dreams and cravings

Last night I had a dream about booze and cake.

It was strange. In the dream, I met up with an internet friend. Someone I only know online. And she had a beautiful cake that was made to look like a doll. And I ate a huge portion of the “hair” of this cake. It upset her. And I kept trying to make amends and figure where I went wrong. I kept thinking “but I am sober! How am I still screwing up?”

Then somehow later, or another time plane, I received coupons for an Irish bar. This friend either gave me the coupons or she was there and excited to use them with me. The storyline was blurry. But I kept thinking “maybe I can restart the sober clock after using these coupons? I shouldn’t waste free drinks” Then I would get mad at myself for feeling that weak. I kept wondering “am I really don’t this again? Complete sobriety?”

I’ve been depressed last few days and a messed up sleep schedule. Both can be due to the fact I work night shift. But I am wondering if it due to the fact booze have been out of my system a full week? Since I haven’t been keeping track of sober days vs drinking days for years now, I don’t know when was the last time I went a full week without alcohol? Definitely not in Saudi. I guess my 10 days COVID quarantine when I returned to the US? I slept a lot that week and blamed it on jetlag.

if I could only always remember how much it sucks to go through this process of cleaning out my system. Can I have a good sleep/awake rotation while working night shift?

Roadtrips and coffee

Day 5 of New Sobriety.

I have been fully vaccinated from COVID for over a month. And since the CDC said fully vaccinated people can travel at no risk to themselves now, I decided to take a short roadtrip to the mountains.

Once again, work has made keeping away from alcohol easy the past few days. And when I arrived at my hotel, I was very tired. But as I now have coffee in the lobby and see the beer bottles lined up behind the bar, my first thought it “would be nice to have one tonight.”

My dark roast

But maybe if I return to blogging almost daily, (I am not gonna commit to daily), I can be accountable to something to remain sober.

I need to reread my drunk mistakes that I started blogging about 7 years ago so I know what one’s I wrote about already. But for now, I will post a more recent one.

I was living in Saudi Arabia. I thought it would be easy to keep sober in a country where alcohol was illegal, but no. Almost every expat has easy access to alcohol.

I went away for a night to visit another city a few hours away. A guy I met on Tinder, another expat, offered to allow me to stay in his guestroom. It was not smart but I was depressed and lonely. Those two combined leads to desperation.

When I arrived, he gave me a tour of the city in his car. He seemed like a nice guy. He was living in Saudi for several years. We did not talk about our lives back home. Only talked about our experiences in the Kingdom.

That evening at his place, he made us pork ribs. Yes, another thing illegal in that country. Enjoying the forbidden was a special high. With dinner, he served us gin and tonics with Tanqueray that he smuggled in. He made me drinks very strong.

After dinner, we kept alternating sharing music we liked via YouTube videos on his television. At some point after many drinks, we began kissing.

Let me back up though to the times his phone rang. He would answer it and leave the room. He would go to the kitchen or down the hall to chat. This happened twice. He spoke in his language but I understood when he said “I love you” before hanging up.

During out makeout session, as the clothes were starting to come off, he confessed. He said he was married. A smarter woman, or a sober woman, would have stopped there. But alcohol was clouding my mind. I just yelled at him for telling me. Then we had sex. I don’t remember much of it except it wasn’t good. Then I passed out asleep.

Then next day, I had a wicked hangover. He tried to wake me up for morning sex and I just growled “I need water.” He got me water, and then kept trying to kiss my shoulder. I kept pushing him away. The regret was worse than the hangover. I kept scolding myself “he told you he was married and YOU STILL had sex with him! You are a horrible person!”

I kept pushing him away. “I need sleep!” He finally got out of the bed and let me sleep in. When I did wake up hours later, I noticed all the crosses and religious icons in the room. I then remember a bit of the conversation of him being a devout Catholic. This was making me mad cause not only did I have sex with a married man, I had sex with a hypocrite!

I emerged from the guestroom and entered the living room. I said I needed to have lunch. The previous day he did mention a restaurant in town I wanted to try. He began saying lunch could wait and started to try to kiss me. I kept pushing him away. I was so disgusted with myself and him.

