Alcoholism almost always points to other issues…Mine was, I wasn’t happy. In the eyes of others, I was doing extremely well. Everything looked great on the outside. A picture perfect, young black woman making her way in Atlanta. I worked a regular 9 to 5, had my own place, and payed my own way. At that time, I was the very definition of “Independent”. A strong and independent sista that was dying inside. Everyday, I was killing myself with liquor because I could not deal with my shit.
A sober day wasn’t a great one at that point in my life. Reality was too much. I couldn’t sort through my issues. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to. I dealt with depression in my own way. Depression entered into my life, at the age of 9, after my father went to prison. Equally important, as a teen, I took a liking to “drunk me”. The drunken me was liberated. It was easy to not have any cares in the world. There was something gratifying that came in the freedom of truly not caring. One of the issues that came with this was: My tolerance was way too high. I didn’t “cut off” until it was too late and I was in over my head.
“I was mad and simply didn’t want to deal with life sober…”
Alcoholism is something that I watched my grandmother battle since I was a little girl. Being that little, it was hard for me to process why people would get angry or act crazy whenever they would consume so much.
I’ll spell it out again, loud and clear: I did not want to deal with my issues. My shit just seemed too much to bare. Alcohol is the perfect aid in escapism. When you are drifting on the wavy cloud, you could care less about reality. The reality for me is, while under the influence, I made bad choices. I found my self in countless health situations (seizures ain’t no joke) even life threatening ones. Alcohol only filled me up and got me out of my mind before the feelings of anger, depression, and hollowness could set in. I even dealt with men and situations that I wouldn’t have gotten involved with had I of been sober.
I didn’t understand why my grandmother chose to drink until I got older and realized how my life mirrored hers in several ways. Some of the strongest women in my family have suffered from depression. The scary part is… I don’t believe that they knew it. How you feel reflects in your appearance, how you carry yourself, and even how you speak. These were women of great strength. But, I noticed that these women weren’t necessarily happy. My grandmother’s happiness was often found in her family and a cup of gin & juice.
There is nothing cute about running from what is ailing you. It is not smart to kill yourself at your leisure because you cannot live past previous hurts in your life. It is very rare that I drink today. Honestly, I don’t like feeling too tipsy. Becoming a mother had a lot to do with that. Age and maturity had a lot to do with it too. I decided to grow up. I didn’t want to wallow and hurt anymore. Not to mention, I have a daughter to raise. I don’t want her having drunken memories of me.
I used to drink hard liquor. Today, I go for wine (if I decide to drink at all). I feel secure with out a cup in my hand. Alcohol no longer moves my spirit. Ultimately, learning to deal with my feelings and accept the things that I cannot change have given me way more than a shot of hennessy could ever given me.