6 Lessons You Will Learn When You Stop Drinking
Years ago, I was at a party. It was your typical early 90’s high school, keg-fueled, red solo cup kind of affair. I only remember glimpses of the night.
Taking long sips straight from a bottle of vodka left me with hazy memories after an hour. I remember opening my eyes and being behind the wheel of my car, still parked in front of the party. I must have blacked out.
I was 16.
I will be the first to tell you I am the luckiest girl you will ever know. The next 5 years brought plenty of nights like that one and somehow I emerged unscathed. Somehow, I was never hurt (other than the brutal hangovers) and I never injured anyone else (at least physically).
I will say it again. I. Am. So. Lucky.
By 21, a string of failures and disappointments brought me low. I was scaring people who loved me. I was fighting with everyone. There was no joy in my life. My drinking never went well, but it had become a pit of despair. I could share every detail, but if you are reading this because you need help, then we don’t need to compare notes. If you think you have a problem, you probably do.
“Alcoholism isn’t always what you think it is. It’s not just the Bowery bum or the squeegee guy or that uncle of yours who gets roaring drunk at Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s the person with the college degree and the good job and the nice family and the bright future. Sometimes, in other words, it’s us.” — Michael Levin
My first AA meeting was at a beautiful mansion at 91st Street and 5th Avenue. I told a few people I was going. I was handling my own problem. Defiant, I did not want any help.
The entrance through the enormous arched doorway unfolds to face a huge marble staircase. I slowly started to ascend and then turned back. In my mind, I was thinking I will just go outside and smoke a cigarette. But really, I was going to bolt. As I turned, a beautiful woman, impeccably dressed…