The Evolution of Birthdays
It is my birthday! Whoot whoot! How amazing it is to be sober on this day, especially knowing that there was a point in my life when I just didn’t think that this was ever going to be possible. Tonight I was thinking about how my birthdays have evolved over time.
The first birthday I drank was 16. Well, I tried to drink… I have never had more than a sip here and there till then. I was just too terrified to try it, not wanting to become like my alcoholic mother. But 16th birthday? Well I just got dared… So I proceeded to chug straight out of the Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle and promptly vomited all over while running to the bathroom. I didn’t drink again for several years.
My next great memory was my 21st birthday, and the year one becomes the legal drinking age in the US. I proudly marched myself with my shiny ID down to the convenience store to buy some beer and wine coolers so I could proudly be able to smack my ID on the counter! Well, I didn’t get IDed, very disappointing, and I got very buzzed off of 4 pack of wine coolers! Hmmm.
Then my very memorable 25th birthday, which I remember completely even though I drank everyone under the table and did so very proudly, except for the few episodes of vomiting. But… I just got right back to it until wee hours of the morning. All my friends showed up, each bringing another exotic bottle of my favorite elixir. That was a grand birthday – I remember thinking.
30! What can I say about it? I started with a few shots of tequila and a friendly game of quarters – that’s a game in which you try to bounce a quarter off the table into a shot glass. If you missed then you had to take a shot. I was losing. I don’t remember much, just bits and pieces: loud music, many people I didn’t know, vomiting, trying to walk thru the house and holding myself up with the walls and passing out on the floor. I don’t really remember having a good time at all. I do remember waking up with a horrible hangover and just chugging a beer to get rid of it!
By the time my 35th birthday came around I was in an outpatient rehab. I was sober but only to get the law off my back. I had several serious consequences that had stemmed from my drinking and the rehab was court ordered. I was a mess. I had nothing. I just got some little job because the told me too. I was not able to see my daughter but only every other weekend with what they called an unannounced supervision. I hated being sober and I hated spending my bday sober and alone! It completely sucked. No party. No celebration. Just another ordinary day. Deep down I couldn’t wait for all the legal crap to be over so that I could drink again, and that hope alone kept me going! Pretty messed up, huh?
Oh and then 40… Forty was amazing! I was sober for 2 continuous years. My whole family showed up and all my sober fellowship friends. It was the biggest party I had since, well, maybe that party I had at 25. I remember it all. I now I have a family! And a house and a job. And no law in my life! There was no alcohol served – lots of coffee though! I got hugged more than ever. We danced, ate cake and laughed till my cheeks hurt. I have many pictures of that day. I have great memories and all warm and fuzzy. I felt loved. I felt whole. I couldn’t believe that all this was possible in sobriety.
And now today – a great day with family and friends and the fellowship. Lots of hugs and tears of joy. I just could not ask for more! I am sober and grateful!
How have your birthdays evolved?
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.
*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).