August 7, 2020

Anxiety: The Long Road to Relapse

posted on: Thursday January 28, 2010

Daniel James ’11 / Portfolio Staff

Dominic thought back to when he first noticed his anxiety. It was New Year’s Eve, and everyone was excited with the promises of parties. His friend Dante at that time had grandparents who owned a house in Boston but offered the house as a place for him to invite his friends over for a party on New Year’s Eve since they’d be visiting family back in Italy. In order to do things right for the sake of the party, Dante, Dante’s girlfriend J-Nuts (the J standing for Julia and the Nuts because she loves to bust balls like a nutcracker), and himself all took a trek up to New Hampshire the day before New Year’s Eve to acquire alcohol at unprecedented prices. He hadn’t quit doing drugs or drinking at this point, but with the family activities of Christmas and preparation for New Year’s, he had little time to think about drinking or getting high.On New Year’s Eve, running late, Dante whipped his car into the driveway and approached his house. Wasting no time, Dominic and Dante began to load up Dante’s car with the surplus of alcohol. After three trips up and down the basement stairs, the car was loaded up and ready to go. He climbed in the back, while J-Nuts sat in front.”So you’re down with me staying the night, yes?” he asked Dante.Dante shifted uncomfortably in his seat and hesitated. The atmosphere of the tight car became uncomfortable.”I thought you weren’t staying…there’s room on the floor but as far as I know the couches and bedrooms have all been called.”The words hit him like a ton of bricks. He knew sleeping on the floor wasn’t an option because he had injured his shoulder while working out and couldn’t sleep on it properly. Even in his comfortable, welcoming bed he would still wake up in immense pain. Thoughts of sleeping on the floor worried him for fear it might do further damage to his shoulder. There was an uncomfortable silence for several minutes. They sat on the side of the road trying to figure something out. In front of them was another car with the yellow blinker on, also pulled over to the side. The three of them put their heads together. There weren’t many options. He offered to step out of the car and skip it because he didn’t want to be an inconvenience, but both Dante and J-Nuts immediately objected. He was coming, whether he liked it or not. The thought of going home and doing nothing seemed like the worst idea in the world, but he had no other options. If he stayed he slept on the floor, and would risk further damaging his shoulder, and there wasn’t any immediate ride home because nobody knew who was staying and who was “DD”ing for the night. He felt terrible about making an issue out of it. He was letting down his friends and putting them in an awkward position where they’d have to be inconvenienced because of him. He knew they would insist it was not a big deal, but to him it was. He didn’t like being that person that everyone had to work around.”Hey,” J-Nuts said to him. “Dominic, listen…”Something felt wrong. His chest felt like it was tangled inside of his torso, intertwined with the liver and the stomach. He could feel his heart rate start to drop, and then pick back up, and then drop again, like a bouncy ball stuck inside of him. The car in front of them hadn’t turned its blinker off. It kept blinking in half second intervals that seemed to expand in length and gap. He couldn’t be sure…was it mocking him? He felt like it was. The car seemed to take

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