Magazine

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.

USA

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