I began texting my friend back in the USA. She told me to just leave. But his home was on a military base. Uber was not allowed on the base. So I couod leave until he drove me somewhere. I wanted to return to a tourist site where I could request a taxi or Uber home.

He began to say “I want to do what we did last night.” He wouldn’t say sex. Just kept saying those words like it was something pre-pubescent game where you couldn’t say that 3-letter word. I kept pushing him away and moving couches or room.

I finally said “what would your wife say about it?” This upset him.

“Why would you say that? Don’t say that.”

Phone rang. Maybe she sensed it.

I went to grab my bag. I also put on my abaya. (Abayas are the robes women wear over their clothes in public. Abayas are not mandatory in Saudi anymore, but many places it felt uncomfortable to not wear one so I had to always carry one.) When I returned to the living room wearing the abaya and my overnight bag in my hand, he got the point.

We left and went to the restaurant. I needed a greasy burger and fries. Since public displays of affection are taboo in Saudi, I did not have to worry about him attempting to kiss me.

After lunch, he dropped me at the taxi stand. He helped me negotiate a price with a taxi driver. Then I was gone. No hug. Just waved and I hopped in the car.

He kept texting me afterwards. He said he wanted to see me again. I finally blocked him.

Before moving to Saudi, I was worried about getting involved with a married man. I heard too often about the men that go there to work and conduct affairs. It happened to a friend of mine and ruined her marriage.

I was lonely, so I wondered if I did not drink gin that night, would I still have had sex with him? Probably not, cause he was about 4 inches shorter than me. I didn’t know beer goggles also added height.

2 years later and feel starting over

My last post was February 2019. It is now almost April 2021. I have not blogged when the COVID19 Pandemic started, even though I should have. It could have helped. Instead, my stress and anxiety of the unknown of this new virus made me turn to alcohol. And even though bars and liquor stores were closed, take out was available and I was able to pick up bottles of wine to drink at home. Alone.

I ended my happy relationship the day after our 3 year anniversary in October 2020. I was sort of glad when lockdown happened because I thought “no stress of us not being able to see each other” but I was still depressed at another failed relationship. Also I wondered “would the lockdown have gotten him to agree to live together briefly?” A DJ on a radio station I listened to did that. Moved in with her boyfriend during lockdown since they got to work from home. But my boyfriend and I weren’t working from home. Sorry, my ex-boyfriend. He and I both needed to keep working through the lockdown. I was scared and stressed and used the pandemic as an excuse to order wine from the liquor store one block away.

I never mentioned this before in my blog because I was always worried about my license, but I am a nurse. I am “essential worker”. So an unknown virus rampaging through my area and hospital, making me think everyone I knew and loved was gonna die, seemed like a good enough reason to give up sobriety. I wanted to give up everything. I felt so hopeless. I watched as the number of positive COVID patients increased in my hospital in March 2020. I felt it was only time until I caught the virus. Two coworkers soon lost their husbands to it. A friend lost her lover. The nurse who retired and I took her day position died from it. A bunch of our respiratory therapists soon fell ill and were out sick from out. A huge portion of housekeeping began calling out sick from fear of getting it. I started wearing a mask at work before it was mandated and I was called “paranoid’. A week later, the hospital told everyone to start wearing one at all times.

March to May 2020 was my worst two months of my career.

At the same time, I was dealing with attempts to secure a job overseas. I was to move in either March or April 2020. It was delayed due to the pandemic. I actually tried to tell my assistant manager to not put me on April’s schedule when the agency recruiter called to say “the borders closed. We don’t know when you can start now.” Then my visa paperwork has issues but could not be addressed because the embassy in DC was closed due to the lockdown. When everything switched to working from home, it created unforeseen clusterfucks and delays.

Also, I was worried about my elderly mother a few hours away. She was still working when lockdown started because she was a cashier at an essential place. I would text her horror stories of the hospital and how many people were dying until she agreed to take a medical leave from work. Not only is she over 70 but she has hypertension. I was reading reports that patients with cardiac or blood pressure problems were doing worse with the new virus. I wanted her to stay home and away from people. I warned her to keep her grandkids and visitors away. The stress of worrying about my mom just added to the weight on my shoulders.

