It always starts with a headache. The pain starts off dull, just enough to bother you. You suddenly become aware of every feeling in your body and your surroundings fade away. The mind waits for you to acknowledge the dull ache it has sent your way, then it responds with intensity. The pain increases to what sounds like a thunderous applause after a kickass concert.
It’s a miracle you’re not screaming in agony, as that’s all it feels like you’re capable of. The natural first instinct is to grab the Advil and pray it kicks in faster than the bottle says. But remember, you’ve built up a tolerance. Chances are it will do jack squat for you, but you decide to take the medicine anyway. Anything to stop that headache.
Remember, this started with a bad decision.
While you trick yourself into thinking that you’ve just solved all your problems, another one arises. The nausea settles in the pit of your stomach. You haven’t eaten anything, as your hangover was so intense that the thought of food made your insides do flips. At this point there is nothing to throw up but the water and Gatorade you’ve been pounding since you woke up. You pray to everything holy that’ll soften the blow. Unfortunately, it rarely does. Eventually you just throw up straight stomach bile. It smells, looks and tastes vile.
Remember that you’ve done this to yourself.
After you’ve puked a good five or six times (if you’re lucky), it’s time to move on to the torture of the shakes. Shaking seems insignificant when you think about it. But if you’ve ever had the shakes, you know why it sucks. You try to type something and your hand slips. Sometimes you shake so bad that it’s visible to others, and they wonder what the hell is wrong with you. You can’t tell them, as they’ll judge. You can’t handle their disdain right now, and you don’t want to hear it. Honestly, you never do.
Remember this is a choice you made.
Next is the exhaustion. The fatigue set in hours ago, but after the hell you just went through? Man do you feel it sink in now. Your eyes close against your will. You have crap to do, but you don’t even care at this point. Sleep is what you crave. Sleep is what your body needs after the hell you just put it through. But unfortunately it’s time to be an adult and get your stuff done. Your only solace is knowing that your pain will go away in a few shorts hours, once you hit that bottle of course. A part of you knows that doing it again is absolute insanity. The bigger part of you just wants the pain to stop, and you don’t know any other way.
Remember that other ways exist.
This is a game you play frequently. It’s a habit built over the course of nearly a decade, and you’ve done your best to tap out. No matter how bad you want to, the game won’t let you go. You’re stuck in an ad that’s playing on repeat. It’s the same old song and dance, and I’m all too willing to swing my hips to it.
Remember that the power lies with you, and you alone to stop this.