When fun gave way to routine, routine eventually turned to obligation. Obligation became pressure. Pressure became anxiety. Anxiety mounted and my brain couldn’t recover. Anxiety became depression. Depression became a desperation so deep, I never felt at home. There became no relief.
There is the occasional moment, when I’m with someone new and they find out I can’t drink, when, with their drink in their hand, they ask me when I knew. They’re really looking for me to give them a concrete answer they can secretly apply in their head, either vindicating them, or letting them know they have a problem.
Looking back, we have the benefit of perfect vision. Looking back, you could point to any point in the timeline in the opening paragraph and, if it was “normal” or “uncontrolled,” chances are I would qualify. What used to be fun for me became an obligation to myself I had to fulfill. Drinking was no longer fun for me; it was a chore. Obligation beget necessity.
So the answer? When fun became obligation. When I made that leap, a switch flipped I couldn’t flip back. If you’re routinely drinking, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.