I had friends that called me to check in on me. Most were worried about me being exposed to COVID and a few were worried if I would start drinking. My one friend called as I was opening a 2nd bottle of wine one night. But after a few nights of drinking home alone as my way to cope, I did quit again. I went sober for the next few months. Until I tried working overseas in Saudi Arabia.

I do not want to go into my abroad experience much. But I became very depressed there. Even though I have extensive travel experience around the world to many countries, I found it hard to adjust to the culture, of both the country and work. It was a very conservative place where alcohol was illegal. Before going, I thought it was a perfect place to be sober. But even the threat of jail time or deportation, simply for drinking booze, was not enough to keep me sober. I discovered a lot of foreigners made their own alcohol, which ranged from bland more-like-juice-than-wine concoctions, to very good whiskey-like beverages. And I ever liked whiskey! But I was so depressed and unhappy I took almost any alcohol that was offered to try to forget where I was. A few times I was offered real alcohol, both rum and gin, that were smuggled into the country. The pleasure of feeling risky and doing something illegal-there-but legal elsewhere made me feel like a teenager.

Then I spent a few weeks in Dubai before returning home. Since it felt like I was released from the oppression of Saudi, I drank almost anytime I could But not all the time because alcohol is not available everywhere. I am not sure if that made it worse or not, because I had to seek it out to drink it. It is not available in all restaurants. It is available at most hotels but then some hotels are dry establishments. My first hotel said alcohol was not allowed on the premises. My second hotel had a rooftop bar, but I avoided it because this hotel was not very strict on mask mandates and pandemic restrictions. The one time I peeked at it, it was way too crowded. But at the 3rd hotel I stayed, I easily spent $15 to $20 per cocktail. Oh, that’s another thing. You need to seek out the alcohol and it is very expensive there! But I kept making excuses like “I deserve it after surviving living in Saudi!” But that is one thing alcoholics are great at: making excuses.

And since returning to the USA, I have felt like a fraud. I stayed with 1 friend for a week where he drank but I did not because he thinks I have been sober since 2014. I met up with a new friend and when she suggested we meet at wine bars, I told her I do not drink alcohol so I suggested coffee. But I have been ordering wine when alone at outdoor dining. I kept telling myself “you will stop again. You are just stressed out and deserve this!”

Today, I drank. I had 2 glasses of wine at lunch and then 2 glasses a few hours later at dinner. I walked home (at least I am wise enough not to drink when driving now!). I got home and seriously thought of seeing if I could have wine delivered. But I started reading a new book. The Year of Less by Cait Flaunders. I started it cause I thought it would inspire me to buy less and save money. But it is also about her sobriety and drinking problem. She mentions all the money and time she wasted on alcohol. It got me thinking that I need to get serious again about sobriety. And not just to save money. I need to reread this blog and start it again. I need to remind myself of the problems alcohol created in my life.

In the time it took me to write this post, I also stopped a few times to make dinner. The time sobered me up to where I did not want to order more wine. That is a start. Can I find my old list of the 365 reasons I was trying to write about to keep my sober? I have made a few mistakes the few times I drank since starting this blog. Should I rejoin the 100 day challenge?

In the book, she mentioned one thing that helped her stay sober (and spend less) was being accountable to someone. I have no one with whom to be accountable. I am single now. I am far from friends and family (and I have been bad with being honest to them about my sobriety!) But I have this blog that I can be honest in because I am hiding behind a screen.

So maybe I can mark March 31, 2021 as my sober date.

What is sober?

“I am in school now so don’t really think I will have time for blogging. But I feel confident I can have that percent up to 99% by January 21, 2017.” -me in one of my last blogs

Wow, I predicted that correct. I have not blogged since December 2016. Part of that is due to school. The other part is due to being in a happy, healthy relationship. My last posts mentioned the start of a new relationship. He and I are still together 28 months later. It has been a wonderful experience, getting to know each other, and not having booze to cloud my thoughts. We have taken it slower than any other relationship I have experienced in the past. But sometimes, too slow. Like he doesn’t seem to want to ever live together. And this makes me want to resort to my “run away!” answer. I told him if we are not looking at places to live together by our 3rd anniversary, I will apply for job in other countries. (Unfortunately, I might not be eligible for a lot of jobs in other countries because of my DUIs. Recruiters have told me it doesn’t matter how old the DUIs are, they could prevent me from obtaining work visas.)

