Since being sober and working with ASV I’ve begun seeing into my past with an entirely new perspective. For me, being told by a professional that I am an alcoholic, filled in a huge blind spot. Part of sobering up from substance abuse is sobering up to life, with a support system to navigate the life experience, instead of using substances to escape it. Throughout most of my school life, I didn’t fit into the majority. I’ve always had one foot on earth and the other in an ethereal parallel world. When I was 18 years old looking in on the bubble world around me, I was fed up feeling like an outsider of something I wasn’t good enough to belong to. Like an ugly duckling, just doing my best to fit in, whilst feeling like I was inherently wrong somehow. Without guidance to understand how complicated the human inner world can be, I grew a voice of intense self-criticism. This voice was there to beat me into someone who could be accepted by the safe majority. What I really wanted was what everyone wants, to feel belonging. I think this is what made me vulnerable to the cunning and seductive grip of alcohol.
Straight after I graduated high school, I traveled to Europe for a year. Drinking in pubs and clubs was an essential part of the cool, spontaneous, fun identity I thought I needed, to belong. Almost immediately, my drinking included me being too wasted to take care of myself. Whatever I remembered about the night, was used by my vicious inner critic as ammunition. Somehow I was still able to justify insane positive associations between being drastically drunk and having fun. I didn’t know yet, that the friendships and ‘memories’ I was making had no authenticity and could never satisfy my craving for true belonging. It didn’t take long for depression to settle her deep tangling roots into my being. I was dangerously disconnected from myself in such an essential way, that nothing was touching me.
When I moved home to Australia and into student residency for University in my early 20’s, I had no intention of studying or paving a way to fulfill my potential. My year abroad was the training wheel days of my partying and I was ready to take on Melbourne nightlife, full throttle. Living on student res was so sadly similar to high school politics and I easily fell into the intoxicating high of feeling chosen by others. So I changed my name to further disconnect myself from the person that wasn’t good enough to belong. I had no tools to guide me towards myself. Instead, I had ample justifications to lose myself in other people and partying.
Drinking as much as ‘The Boys’ was the best I could do to be accepted, which eventually evolved into bongs, pills and cocktails of drug use, that I could brag about. How many times I stacked and got hurt, introduced myself to the same people, passed out in the cubicle, fried my brain and cringed from humiliation? No amount of bad press could persuade me that substances weren’t my friends. I worshipped partying and at the throne was alcohol. Drinking gave me the ability to feel connected to others. I felt like I was finally doing the life thing, the right way. But I was someone who knew how to party but had no idea how to be in life with anyone who didn’t drink.