Maybe I'm posting too much. I don't want to wear anyone out with my ongoing saga. But I had the most upsetting nightmare recently.
Anyone who's been a long term alcoholic knows what a "blackout" is. It results from heavy drinking and is a period of time (from a few hours to a few days) during which you are conscious and active, but which you have no memory of afterward. During the blackout, one is typically functioning without normal restraint, which may result in harm to self and others. Violence during blackouts is common, as well as sexual misconduct, verbal abuse, and bizarre behavior.
The worst part of a blackout is coming out of it and not knowing what you did, where you've been, or how long it lasted. It can be terrifying, especially if you find yourself in an unfamiliar place. In blackouts that I had when I was drinking, I would be panicked when I came out of it. Thoughts of "Did I hurt anyone? Where is my car? Where are my kids? Was I supposed to pick them up somewhere? What happened to them? Did I go to work? What day is it? What time is it? would race through my mind and I would scramble to try to fix whatever I did.
I have been sober for 16 years, and without blackouts. But I just had a dream that I was coming out of an alcoholic blackout and felt that same old fear and panic. I was racking my brain trying to remember something.....anything, afraid that I had done something terrible. But I could not recall anything after that last drink, and now I had ruined everything. I woke up not sure if it was a dream or it really happened, fell back asleep and just continued the same dream. This was actually worse than any CSA dream I've ever had. It was 3 days ago, but I still shudder every time I think about it. The fear of going back to that time in my life never really leaves me.
Why the fuck couldn't I just be normal?
"But now old friends are acting strange,
they shake their heads, they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day
....it's life's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all. "Joni Mitchell