As far as abstaining from alcohol, I was able to remain sober for all of 2017. It was the first complete year after I originally quit drinking that I did not have alcohol. I was able to travel and avoid the temptations. I went to Tulum, Mexico, and enjoyed many non-alcoholic tropical drinks. 20170112_130412

I went to the south of France in the summer of 2017, where I was tempted by wine, but managed to abstain and focus on art. I toured Renoir’s home and Arles, where Van Gogh once lived. I enjoyed my days with no hangovers and felt I was able to fully appreciate the sites I saw. I worked on improving my photography skills and read a lot of books.


I took my mom on a trip to Europe, where we visited the Heineken Experience, and I used my free drink token for a Pepsi. She had a beer. Afterwards, she told me she was proud of me. She had beers in Germany and Netherlands, and some wine in France, and I only drank water, tea, and coffee. Being with my mom helped strengthen my sobriety. We spent three weeks traveling and sharing stories. I told her some of my drunk stories which helped her realize that I really had a problem, not just a weakness. She had her first-ever green beer on St Patrick’s Day in Poland, and I told her of my last drunk St Patricks in Savannah. I got so shit-faced, I had a fight with a guy hitting on my friend and I had to skip out on site-seeing the next morning due to my hangover.

(This year, I am working St Patrick’s day and annoyed by the people that need to day off  to get drunk.)

I started to see a therapist in 2017 to deal with my depression and anxiety. I went to her for over a year, but did not find it very helpful. I don’t feel she helped me develop coping skills or deal with my anxiety. I felt I got more out of blogging than talking to her. I was prescribed Lexapro, which made me gain 20lbs. Well, that plus being in a relationship, less time to exercise, and the stress from school. Maybe if I lose the weight I gained, I will find a new therapist and a different medication. I finish school this May and hope to use my free time to hike and bike.

I managed to avoid alcohol when meeting my boyfriend’s family. I was filled with nervousness and unease at each occasion, but I also knew that I might make a fool of myself if I drank. His parents like to have a glass of wine with dinner. His siblings drink wine or beer at the few events I’ve been to at their homes. I choose ice tea in the summer and water in the winter. My boyfriend got me into flavored, sparkling water, which we both drink as his family functions. He still doesn’t drink alcohol much around me. He did have a glass of wine the first dinner we had with his parents, but I think that was due to his jitters.

Then, I did have alcohol with my boyfriend. We managed to avoid alcohol our first two anniversary dinners. But we took our first big trip together to the US Virgin Islands for his birthday. For most of the trip, we enjoyed virgin-cocktails. The last night, we went to a nice restaurant. When the waitress handed us the wine menu, I asked if he wanted a bottle of wine for his birthday. He said “sure. Do you really want some?” I said if we limit it to one bottle to share, which should be about two glasses each, I can handle it. I picked out a nice Malbec, which I realized I missed so much since sobriety. It felt nice to be a littel tipsy, but I did worry “what are you starting!!!” My boyfriend and I agreed we would limit sharing wine to special occasions like our birthdays.

Then a few weeks later, we went on a weekend trip to a casino. At dinner, I asked again if he wanted wine. He seemed eager, like he wanted alcohol, but didn’t want to suggest it. He said he could go for a beer. So I decided I would have a glass of wine. It became two glasses. I felt tipsy. I had fun playing blackjack and slots. I ordered another glass of pinot grigio while walking around the slot machines. I was hoping the alcohol would lead to a sexy night in our hotel room, but we both passed out as soon as we got to the room.

Since then, I have had drunk dreams and guilt dreams. There is a tiny part of me that contemplates “moderation is possible”. But I have a disease. I need to remember I am not able to moderate, even with a few glasses at special occasions. I keep thinking the further I get away from my last drink, the more I think I am normal. I need to remind myself of the reasons to stay sober. It has been five years since I decided to quit, but never 100% sober. It is still a struggle and might always be a struggle. I need to reread my blog. Return to blogging. Read more sober books. And get back into shape!



More crushed by celebrity deaths than I am used to

All year-long when my friends got upset about a celebrity dying, I did not understand. I was not empathetic. I was saddened by Prince’s death in May, but I was also upset that people were blaming the calendar year and not focusing on the problem of addiction that caused the death. A lot of other celebrities that died I either was not a huge fan or thought they were quite old and it was inevitable.

