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  • Kim

Secrets and blackouts... December 18, 2020

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

My mind seems to be brimming with ideas everyday and going in lots of different directions. I don't know the point of this post, except to get things off my chest. I feel like perhaps that is because I am carrying so much around with me at all times. I am so consumed at all times by this journey through sobriety. My husband asked me the other day if this is all I think about and I laughed. My mind doesn't turn off. Sobriety has even begun to devour my dreams. And I think I know why I feel such a deep need now to tell people about what I am going through. Partly, so my mind can start to breath and my husband doesn't have to listen (and doze off to) me talking endlessly every night. For so long, I harbored such a deep secret of my dependency on alcohol and I kept that to myself for so long, lying to so many. I think this feels like a secret too perhaps, and I don't want this to stifle me the way that did. I feel so overwhelmed by my thoughts that maybe it's time to come out with it all. Free myself. Alcohol free.

Other thoughts on my mind... I am listening to a podcast called "Sober Powered" and Gill speaks about alcoholism from a scientific point of view which is refreshing but also terrifying. On this one episode today, she talked about blackouts, which was fitting since I am reading the book, Blackout, by Sarah Hepola. She talked about the difference between types of blackouts: brown outs (when you remember parts of your night) versus total blackouts (when huge chunks go missing and you pass out.) She also said people whose mothers had a history of problems with alcohol were found to be more at risk of blackouts than if they grew up with a father that had a problem with alcohol. This is attributed to the mother being the primary caregiver. Also, those that are female, Caucasians, have an early onset of drinking and a family history of alcohol problems are all at risk to blacking out. Blacking out is genetic as well. Women are more vulnerable to blackouts because they process alcohol more slowly than men.

After listening to this and as I read the book Blackout, I am reminded of the many, many times that I have blacked out and all of the horrible things that have happened to me. The amount of times it happened at Colby is frightening, especially since we laughed about it every Sunday and normalized it week after week. Gill discusses how she would shyly call friends the next day searching for clues saying, "That was so fun, we got so drunk though, what a weird night!" Hoping for some semblance of how the night ended, hoping to get some kind of clue. How many times have I done that, almost on a weekly basis, for the last 20 years? I am reminded of so many inappropriate times that I blacked out and likely no one else did. Gill talks about the reason behind blackouts from extreme binge drinking - drinking a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time, on an empty stomach, pregaming or whatnot. This happened a lot in college and continued on and on. Until 19 days ago. Never again.

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