Let’s talk about the ex-boyfriend first. Our relationship was intense, to say the least, and in all honesty, that was my fault. I stayed clean for him, and I fell in lust after just 2 weeks, and looking back I realise that my infatuation with him had addictive qualities. I loved him an unhealthy amount and we saw each other literally every day. He would get upset over small things, and I would comfort him, hold him and everything would be alright. I didn’t see this in any way as a flaw, he was everything I had ever wanted, and could possibly ever want.
I think I will always be ashamed to admit that over the course of our relationship, he always ended up having to look after me when I was too intoxicated. Ambulances were called, and he was there for me every single time. When he broke up with me I could not understand why, but looking back, I can.
I don’t miss him anymore. I no longer cry over moments we will never share again. The only thing that still haunts me to this day is what could have been if only I had been able to control my addiction. The reason it ended was because of my own stupidity. I have my current boyfriend, and everything feels so normal and fine, and I don’t want to lose him to my addiction.I don’t think my ex-boyfriend exposed me as an addict to his parents, even to this day. He was good to me, and I was bad for him.
When we broke up I felt like I no longer ‘needed’ to stay clean. The novelty of getting clean had worn off months ago, but I had him to cushion the cravings. I started drinking like mad, and went on a 12 day binge. I eventually rediscovered drugs within this time period, and found a new boyfriend. (We dated for 5 months, and after that time my head was still a mess, and I ended it impulsively one night as we sat on a bench.)
During my ‘12 days of bingemas’ (a nickname I have coined only now), I really messed things up with my corridor. I got too drunk and because the boyfriend was no longer around, they ended up having to look after me. But because of my erratic behaviour, combined with my occasionally erratic behaviour that had presented itself throughout the entire first year, my relationship with them all dissolved into chaos.
I was accused of lying about having a drinking problem at university by my own corridor. It’s a tricky subject to discuss, because it ended quite so appallingly.
I was due to live with some of the girls in the corridor, and they told me after my erratic behaviour that they no longer wanted to live with me. My college principal held a meeting, and a few of them turned up, and two were very late.
I went back to my room and there was a knock on my door. I was summoned to the living room. Everyone in my corridor, all 14 of them, were sitting there. My once lovely corridor had organised a meeting of their own, and everybody in the room went round and individually said something to me about how they felt ‘deceived’ and ‘didn’t know what to believe’. I admit, I indeed had acted out after having my heart broken. I drank until I was sick, I started abusing drugs again. But I did not lie.
The main ‘accuser’ was a girl who had a diagnosis of OCD. What follows is a letter I never sent to her, outlining my thoughts on her accusation.
I don’t believe you have OCD. I reckon that throughout the year, every time I’ve seen you take the cleaners hoover to do some extra cleaning, you’ve been faking it. Probably for attention. Real OCD is washing your hands a lot- and I haven’t seen you do that at all. You don’t go everywhere smelling of hand soap, or hand sanitiser. At the most, some people might agree you enjoy cleaning, but I’ve seen your room, and it often looks really messy- so I think you’ve been faking.
Can you see how ridiculous I sound? OCD is a complex illness that presents itself in equally complex ways, and is often invisible to everyone apart from the person suffering from it.
Arguably, the same can be said about having a problem with alcohol. Calling it what you want won’t magically make it something else.
Of course, understandably it is far more complex when alcohol is compared to drugs, because the former is legal. But the differences stop there. They are both substances that change how you feel, and can be phsycially and psychologically addictive. And being someone with addiction issues, does it not seem at all logical that a person with drug addiction issues could also have some issues surrounding alcohol as well?