But when George Michael died on Christmas Day, I felt part of my childhood died. I loved his music when I was a teenager. I now realize I didn’t understand the meaning to so many of the lyrics as a kid, like I did not know his song “Monkey” was about a lover with a drug addiction. I have not followed his career or life the past decade, but after his death I read about his DUIs and arrests for drugs. I guess the monkey followed him to death, or at least destroyed his body enough that he died young.

Interesting the “monkey on your back” is a metaphor for addiction and so many celebrities died from complications of addiction during the Chinese Year of the Monkey.

Carrie Fisher’s death was extremely difficult for me to handle. She was so an inspiration to women from my generation. And a role model for people suffering mental disorders and addiction. I watched Postcards from the Edge last night after not having seen it for about 20 years. I cried a lot because I pictured Carrie Fisher as Meryl Streep’s character and Debbie Reynolds as Shirley MacLaine. I also saw similarities between my myself and my mother. While my mother is not an alcoholic, I was jealous every time she drank a beer around me because I wish I was able to handle a beer. After a long letter I sent to her last May about things I was upset about, she quite drinking alcohol around me. Now I feel guilty! But also secretly happy.

I cried a lot on Wednesday. Then I cried some more the next day when her mom died. After I got done crying and feeling bad for myself, I thought of how I can use this to make my life improve. I thought of how this could be a warning to everyone that is struggling to stay sober of the damage alcohol and drugs do to the body. If I return to a life of booze, I might have a heart attack at the age of 60 on an airplane. Even though Carrie Fisher was sober for many years, the damage to her heart was already done. I had cardiomegaly on a chest x-ray 6 years ago so I was on my way to destroying my heart also.

I am hoping 2017 will be my first year with NO ALCOHOL ingestion. It was a few weeks into 2014 when I first quit, and a few months into 2015 when I first slipped, and I had a few times this past year that I drank. It had been a long hike through different terrains. Maybe 2017 will finally be the year I walk across the flat surface of sobriety.

“Happy is one of the many things I’m likely to be over the course of a day and certainly over the course of a lifetime. But I think if you have the expectation that you’re going to be happy throughout your life–more to the point, if you have a need to be comfortable all the time–well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic.”
Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

Work Problems but Love Answers

Sorry I haven’t been around in blog world. I think this happens a lot in either long term recovery or those that return to a life of boozing. I am still sober. Sometimes happily sober; other times still struggling. In January it will be 3 years on-off sobriety. Lately (last few days)  I have been very depressed and having to keep reminding myself that happiness is not in a bottle of rum.

There have been issues at work. Without trying to give too much information about the situation, I lost 2 days of work and pay last week due to some paperwork not being filed on time. Then my boss changed her mind and said I can work until this paperwork thing is “figured out”, but if it isn’t, I might have to look for a new job. I started fixing my resume and searching to see who was hiring. I found some jobs that seemed good, but they required me to move away, at least for a few months.

Once upon a time, moving away would have been my answer, along with getting drunk. But I started to date someone two months ago that make me want to stay in this area. And I think he wants me to stay also. I talked to him about my problems at work and that I could always go back to travel contracts. He seemed sadden by this idea and asked how long I would be away.

Leaving my job would also mean giving up my tuition reimbursement benefits and tuition discount. It seems to be taking awhile, but I am less than two years away from my degree that could open up so many more opportunities. After much thinking and crying, I decided to get this paperwork thing settled and keep my head above water there until I finish school. And by then, who knows how things will be with this guy.

This guy: he is wonderful! Our first date was at a coffee shop. He made me laugh a lot so I realized I would like to see him again. Next date was dinner and a movie. I was surprised he did not order a beer or alcoholic drink at dinner and just got a water like me. Next date was a walk around his town and when he asked if I wanted to step into an Irish bar, I honestly replied I would rather not because it is too hard to talk in a bar. I think it was the 4th date I admitted that I do not drink alcohol anymore and he said he doesn’t really drink much either. I mentioned I used to drink too much to the blackout point, but I did not go into more details. After several more dates, I noticed he never ordered alcohol. Even at a nice restaurant in the city, he ordered a soda. Then the other night we went to a bar because he wanted to see what their live music lineup was: he asked for a non-alcoholic beer. I am still not sure if this is out of respect for my sobriety, if he really just doesn’t want alcohol, or if he is hiding details of a problem also. I told him at that bar I would drive if he wanted a real beer and he said no, that’s okay.

