Who are you to tell me I can’t stay up till 5 am with my friends and binge-drink when I know I have class the next morning? And, now, you’re telling me I shouldn’t go home with him after the countless mornings full of regret? You’re just no fun.
Sure, it was great while it lasted and I got my kicks and made some twisted decisions that ultimately led to my own downfall. I skipped class a few times and partook in recreational activities my body will surely hate me for down the road.
I hurt people’s feelings, and I lost friends and boyfriends because of my own selfish acts of chaotic behavior. It was only just recently I came to the conclusion that my “get out of jail free” cards were running dangerously low, and my luck was about to say “f*ck it” and refuse to bail me out.
After years of this madness, and almost always escaping disaster by just a hair, I took the hints the universe was throwing in my face, begging me to change my haphazard ways. My world I so frivolously and manically blew through started to crumble around me.
I knew it was time to get my sh*t together for good, before it was too late. If you recognize any of these red flags, maybe it’s time for you, too, to set down the Jack Daniel's and put out that cigarette, rock star.
Losing touch with friends and family
I realized that when I needed someone to pick me up after yet another downward spiral, the list of friends to call was significantly shorter.
I had pushed away the ones who cared for me most. Many of my friends threw in the towel because they could no longer watch me self-destruct after countless pep talks and advice in which I never followed. Hell, how can I blame them?
I had no clue what was going on with my best friend and her boyfriend, and I was out of the loop during another friend’s hardships. Even my family seemed to be a distant figment of my imagination because I had almost fully lost the urge to call and check in.
Not to mention, the horrible embarrassment and guilt that ate away at me every time I ignored my mother’s phone calls because I was too busy taking a shot at a bar. These were people I loved and cared about, and I busted my ass to gain back most of my friendships and communication with family.
Unfortunately, I also lost a few friends who were more than hesitant to accept my apology.
The sadness and angst outweighed my happiness
When I felt an immense amount of emptiness and despair, rather than my usual joyful and carefree persona, this was the second sign that I was headed for rock bottom. Getting out of bed was a hassle, and leaving the house? Psh, forget it.
I realized I had lost the willpower to create my own happiness, and I relied on anyone and anything to fill the void I created for myself.
I love being happy -- who doesn’t? So, why was I so miserable? I knew something had to be done because I can tell you this: There is no happiness waiting to greet you at the bottom of that wine glass, and there is certainly no happiness worth gaining by throwing a pity party.
The crazy thing is, I lived my life day to day, yet I had no idea who I was, or how I had become that way. I was physically present, but mentally and emotionally, I had clocked out.
It was a major wake-up call when a dear friend of mine took the initiative to point it out. It was brutal, no doubt, but it had to be said. Was I super grateful and happy to hear what she had to say at the time? Definitely not. I was pissed, to say the least; I felt attacked.
I didn’t see the damage I was causing within myself, and I chose to put up my blinders and pretend I was someone else. I disconnected myself from my body and lost my identity for a period of time before I finally woke the f*ck up and realized, “Well, I only get one body and one life, and I’m running it straight into the ground.”
You are the most important person in your own life, and it’s crucial to be in touch with your inner spirit and personal identity. It does not matter how the 7 billion other people in the world see you. What matters is how you see yourself. And that’s the damn truth.
Picking up bad habits
Oh boy, I could write a list of the bad habits I established for myself. I could even color coordinate a pie chart representing the time I spent partaking in each one.
Something is clearly out of whack when you start up crappy habits you never before even considered trying. Whether it’s cigarettes, booze, self-shaming or emotional outbursts at least four times a day, you know when it’s a bad habit.
I knew these little activities were dragging me further down. They had to go if I wanted to find my path toward happiness and health. Little by little I was able to kick one habit at a time and replace it with something more productive and positive.
Loss of interest in activities and hobbies I once loved
I was no longer singing in the shower. That was my thing! I become Shania Twain every time the water came on and the clothes came off. But, my shower tour was over, and I dropped off the bathroom stardom grid.
I loved the gym, running and cooking my own meals. All gone. And, my writing decreased drastically. The one thing in the world I am most passionate about had come to a screeching halt. What the hell, man? What was my dilemma and where had my drive gone?
Thus, sign number five was when I almost hit my breakthrough.
A series of events that led up to the main attraction that could have changed my life forever
Just a few months before my awakening, I used up my final ounce of luck. I knew that after that night, I had no more, and if there were to be a next time, I would be royally f*cked. I pushed the envelope and got into a situation that could have easily landed me in jail, injured or possibly dead.
How much further was I willing to drag my ass around, whiskey in hand, with the “I don’t care,” attitude that plagued that phase of my life? After breaking down and calling my mom (God bless her for what she puts up with), she laid it out on the table for me to take or leave.
And, I took it; I took the reality like a blow to the face with the understanding that it was finally time for me to take some responsibility and learn to love myself again. It was time to reboot and live up to my full potential and harness my dreams that were once so close, yet had become so out of reach.
I had no more excuses
I had maxed out my excuse card and filed for responsibility bankruptcy. I had no more excuses as to why I hurt myself or why I yelled at my best friends. There were no more excuses to justify my drunken fits of hysteria and absolutely no excuses left to make up for what a sh*t friend and human being I had become.
This was the final sign I had been slapped with, and I finally waved the white flag and realized how much more difficult it was to self-destruct rather than live a healthy life of happiness.
It’s never easy to admit you have a problem. It’s never logical at the time to sit down and ask yourself where your head is at and why you said yes to the last shot before the blackout.
It’s never fun to ask for help and actually use the advice you receive. And, it certainly seems like a total buzz kill to say no to the party because you have 9 am class the next day. These things are crucial, though.
I can guarantee you will save money, friendships, memories and yourself from the black hole that seems almost impossible to escape at the time. You know when you’re headed for disaster. It becomes apparent when one thing after another occurs in your life as signs, begging you to change it up and give a damn.
It’s vital that you listen, and do whatever it takes to escape before it’s too late. Your future self will thank you. Mine certainly has.