The craziest thing about it is that I live in NYC, one of the booziest cities in the country, and I work in Advertising Sales, one of the booziest industries.
People always sort of look at me wide-eyed when I tell them. “Never?” “You don’t even have one once in a while?” “how do you get through events, I find people so boring?”
And I always tell them, if you knew me when I was drinking, you wouldn't ask me those questions!
I’m an alcoholic. I can’t tell you if you’re an alcoholic-- only you know that. And no, I’m not secretly judging you, thinking that you are actually an alcoholic. I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about trying to figure that out for myself anymore.
From a really young age, I always felt uncomfortable in my skin and had a really low self-esteem. I felt “less-than,” and that I didn't fit in anywhere. I remember the first time I got drunk, when I was 16, it was like everything just fell into place. I had found my calling.
Only “my calling” resulted in me numbing myself for years, and doing really terrible things that drove my self-esteem even lower than it already was. I managed to graduate from college and get a decent job, but the drinking kept getting worse. And it was really easy to surround myself with people who partied just like me-- to just get lost in a crowd of craziness, and not own up to my own self-destructive tendencies and behaviors.
After a series of terrible events that almost got me fired, I finally stumbled into an AA meeting. That’s where I learned about alcoholism, and how to get through life “one day at a time” without a drink. It’s where I finally started to face a lot of my demons and process my feelings.
Today, nine years later, I’m a completely different person. Whenever people used to say “love yourself” I didn't even know what that meant. Now, I have an inkling! I eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, and try to be of service to other people. I have a spiritual life today. I wish I could say the low self-esteem is cured but that is going to be a lifetime battle. For now, I just try to be as aware as possible of the critical voices in my head.
And I don’t numb my feelings. Ever. Ok, maybe once in a while with some Oreos. Living in this city, that may sound impossible, but I always say—if I can do it, literally anyone can. And that’s the stuff that leads to emotional and spiritual growth.
And the best part? I never have a hangover, or do anything inappropriate at the annual company party!
-Anya, GG Guest Blogger