On Being Young, Sober and Single

Navigating romance without the booze.

sober-romanceWhen people look at me, they don’t see an alcoholic.

They see a content 22-year-old student-athlete with a 3.8 GPA, the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper, someone who balances two part-time jobs in addition to academics. I don’t fit the stereotypical “old geezer whose life is falling apart and has lost everything” mold people associate with alcoholics; even at my rock bottom about a year and a half ago, I still managed to balance (and even excel) in most areas of my life.

Except relationships. Relationships were difficult – especially after I was introduced to alcohol.

Where I was reserved and self-aware when sober, I would completely surrender those insecurities as soon as alcohol took hold of me. When that buzz hit, confidence did as well. I was able to talk to anyone in the room. All I cared about when drinking was that it made me feel lighter, happier. I thought it made me a more likable person. I was wrong, but I wouldn’t come to that realization for quite some time.

During freshman year of college I had a short relationship, a few months at most. He liked to drink as much as I did, if not more. Unsurprisingly, when we both drank or one drank more than the other, it never ended well. Alcohol played a role in our relationship ending, so logically I went out and got trashed the night we broke up in order to forget about the situation.

Here’s a curveball – it didn’t work. It never did. It only made things look better for a short period of time, or made me more confident to say or do things I wouldn’t say or do sober. Then I would wake up in the morning, probably hungover, left to clean up the destruction I had left in my path the night before.

My drinking really escalated after the breakup. After all, I had an excuse to drink: I was hurting. It seems that as a culture, we have this idea that alcohol and the high it brings can cure hurt, when all it really does is overshadow it and make it more prominent when it’s finally acknowledged. I have also struggled with anxiety and depression the majority of my life, and for whatever reason, I had taken it upon myself to lower my dose of Zoloft from 100 milligrams to 25 milligrams. Since I was already struggling emotionally and my dosage wasn’t what it should have been, depression set in and was only exacerbated by my drinking. Read More “the fix”…


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