The following is an excerpt from my book, Saturation.
When I was 27, I learned that alcohol could be used for specific purposes – to calm down and to disengage from reality. I began to use it as a tool, but I took ownership of it slowly. Like many healthy young adults, I chipped away at stressors by staying fit. I considered myself an outdoorsy person and spent as much time outside as possible, especially when I was pregnant with both of my boys. I also got very excited about hiking and cycling once I’d moved to Boulder. However, healthy outlets for stress took a back seat to drinking once I entered my 30s.
My youngest son’s daddy and I had divorced, remarried each other, and divorced again by the time I was 30. He moved to the east coast to live near family and never did return to Colorado. Over the next four years, I moved, dated, and drank. I was also raising my boys during this time. Except for a brief six month nightmare with an alcoholic named J, the only serious bond I nurtured was with alcohol. The end of that six month relationship propelled me with great strength into a downhill spiral.
J had been sober when we first started dating, but he relapsed as I drank. We drank together, he fell apart, and within weeks our relationship corroded like an old battery. I asked him to move out and he did. Until the death of this relationship, I hadn’t been aware that I could feel so much emotional loss. I was absolutely crushed.
Shortly after J left, I began drinking more and over a period of a year, my drinking escalated from five bottes of wine a week to around 14 bottles a week. And by the time I reached my 34th birthday, I was a full blown alcoholic.
My relationships, with men especially, have always been sort of intense. Maybe it’s just my perception of them, but I’ve always felt like people tell me too much. They let me in too far and it makes me uncomfortable. These days, I tend to enforce plenty of emotional space between myself and most folks. I find relationships curious and entertaining, but also tiring and stressful. I’ve never committed myself to another man like I did to J. I’m still learning.
I met Dick, the man who had me arrested at the beginning of this book, when I was 35. And during this period, I took my drinking to a level I couldn’t have imagined possible. The storm it brought was massive and utterly unpredictable…
My memoir, Saturation, can be found on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Saturation-Memoir-Jennifer-Place/dp/1461018129