The boozy blues. They’ll get’cha. Anxiety of what you may have said or done the night before, but you don’t remember because you blacked out. Fear of how much money you spent when you were feeling oh so rich and friendly. The embarrassment of re-reading your outgoing texts. The shame of not remembering the sex and praying you made him use a condom. You’ve experienced them right? They tend to creep up on you usually on Saturday or Sunday mornings, but if you really know how to party like I do, they can come and stay with you well into mid-week. I loved losing myself in alcohol, but I realized at the beginning of this year I was starting to lose myself. Period.
Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved a good party. I love how alcohol can change the trajectory of any awkward gathering, how the pour of a bottle can make just about anyone light up inside. Why do you think people say, “You wanna get lit?” My first sip wasn’t at a party however. It was in the so called safety of my own home. I tasted my first sip of light-me-up-inside at the tender age of 10. A 19 year old trusted babysitter who I thought was oh so cool asked me if I wanted to have a beer to see how it made me feel. I thought she was super duper awesome sauce and said, “yea let’s drink,” which lead to, “yea let’s smoke weed,” to “yea let’s snort this white stuff that makes us stay up all night,” to “yea, let’s have a sexual relationship.” Yep. You read it right. Ten. Doing not so ten year old horrifying things.
My 5th grade teacher became concerned when the bell rang and every 5th grader excitedly ran outside to rip open their Gushers and I was found face down on my desk still sleeping off my weekend. I’ve been familiar with hangovers for pretty much the entirety of my life. And guess what? They still aren’t fun. My Mother was called by the school administration which lead to big questions being asked and big secrets being revealed.
From the age of 1 to 11 my Mother and I moved every six months to a year. We never stayed one place very long. We spent a lot of time in the car together. Not living in it, but driving, gypsying, surviving. My most treasured childhood memories are of my Mother’s voice singing country songs, blowing smoke from her Virginia Slim out the window. When I watched my Mommy I saw her in slow motion. She was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen. We played slug bug, but for some odd reason the game proceeded with finding pay-phones instead of Volkswagen bugs. The car was where she would ask me how my weekends with Dad were. The car was where she would cry and I would silently hold space for her to let go and release. It’s where our big talks happened, mile by mile, side by side. The car was ours. Our safe haven.
When my Mother was contacted by my school and she didn’t know what was going on with her baby girl, her first instinct was, “Let’s go for a car ride.” So we did, we drove, for hours. She asked the questions. What’s going on with you? Is someone giving you something that’s making you feel funny? Is someone touching you in places that are private? It took some prying, but I finally burst, ashamed and confused about my decisions. Decisions.
When I just wrote that word I said “Fuck you!” Out loud to my screen. Decisions? I have carried guilt in my gut for 20 years thinking that I let these things happen to me. “Kindra, you were just a little girl.” I have to say to myself when I’m swimming deep inside these painful memories. I have to float back up to the surface and remind myself that I was fully taken advantage of. This is the healing. This is the allowing. This is the accepting. Booze, drugs, pills, none of it allowed me to be with myself. I have just recently learned how to be with myself. It’s scary and it’s liberating.
Here’s the thing, we’re always evolving, but we’re afraid so we sabotage it. We do it with booze, drugs, pills, sex, Facebook, Instagram, work, TV, anything that distracts us from who we really are. Earlier this year I took the time to meditate every morning and found myself receiving the same message over and over and over… “If you stop drinking you’ll have everything you want.” I heard it so clearly and powerfully that it kinda pissed me off. I resisted it at first but if something is important in your evolution, it will find it’s way to wake you up. I received the message loud and clear when I saw my Mother’s relationship with booze land her in the hospital. When the nurse asked my groggy parent who her emergency contact was, she searched around the room and said, “Kindra?? It’s my daughter Kindra Murphy. Can she come lay in bed with me?” I had been with her for over two hours, I drove her to the hospital. She didn’t realize I was there until that moment. This was defining for me. I lay next to my Mother and her pain and I heard a voice inside of me that said, “You must try something different.” It wasn’t a sad voice, it wasn’t an angry voice, it was insistent.
So I made the conscious decision to take three months away from the booze. Guess what I found? Serenity. I just allowed myself to evolve. The false story of “I am what has happened to me” became, “You’re not what has happened to you, you’re just used to that story, tell a new one.” I have allowed myself to let go of the story by simply telling it. Looking at it and saying, “I love that.” (Acceptance) Telling it has given me that release and freedom. If we accept the story and love the story, it goes away. I re-read my work and sometimes I cringe, but then I just say, “cool.” And let it go. I get nervous that when you read my words I may be judged and when these feelings come up I just say to myself, “I love you anyways.” Because it doesn’t matter if you love me, it matters if I love me.
As you can see alcohol and drugs are a theme in my life as I’m sure a lot of you dear readers can relate. It’s a Goddamn epidemic. I have seen substance abuse take over almost every adult I know to some degree. And you know what? That is their story to tell, I can only tell you my side and my new level of understanding. I no longer hold judgment or resentment towards the decisions that my parents, loved ones, or even that damn babysitter have made. I know better now that they are in their own evolution. I believe that addiction is a real thing and it’s scary, but for me personally the boozy blues came from not wanting to face myself. I have never necessarily wanted to be wasted all the time, I just didn’t want to be clear. I can easily put down the bottle, I didn’t want to pick up the mirror and see who I really am.
I frequently check myself out now and I kinda like what I see these days. I also like to party and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m no longer running from myself when I pour myself a drink. I’m just enjoying it. Clear headed. It’s all about balance guys. No more boozy blues for Kindy.
You see, fear is my addiction, but choosing Love is my story.