During one of my hardest relapses, I was so stressed out that I almost drank myself to death. According to the doctor: “A person with a normal tolerance to alcohol, probably would have died; your Blood Alcohol Concentration was .36–You would be arrested for DUI from driving with a .08”. So I came home hysterical and my family dragged me to the emergency room, rightfully so.
Here’s where it gets interesting. If you’ve ever been admitted to a hospital as a “suicide risk”, you’ll know that they immediately take your phone, wallet, clothing–anything and everything you brought, then lock it up. This time, by mere coincidence, as I was carried in, my sister had been carrying my bag, so no one took it. I was too out of it to remember any specifics, but I do remember saying that I wanted to hurt myself AND others. Why did I say that? Because ERs are boring and psych wards at least have magazines and crayons and stuff. I ended up passing out within a few minutes anyway.
The next morning, I notice my bag in the corner, which, of course, has a handle of vodka in it. How much is left? I won’t know until I take a look. But there is a police officer stationed at the entrance of my room and nurses floating in and out constantly, so it won’t be as easy as making a cocktail at home. Step 1: on the way back from using the bathroom, I slide my bag under my bed. Step 2: organize the tray of breakfast recently delivered, removing the lid from my orange juice; Screw Drivers were already my favorite drink anyway. Step 3: set the styrofoam cup next to my bag on the floor, slip my hand under my bed and slowly poor my drink with rolling or moving at all.
I didn’t actually want a drink, nor did I want to get drunk, but when you imbibe a historic amount of alcohol, the Hair of the Beast is the only cure to that brutalizing hangover. Because of some of the dangerous things I said last night, I had to be seen by a social worker, before I could be discharged. We talked for quite a while. She said it might take 10-15 minutes, but we talked for over an hour. It was a very interesting conversation; We had a lot in common. I also have a Master’s in Social Work. We both had a similar view of mental illness and how it relates to family dynamics. Obviously it was ironic, amongst other things, that I was drinking a cocktail, as I lay in that hospital bed, but that was my last resort. My most desperate attempt at relief, albeit a very shallow and brief relief.
I was released, but had to begin again an extremely painful detox. One I hope dearly I never have to endure again.