Welcome to the 12th episode of Don’t lose your balance. If you’re new here. Thank you for joining me as I share my journey. It’s my self discovery towards living a healthy and balanced life. I am a recovering addict who has been through quite a lot in my lifetime. Thankfully, I’m happy and healthy, and a woman in her late 50s. I live alone and I am on my own. And each day I continue to learn to be my best self, my happiest, best self.
If you’ve been with me along the way. I thank you for your support. And I hope you’ve been enjoying this podcast as much as I have enjoyed creating it. When I was thinking about today’s episode, I looked at the episode number and I realized I never really talked about my relationship in depth with alcohol. Episode 12 hit me. The 12-steps, AA so here we go.
I don’t think it’s any secret that we live in a society that’s obsessed with drinking. I started at a young age having had my first drink at 16. And back then I was actually grandfathered in the state of Pennsylvania so the legal drinking age would remain at 18 it it switched later to 21. But I just said I was 16 going on 17 when I had my first drink.
It was the summer of fabulous. I worked the previous winter to afford this incredibly disgusting but very wonderful opportunity to be down at the beach for the summer with two friends. They were cheerleaders for my squad. This would be the first and only summer I had an apartment down the shore at the beach. I lived in a one bedroom. It was a small space in Ocean City and I slept on the sofa while the other two girls shared the only one bedroom. I think if I paid $600 for the space the entire summer that was it. And that was a lot of money to me at the time. To afford that space. I had to work in a pizza shop as a cashier. But I also learned to make hoagies and philly cheese steaks and also spin pizzas and it was fun. It was a lot of fun.
On my second night at the beach house, I went to this amazing bar called Gables in Margate, New Jersey. Oh my god, the memory of Gables. Hey, if you know, you know. I had never seen anything like this before. It was a dive bar. I didn’t drink and I just followed the lead of one of my friends. I got a wink and a smile from this adorable blonde bartender who didn’t know I was 16. That was to be kept a secret until he wanted to hang with me. But I had to tell him I’m only 16 but I’ll be 17. You know he was more concerned about serving me and not serving me, then he was about sleeping with me. Nevertheless, I ordered a drink. It was a Long Island Iced Tea and it was delicious. Sweet, easygoing, easy going down. There was a warmth that came over my body not like the Vicodin that was different. I liked the feeling and that drink was soon followed by two and then three. I am not sure how many I had, but I absolutely went back the second night and that was my first experience with true alcohol poisoning. I remember actually that I had seven Long Island iced teas, two kamikazes two beers and two slow comfortable screws. Geez, that’s a whole lot of alcohol. I woke up the following morning and proceeded to vomit for the next 12 hours. I couldn’t even have ice chips. That’s really sick. I’m not sure why I didn’t think to go to a hospital. Clearly I could have died from dehydration. But I was lucky and incredibly stupid. You know, it didn’t stop me from all that partying the rest of the summer, every night or every other night. The drinking, the sleeping around the stupid behavior. Somehow alcohol made the reckless behavior seem easier. I’m not sure that was ever a conscious thought in my head about anything I was doing. Luckily, I never got any STDs and AIDS wasn’t even on the radar yet.
However, I did come home with a terrible bronchial illness called pleurisy. That’s when the lining in the lungs is infected, something similar to pneumonia, coughing up a lot of blood, and it made breathing really difficult. My mother took me to the doctor, I took some really strong antibiotics that were prescribed. But that summer, that particular summer, set the table for an incredibly unhappy year to follow. I was now experiencing full depression at 17. I had quit the cheerleading squad, I could barely apply to colleges. And that was the year I saw my first psychiatrists, which I think I’ve mentioned before. He was nice, but I can’t say he ever really helped that much. I had lost all of my friends and the feeling of abandonment was a big part of my life. I had missed 61 days of school out of 188. Thankfully, I had a very good GPA but I don’t test well in my SAT’s were the worst I think 590 combined on the LSAT is can you imagine? I think the teachers just passed me through I could barely get through a full day, let alone a full week or even a full school year. I applied and was accepted to several schools, Delaware, Penn State and Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey. I actually wanted to go to Penn State. It was a very large state school and I remember thinking to myself, I just want to disappear, you know, into all that of that that big crowd.
But I had to attend the summer because of my low SATs. During orientation I made a great friend and I loved her. We immediately clicked I recall there was a party on campus, and she handed me moonshine moonshine, what the fuck was Moonshine? Whatever it was, I drank it and the next morning she comes into my dorm room with a cup of coffee. And I felt sick again, I drank throughout the summer despite being under aged. But by the time I had my next birthday, I was legal. So by that July I was legal. I didn’t like Penn State at all. Although in hindsight, I am glad I went I learned a few things about myself there, I learned that I swim really well in small ponds and the school was just too big. It was just too large. So I transferred to Fairleigh Dickinson University and my sister was there. She was a senior when I was a freshman. I loved that place. I transferred with six credits under my belt and my fall course schedule was smaller because I had those credits. The Fairly Dickinson had a bar on campus. Can you imagine a bar? I went to the quad and I went to the bar and I hung out. I did what kids do in college, I drank. I smoked weed and I took Quaalude’s. Those were the days. Oh my God, I loved Quaaludes. If you’re young and you aren’t listening, you won’t know what Quaaludes are because I actually had to Google them. I didn’t know what they were. I only knew they were great. So what are Quaalude’s? Quaaludes were synthetic or barbiturate-like, central nervous system depressant and a popular recreational drug in the United States from the 1960s until the 1980s. When its use was made illegal by the Drug Enforcement Agency. The active ingredient methaqualone is and x anxiety lotek enzootic. It lowers your anxiety, and is a sedative hypnotic drug that leads to a state of drowsiness. The drugs imprinted the number 714 on the tablet and were initially introduced as a safe barbiturate substitute to help induce sleep, but they were later shown to have addiction and withdrawal symptoms similar to other prescriptions.
