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K's Ongoing College Story

I'm writing this in hopes that it will help me understand my own problem.

I'm only 21, and have been for about five months. My drinking started much earlier though. I smoked weed before I ever drank, and frankly it was never an issue. Starting my sophomore year of high school I would smoke occasionally on the weekends with some friends.

I had always heard that weed was a gateway drug, little did I know it would turn out to be a gateway drug for one that is perfectly legal. I first drank later in my sophomore year (high school), probably four shots of vodka. I acted stupid but loved it. I always told myself that I'd keep my drinking down to no more than once every other week, as I was a very bright student, involved in academics, and didn't want to suffer any poor health consequences.

In retrospect, my senior year of high school was the point where my habits became unhealthy. I enjoyed being drunk, even when I was alone, and didn't understand that getting drunk alone was not a good sign.

When I left for college, all hell broke loose. I became "that guy" in my freshman dorm, but I was ok with it because I was a friendly drunk and everybody liked me. I'd be hammered by 6 or 7 and go out and play drunken piano. I punched a hole through the wall and didn't know I had done it until I was told.

Still though, things were somewhat under control. I was limited financially, and drank only about 3 nights a week. I stayed healthy, going to the gym every day and coping with stress through healthy activities. And, of course, being a college freshman, drinking was seen as some sort of badge of courage. It was cool to get belligerent and fight people.

The next year, my sophomore year of college, was the first time I ever got an inkling that something was awry. I study mechanical engineering, and I started going to class drunk. It became something of a game for me: I would get hammered before tests just to see if I could score higher than everybody else even drunk, which I generally did.

That year, I started dating a girl, my first serious relationship. Spending so much time with her (not really a drinker) was where I first saw the contrast between my habits and what was actually healthy. She was into me though, and never really chastised me for my drinking. I eventually broke up with her, and although even now I don't fully understand my own thinking, I know a factor was simply my shame at how much I drank.

Finally, my junior year rolled around and I turned 21. That was five months ago and I haven't gone a single day without having several drinks. I blacked out every night of the weekend, showed up haggered and hung over to class (if I showed up at all, that is), and could no longer keep up with the accelerated pace of my upper level engineering classes. I noticed depression developing as well, and quit my job one day simply because I couldn't stop myself from crying while I worked.

The biggest problem for me is that I'm somewhat introverted. I drink mostly alone, and can hold my liquor well enough that nobody really knows the extent of my problem. I burn through about a fifth a day, generally rum or vodka. I take shots in the morning to deal with the hangover.

Finally, yesterday, after calling a suicide hot-line since I was too ashamed to talk to my friends, I realized how much I was screwing my life up and decided to take action. I told a friend today about what I'm going through, and she was very supportive.

I sent an e-mail to my parents as well, which was about the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm hoping that having my parents know what's going on will help me begin recovery. I'm 21 years old, with a whole life ahead of me. I'm shocked that things got out of hand so quickly, but glad I caught it relatively early. Wish me luck!

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Apr 26, 2013
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad I'm not alone.

Mar 02, 2012
Don't Give Up
by: AW

Your story is compelling and not unlike how I began my drinking life. I am now 45 and still struggle daily. Persevere in hope and with the help and support of your family I pray you beat this thing. Today is day one for me. Again. I wish you well.

Feb 29, 2012
by: Kat

Thanks for sharing your story. I think you understand your problem more than you realise, you've explained the reasons why drinking might have been an attractive option at one point- increased confidence, feeling less insecure and less shy etc.

Your story is very eloquent and the amount of honesty you have shared is something you should be proud of. Don't let the shame of what you have done or how you have felt hold you back.

Starting the journey towards being sober is something you should be very proud of. Don't feel ashamed of something you did while under the influence of alcohol and look forward to a life of feeling proud of every second, minute, hour and day you don't drink.

Accept the help and support of your friends and family and be thankful that you're seeing your problems with such clarity.

I wish you all the best and hope you keep coming back to keep us all updated on your journey.

Feb 22, 2012
You've done good
by: Anonymous

You've done good sharing your story. Telling your parents. Reaching out for help. You're absolutely right ... you have your whole life ahead of you, so much to live for. You'll get through this. It's going to be tough. You'll feel like giving up at times - but in the end it will be worth it. You have so much more to give and to achieve. Let this experience make you a better and stronger person.
Best of luck my friend.

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