Growing up in Wisconsin, where drinking was just a way of life, today’s guest describes her relationship with alcohol as “disgusting”. Meet Laura, who lived the “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” lifestyle. For years, she lived in a box that she didn’t belong in and after getting married, having 3 kids, and eventually deciding that drinking was no longer working for her, Laura found herself in a sexual identity crisis. Join Annie as she and Laura discuss the crazy path that led her to where she is today.
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Well, I’ll say that I was one of those kids that has my first pictures with my first sips of beer because it was so cute, dressed in my lederhosen in Wisconsin at the Oktoberfest parade. So I definitely had my first sips when I was a baby. I was raised in a culture where people drank a lot because it was Wisconsin and it was just part of the fun of being from Wisconsin was that you got to drink a lot of beer.
Everybody drank beer and I didn’t have a lot of people in my life who were abusing alcohol that I could say, but it was just that their tolerance was very high and they drank a lot.
So when I got to middle school I experimented with alcohol and would drink schnapps in the basement, at a sleepover, and sneak that and get really wasted because that was different and better in some way than beer. It wasn’t like the typical beer because beer was all around and that would have been easy to have. But the sneaky thing to do would be to sneak the harder stuff that the older kids would get for us.
I would say that laid the foundation for a very dysfunctional relationship with alcohol because it was binge every time from the very beginning. There was never any hanging out a party having a cocktail, anything like that. It was just hide it, chug it, get wasted, act stupid and forget everything that happened. Every time.
Just What We Did
I just remember that it was expected. That’s just what people did. That’s just what teenagers were supposed to do to hang out with people that were older, cooler, somehow more accepted. It just made sense to do that. I didn’t really question, I don’t remember wondering if feeling like crap was good for me, it just happened. It just was the way it was.
I don’t remember caring much that I felt terrible and would go to practices and have to get picked up the next morning from sleepovers just totally shot. Parents didn’t ask any questions, I don’t think they really knew. If they did I don’t know if they cared. I think they might have thought that was just part of a kid is trying stuff. I wasn’t getting in trouble with the police, I was not getting in trouble with school administrators. Still playing my sport. I was kind of a stand out golfer in high school, and as long as that was going everything seemed to be going well.
Still At It
I ended up going to college to play golf and there was a huge culture of keg beer parties in the athletic department with jocks that were people that had house parties at the tennis house. Then the next night there’d be a basketball party. So everybody would go to these different houses and just drink as much keg beer as you can. Taking that habit I had of just binging every time into really dangerous situations where I would leave a party by myself, pass out in someone’s yard on the other side of town. Peeing my pants all the time. I would forget that I was even with people that were on my team I was kind of supposed to stay with. My group. People would end up having to babysit me all night and keep tabs on me and ruin their good time.
I didn’t really feel embarrassed about it, didn’t care. I just totally lost control every time I drank. Never drinking just a couple beers like some of my teammates did. Some of my teammates would drink a couple beers to meet people, kind of have a little bit of show and tell at the party and then they would leave. But I would, in the same amount of time, get completely sloshed. We would be there for 45 minutes and I would have drank six beers. It’s just thirsty city. Just so thirsty all the time and they were like, “Oh, she’s from Wisconsin, she drinks a lot of beer,” but it didn’t really make sense. It didn’t add up, it was just that my habit was to drink a ton fast. So I had just a disgusting relationship with alcohol.
Can You Relate?
Did you have a sexual identity or other identity crisis that led you to drink too much? Start reading This Naked Mind for free today to learn how trauma plays into our drinking.
Sexual Identity Crisis
Then in the middle of college I met the person I ended up marrying. He was in a band and we had a lot of late night sex, drugs and rock and roll parties out. So I started adding some experimental drug use to that too. We’re at bars all the time, so I was just always drunk when I was with him. I didn’t really have a lot of times that I wasn’t either stoned or drunk with him. So it seemed like a good thing at the time because I was feeling accepted and I was feeling like people thought I was fun.
He was attracted to my carefree attitude about being able to try to keep up with him as far as drink for drink. In hindsight, of course, that seems totally nonsensical but it made sense at the time. It got me by. I was going through a lot of mental health struggles at the time. I didn’t really realize it at the time but I was really grappling with my identity and my sexual identity. In fact, I was really scared. Gaining acceptance from people by keeping up with them, with drinking, helped me feel like I wasn’t different or bad. It helped me feel seen and known as being cool or I can keep up.
I managed to keep up my grades. I played okay golf, but I was really always just wishing I didn’t have to drink. Then I’d get myself in a social situation where as soon as I got there, I had no rules, no boundaries. It was just full throttle every time.
Just Like Everyone Else
I did end up marrying Nick despite my sexual identity crisis and we started to settle down a little bit. He wasn’t in the band anymore and that just turned into neighborhood friends coming over and drinking and drinking couples. Now we have our couples who we drink with. Everybody has their little thing going on. We go over to their house for a barbecue, you bring a side dish and a six pack. Side dish and a six pack.
Listen to the complete podcast to hear how Laura resolves her sexual identity crisis and what part This Naked Mind played in it all.
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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