There's a list I keep on my hard drive: "Things I've regretted doing while drunk." Every entry causes me to cringe; some make me cry. I've broken five iPhones. Irrevocably damaged two "best" friendships. The worst: One time, when I was 24, I woke up from a blackout naked and in an unfamiliar van. A man I didn't know was lying on top of me.
The therapist I began seeing after that incident started asking whether I had an alcohol problem. At the time I was stressing out at work, panicking as friends began settling down, and grieving the recent deaths of my mother and grandmother. But the therapist focused on my alcohol use.
"How much did you drink?" she asked.
"Three or four vodka sodas?" I shrugged. Whatever I'd had wasn't wildly out of sync with what everyone else was drinking.
"Three or four?" she asked. "You could buy a penthouse for that money!"
No, I could not. I rarely ever paid for my drinks. Alcohol was everywhere, from first dates to work-related open-bar events. In fact, the alcohol I had purchased was gathering dust on top of my fridge.
My therapist said she couldn't continue to see me unless I joined a 12-step program.
So I left therapy.
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