Not only is it ridiculous what I have accused you of with regards to your OCD, it is also highly offensive. It’s speculation. It’s an ignorant, inaccurate observation. And it has made my life miserable. I don’t need to get out the medical documents from numerous doctors to support me, because over the summer I have managed to garner the strength to speak for myself, and I must say that I have come to the conclusion that you are free to close your eyes and block your ears. You are free to remain ignorant and walk away. But on the flip side, so am I. And isn’t it ridiculous?“
I never sent her the letter. She isn’t worth it. If she did read it, I would want her to know I still haven’t moved on from the hurt that was caused, but know that I am aware I was difficult to live with. And for that, and only that, I am sorry.
In the meeting I mentioned earlier, the one hosted by the college principal to resolve the housing situation dispute, this girl accused me of lying about being raped.
I was raped in November 2016, during my first term at Uni. This girl held me as I cried, and was there when the police turned up. I was so drunk when it happened, too drunk to know what was going on. I brought him back to my room, and then I remember coming round with him behind me, having sex with me on the floor, and I told him to stop and get out. He eventually did.
And to have the audacity to accuse someone of lying about being raped. It’s been over a year since that meeting in my corridor, and it still breaks my heart. I still think about it most days. I don’t understand why they thought I was lying about being an alcoholic.
One girl said that when I was being sick one time when I was drunk (or ‘drunk’ in her case) I had my fingers near my mouth (as in, I was making myself sick to appear drunk.) Hasn’t she heard of a tactical chunder? I make myself sick when I am that drunk to sober up. So yes, I was making myself sick, I was not vomiting naturally, but I wasn’t making myself sick to convince my corridor I was drunk when I was pretending.
Their accusation of me faking my alcoholism has really affected me. I got a tattoo on my arm that says ‘sober gangster’, and on a deeper level, I did think of them as I was getting it. Why would I get a tattoo that celebrates sobriety if I was a pretend alcoholic? Why would I stop drinking altogether if I was a fake juicer?
One of the girls saw me at a college bar casually sipping wine during my breakdown. I was with my 5-month boyfriend, and we were having a bar crawl. He didn’t know that I was an addict, and I wanted to keep it that way. As cruel as it sounds, I had originally found him as a contact for sourcing drugs, and I wasn’t going to lose him because I was a mess. I drunk the wine in the bar like I usually do, that is, quickly. But in order to not draw attention to myself and give the game away, I had to slow down a bit, act natural and fit in. I was tipsy when I saw the girl who hated me, and she was drunk and started shouting at me in the bar. I was humiliated and felt this sense of injustice that I was only making myself appear like more of a liar.
I think it comes down to the fact that a lot of people really don’t understand alcoholism.
Alcoholism is complex, and most people assume that being physically addicted to alcohol is what makes a “true” alcoholic. If you drink every day for about 3-4 weeks, you become physically dependent. However, the psychological addiction comes first, and remains when the physical dependency is removed. An alcoholic doesn’t start addicted to alcohol. You have to build it up over time. And if you binge drink, where you drink every day for say 3 days, 10 days, or 2 weeks for example, and then stop for a week or so, you don’t ever reach physical dependency. But you are still drinking alcoholically.
I’ve drunk at weird times, I’ve drunk on my own, I’ve drunk on feelings I don’t want to feel, I’ve drunk impulsively when I’m upset, I’ve hidden bottles under my bed, and I have drunk quickly and downed drinks to feel the effects faster. I have also drunk casually with my friends, which is confusing. People might see me out and about drinking with friends and thought ‘ok, well she’s clearly lying about having a drinking problem’. But if you actually stayed around and watched closely, you would notice that I am drinking faster than most, and buying drinks in bulk. You would notice that I order 3 shots of vodka and a cranberry juice, and mix them together and dry to down it at the bar. You would see that by the end of the night, I would be plastered and making an idiot of myself (one notable example being at a cheerleading social where I cried and my ex-boyfriend had to take me home.)
In rehab, I was treated for polydrug misuse and alcoholism. I can understand why some people might think I might have been dishonest, addiction is rife with deceptive behaviours. But to think I might have lied about having a drinking problem entirely is deeply upsetting.