At the beginning of this school year, some friends were talking about a party the weekend before and I got confused. Wait, why wasn’t I there? They reminded me that I was, and they laughed because I didn’t remember. I laughed too, but it wasn’t really funny. I didn’t remember because I drank until I blacked out.
My friends didn’t realize that’s what happened. They just thought it was funny that I couldn’t remember being somewhere I clearly was. But when it kept happening, they started noticing how much I was drinking, and they tried to slow me down at parties, or tell me I’d had enough. I didn’t listen. Two friends even did an intervention, saying they were worried about me and wanted to talk to my parents. Like an idiot, I got pissed off, and told them they were overreacting and that talking to my parents would do nothing because I was just having fun and there was no actual problem. To get them to lay off, I told them I’d be more aware of how much I was drinking.
That didn’t happen. About a week later, instead of drinking less, I just hid what I was drinking from friends who were watching me. Then I stupidly got into a car and almost crashed. My car swerved and so did the car I almost hit, and I realized in that instant that I could have died—or killed innocent people.
That was a wake-up call for me, and I immediately got my parents involved to go to rehab. I realized I did have a problem, and I should have listened to my friends when they tried to help. In rehab, I realized that I had used alcohol as a coping mechanism since sophomore year, when my girlfriend ended things with me, and the pressure to succeed at school and on my team started to feel overwhelming. At first, it seemed normal: it was just at social events. But then it got worse. I’d find myself always making opportunities to get drunk.
I was embarrassed to go to rehab, and worried about what people would say about it, but it literally saved my life. I wish that I had gotten help before it got to that point, and I’m writing this for people who drink too much, or for people who have friends who might have turned to alcohol or drugs but don’t think it’s a problem. One thing I learned in rehab is that if you avoid talking about it, it’s a problem.
Acknowledging this is why I’m still alive today. I hope my story helps save even one person’s life. If this had to happen at all, I’m glad it happened while I was still living at home with my parents, because now I feel ready to go to college as someone who understands responsibility around alcohol use. Many people won’t, and I’ll do my best to get them to see what I couldn’t—and get help before it’s too late.