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General

Coming to this birthday party was perhaps the dumbest decision of the century.

The memories are hard to avoid here. I feel like I’m having a very realistic flashback. However, I need to stay, it’s my friend’s birthday after all. 

I can’t call her my best friend because she is my only friend, so that makes her the best by default already. But she has a lot more friends than I thought. There are at least 30 people here. 

The smell is unbearable. It’s amazing how sensitive you get after you stop. Like cigarettes! I used to smoke, regularly. Like, one pack a day sort of thing. After I stopped the smell makes me nauseous and I can smell it a mile away. Well, the same thing is happening with alcohol. The smell is so strong, but not sickly… it’s nostalgic. 

I shouldn’t think this way anymore. I’ve been sober for 5 months. I celebrated last week with Iced tea and carrot cake. But it didn’t feel like a celebration. Because all my teenage and adult life, celebrating meant having a drink… or two… or way too many.

You see, my problem was that I thought that just because I didn’t drink every day, I didn’t have a problem. Oh, how I was wrong… 

I didn’t drink every day, but when I did, I abused it. And when the weekend arrived I had the NEED to drink. It should’ve been enough of a warning. Unfortunately, we tend to only address an issue after it has become catastrophically bad rather than tackling it whilst it’s just starting to develop.

I went from abusing alcohol on the weekends to having “just one” every day of the week. But does “just one” ever mean just one? It should. But if it had been back then, I wouldn’t have had a problem.

I used to become unpleasant when I drank. I was verbally abusive to my partner, friends and family. 

They tried to help for a while, they tried to make me see what my nasty habit was doing to me. But I didn’t see it. I didn’t believe them. I used to blame them and think they were trying to keep me from having fun. 

Now I’m single. Of course, I am. And I wholeheartedly understand why. I don’t blame him for leaving at all. If anything, I am sorry for making him leave.

I lost all my friends and drove my family away too. For similar reasons. My behaviour was unacceptable.

When things got truly bad and I started drinking heavily every day, I lost my job in the blink of an eye but luckily I own a house and I had enough savings to support myself. But for how long? Everything was being spent on alcohol.

That time of my life is a big blur. I was either too intoxicated to remember, or too disturbed to WANT to remember. 

Eventually, I got involved with the wrong crowd. But at the time, they were the right crowd because they were like me. Party animals. Except, life wasn’t much of a party. It was dark, sad and dangerous. 

My bouts of drunken casual sexual encounters became regular. Never with the same people. Never with people I knew. And never protected.

Luckily I never caught any disease, however, I became pregnant. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the wake-up call I needed and my lifestyle remained the same which lead to what haunts me to this day. I lost my baby.

When I first found out I was pregnant I didn’t know who the father was so I didn’t care. I just pretended it wasn’t real. But as time went on it was unavoidable to face it. It was real. 

When I finally gathered the courage to go see a doctor, I found out that there were complications and the baby hadn’t developed as it should. And it would be unlikely to survive. And it didn’t.

I blamed myself back then and I still do today.

I killed my child.

That was the wake-up call I needed. Way too late. I sought medical help and ended up in rehab.

It was incredibly hard. I was going through withdrawal, regret, shame and grief. A powerful combination of feelings that couldn’t kill me, but I wished it did.

Eventually, things got bearable. My system was clean and my health was stabilised. So I went home and decided to turn my life around. 

This wasn’t as easy to do as it was in theory. 

I was haunted by all the things I did, the life I lost and the life I took. 

After weeks of trying to make it by myself, I realised I didn’t have to be alone. I joined a support group and I can’t be more glad that I did. 

I met my friend there, she had been sober for 2 years at the time. Some people had been sober for as long as 10 years. This made me realise that no matter how much time passes, I’ll always be tortured by my past.

Nowadays I live very differently. I’ve been sober for 5 months but it feels like a week. The memories are hard to suppress and I constantly avoid situations that bring them back.

I don’t go to family dinners, they started to invite me again when they found out I was sober, but I’m not ready to talk to them about it.

I have contacted my ex-partner and some of my former close friends. I didn’t try to pick up where we left off or be a part of their lives again. I just wanted to apologise. 

Everyone accepted my apology, but no one showed any intentions of being back in my life. And I didn’t insist on it either. I don’t deserve it.

I know that my path to wellness is only just starting, but I’m doing my absolute best and I feel like things are on track.

Being at a birthday party isn’t the easiest thing ever when it comes to memories, but it sure is a good challenge.

I am better. I’m not that person anymore.

“What are you having, love?” Asks who I assume is one of my best friend’s many friends.

“Can I have a pint of lager, please?”

He hands it to me, smiles and tells me to “enjoy it”. If only he knew.

I take a sip and the taste, besides being familiar, isn’t as pleasant as I was expecting.

It takes me so long to drink that it gets lukewarm and I don’t finish it. And as I put it down the friend turns to me again and asks: “Would you like another?”

And the answer is easy: “No, I’m good. Thank you!”

I’m the one smiling this time. 

I control it. It doesn’t control me anymore.

July 24, 2020 15:38

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29 comments

Jubilee Forbess
03:32 Aug 03, 2020

Wow, this was a beautifully dark portrayal of a prevalent issue in our world, but it had a good ending that was much needed to balance the rest of the story out. Wonderful job, Monica.

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Monica G
15:33 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you! Really happy you enjoyed it!

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Mustang Patty
17:09 Jul 28, 2020

A great lesson in how addiction can haunt a person forever. Thank you for sharing this poignant look. I did notice that your writing is very strong. A small matter of spelling out numbers that are under 100 could help the integrity of your writing. I always recommend using a style guide that contains all those little things - comma usage, word choice, etc. I love 'Elements of Writing,' and I think you might enjoy it, KEEP WRITING, ~MP~

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Monica G
17:29 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you MP! I appreciate your feedback, I will have a look at that book and see if there’s something I would like to incorporate in my style! I have been writing for years and I like to think I’ve built a style of my own! I do prefer to use numbers rather than spelling them out, personal preference really, but I will look into it.

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Keerththan 😀
04:17 Aug 19, 2020

Wonderful story. It was also realistic. The ending was great. Great job, Monica. Keep writing. Can't wait for your next..... Would you mind reading my new story "Secrets don't remain buried?"

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Joy Rayner
14:58 Jul 29, 2020

I really like this character and the huge victory you’ve given her in this story, having risen so far above such a dark period in her life.

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Monica G
15:02 Jul 29, 2020

I’m glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately the problem portrayed is real and there are people going through similar or even the same thing!

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Fani Kerr
04:07 Jul 29, 2020

"I was haunted by all the things I did, the life I lost and the life I took". The depth of this line here.. very inspirational story felt i was there , it felt real .

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Monica G
08:43 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you so much! I’m so happy you liked it and could feel it so strongly!

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Barbara Burgess
13:29 Jul 28, 2020

lovely story with a lesson to be learned. I enjoyed how it flowed. An excellent subject to run with as well. Well done .

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Monica G
13:42 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you so much! I’m happy you enjoyed it

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16:29 Jul 27, 2020

It reads smoothly. I like the topic you chose and the hopeful ending. I feel you could give more details, instead of stating straightforwardly that your character is pregnant you could use morning sickness for instance just to prepare the reader and create a tighter bond between you two. Keep going!

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Monica G
16:35 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you! I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you liked it! Not all women experience morning sickness, I didn’t for example. However, the reason why I didn’t mention early signals is that she was heavily drunk constantly, even if she had been sick from the pregnancy she wouldn’t have taken it as a symptom of it but rather a side effect of her alcohol consumption.

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Zion Hintay
12:30 Jul 27, 2020

This was a very well written description of dealing with addiction. Went through each stage of recovery so aptly described. Glad you showed that it usually takes something very glaring to get a person to notice they have a problem. Good job!

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Monica G
15:26 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much! Your feedback means a lot to me. I’m glad I could portray the issue accurately!

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Karin Venables
19:23 Jul 26, 2020

A great story of the process of alcoholism. As with any addiction it's a sneaky process and you describe it quite well. I can't say I enjoyed the read, but then again it shouldn't be enjoyable to watch someone go through the process. It is hopeful though. With work and understanding yourself, you can regain control.

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Monica G
19:26 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you! I’m glad you liked it (and didn’t!) You’re right, it’s not an easy process, but there’s hope for everyone.

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Grace M'mbone
18:37 Jul 26, 2020

I love your story because it's realistic. I love that the protagonist finally learns that one shot means one shot and that she didn't take the loss of her child lightly. Great work Monica.

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Monica G
19:08 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback! Unfortunately sometimes people need something catastrophically bad to happen to understand that things need to change.

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Kelechi Nwokoma
14:28 Jul 25, 2020

Interesting story. I love that the main character is going through withdrawal. I also like the ending, 'I control it. It doesn't control me anymore.' Great job.

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Monica G
15:50 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you! Yes, her self control at the end was astounding! I’m really happy you enjoyed

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Kelechi Nwokoma
16:04 Jul 25, 2020

You're welcome. Could you please check out my story on the same prompt and give me feedback? I'd really appreciate it. The title is Next in Line.

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Monica G
16:07 Jul 25, 2020

For sure!

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11:15 Nov 12, 2020

Great story

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11:15 Nov 12, 2020

Hii, Monica Sorry to intervene, in this brutal manner, I have a request for you would be kind to give a single glance over the vehicle which my team had been working over months. https://www.instagram.com/p/CHX5VUPBJOp/?igshid=5f72nb3cgg30 Sorry to take your time and If possible like the post.Because this would help team to win

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B. W.
21:40 Oct 22, 2020

i'll give this a 10/10 :)

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Devanshi Garg
17:00 Sep 18, 2020

Wow Monica! It is an unbelievably realistic story. And I would say it was fantastically written, I was glued to the story just after reading the very first sentence. Would you mind reading my story ‘The Secret Behind The Name’ ?

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Charles Stucker
14:38 Jul 28, 2020

Great opening sentence. Now try to make TINY edits "However, I need to stay, it’s my friend’s birthday after all. I can’t call her my best friend because she is my only friend, so that makes her the best by default already. But she has a lot more friends than I thought. There are at least 30 people here. " Could be tightened to "However, I must stay. It’s my friend’s birthday. Because she is my only friend, I could call her my best, but don't. She has more friends than I anticipated. There are over thirty people here." This gets you ...

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Monica G
14:46 Jul 28, 2020

As usual, some amazing feedback from you! Gotta admit, I look forward to your comments at this point! I’m glad you liked this one and I was able to make the situation justice!

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