I woke up one morning, and it was a beautiful December morning with the sun shining and a light flurry. From the window, I could see it would be a good day. I got ready for work and stepped out into the brisk wintry day. I was happy that I took the time to pick up a nice gift for the office party. In fact, I was sure that the co-worker I had for the gift exchange would be very pleased with it.
As I entered the office, I could feel the room’s excitement, and everyone had their best clothes for this evening’s event. As the day wore on, the buzz got more intense. You could see that all the employees were just as excited as I was to get together and just have a good time. When 5 o’clock arrived, people began to exit and head to the rental hall some blocks away. I left with some colleagues, and we drove there. The festivities included a cocktail, an announcement from the CEO, a three-course meal, a gift exchange and dancing.
I had my first drink at 5:30, and this was fine. We shared a bottle of wine at our table of four during supper, where I had two more glasses. Then, someone ordered a second bottle and decided I would only have one small glass of wine with dessert. Thinking back on that evening, I guess this is the one I should not have had. When the meal was over, I felt tipsy from the three glasses of alcohol I had, but I went and picked up a beer while the gift exchange was happening. It was clear that many others also had a few drinks. Anyone could easily observe odd behaviour in people, the way they spoke, the comments made, the hidden remarks, the snickers, etc. I never considered myself to be a big drinker or have a problem with alcohol. But for some reason, I felt the need to have another beer, vodka, shooters, and more shooters.
By ten o’clock, I was pretty drunk, and so were many of my co-workers. Then, I was approached by a fellow. I had no formal contact with him, but I had seen around the office. He smiled and invited me to a secluded area of the hall. We sat, laughed, and said silly things; he then pulled out a small baggy containing white powder. I was shocked at first, but being drunk, my initial reaction quickly disappeared.
He invited me to sniff some cocaine with him, and I did. I don’t know why, but I did! It was not long before I was sniffing more and more. At close to midnight, most of the party staff had left, and me and my newfound buddy decided to go. He invited me to another party, and I agreed to, as long as there was more coke and alcohol. When I think back, he drove there under the influence, which could have been fatal.
Unfortunately for me, that night was the end of my happy holiday season for the next five years. Alcohol and cocaine became the only important things in my life. I lost my job, apartment, and belongings. I am now selling my body and soul for a bottle of wine and a few lines of coke. I am thin and have Hepatitis C. I was pregnant but lost that child two years ago.
Today is once again the fantastic Christmas season, and I can’t help but be reminded of that fatal evening when I should have said no to the one drink too many that sent me on the adventure of losing all that was important. I have an appointment with an alcohol addiction counsellor tomorrow. Maybe this time, it will be different, and I will have a real chance to change my life.
The only thing I can say to anyone at a party with alcohol and drugs is before you decide to take another cheering drink, a line of cocaine, or a joint. Stop and look at the people around you, look at your life as it exists and ask yourself: “Am I ready to throw everything I know, have and love away for a brief momentary sensation of bliss?”
That was my Happy Sadness of the Holiday Season. I know I will be better, so don’t be sad for me. But be effective for the person you love and care about who is struggling with addiction.