It Happened to Me: I Developed a Drinking Problem After My Boyfriend of 11 Years Committed Suicide
It's been almost two and a half years since my life was turned upside down and altered forever by my boyfriend's suicide.
Losing your best friend and lover in one of the hardest ways imaginable will change a person. For the longest time after he passed away, I was incredibly afraid of more change. So much so, that even though I moved from my home with Craig, I continued to try doing things as I did when he was alive and we were together. I kept our 2 dogs and 4 chickens, packed up all of our shit and moved into a new house. Across the street from where I lived for over 8 years.
A lot of people concerned for me weren't sure this was the best of ideas, but I wanted to stay in my neighborhood and I wanted a house with a yard so I would be able to keep my animals, to try to live some semblance of my former life. I took three months off of work to try and start my new life with help from my family, and then I was on my own. I was determined to keep as much control and normalcy over the littlest things, since I felt completely out of control with everything else in life.
I did things like trying to host Thanksgiving dinner for friends, which was a favorite of mine, ours. This turned out to be much more challenging than I ever anticipated. My new place is a lot smaller, less kitchen/cooking space, and I started slamming white wine at 11 am because I was utterly depressed and not into it, whatsoever.
But I had invited my friends and family over, so I had to follow through. I did this two years in a row. I pulled it off both years, somehow, but I remember feeling empty and sad. Only because it just wasn't the same. Nothing was the same without Craig, no matter how hard I tried to force it or fake it.
Throughout those two years, I became entirely too dependent on alcohol and drugs to help me get through the tough shit I was going through. I was really good at pretending is if I was fine on the surface, but my drinking was becoming increasingly destructive behind the scenes.
Days off, after work when I eventually returned, and weekends were for lounging around, drinking in my Sitting Pants that are covered in dog hair and/or random food splatters. It was only when I finally committed to making major changes after a spell of making bad choices, blacking out consistently and too many what-the-fuck-happened-to-me!? moments did I finally I quit drinking for good.
I am almost seven months off of booze and I feel better than ever. Every day is still a struggle, some days are 10 times harder not to drink than others, but I am sticking to it, despite the challenge. I still miss being able to have a nice glass of wine with a delicious meal or a top shelf margarita or beer on a hot day, but I've realized that I can't have just one. Nope. I like to drink up all of the booze, get all kinds of drunk/sloppy/crazy/lover/fighter/cryer on you, so it's best for me to just say no altogether.
Every day I am amazed that I have made it this far, both with my drinking issues and in general. There were times that I felt that moving forward in life was just too damn difficult, painful and almost impossible, with all of the reminders of Craig and our life flashing through my mind and in my dreams constantly.
All of the what-ifs and the why oh why can't this please be the shittiest of nightmares instead of my reality feelings that should be spread out over a lifetime were lumped into a two-year span.
Quitting drinking helped alleviate a lot of those feelings for me and allowed me to focus on really starting to heal myself and work on the new Me. Sounds like a pile of delicious, gooey cheese, but it's true.
When I was boozing it up, I wasn't able to fully grasp that I had much deeper issues that needed, and continue to need addressing. I was masking everything with liquor and anything else handy so as to not have to deal with me, myself and I. Who wants to really look at themselves while NOT liquored up and actually work on the issues that have led to so many fucked up decisions, choices and actions in life? I didn't. Sometimes still don't.
But, I've realized for me, not drinking is the only way I can try to find genuine happiness again, someday.
I'm trying to go about my normal everyday life/activities, just without getting shit-faced. I've hung out with my girlfriends, who are incredibly supportive, encouraging and HOT, with and without alcohol being present. I prefer people to go about their normal business as well, so as to not make anyone (me OR them) feel weird, uncomfortable and put on the spot.
I've been out to a local music venue to see this fantastic woman perform live; I was the designated driver for the first time EVER, had about four Shirley Temples and a really fun time! It was different, but I am learning to adjust to my new choices when outside the comfort of home. I have always loved live music, and I've realized that I can still enjoy it, only now I'm that old lady in the back row eye-balling you, making sure you don't step on me while dancing or whatever and hoping the show starts before 10 pm.
I've also signed up for online dating. Yup, that's right. I'm a single woman again and apparently that's how a lot of the folks are meeting the other folks these days? Unless I'm missing something, this is the route of which I've been told.
I honestly never thought I'd have to date again after a being in a long-term relationship, but I am. And it's totally, insanely weird. Well, not technically "dating" yet since I've yet to actually meet anyone in person, but available and out there.
I've been on the site almost five months. I recently came to the realization that I may be a little TOO picky. Like, I really want someone who has excellent dental hygiene and flosses daily, but how does one add that to their profile without sounding like a complete freak? And how would I even know?
And if their screen name has any combination of stud, 69, in-a-box, or sex in it, it's an immediate hell.to.the.NO. I find myself turning away everyone who approaches me for reasons like these. It's scary putting yourself out there.
Aside from getting up everyday and doing the 9-5 thing to survive, I'm constantly reminding myself of why I'm still here and what it's all for; it's the little things. Fresh air, sunshine, Scrabble, coffee, playing with my sweet dog, sleeping in, encouragement from family, laughing with friends. Those are the little things that seem to get me through the day sometimes.
Even though I love and miss Craig everyday, I still get to keep the memories of the wonderful times we shared together and that also helps a great deal. I've learned that some things just cannot be unchanged, no matter how much hoping and wishing and praying one does.
I've also learned that even though change can be scary as hell, it can also be pretty exciting to know that anything is possible. I honestly feel that I am able to FINALLY fucking realize this because I've stopped drinking. It's been the best choice I've made for myself in a really long time and I'm determined to make it. Or keep trying, anyway.