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The Case For Drunk Dialing & Holding On

Her Voice

"Sorry I called, I was drunk."


It's the embarrassing statement we make when our fingers have a mind of their own and drunkenly dial the one person you know you shouldn't be talking to, the ex-boyfriend, old "situation," or former fling.

10 times out of 10, the person knows you were tipsy then because the conversation usually goes 1 out of 4 ways:

  • A. You have a mini breakdown,
  • B. You cuss them out,
  • C. You ask for them back, or
  • D. You are completely incoherent.

Everyone processes heartbreak differently, but one thing we can all agree on is that sorrowful feelings erupt like an uncontrollable force after one too many gulps of wine. Once ending it with someone, you aren't over it right away, and moments of weakness happen, especially in a drunken stupor.

Drinking too much and picking up the phone to call or text a former flame happens to the best of us.

Alcohol seems to be the best solution when going through heartbreak. Sure, it's not the smartest idea, but it's what most people lean on to mend a broken heart. The first thing I did was go to the bar and down an insufferable amount of sugary cocktails. The next weekend, I mixed vodka in my wine (Who does that?) on a night out, only to wake up with not much memory of the couple hours before. I hesitantly looked at my phone to see that I called the person I was crying over all week.

A few months went by, and I would do it again. Another couple months later and ring, ring, it's me again, sloshed still. Every time, I'd promise myself never to do it again, but the cycle continued. So I started to put the glass, well bottle, down less and less. Admittedly, Bridget Jones may make look downing a bottle of wine and drowning in heartbroken sorrows fun, but it's far from it. Getting a grip on why I kept doing this told me I hadn't detached from my relationship as much as I thought.

First, I asked myself some questions:

  • Why do I keep calling him?
  • Why when I'm sober dealing with my emotions isn't this hard?
  • What is drunk-dialing really doing for me?
  • What am I deflecting?

Answering them honestly helped me to see that I was holding onto something I needed to let go of. I'd been playing a cruel joke on myself. After every call, I had to remind myself of why things are the way they are. I never feel as bad each time because my heart is mending, but a tinge of sadness still lingers. Calling this person was backpedaling the progress I had been trying to make to be happy on my own.

I couldn't be happy without him if I kept looking back.

Thus, I sought out healthy ways to detach. I wrote inspirational quotes on post-its and put them on my bedroom wall. I read poetry from the likes of Reyna Biddy, Alex Elle, and Ivan Nuru. I practiced yoga every day for 30 days, and then on a frequent basis. I journaled and reflected and spent a lot of time alone.

Most importantly, I quit drinking alcohol for one month.

I couldn't avoid my feelings and drunk-dial because it was doing nothing for my growth. On days that I felt the urge to, I would read the post-its on my wall over and over. Or I'd listen to "A Message From Women" by Reyna Biddy when I needed a pep talk. Her and Alex Elle's words about isolation, brokenness, letting go, healing, and self-love were a source of rejuvenation for my spirit. Constantly being reminded of my self-worth, and how holding on was diminishing it, allowed me to come to terms that is was really over.

Instead of masking my emotions, I remained honest with myself and how I was feeling.

Sadness, anger, and grief - I felt it, all of it. But I released those energies from my body by being consistent with the methods mentioned above.

Waking up without the heavy emotions I had months before and actually feeling happier was me finding my way back. Admittedly, I've slipped up since then but the impulse is fading away as my heart continues to heal, mend, and move on.

Concealing any emotions in the depths of your heart only for them to come out in an inebriated state is an indicator you have to address these feelings head-on. You need to learn the difference between being heartbroken and moving on. Alcohol is not going to help with the latter, but it will only keep you in a broken place.

Recognizing that you need to get out is the first step.

Doing what it takes to elevate and move forward is hard but it isn't impossible. There is no rulebook for letting go. Find what works for you and stay consistent.

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Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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