This I Believe

Leah - Kansas City, Missouri
Entered on December 5, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: addiction

Alcoholism is a very real disease.

Although I haven’t always believed that, now, this I believe. This is not something I came to believe through grace or ease. This disease hunted me down, beat me up and has (thankfully) spit me out.

It is difficult for me to remember a time when consuming alcohol was simple. From the beginning it seemed as though there was never enough. I always wanted more. Now, at the ripe age of 28, in my life there is no more.

Through many years of college I prided myself on being able to drink. A lot. I was an “accomplished” female college binge drinker. I was able to out-drink most of my boyfriends. That was a mark of success for me. I was known in most circles I ran in as a big drinker; for some reason that seemed to be a point of pride in my life. My life was defined by drinking in college; I did not outgrow it as I added the letters BS and MA beyond my name.

Yet I proved to everyone that I did not have a drinking problem by filling my life with so much activity, with so much goodness. If I kept moving and buzzing about doing good for the world, no one would know I was empty on the inside.

No one except God. And eventually, myself.

In the back of my mind, I always knew I was different. I knew there was something in my psyche, in my SOUL, that differentiated me from my peers, my siblings, my friends. Numerous drunken escapades, many lost hours, a few arrests and lots of tears later, I realized that I have the disease of alcoholism. It came to me as a bolt of lightning, or more, as striking as the police lights flashing in my rearview mirror. At that point I knew life would never be the same.

After ten years of battering my body, my mind, my soul, I decided something needed to change. Even if it meant giving up the beloved soulmate I found in alcohol. There is no gray area for me, it is black/white. To drink is to die. And I choose life.

I believe I have too much to offer the world to let this disease guide and direct my life one SECOND longer than it already has. I owe my God, my family and friends, but most importantly, I owe myself this opportunity to live life on life’s terms. I spent too many nights in my past fantasizing, self-medicating myself with alcohol in an attempt to not feel. I believe I owe it to myself to feel; I believe I owe it to you to feel. For I have much to share with the world. My potential is too great to let this disease of alcoholism be the dictator of my future. With much conviction, this I believe.