Have you ever told yourself that you’re never drinking again?
I’ve told myself that. Usually for me, it was those mornings after when the hangover and the guilt would kick in, the mornings where it felt like I did not get a wink of sleep. I was younger then, and while hangovers did not become a huge problem for me until I aged a little more, the guilt and anxiety were always there.
I think I drank to feel better about myself. I had no identity at the time, sort of lost as an Indigenous woman. When I drank, I felt really confidant and made a lot of friends. I thought I was having a really good time and making the best of the moment, but in reality I was just wasting time. I was wasting money, I was wasting my potential.
I had dropped out of college because I drank too much and did not bother going to classes. I fell into depression. I was too busy being drunk, then hungover and listless. It was like that for a few years. Even though I wanted to go places and travel and write, I was still stuck in a rut.
It wasn’t until I got pregnant and stopped drinking that I finally got back on track. I went back to college. I started writing again and connected to my culture through storytelling. I also started drinking again, but not to the point that I did before. I was still working for a good life, and on those nights when I did indulge in libations, I had no dreams. I was always one to dream very vividly and in colour and wake up inspired by what I saw, and I would use the dreams for my creative writing.
Eventually I fell into depression again, and while school went well and my writing was working out, I started to overindulge in alcohol. The hangovers this time, man they set me back two days. Two days of feeling like crap and having no motivation to do anything. Writing was suffering. My work was suffering.
My dreams were gone, again, and that was such a scary thing to face.
I have known people who have drank themselves to death. They just couldn’t stop, and in most cases, they went to sleep and never woke up.
I didn’t want that. I didn’t want depression to lead to alcoholism that would cancel out all of my dreams and potentially my life. I didn’t want to abandon my child for a bottle. My child was and still is my greatest dream come true. So I sought help. So I changed my ways. And I am still working on it, as it’s not the easiest thing to do in the world but it definitely feels good to have my dreams again. It feels good to write and live again.
It is such a seductive and destructive thing, alcohol. It’s called firewater because it burns your throat as much as it burns your life.
And it’s not worth what it can cost you in the end.