Monday, February 17, 2014

Trich and Alcohol... and Why I Won't Drink Anymore

Why I don't drink alcohol, Trichotillmania and Alcohol

I've been putting this post off for a while—not because I don't think it's important—but because I was hesitant to put my personal beliefs on this topic out in the open for fear of rejection, fear of judgement against me, and most of all—fear of failing. I'll explain more in a bit, but I wanted to begin this post with a disclaimer that the following content is my own personal opinion & perspective, and in no way do I judge or disagree with you if you don't make the same choices I do.

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I think I've always had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I won't get into the details, but let's just say that I've seen it tear apart relationships & destroy the health and lives of several people who have been very close to me. Growing up, I told myself I would never drink, because I didn't want to see my life head in the same direction that I had seen so many go in before me.

You can probably guess where this is going. I had my first drink at age 18 and began going out with friends when I was 21. While I never enjoyed the "downtown" scene—when I went out, I tended to order at least one drink with dinner. And the way I did it, one drink turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into... well, you get it. I wasn't able to just stop at one. Now, I wasn't having drinks all the time, as you may presume. I'm talking once or twice, maybe three times a month. Nothing too extravagant.

But as the years turned and I found myself in troublesome times, alcohol was where I sought my refuge. Never a fan of strong-tasting drinks, beer or red wine, I would sip off the stresses with a margarita, a Malibu & Diet, a glass of Moscato, or a pretty & über-sweet cocktail. And like I said before—it was never simply just one.

The additional drinking led to weight gain (roughly 30 pounds more than I am now) and insecurity, and of course—more drinking—lots and lots more drinking. I suppose I should also include the fact that while I drank I was such a different person, and that was the kind of person that truly no one wanted to be around. I was a destructive person when I drank. I destroyed relationships, I destroyed people's feelings, I destroyed my own self-confidence. In addition—though I never realized it at the time—the more I drank, the more I pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows. It was a downward spiral and though I knew how to get out of it, I didn't want to. I thought it was too enjoyable... too fun... not worth it to give it up.

Fast forward a few years to 2013, where drinking wasn't so much of a priority but I still had one here and there—one margarita while out on the lake, one glass of wine at a fancy dinner, one hot toddy while up at our favorite mountain resort. Ever since I became a Christian in 2012, I had begun developing a conviction that I shouldn't drink at all—but I could never justify giving it up completely. I didn't think I needed to.

Then, last fall after my trichotillomania & pulling had gotten so much better, I realized one distinct correlation. I wasn't drinking like I had been... at all. It had been months since my last drink and I had hardly pulled out any eyelashes or eyebrow hairs, whereas before, I pulled and pulled each time I drank. I knew that my decline in drinking had helped lead to my decline in pulling. So I gave it up. Right then and there, I decided I was done with alcohol. For good.

However (here's where we get into what I mentioned above about being hesitant to post this)—I gave it up quietly. I made this decision after praying about it and talking it over with Daniel, and essentially only told my parents. And I did it so quietly out of purely selfish and misguided reasons. I was leaving the door open to the possibility that if I did have a drink in the future, that I wouldn't be held accountable for my actions because I hadn't told anyone that I'd stopped drinking. Wait, what? Yes. I'll say it again, I was leaving the door open to being able to still drink in the future. I'm telling you, I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I wasn't able to just let it go. It was as though I thought I needed it or might need it in the future. I was afraid of failing—so I didn't tell anyone about it.

So this post, right here, is my public declaration. Despite whatever opinions, thoughts or judgments about me & my beliefs may be cast because of it. I haven't had a drink since last fall, and I won't drink ever again. I'm doing this for myself, for my husband, for my family (and future family!), for my trichotillomania, and mostly—because of my faith in God, the convictions He has given me, and the path he has placed me on.

This is one of those long-winded, wordy posts that will surely drive people to click that "X" at the top of their screen. But this is one of those posts that is so important for me to share. I've always said—I love to share my story and put myself out there—and this is just one more page of my story that I don't want to forget, and don't want to go on without sharing. Please remember, I don't judge anyone based on if they do/don't drink or what their stance is on the topic. I hope I didn't come off as judgmental by publishing this post. This is a very, very personal post and it took me a long time to gather the courage to write it. But I knew I needed to... for myself—and for closure. Here's to holding myself accountable, once and for all.

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