You know, I was never addicted to Qualludes because the last bag I had bought from someone on campus sold me something fake and I never purchased them again. But I did drink at parties in college. I drank when we went out to eat but I think I smoked marijuana more and I would go to class high. I took tests high. I graduated magna cum laude, high. Go figure. By the time I had graduated college, I was married. Alcohol wasn’t considered a problem until it became a problem.
One thing I always told my children was it’s important you experiment cautiously. When I say that I wasn’t saying go ahead and experiment I knew they would with or without my advice or my supervision. What I said knowing they were absolutely going to experiment; you never know which drug is going to be the one that takes you out. So be really careful. I didn’t think pills would be the vice that took me out. I actually never thought about it one way or the other. I wasn’t the person that drank during the day on vacation. I knew alcohol on the beach in the sun was a terrible combination. I never liked how I felt when I drank during the day. It drained my energy and it would require a nap to recoup so I often saved it for the time I would go out to dinner. Buying wine and drinking at parties. Weddings, drinking alone was just part of what I did. I never thought drinking every day was a bad thing. Drinking alone, that’s a bad thing. Drinking at bars alone, another bad thing. Drinking in the morning or saying it’s brunch to justify it. That’s also bad. Drinking while on dates. Drinking would sometimes be fun. Drinking would often get me into trouble. I’d spend too much money when I drank too much impulsive behavior, I would drink and it would make the choices I made easier to make, that I would never do in a sober environment. Feeling shameful, justifying the behaviors by having more to drink. You know, when I was in rehab, I recalled that they asked who’s mad that they cannot have another drink again. You know, I looked around and everyone raised their hand. So I raised mine, I thought, wait, I’m not here because I have a problem with alcohol. I have an addiction to vikan. And that’s not the same. So I raised my hand in the back of my mind, I knew alcohol would one day return in my life. But I gave it a good college try. I didn’t drink for six months after rehab. I left rehab on August 21, 2004 and had a glass of wine, while alone in my home on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s January. Not sure where the family was. But my ex husband didn’t remove the alcohol from the house. He refused. He wanted to drink wine. But he didn’t have the problem that I had. I had the problem. I didn’t even have to sneak it. He did get mad at me for drinking his expensive wine so casually. That was hard to manage. I didn’t really have the support at home to not drink. I had to want it badly meaning sobriety and clearly I didn’t want it. But it was only a half a glass that day on Super Bowl Sunday, then a half a glass turn into a glass and then a couple of glasses. It would take until 2019 for me to actually stop drinking for good. That’s 15 years.
I’m not going to share everything about the last 15 years but I will say this. It had to take a superbly horrible liver diagnosis. chaotic relationships with men, some married, one nightstands, internal chaos and turmoil in even the worst hospital I would ever believe I’d end up in to really look into the mirror and say to myself, when is enough enough Mallory when? For me, it wasn’t about a it wasn’t about rehab. It wasn’t about finding a sponsor or a better job, or a better man or a relationship that was or wasn’t toxic. It wasn’t about more money. I’ve had it all. And I’ve had nothing, I’ve lost it all. The damage is done. The non existent relationship I have with my kids may repair itself or not. The truth is, without or with anyone, I’m happier. without all that chaos, Living Dangerously or living in pain, living with so much money, it’s all the same because ultimately, it’s not authentically me. Ultimately, it’s just not balanced. I don’t manifest my life or my dreams. I live in a reality that being okay with what I’ve got took me a really long time to get here. The programs that exists like AA or Al-anon these are wonderful, wonderful programs, they just didn’t work for me. I had to come to my own conclusions and letting go of the alcohol and the pills to feel physically and emotionally better was amazing for me, but I had to come to that conclusion on my own.
Anything that alters my being my space, my headspace, whether it’s good or bad, it’s not healthy for me because it’s not balanced. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I will never hold another drink. And I like that feeling. It’s a nice feeling knowing that if I don’t drink, I can feel this okay.
Well, then from my first drink in 1982, my last drink in 2019. That’s a whole lot of drinking. I hope whatever choices you make, your choice to drink responsibly is a good one for you. If you choose sobriety I hope if you get even a fraction of my happiness and feelings of balance, you’re winning. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Don’t lose your balance. If so follow me, download it, share it with someone you know that might find value from it. I have a website Don’t lose your balance .com and I am on Instagram. I have two accounts at this time. One is called Don’t lose your balance. MSD Mary, Sam David, MSD. And you can also find me as just Mallory underscore Durrick. Okay, I’ll see you next time and I look forward to hearing your feedback about how you live your most balanced and authentic life.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai