In this next part of her journey, Brown Girl in Recovery finds love but reveals that sometimes that’s not enough.

By Brown Girl in Recovery, Photo courtesy of Brown Girl in Recovery

I am Brown Girl in Recovery, sharing my third column with you wonderful readers about my experiences with alcoholism, mental health and ultimately, sobriety.

In my last column, I explored the beginning of my law school journey, where my heavy drinking and bad coping mechanisms really began. 

I did below average my first year of law school, but I kept going. I wanted to quit, but friends and family continued to encourage me. Of course it was going to be hard, but it would be worth it. So I listened. (I have always been pretty good at listening to others.) But I continued to party hard. I continued to binge and purge. Drugs were all around me, but I never took any—I prided myself on that. I didn’t see alcohol as a drug; it was legal, and everyone drank. It couldn’t be that bad for you, right? 

By this point, I knew I was not going to be a lawyer. But life did start looking a little better during my last semester. I was almost at the end of it all, and I actually enjoyed my classes for those last few months. I was 24. I felt hopeful again. 

I went back home to Texas and ended up not attending my law school graduation. I blamed it on money, that it would be too expensive to travel back, but part of it was because I disliked the experience so much that I just didn’t want to be back there. Plus, I still hadn’t secured a job and felt embarrassed because of it. This was the end of 2008, when the job market and economy were rocky, similar to how it is today. My parents didn’t push me to attend my graduation and I was fine with that. I worked odd jobs before eventually finding a job in the field I wanted to be in: the nonprofit sector (to the dismay of my parents and my hefty law school loans). 

My nonprofit work took me to Austin, a city I always wanted to live in. Again, I quickly found a group of friends who loved to party as much as I did. Mind you, I did not seek them out; it happened by chance. I was in a new city, trying to make friends, and we crossed paths through my work. I continued to drink heavily and struggle with bulimia. Just like in law school, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with what I was doing. I somehow convinced myself how I was coping and behaving was normal, probably because I was working extremely hard and thought I was doing okay in life.

The difference between my life at that point and my time in law school was that now, I felt like I had a purpose. So, one would think the unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms would cease. But that, my friends, is the power of addiction. You simply cannot stop just because it makes sense or because you want to. At the time, though, I didn’t think I had a problem.

I also began to entertain the idea of dating and finding “the one.” I always wanted to get married and have a family of my own. Eventually, I did end up meeting a guy. I was 25. He was part of the party circle I was involved with every weekend. I knew he was moving away, but I still got involved with him. When he eventually left, I was crushed. This was around the time my dad got really sick and was ultimately diagnosed with a progressive and degenerative brain disease. It was devastating for my entire family.


I began drinking more to deal with everything, which, again, I thought was normal. When you’re going through something tough, it’s normal to unwind and even numb yourself by drinking, right? I moved back home to Dallas, Texas, to help and support my parents—and to also get away from Austin. Was I helping my parents? In some ways, yes. In other ways not really. Moving back home in your mid-20s is an odd experience, to put it mildly. You’re no longer a kid, but you’re living under your parents’ roof. 

I eventually got a great job within fundraising with a spectacular nonprofit, a rehab center for women and teen girls. It was a good experience, professionally speaking, but personally, I wanted to go back to Austin. I still kept in touch with my party circle and would visit frequently. Within that circle I actually met someone else. (You would think I would’ve learned my lesson from the first time around.) That someone is ultimately the reason I returned to Austin after spending two years back home. 

Dallas seemed to be the ultimate blessing. I also didn’t abuse alcohol as much, and my eating disorder was less severe. It was still there, though, lingering and never dealt with. Did I still go out, binge drink and blackout? Yes. But I kept it mostly contained to Fridays and Saturdays, and I did not let it interfere with my work or family. Somehow that made it all okay. But I was starting to pick up yet another bad habit: hiding how much I was drinking from friends and family. One to two drinks was no longer enough. “Why bother even drinking if that’s all you’re going to have?” I reasoned. I drank to stop feeling discomfort and to be (temporarily) happy. So I would drink on my own, or sometimes in secret, before meeting up with others, or while using the bathroom if I was already out. 

I thought moving back to Austin would be exactly what I needed. That it would stop my bad habits and unhealthy coping skills from escalating. I fell in love, and I was back in a city where I had some great times. In my next article, I will start to share with you what ended up becoming my spiral down to rock bottom. Until then, I hope by sharing my journey that I am able to give other Brown women a space to reflect, perhaps nod along and feel less alone and realize life is going to eventually be okay.



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