According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol acts like a sledgehammer to the brain. Not only does alcohol cause diminished balance, impaired decisionmaking and motor coordination, but some alcoholics undergo a memory loss, which can occur only after a few drinks.
This memory loss is called a blackout.
Imagine having a few drinks inside your living room and then waking up on horse manure inside a horse corral, several feet away from a hefty mare. Yes that happened to me when I was drinking. The mare was my horse, and she did not step on me.
That was one of my first blackouts.
Blackouts mean losing a period of time, followed by ending up in a strange place and having absolutely no clue as to what happened in the interim.
Usually, people who binge drink are prone to black outs. Because the bodies of men and women process alcohol differently, binge drinking for men is about five drinks in two hours, while for women, that’s about four drinks during that same period of time.
And guess what?
There are different types of blackouts.
According to rehabs.com, the first type of blackout occurs after the consumption of a small amount of alcohol, say half a Woo Woo (that’s a horrible drink composed of vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice).
Say you are a woman, and let’s say John Doe, a guy you meet at a bar buys you a drink, and you order a Woo Woo.
You are a seasoned alcoholic who usually drinks wine, but this time you figure you will try a drink with a really stupid name.
After a few sips, in which you wonder why the hell did you order this horrible drink, you start babbling and before you know it, John Doe orders you another stupid Woo Woo, which naturally you drink, because you feel like you must be nice because Doe just spent another five bucks on you.
And then you are really a mess.
You realize its time to go home, and you stumble out the door, but when you get to the parking lot you can’t find your car.
And guess who is following you like Cujo?
And then you don’t remember what happens, but somehow you end up in your house. Luckily, John Doe is nowhere to be found.
Blackouts are horrible.
Consequences of a blackout include rape, suicide, death, injury, vandalism and fighting.
The alcohol content for a blackout starts at .14. While they are more common in binge drinkers, they can actually occur with smaller amounts of alcohol.
If a person experiences blackouts, it’s crucial to get help. A clinical, evidence-based substance abuse and addiction treatment program is the key.
Treatment includes detox, residential treatment, aftercare, as well as outpatient options for clients who can’t participate in an overnight inpatient program. A high quality drug rehab includes dual diagnosis support, and 12-step processing.
And that treatment is available at Cycles of Change.
As a woman, I would say that if I could do it all over again, I would have gone to Cycles of Change.
Not only does Cycles of Change treat substance abuse, as well as help clients heal from co-occurring disorders, but they offer 12-step processing. Doing a fourth step inventory, with the guidance of a licensed professional would have nurtured my recovery early on, and given me a sense of freedom, and relief from all the shameful baggage that I carried.
And this beautiful drug rehab, where clients reside in gender-specific homes, would have made me feel safe.
Let’s put it this way.
I was the alcoholic who ended up with John Doe.
And yes, I was able to piece together the events during the blackout.
I suppose Doe drove me home, using my own car (which was parked about a mile away from the curb of my street) and I believe that my two German Shepherds chased him away, after I got home. I know that he made his way into the house, because I found a cigarette on the floor, and it was a brand that I did not smoke.
I have no idea what happened to Doe after that.
Luckily I never saw him again.
I think it’s important for addicts and alcoholics to feel safe when they go to a drug rehab. Establishing a sense of security really helps. When people are caught in the throes of addiction, the world turns into chaos. There is no need to live a life of chaos.
At Cycles of Change, we offer recovery, which promises a life of serenity.