“Why did I start drinking and using drugs?” is a question every addict and alcoholic will eventually ask themselves. What happens next really matters.
There is a question that every alcoholic and addict has asked themselves many times at many different stages of their addiction and recovery; when they are deep in the depths of their addiction, when they are newly sober and struggling to move forward, and even when they have seemingly left substances in the past.
Why did I start drinking and using drugs?
And for every alcoholic and addict, the answer is different.
In my case, I started drinking and using drugs for the same reason most people do: I was young and naïve and wanted to see what it was like. My drinking and drug use started off innocently enough: stealing sips from liquor bottles at sleepovers with my friends, taking a hit off of a joint at a party. At the beginning of my drinking and drugging career, I had things under control.
The Beginning of a Problem
It was when I learned that drugs and alcohol could provide an escape that they became an issue. When I was in my sophomore year of college, a relationship that I had been in for 4 years ended abruptly when I found out that my boyfriend had cheated on me. While breakups are commonplace, especially in young relationships, I had never experienced pain like that before. I felt depressed, humiliated, lonely, confused, betrayed and scared – I felt literally every negative feeling I had every experienced in cycles every day. It was overwhelming.
It was then that my drinking and drug use went from “normal” to “wildly out of control.” I started to soothe my feelings by drowning them in substances. I found that when I got enough drugs and alcohol into my system, all of those negative feelings faded into the background and I felt nothing. Which, at the time, was exactly what I was looking for. So I took it and ran with it.
At first, I excused my behavior as a side effect of the breakup. But as time passed, it became clear that I had no intention of slowing down. And by the time I realized that I wanted to slow down, I didn’t know how.
The Beginning of the End
The more that I drank and used drugs, the more my life began to spiral out of control. There were too many negative consequences to count: academic consequences, financial consequences, interpersonal consequences and spiritual consequences. By the time I decided to seek a solution, 6 years after I started to suspect I might have a problem with drugs and alcohol, I was nothing more than a shell of the person that I once was and that I had the potential to be.
A New Beginning
When I first got sober, I was so angry with myself. I had let my life spin completely out of control, and for what? Why did I ever start drinking and using drugs?
While I don’t have a definitive answer, I have come to a place of forgiveness, acceptance and even gratitude for my time spent abusing drugs and alcohol. I have come to see it as a necessary step to becoming the person that I am today. I honestly believe that my struggle with drugs and alcohol and the devastation that it caused in my life were the catalyst for the transformative work that I have done in sobriety. If I hadn’t gone through those challenges, I don’t know that I would have ever examined, addressed and worked through some of the issues that went hand in hand with my alcoholism. And my life wouldn’t be nearly as full or as beautiful.
So why did I start using drugs and alcohol? And why did I start abusing them? There are a number of reasons. But I will say this – I don’t regret it.