I used to keep secrets.
The secrets weren’t anything dark or harmful. But they were what they were, something I was keeping from someone else. The secrets kept me drinking. Most of the time they were little white lies. They weren’t going to hurt anyone, but I wasn’t being genuine either.
I tried to make things sound like they weren’t that bad.
I tried to make it look like everything was fine, that I was fine.
But there was always a part of me that knew something wasn’t right.
I’ve been keeping secrets for a long time, starting when I was young. Lying came easy for me. I was a good kid who did normal teenage things. I had fun. To me, telling half-truths was better than lying. I told my parents I was at a friend’s house (truth) but I didn’t tell them what we’d be doing (drinking). These secrets are part of my story.
I thought I had to tell secrets to get by.
Throughout my drinking, I’d often wake up with little to no recollection of the previous night’s events. I didn’t want anyone to know. What would they think of me? I thought. Sometimes I pretended to remember. I’d either change the subject or turn it into a joke. Back then it was funny if you didn’t remember what had happened the night before so I never thought it was a problem.
In my marriage, I kept secrets from my husband. I told some while in a blackout, ones I’m unable to speak about today because I don’t remember. They were small and seemingly unimportant. Sometimes I lied about how much I drank or how late I stayed up. Sometimes I lied about places I went to and who I was with. In my blacked-out mind I thought I was hiding how much alcohol I was consuming at the end of my drinking. It was after I quit drinking that he told me that he knew. I was trying to hide an issue that was growing to be out of control.
Sometimes I lied to myself.
On the days leading up to the weekend I planned out my drinking. By the time Friday night came I was ready to unwind and this usually included alcohol. While at the liquor store, I’d think, why not get more for Saturday too? But who was I kidding, at that point there were never two nights of drinking in a row. I was too hungover after one. Still, I continued to buy double knowing that I’d be drinking most of it in one evening.
Drinking too much felt like an accident.
I didn’t mean to drink as much as I did. It was as if I kept drinking only because it was there. The drinking was unconscious at times. Throughout my life, I had never been intentional about the amount I consumed. I’m not sure if I knew I couldn’t manage it or if I didn’t care.
Sometimes I pretend to be a person who was going to have “a few drinks” but it never happened that way. I pretended to be a person who could drink enough, but not “too much,” whatever that means. How did those people do it? I wondered.
In reality, I was not that person. I had never been that person. And what gave me freedom, in the end, was realizing that I could never be that person.
And because life is so much better now, I’m OK with that.