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What It Feels Like to Be An Alcoholic

Sometimes I crawl out of bed in the morning, fitting my sleek brown hair into a hair tie, sluggishly working my way to the washroom to begin my morning routine, and I pause for that second to think to myself – how lucky I am to be here today. 

Brushing my teeth was never the first, second, or third thing on my mind in the act of addiction.

Nothing mattered. I felt nothing. I longed for nothing. I desired one thing: alcohol.

It’s pretty weird to think about the idea that fermented fruit, some yeast, some hops, and whatever else was added to the concoctions I poured down like water (it’s obviously apparent I wasn’t a connoisseur) — ruined my life. And not ruin in the way that I – you know – lost my job, a few friends, and could barely keep my phone around for longer than a week’s time. It was a different sort of the ruin. The kind that left me in the hospital, begging to die, and fighting to escape the mundane, boring existence I thought life was.

If this is what life is – I want out.

It sounds pretty dramatic, but aren’t the stories of most alcoholics pretty dramatic? I mean I longed to be that writer, famous and falling down the red carpets, bottle in hand. I craved the drama. I now know that going out to find “adventures,” because I was bored, meant that I was ready to self-destruct again and again and again. Destruction was the big shiny red button that screamed: “that was easy,” when pressed. It was a part of my routine, like brushing my teeth, I self-destructed every day. I made time for self-destruction.

It’s hard to explain what it feels like to be an alcoholic.

If I could put it into words, it wouldn’t make sense. The words would be scrambled, nonsensical – an unbreakable code. It’s like being at war with your mind — all day long. The painstaking process of reminding yourself why you hate your boss over and over, the endless to-do list in your head, the feelings that creep up, strangling your neck with their nitty-gritty, scratching on a chalk-board, constant pestering. It’s unbearable. It’s simply not a way to live. I felt like a naked billboard walking around, raw, and unable to keep imaginative judgments from tearing me to shreds.

I crept back inside my isolated shell, away from all the:

 “NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!” 

Like the Grinch himself, I wanted to run away. It was the only option. To be-rid of my sanity, by closing myself off from everyone – anything that connected me to anything.

And I drank.

Drinking allowed me to be fearless. Instead of thinking how to talk, walk, act, think, say, do in front of you – I could say the phrase: “I don’t care,” and truly mean it. I did whatever, said whatever, and most-importantly, I was better than you. I wasn’t just a little bit better either – I was a lot better.

The problem is that when I would wake up in a piss-soaked mattress, my make-up soaked into the pores of my face, and a headache so bad I could barely think; I cared. It’s difficult not to care when the thoughts, the opinions, and the feelings started creeping back. They were telling me I was worthless, stupid, not good enough – the self-depreciative talk that wormed through the worn-out holes inside my soul.

It’s a soul-sucking disease. It eats away at everything you stand for, or stood for. I couldn’t remember what my morals even were; I kept pushing the line a little bit further, and kept my morality in stride with my alcoholism.

That’s what it felt like to be in the act of addiction.

You’re a heavy train that doesn’t see what’s coming for miles ahead, and when you do, it takes a long time for the rusty breaks to stop in time. Most of us never stop in time. There is no time in alcoholism. Time is irrelevant.

I stopped because the train crashed, and it was all over for me.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

If you’re struggling with this, and your obsessive mind is taking over your life, sobriety doesn’t fix things. Connection fixes things. Tapping into a group of people, support, a higher power – tying your arms and your legs to life – it’s your only option. Instead of fighting it and hating it – it’s about being uncomfortable and finally finding comfortability and sanity in this. It’s about being selfless and escaping the prison of your mind.

That’s the solution. 

And AA is the only place to go that truly understands. 

It’s the only place that will help you become you – sober.

I’m not the spawn of the earth anymore. I help people, and take care of myself. I have a job. I have real friends. I’m a little happier every day because I can appreciate life for what it is. Exactly what it is. 

If you’re like me – your mind is trying to convince you that you’re not. Your deepest, darkest, core knows. Alcoholism uses your mind against you until you’re so broken that your heart replaces your head for that “window of opportunity” moment. I hope that you’re there and ready to break the train for good. Life’s hard, but alcoholism isn’t the better option.

It never was.