By: Christiawn Emmanuel | February 11, 2018
“Self-pity is spiritual suicide. It is an indefensible self-mutilation of the soul.” –Anthon St. Maarten
Raise your hand if you have ever told yourself or had someone say to you that your drinking had gotten out of control. Well gentle-people, if I could have both hands sky high while typing this I would because I have said those same words to myself since I was 16 years old missing school days because I felt that hanging with “my friends” held weight over finishing my junior and senior year with more than just average grades. The fuck was a 16-year-old doing drinking?! I look back now and have grown to accept that at that place in my life downing two or three Sex on the Beaches and a Long Island because I wanted to forget my pain, if even for those few hours, made sense.
Today drinking is accessible. Drinking is reliable. Drinking at my age is legal. Drinking doesn’t talk back when you just want to kick back and relax like your parents who ONLY WANT TO HELP. See what people don’t know about drinking is that drinking took over my life from age 16 until my 29th birthday.
In deciding to write this entry I had to accept that the only way I was going to be able to move forward was by being real with myself throughout this piece. As the quote states I have been throwing myself a pity party for years. This party has never had balloons, no reggaetón or bomb ass Top 40 playlist. Naw, instead what this has become is me and my gospel playlists trying to fight myself to not throw in the towel continuing the fight to eradicate the thoughts of disappointment from my heart and mind. I feel everything so intensely that in acknowledging my depression it begins to feel like I am holding the weight of the past, present, and what I assume will inevitably be my future on my shoulders.
Years ago, a psychiatrist diagnosed that weight as symptoms of Bipolar 2 Disorder with acute Anxiety Disorder. Bipolar 2 Disorder is a somewhat invisible disorder that like Bipolar Disorder can be treated but not cured and has mood swings between high, hypomania, and low, depression, over time.1 Depression is what I tend to consider my mistress waiting to shake shit up causing an eruption of negativity to fill my entire being with help from instigators called triggers. Triggers come in many forms and with the help of medication and therapy I have learned how to better manage the highs and the lows of Bipolar 2 Disorder. This time my trigger was a familiar conversation with someone who meant well when asking questions about my drinking HABIT.
Since age 16, when I took my first sip of the forbidden nectar, I have found solace in one or 10 drinks in any given sitting and didn’t feel compelled to explain how I spent my money or why I acted the way I did to anyone including myself. In fact, it wasn’t until my early 20s that I even began to pay attention to the amount of money I had racked up from alcohol purchases in bars and from liquor stores. Even with that dollar amount in mind, it didn’t stop me, and it wasn’t until the morning after coming home from celebrating my 26th birthday that I even acknowledged that I MAY have a problem.
That night I remember and was told I was knocking over drinks in the club, was forced to be taken home by friends, threw-up in the back seat of ST’s car, fell in snow and managed to throw up everywhere except a trash can or toilet. And 3 days’ worth of recovery including bed rest and observation. While a run-on sentence, it needed to be written because I needed to name my behavior and the experience that my body will never forget. I still didn’t learn and the madness while acknowledged didn’t stop because what I didn’t know yet was that my drinking was never the root of my drinking problem.
Flash forward to a little over a week ago, my 29th birthday. This night started well and even more so was planned to end well until I woke up with barf on my breath, broken jewelry surrounding me, and a sprained toe. This was the third time in my life that I had woke up in this condition and for the first time I felt absolutely disgusted with what I felt and saw in the mirror that post birthday morning. My drinking hadn’t only BECOME A PROBLEM but had caused others to see me in a light…no a darkness that I thought I had let go years ago. From head locks to falling in the dirt to broken nails and a hangover like no other I had fucked up!
Old habits don’t die hard; they wait to test you and see whether you have overcome that which had plagued you previously. I got knocked on my ass, but I refuse to accept that I failed or that I am a failure. I wasn’t built to break!
This birthday experience and the friend who asked me about my drinking put me in a painful and vulnerable space full that I needed to be in because it allowed me to see me in a way I was avoiding for years and to conclude that my drinking isn’t the problem, it goes way deeper than that surface level shit. I acknowledge that when I drink and get drunk I become my worst enemy. I accept that while I do not drink as I once it is time I put the bottle down and begin to honestly DEAL WITH MY SHIT. As of February 4, 2018 I have given up drinking until I have gone into that closet and dealt with the pains that rule over me when I begin to think grabbing a substance to cope is my ideal resolution. I will be dealing with my shit! OWNING MY SHIT! CRYING THROUGH MY SHIT! PRAYING THROUGH MY SHIT! And most importantly LOVING ME THROUGH MY SHIT!