1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, floor

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The other day I made a very out-of-character decision and chose to not go to a club with my girlfriends in DC because I desperately want the changes I’ve been working so hard to make actually be made, once and for all.

It’s just over a year now since I had some help in realizing that there is a problem with me and alcohol. Not that I can’t go a day without it or that I purposefully get wastey-faced to forget my problems, but that I seem to be unable to monitor my intake when I’m in an environment surrounded by binge drinking. I get caught up in the fun and the shots and having drinks bought for me. If I have to (and clearly when I say “have to” I do not mean in a life or death situation but you know in college and post-college drinking games) chug beer you might as well just say adios, Danielle. And then sometimes I do STUPID things, embarrassing, relationship-ending things. It’s bad enough just doing something stupid, but to not always even know what you did and to have to be told about it because you can’t remember….I don’t want that for myself anymore. As I’ve let you in on a bit in other posts, it’s hard for me to not care about what others think and it’s a continual process for me to let go of some of the ridiculous things I did but also the physical and emotional pain I caused myself along the way. A continual, slow process.

If I were a quick learner when it comes to myself, I would have caught on to this little tid-bit of an alcohol problem the first time I ever got drunk and in the midst of a frustrated gesture due to the disappointment of losing beer pong, smacked my wrist into a wall and was escorted from the party by my roommates while I cried. That was the night “that girl” was born and I have yet to leave that title in the dust for good. It’s so freaking frustrating!

I thought maybe if I didn’t want to be “that girl” I would simply stop being “that girl.” I tested my theory many times and even though I was occasionally successful and cannot explain to you what in the world makes the difference between a good drunk night and a bad one, apparently declaring you no longer have a drinking problem just isn’t how it works. I finally get that in this situation success means not setting myself up for failure. If that means sitting out the fun sometimes, that’s what I have to do. Let’s be real what am I missing out on when half the time I can’t even remember what happened?

And you’re probably thinking, “why can’t you just go out and have fun with your friends and not drink?” I can. And I have, but let’s be real it’s not very fun to be the only sober person in a room full of drunk ones. It’s just putting a lot of temptation in my reach and once I’m out with my friends and I’ve had one drink my ability to keep tab on myself and my level of intoxication is poor. I just have to do what I have to do. No matter how frustrating or sad or pathetic that may be, that’s where I am and as much as I hate having to come to terms with the fact that I have a problem with alcohol, when I put the price of living a happy, normal life to it, it’s 100% worth it. Plus now I don’t have to worry about the dreaded calories of alcohol that add up so fast, not just during a night out but also the day after when I’m hung-over and the food groups seem to narrow themselves to bread and cheese….hot summer body, here I come!

It didn’t take me long to realize after my boyfriend and I got back together that I didn’t want to lose him again. Part of that commitment is not putting myself in situations where I’m getting too drunk and behaving inappropriately/idiotically. It’s time to grow up a little bit. I don’t just have my life to look out for, I have our life together as well and that’s something I didn’t get as a 20 year old college student. I’m not beating myself up over that one though. Why should I have understood that? I thought I was like thirty years old from the time I was about seven and I was constantly worried and rushing my life on to the next thing. I think I needed to go wild and fall apart so that somewhere in putting myself back together I could finally get a grasp on what’s important to me and what I want out of life. I know I came out a better person because of it.

It’s an amazing thing to find healing and embark on a journey of bettering yourself. I would never wish this kind of self-destruction on anyone as a method of figuring life out on the way back up but it’s an incredible feeling to watch progress being made and to know that even the deepest, darkest of the rock bottoms can’t keep you down forever if you don’t let them, if you start making better choices.