SAYING/ETC.?

One of the problems is that blackouts are expensive, in more ways than one. You of course, have the monetary expense. That’s tangible. Airfare is not free. Nor are drugs and alcohol. Those repeat visits to the ATM after 1am where the receipt disappears so the money withdrawn doesn’t count, isn’t a real magic trick. All that stuff costs money and in the morning, the bank balance doesn’t lie. There are also hidden costs of the emotional variety — shame, her sister embarrassment, self-degradation, horror, remorse, and on and on.

Coming to from a blackout can be a real nightmare. It’s a whole thing. A frantic moment where you snap back into the present moment as everyone stands around, looking angrily at you because you cursed out your best friend’s fiancee. Or when you profess your love for a colleague whom you barely know and now things are officially weird. You might argue that those things aren’t that bad, and I’m inclined to agree. While dreadful, those things I will concede, are minor when contrast with the bigger consequences you chance yourself with when you frequently blackout.

As blackouts start becoming a regular occurrence (meaning nearly every time you drink), things get a whole lot worse. Coming to in the middle of avenues as oncoming traffic approaches—yikes! Waking up in a strange place with people you do not know with zero recollection of how you came to be there—yowza! Fights. Physical fist fights where you come to with a bloodied mouth and swollen eye, zero explanation of what provoked (or didn’t provoke) it, who started it or who won—yoing!

There are health repercussions too. I once fell down a flight of stairs, broke my ankle and hobbled into bed only to realize in the morning, when I WOKE UP IN EXCRUCIATING PAIN, something terrible had happened the night before. I cannot overstate this — IT FUCKING SUCKED. Medical bills are no joke. While I’m fortunate to have skipped the sexual assault that many women do sometimes suffer as a result of blacking out, I’ve been in far too many compromising sexual scenarios than I care to admit. It’s scary stuff. Not knowing whether or not you consented to sex but going along with it because you assume you did. Don’t get to that place.

This might sound crazy, but I only discovered that people don’t routinely blackout whenever they drink, a few years ago. I’m an adult. That’s how frequently I got blackout drunk—to where it was just the norm. It was part of my deal.

Don’t be like me. If you’re blacking out on the regular, slow your roll now, SON! It might be fun and games now, but it won’t be for much long(er). It won’t last. It can’t last.