From the January 2017 magazine.

Back to the surface

Feelings and events may take her down, but she now has the tools to come right back up

All my life I remember having that feeling of a constant undertow in my soul. I felt it all the time. Sometimes playing music would quell it. Sometimes reading would distract me from it. Sometimes going for a bike ride or a long walk would push it down for a while. But it always came back. It felt normal to me to have that feeling in my gut. When I was about 14 years old, I discovered that when I drank, though that undertow didn’t completely disappear, I just didn’t feel it. Of course, it always came back once I sobered up. But I knew exactly how to fix that: I drank.

For more than 27 years, I drank when I was happy, sad, mad or glad. Eventually, it took more and more effort and alcohol to put wet blankets on the fires that drinking had started in my life. When I was 39, I entered the rooms of AA. I was completely bankrupt on the inside. The noise in my head was deafening. It was as if someone had stuck me in a crate and pumped in music, laughing, talking, swearing and yelling at the highest volumes possible. I truly thought I would catch fire and explode at any minute, but as much as I wanted to, I did not drink.

-- Crystal B.


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