On top of being worried about work this last week, I have been worried about my status with this guy. Sometimes I text him questions  that he never answers. Even when he text me hours later, he seems to avoid the questions. I texted him the other day about New Years Eve plans and he replied the next morning with just gibberish about the weather. This turned my over-analyzing brain into crazy mode and wondered if he has other NYE plans or maybe a family tradition or something. So I canceled our Tuesday night plans because I got upset after overthinking. I said I was gonna go visit my mom instead. He said he would miss me but he understood. Then I get worried I am sabotaging things again and being sober doesn’t make me any better with this relationship sortie.

It took getting my legs waxed for me to see another view. My esthetician said it might be a financial thing. Maybe my idea for NYE cost too much. What other questions has he avoided? When I asked him about renewing his passport, when I asked him if he would like to go to Mexico with me, and my NYE plans did involve getting a hotel. She asked where he lived and pointed out rent is very pricey there. She said if he is worried about finances, his male pride might keep him from admitting that.

I have been reading The Recovering Heart: Emotional Sobriety for Women by Beverly Conyers. (Now my semester is over, maybe I can spend more time reading it.) It is making me think of how I am treating my problems and how I am facing this new relationship. I am acting like a teenager. I have responded to so many problems with running away. It makes sense since I started drinking at the age of 18. When talking about how we stop maturing when we start abusing alcohol or drugs, Conyers mentions “when she faces obstacles and disappointment, when she feel unhappy or anxious, she will resort to chemicals to make herself feel better, rather than trying to work things through.” I never learned how to work things through without alcohol. I never learned to stay and fight. I divorced quickly. I left jobs when I got unhappy.  Even after 3 years of sobriety, I am still growing up. Caroline Knapp said “The drink stunts you, prevents you from walking through the kinds of fearful life experiences that bring you from point A to point B on the maturity scale.”

It is like I am 18 again. Struggling with work and college. Starting a new relationship. I just have to do this without beer and rum this time.

Tonight I am going to his place. I will try to avoid text questions and just wait until I see him to discuss things. I like that I can feel happy around him without the desire to drink. It is just when he is not around and worries flood my mind that I desire booze to fight the flood. I have to keep reminding myself drunk=hangover=no answers.

Percentage rather than days

Hi all. I know I haven’t been posting for months but I think that happens to a lot of people who are trying to get sober but not really bloggers.

Since my last post, I did get drunk once. I was at a small, local Burner regional and I got drunk one night on cheap wine. I wasn’t sure why I did it but I think it was related to 1) feeling lonely 2) had a crush on the guy who offered the wine. I had fun but ended up going to my tent for something and passed out early. I wasted one night of a 3 day festival and regretted it the next morning when I had a hangover.

And I survived another Burning Man year with ALMOST no alcohol. I told several people  in my camp I do not drink but I was still offered booze in some form all week. I did take a few sips of champagne as it was passed around during volunteer shifts. And I had some champagne at a camp that has champagne parties at sunrise everyday, but it is small amount they give and the 2 cups I had were maybe 3/4 of a measuring cup. Then there was one drink I had on the last day as I passed a camp as my sort of farewell toast to Burning Man.

I sit here now a week later and think about what that means for my sobriety. To myself, I remained sober. I had a tiny bit of alcohol but avoided the amount that would cause me to crave. (Last year when I sipped the passing champagne, I gulped it down and realized I was keeping my eye on the bottle as it got passed around to figure when it would get back to me.) No, I do not think this means I can moderate. But I also don’t think I need to start to recount my sobriety. This is one reason I do not subject to the AA club nor the philosophies there. If I went to an AA meeting now, they would consider me newly sober and I would have to wait for 30 days since that last drink to get a new chip. It sort of erases all the things I learned the last 2 and a half years.

