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My Drinking Got Out of Control

In those moments of desperation, I even contemplated the kind of relief that I could find in recreational drugs.

By Mika OkaPublished 25 days ago 6 min read
My Drinking Got Out of Control
Photo by Andres Haro Dominguez on Unsplash

Trigger Warning: Alcohol and Medication Abuse

As I reflected on my personal experiences, I remembered how I had abused substances in an attempt to drown out my pain, only to have it spiral out of control. The temporary escape it provided was illusory, and the relief quickly turned into deeper distress and emotional turmoil.

What started as a misguided attempt to cope with challenges turned into a downward spiral of addiction. The substances I turned to no longer served as relief but became a powerful force that worsened my situation. In my desperation, I even resorted to stealing to sustain my addiction. It was a manifestation of the depths to which I had sunk and the lengths I was willing to go to feed my destructive habit.

By Karim Ghantous on Unsplash

I occasionally drink socially, as it helps me alleviate my anxieties. Having a moderate amount of alcohol can help me overcome social awkwardness; otherwise I would find myself sitting alone in a corner throughout social gatherings. I have a low alcohol tolerance and I tend to get drunk easily. Therefore, only a glass or two would be good enough to do the job.

Describing my journey as an addiction story may feel inadequate compared to those who have endured longer and more intense struggles. Although my ordeal was relatively short, it was nonetheless desperate and almost life threatening. Starting this narrative feels overwhelming due to the numerous interconnected aspects. It’s challenging to write according to the timeline, so for now, I will focus on translating whatever I can into writing.

I was on the path to recovery from my mental health issues, over a year ago, making positive strides in my journey. But life took an unexpected turn, and I was under immense pressure, pushing me into even deeper hardship. I was entangled in some Machiavellian web.

My mental health rapidly deteriorated, leaving me feeling like a frightened and broken individual, overwhelmed by fear and constant tears.

A desperate, insane woman.

I’m aware of how unbelievable my story may have appeared to others, but for me, it was a harsh reality.

In those moments of desperation, I even contemplated the kind of relief that I could find in recreational drugs.

Fortunately, circumstances prevented me from pursuing that perilous path and I tremble at the thought of the potential consequences. If I had given in to that temptation, I don’t even know if I could still write today.

Each passing day presented me with a haunting dilemma:

I was caught between the paralyzing fear of sleep and the excruciating torment that plagued my waking hours.

In a desperate attempt to find temporary solace and escape from this relentless turmoil, I turned to alcohol as a means of numbing myself. My sleep medication proved ineffective during this period of my life. I was really desperate and I took matters into my own hands. I was self-medicating by combining anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and antipsychotic medications with alcohol. I started drinking hours before taking my medication, hoping it would enhance its effects. Initially, it seemed to provide some relief, but as time went on, I just ended up wide awake in the middle of the night.

Every day, I clandestinely counted around $5 in coins from our once-plentiful coin jar, for a bottle of soju.

I acknowledge that it is regrettable that I reached a point where I felt compelled to resort to stealing in order to sustain my drinking habits.

The initial sips offered a fleeting intoxication, granting me a brief respite and the chance to find some semblance of rest. As time wore on, the effect of a few sips diminished, leaving me craving more. Gradually, my consumption escalated to the point where I could finish an entire bottle in a single sitting, to one and a half bottles and to two bottles nightly. Yet, even with such quantities, the sought-after numbness remained elusive. With each passing day, my dependence grew stronger, exacerbating the strain on our dwindling coin reserves.

By Nathan Powers on Unsplash

Out of desperation, I covertly grabbed several bottles from my partner’s liquor stash and consumed them all within a span of one or two weeks (he discovered the empty packaging later, long after the ordeal). I believed that the stronger alcohol would finally give me the relief I needed and help me sleep, but it turned out that even the strongest drinks couldn’t numb my pain or bring me the rest I longed for.

I was perplexed by the workings of alcohol tolerance, as it seemed to build up rapidly in my case. Even during my younger years, when I frequently went out and indulged in nightly drinking, I would become intoxicated very quickly. I couldn’t help but wonder if my medication played a role in this.

Almost every evening, I would intentionally intoxicate myself in an attempt to escape from those triggering and dark thoughts. However, deep down, I recognized that this destructive pattern couldn’t be sustained indefinitely. The potential consequences loomed over me, including the risk of liver failure, overdosing, and substance abuse-related issues.

There was also the concern of inadvertently overdosing of my medication while under the influence, or even contemplating dangerous actions like climbing over the balcony. I live on the 32nd floor.

The weight of these potential outcomes bore down on me and I recognized that if it weren’t for the constraints of limited resources and financial challenges, I would have been tempted to succumb to excessive drinking without boundaries. I came to the critical realization that a change was necessary before the situation spiraled even further out of control. Despite feeling like I had no one left in my life, I couldn’t bear the thought of abandoning my cats due to my reckless behavior. Their dependence on me serves as a powerful motivation to resist surrendering to despair.

I understood that I needed to prioritize their well-being and, in doing so, find the strength within myself to persevere. I couldn’t give up on myself because of the responsibility I had towards these innocent beings who relied on me for care and love. They became a source of purpose and determination, urging me to seek help and embrace a path of recovery, not only for my own sake but also for theirs.

What I had previously seen as a means of coping had turned into a destructive force, sabotaging my efforts for recovery.

I realized that not only was I succumbing to the wounds inflicted by others, but I am also now my own worst adversary.

It was a painful pill to swallow. The very behavior I believed would provide solace was, in fact, intensifying my challenges and impeding my path to healing. It was a sobering realization that required me to confront the harmful cycle I had unknowingly perpetuated.

I decided to quit and during this period, I was overcome with the sense of shame when the topic of drinking came up in conversations. As someone who is battling with their own drinking problem, I found myself shamelessly preaching drinking in moderation. I still couldn’t believe that I said those.

After that, I managed to return to relying solely on my tranquilizer to help me sleep. Over time, I observed a gradual improvement in my ability to fall asleep, despite the persisting night terrors. Eventually, I even succeeded in gradually reducing and eliminating the need for the tranquilizer altogether when it came to bedtime.

©Emika Oka

Thank you for reading 🖤

Previously published on From The Corner of My Mind

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About the Creator

Mika Oka

Sharing her unique perspective on the world as a hearing-impaired autistic person with bipolar disorder despite the challenges.

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