Rock Bottom & the Upward Climb
How I Knew I Hit Rock Bottom, and What it Took to Get Back Up
I honestly can’t believe I am even posting this, a picture of me when I was at my lowest - abusing alcohol, hanging out in places I wouldn’t even be seen in now, perpetuating the cycle of heartbreak with disempowering & unhealthy “situationships” with unavailable, and lets be honest - inappropriate men.
The picture above (left) was taken around 2012, when I was deep in the throes of alcoholism, still recovering from a heartbreak by a person who swept me off my feet and soon after left my life in shambles, and trying to cover it all up by overachieving at work and in grad school. I projected a persona of a high achieving, “she’s got her shit together” woman during the work week - and collapsed into a hot mess on the weekend. Each Sunday brought the misery and anxiety of a hangover, and wondering what wreckage I had created the night before. I was alone, empty, and angry at the world.
I felt as if I was living two separate lives - and feared the day they would collide. By day I was a super responsible public school administrator, completing her PhD so she could continue to serve children who needed it the most. I worked, went home and studied or wrote papers, and got up the next morning and did it all over again. There was no need for love or relationships if I had my achievements, at least this is what I told myself.
By the weekend the stress of my job and studies had accumulated, and I would begin to get an inkling that maybe, just maybe, I should go out and meet someone. Or at least have some fun. Loneliness is a very powerful drug.
There were many different endings to these nights, but none of them were good - and each one included more alcohol than was safe for one person to drink. More than one night ended with thoughts of self harm, just so someone could see how much pain I was in. Oddly enough what saved me was being so heavily under the influence that I literally couldn’t get up and follow through…..irony.
I did not want to live this way.
Yet I couldn’t stop.
What could make me stop? What was rock bottom? I had heard this term used so often, in reference to “real” alcoholics - but surely it didn’t apply to me.
I just liked to have fun. A real party girl.
Would you think rock bottom was:
Almost going to jail for DUI?
Drunk dialing your ex so much they refused to reply to you after dark?
Ruining family gatherings?
Starting fights in seedy bars?
Apparently I didn’t think any of these were, because I did all of them and them some…… and still didn’t think I had a problem.
The cycle of destruction seemed to accelerate, and I began cutting off anyone in my life who spoke up about my behaviors, or didn’t go along with what I wanted. Before long I found myself without my best friend of 7 years, strained relationships with my parents, and no healthy friendships or relationships to speak of.