I watched the movie Girl on the Train last night. Emily Blunt plays a very convincing alcoholic in the movie. I was struck by the familiarity of some of the scenes from my own days of drinking so heavily. But most of all I was struck by her vulnerability. Women who are drunk are so vulnerable. Unaware of their surroundings, of their own state, of the dangers that could be lurking.
I was reminded of a time that I was in a bar and drank a lot of tequila in a very short time. I staggered across the bar, unable to stand straight anymore. I was slurring and my friend took one look at me and knew we had to get out of there (although I did fight her on that). She lived close by and we started walking toward her place. Two men started following us and my friend was telling me angrily, but probably more fearfully, that I had to straighten up and walk. She was half carrying me at the time. Danger was right there and she had their wherewithal to recognize it. I did not. Around the corner came a friend of ours. He was a big guy and he took one look over our shoulders and also saw the danger. Looking at the men he asked us if we were ok. My friend asked him to walk with us and he took me from Nancy and walked. The two men turned and went the other way. Danger was averted that night, but I’ve often wondered what would have happened is Steve hadn’t shown up.
When I woke up the next morning I had a black eye and no idea how it got there. I also had a pretty wicked hangover and was a mess. My friend explained that I got up to go to the washroom and fell into her coffee table. That was where the black eye came from. She tried- not for the first time- to talk to me about my drinking. I wasn’t hearing it. She told me she loved me but couldn’t watch me do that to myself anymore. She talked about how we both could have been raped the night before. I laughed it off. She tried. It wasn’t long after that that she stopped taking my calls and didn’t return my messages about going out. I turned to other people that could support my drinking. I was just a party girl, no problem.
I’ve often said hat when I finally did see my behaviour for what it was – completely destructive – that it was like a window I had been looking through suddenly opened and I saw clearly. I wanted so bad to close that window but once I saw it there was no going back. I couldn’t unseen my own pain, my own vulnerability, my own selfishness. I knew now.
I recently read a blog post about moderation management as the new treatment for alcoholism. It always infuriates me because there’s so much importance put on drinking. I often wonder how you can have experiences like I have (and there are many that I don’t choose to share) why would you take the chance on drinking again? To me that willingness to take the risk of going back to that pain is indication enough that you still have a problem. I don’t claim to know why some people can’t drink, I just know that some can’t. I’m one of those people. And I am always aware of that. Every time I have a dream in which I’m drunk I wake up so thankful that it isn’t real. Those dreams are good reminders to me.
Last night I dreamed that I was doing a masters in psychology (I do have a BA in psych) and was working on a paper about addictions. Much better dream than my drunk ones!