Y’all, I’m so behind on my writing. This happened a few months ago and I jotted some notes down but I’m just now getting around to posting this…I mean, I have a book to write but I’ll never get to it if I can’t get all this other mental clutter out first.
A few months ago, I met a high school acquaintance for dinner. We spoke fairly regularly for a few years and then she got married and we drifted apart. I never thought her marriage would last and sure enough, when we started catching up with each other over enchiladas, she told me she had been divorced for about two years.
Ironically, the divorce was the best thing going on in her life. Shortly after she and her husband split, she realized she never loved him the way she should have and wasted nine years of her life with him. But she did get a free house, car, and dog out of the deal so it wasn’t a total bust. But other than that, she felt inadequate and turned to alcohol and random sex partners to ease the hurt of being alive.
The more we talked, the more I realized we were basically the same person, Siamese twins conjoined at our crippling insecurities. I felt bad for her and felt even worse when I had no advice to offer up. Usually I can dole out a few words of wisdom and guidance that soothes whatever aches the person I talk to but with her, I had nothing because I’m going through the same problems.
She doesn’t have a job and lies in bed all day and drinks. She said she stays, at a minimum, buzzed, and at maximum, blacked out drunk. She has one night stands. She has no purpose, no guidance, no one to love her. She thinks she’s disgusting, which she’s not. She’s a very pretty girl but all she can see is the “big girl she used to be.” I also understood that. No matter how much weight I’ve lost or will lose, I’ll always feel like the fat guy.
I wanted to both hug and throttle her but couldn’t because 1) I don’t like touching people and 2) I know I wouldn’t have gotten through to her. I think she’s just going to have to go through whatever she’s going through and either become numb to the whole thing or finally snap out of it somehow. I didn’t think there was a cure for what ailed her. There was only control. She can control her symptoms. She can minimize the hurt but if she’s anything like me, and I believe she is, the pain will never go away.
People ask me why I don’t drink and she’s a good example of why I don’t. I have an addictive personality. I already have an unhealthy relationship with food and I know I abuse it. I’m not happy unless I’m shoveling Oreos in my mouth. Nothing else comes close to that kind of bliss. I don’t want to be like that with alcohol. At least with Oreos, I’m still in my right frame of mind and I won’t go spewing hatred toward others or become too cuddly with others or get in a car and run into others.
I feel like I’m aware enough to know I have a problem with one aspect of my life and it makes me put the brakes on the other aspects. I don’t understand portion control. I get that one slice of pizza should be enough but it’s not because while there is still pizza there, there is still pain to be masked, to be covered up and snuffed out for as long as I’m chewing and biting and concentrating on the flavors filling up the empty space inside. And I’m worried that same kind of misguided longing for fulfillment will spill over into alcohol. As long as I’ll be drunk, I’ll be okay. As long as I’m concentrating on that buzz, I don’t have to concentrate on how much I hate myself or hate talking to strangers.
It’s the same reason I don’t have sex. Well, one of the reasons. I would feel like, for as long as I’m having sex, I can focus my efforts on the sensations striking my skin and I can forget for a while that I want to die. I can pretend I’m connecting with another person even though I’m just using a body and just being used.
We take things that should be pleasurable on their own, a joy unto itself and pervert them until those pleasures provide cover for the concentration of pain piled up inside us.
And as much as I’m hurting, as much as I want to get drunk sometimes, as much as I want to make out or have a one night stand, I know I can’t because it’s just going to open up the door for more destruction. Other people will have to get involved in those kind of activities and they’ll get hurt. At least with eating it’s a self-contained kind of destruction.
Of course that’s not to say I won’t ever dabble in these things. I’m not proclaiming abstinence. I’m not declaring a straight edge status. I’m just saying this is why I haven’t done those things yet. I might tomorrow or in a year from now. I’m not above it. There is nothing wrong with drinking or sex but I’m concerned I will take it too far. And so I take it no where. To be safe.
And maybe more than anything, more than the fear of hurting others, more than the fear of making things worse for myself, I’m just scared to do it. Where will it lead? Will I embarrass myself. Will I embarrass someone else? Will I get into a car crash or contract an STD? I already feel on the edge of losing control as it is and involving others in my self-medication will probably spin me right off the cliff of sanity. And I’m not prepared to face the consequences of such an action. At least not yet.