I don't want to do something horrible again...if it even happened the first time. (TW: sexual assault, alcohol, suicide)

The title makes me look like a monster but like. I might be! Who knows? I sure don’t, and that’s the problem.

This happened about two years ago now but it still eats me up. I was doing my undergraduate studies, it was nearing finals, and I was stressed out of my mind. Two of my closest friends (who were dating) came over to my apartment to hang out and drink and unwind. We watched bad anime and got Very Drunk, to the point where my memory of the night was spotty the next day.

One of the two friends texted me after the two of them left to tell me that they were extremely uncomfortable with what I had done the previous night. I asked for clarification because I couldn’t remember doing anything weird, and they let me know that I had groped their chest, specifically waiting until their girlfriend was out of the room to do so.

For context: this is not something I would do while sober. Ever. I am a survivor of sexual assault and abuse, and in all of my intimate relationships I ask for enthusiastic consent constantly because I know too well what it’s like to be too afraid to say anything. That friend and I had been very close, and we would cuddle or hold hands, but we had never even so much as discussed any kind of sexual intimacy–and so I would never have done something like that out of the blue.

But according to them, it had happened. I was devastated and scared, stuck in my own reaction to the situation and conflating myself with my past abuser. My response to the situation was a complete mental breakdown and I ended up in a mental hospital for a couple of days because I strongly believed that, morally speaking, I needed to be dead. When I got out I lost all of my friends because they all believed that alcohol reveals who you truly are, and I had been revealed to be someone who would plot and commit sexual assault. Not only that, but my overblown emotional reaction was self-centered and cruel to the friend I had hurt, and unforgivable. I do truly believe that second part–in hindsight my reaction was awful and I should have kept everything to myself and my therapist.

The issue with that, however, was that when I talked to my therapist, she was as confused as I was. She suggested that, perhaps, I hadn’t actually done that at all–that my friend either made it up as an excuse to cut ties, or that they misremembered since they had also been drinking. I still don’t know what to believe. I think that the victim should always be believed…but I also cannot wrap my mind around ever, ever doing that.

I haven’t made new in-person friends since then. Not until recently, when I started a new job and began growing close to one of my coworkers. This friend doesn’t know what happened. For a short period after everything the same part of me that felt I deserved to die could only be appeased if I told every person I began to get close with about how terrible I am, but I quickly realized that it was not only unfair to me to brand myself as a monster, but also unfair and potentially triggering to others. As such, it’s not something I mention to anyone.

My new friend wants to hang out and drink on New Year’s Day. I have already agreed and I very much want to, but is that irresponsible of me? I don’t plan to drink enough to black out, but is that precaution enough? Should I just ban myself from drinking with others ever again? Or was my therapist right to question the events even happening at all? I don’t want to hurt anyone else, but I also don’t want to live my life afraid of myself.

Gosh that’s hard. Thank you for sharing. You are a sensitive soul and perhaps having been abused yourself, you automatically believe what they told you - that it was your fault. I’m with your therapist - question whether you believe it really happened and for your own mental health, I’d say embrace the fact that it didn’t; because you know yourself and you need to trust yourself. If you were all drinking - who’s to say the other person didn’t actually flirt with you, come on to you and it was easier to blame it on you than be confronted by their partner. Welcome in the new friendship - it’s a clean slate. Absolutely think about managing your alcohol - for your own peace of mind and health. But remember that you need to do it - not to avoid being judged by someone else - but to look after yourself and do what is right for you. Good luck!