Sometimes, I wonder if I’m an alcoholic. My father’s side of the family is full of addicts, something my Dad would always express to me whenever I was partying too much and losing sight of things. I suppose he was well intended, but it’s led me to live a life in fear of having a glass of wine. I worry about how much I like alcohol more than I actually drink it.
My Senior year of high school, I would be drunk every weekend. I was coping with the harsh reality of being raped at 14, in between therapists and the many hospitalization, as the whole school pitied me. I was seen as broken to every single one of my peers, even though I knew that I was whole and simply making sense of the situation. I was a piece of shit, drinking 40’s in the park with my group of post high school friends who listened to a lot of Black Sabbath and The Smiths. I let a boy finger me at 2am, leaning against a palm tree. I made out with several men and gave one of them his first blowjob. I did everything because I wanted to and that was liberating for me after having my body stolen from me.
My parents were always deeply worried about the group of friends I was with, and I can’t blame them. The night of my SAT exam, I was with this same group, taking small puffs on a Backwoods with a Corona in hand. I could barely stand, puke filling my throat as I struggled to keep my food down. I wobbled myself to the bathroom to give myself a moment when Rodney followed me in. He had barely graduated high school and had a mouth foul enough to make sailors gasp. He was grimy and always looked at my chest before making eye contact. Rodney tried to rape me in that bathroom, but I had fought back, resulting in a black and blue shiner. Somehow, my parents found me that night. I woke up the next morning being lectured about my drinking habits and how I was turning in an alcoholic.
I’m still puzzled about how much my parents throw around that word, as if a single drink will send me down this horrible path. I don’t think I’m an alcoholic, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to it looming in the back of my head every time I take a shot. Alcohol itself has never been the problem, but the demonizing of it as a substance. It’s the same reason why I ended up picking up smoking: everyone around me treated it like it would ruin my entire life.
And now I’m chained to a pack of Marlboros, whiskey in hand. I’m confused what addiction looks like, unsure if my actions are my own or rooted in fear. I don’t know how to reclaim myself, the line between alcoholic and healthy continuing to blur the more and more I think about it.