Why I Don't Drink Now And Why I Never Will

Why I Don't Drink Now And Why I Never Will

After all, I lived through domestic abuse.
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People often come to me asking me why they don't see me at parties on campus. I don't come because I don't like drinking. I have a dark personal background about why I don't drink. I still hear after I tell people a little about why, how that my past shouldn't affect my decisions now. That I'm letting my past control me. Maybe I am. I'd rather let it control me, though, than let it haunt me. Even then, I still get a drink shoved into my face telling me to let go and have fun to "be young". I refuse and if they won't let it go, I walk away. Walking away is one of the easiest things I learned to do. People think it's hard when someone keeps coming at you, whether it's an ex or some drunk girl/guy at a party being rude, to walk away but it's so easy for me. I don't like confrontation, I even shy from it. I try to be the best person I can be, while still making myself happy - but that's not the point of this article.

Often times, the dangers of drinking are ignored. People drive drunk or use someone's intoxication against them. People even become violent. My stepdad did. I remember when I was about 11, it was the first time things turned south. He and my mom had just gotten married two weeks before. I was home sick from school and my mom and stepdad were fighting. I could hear it from my bed upstairs. The fighting lasted all day and night. My brother came home and was with me, protecting me, from a threat I had yet to perceive. My stepdad was drinking and was getting louder and angrier. My brother had disappeared down into the fighting, and I was scared. I was so very scared and my stomach hurt. I started to walk downstairs when I heard a loud bang and my mom screaming, then utter silence. I'll never forget that silence or the dread that slid through my body causing my heart to stop then start at an accelerated rate. I remember it was almost as if everything was happening in a dream-like state, my brother came running out of the kitchen yelling for me to call the police but I didn't move. He grabbed the phone and called them since I stood frozen on the steps. I knew something terrible had happened but when my brother went back and carried my mom to the couch, it all became so much more real. My stepdad had hit my mom so hard he broke her eardrum. The pain must have been just horrible because she was crying and moaning.

Finally, my muscles came back on and I went to cuddle with my mom. She held me and told me she would be fine. "Don't be scared," she said. "Everything will be okay." Two days later, my mom called me downstairs and sitting on the couch was my stepdad. He said he was sorry and that he loved us. My mom told me it was okay, that it wouldn't happen again. She told me to hug him and so I did. The sad thing was, this wasn't the last time he hit her, nor was hitting the worst thing he did. Every time, without fail, I could guess when something bad was going to happen. How? Because he was always drinking when he went crazy. The fear is still embedded into me. The nights of hiding in my room when I'd hear the yelling start, the nights of holding my brother back so he wouldn't fight him and begging him to please stop, and the nights where I thought he was going to kill my mom all come back to me in nightmares. I would go to school terrified that I'd come home to my dead mom. I would go to school hiding the pain and the terror that happened in my home, covering anything on myself for fear of discovery.

My mom got us away but then her third husband was worse. It wasn't that he hit me but he did hit my mom. That's not what made him worse, though. What made him worse is that he changed her. My mom became violent and unpredictable. My first stepdad damaged her but my second stepdad broke her. All of this happened because of alcohol. There were many other factors but I will never forget the damage alcohol left on my family and my life. When people are drunk or tipsy I feel fear rise to the surface and everything comes back in flashes. My anxiety runs rampant and I can barely tell reality from memory.

People often don't think about their kids and how fighting affects them. They don't understand that fighting and yelling ruins them. It makes them think that that is what relationships should look like. It teaches them that abuse and fighting are normal. Their personal relationships will suffer. I promise you that. When voices get raised in a household, kids get scared. It stays with them. Hitting is worse. When mommy or daddy hit each other or even a stepparent, it begins to leave mental and emotional marks. Most parents think the kids can't hear because they go outside or they don't know about the hitting. Kids are much more intelligent than people give them credit for and they know. You think you are hiding it but you aren't. Take it from me, you aren't, even a little. Hurting the kid's other parent, whether it be physical or emotional, will hurt the kids more than the other person. Leave them and be done with it. Take it from me, everyone will be better off. After all, I lived through domestic abuse.

Cover Image Credit: the drunken fig

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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He Was Too Worried About The Future That He Forgot To Live In The Present

I just wish he could be present, even when everyone around us is in a rush.

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I know this guy. . . or maybe I don't because he's always changing. He's always on the go. He never sits down. He never takes a break. He's so focused on his future and all of the obstacles he has to overcome to get there, that I think he forgot to live in the now.

And it would be selfish of me to say, "Forget the future! Worry about today!" because in the long run, our today's are building our future too. It's all a little messy, and it's all a little complicated. . . but there has to be a balance.

I wish he would take the chance to get to know those around him. Enjoy the simple things in life every once in a while and quit holding back because he doesn't know where he's going to end up.

There's a difference between letting your future possess you and letting your future shape you. We're all on the same boat at this stage - unsure. We don't know what we want, we don't know who we'll become, we don't even know what we're really working for. Yeah, some of us have ideas and expectations about our futures but the reality of life is that we don't know what life is going to hit us with. We just have to be okay with a different tomorrow.

There's a lot I don't know about him. There's a lot I wish I knew. Thing is, I've accepted that I won't. Our time is limited here, and although he may stay here for the extra schooling he needs, he'll be even more focused then than he is now.

Throw away your responsibilities just once. It doesn't have to be every night or every week - but give it a shot. See where life takes you when you aren't worried about the future for just one second.

Life is neat and while some of us are so glued to our technology and social media, others of us are taking in the moments as they come. He may be looking down at books and writing assignments, but if he were to look up for just one second he could see how much he's missing out on.

I know he's going to get where he wants to be someday, I don't doubt that. I just wish he could let others in his life on his process of getting there. And if he were to ever stumble upon this and know this is exactly about him, I just want him to know can say hi. He can talk to me.

You meet people, you set different expectations, you have new experiences.

You focus on your studies for four years and then you continue them or you finally begin life. Don't rush, don't wear yourself out. In the end, I just wish he could be present, even when everyone around us is in a rush.

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