So I’ve decided to think of my sobriety in percents. I would estimate I have been sober 95% of the time since January 2014. I plan to sit down and actually calculate the percentage out when I have time. I can remember everyday I had a drink since I first slip in May 2015. The more as time goes on and I do not drink, that percentage will go higher. I think that is more important than chips or resetting my sobriety clock. I will never get a cake at an AA meeting with this belief but it will keep me sober to the best of my ability.

I am in school now so don’t really think I will have time for blogging. But I feel confident I can have that percent up to 99% by January 21, 2017.

Beers and Fears

I just survived a dinner with friends at nice restaurant with a menu of a lot of beer choices. We were spread out over two tables and shared a bunch of different appetizers. Everyone ordered beer, except one woman, who ordered some fruity cocktail. And me, who ordered a cranberry and tonic. No one questioned my choice or commented. I was offered the beer menu but declined it. One friend offered me a sip of his beer but I said the last drink I had was at the Christmas party with this same group of people. “Wow” one guy said and then moved on to talk about some art project.

I still felt the desire to want a beer just to make me feel comfortable.  Not because they were drinking beers. They could have been having ice teas and I still would have wanted the social lubrication of booze. I know a few of the people in this group more than others, but not that well. But the leaders of the group were at this dinner. We finished volunteering all day for a art festival. The leaders invited the volunteers out for drinks and snacks afterwards. I knew I would be surrounded by alcohol temptation, but I thought it would be a good way to have the group, and the leaders, get to know me. I wanted to be seen as a doer, a contributer, and a team player. I wanted to share in their stories. But being a newbie made me wish I could share a beer also.

There were many moments I thought the dangerous images of “just one beer”. I kept reminding myself where that lead to last year. (This last Memorial weekend marks 1 year since my first relapse, but next week marks 7 months renewed and completely sober.) I worried “they must think I am boring” and “will they all talk about me afterwards and regret inviting me?” I felt like I was in high school again and wondering if I would be accepted at the lunch table. I wanted to leave with the honest excuse I was tired, but didn’t want to be seen as a killjoy.

Alcohol is so evil how you can need for socializing but it also ruins your social skills.

I was worried most about one of the group leaders. She just seems very temperamental and doesn’t seem to like a lot of people. A lot of other people in our circuit have said they fear her. I have always worried she didn’t like me but I think she just doesn’t know me. She is an artistic genius and values hardwork. I wanted to join this gathering to get my face there as a volunteer. I wanted her to know my face.

My plan worked. During the meal, she shared plans with everyone of her new project and she pointed to me “don’t tell anyone about this! Top secret! ” I was giddy.  I earned her trust! By the end, as almost everyone but 3 people were leaving, she asked me if I wanted to stay for another drink. I felt liked. I said I was tired and I would be back early tomorrow to help them set up for the festival. I felt included.

I survived the get-together sober and I think I overcame my fear of this group leader.

Love and Exercise

I just want to write a quick note that I am feeling better. I had old friends that visited over the weekend. And today I went for a 3 mile hike. I think the love of friends and exercise helped a lot!

I am actually worried about my friends because they are both overweight. One is extremely overweight. He gained a lot since our days of partying in our 20s. He mentioned a few times “I need to lose weight” but then he ordered a few beers with every meal and some between meals. I wanted to slap it out of his hand “THIS IS NOT HELPING YOUR HEALTH!” He does not have a drinking problem but his drinking is not helping his weight problem. Anytime I have a friend whine about their weight and then see them drinking alcohol, I want to pour some of that beverage into a sack and glue it to their bellies. THAT IS WHERE IT IS GOING!

Now I know not everyone that drinks is overweight and a lot of people that quit drinking have problems losing weight. I know I was irritated when I first quit that pounds weren’t falling off. Then once I stopped replacing alcohol with carbs and sugar, and once I started hiking and walking, the weight dropped. It helps. Not fool proof but at least the walking helps pump my blood, clear my mind, and maybe see some pretty views.

I was disappointed my friends tired out very easily. But I guess it was like the days when I used to pass out on them early or disappear from the clubs.


But be careful when you finally get heppy. Because you can become greedy for the one thing you don’t have.
I missed drinking. This new world was grand, but I didn’t feel complete without that foamy abandon. I thought about drinking all the time. If only I could drink again, then I could lose myself to this handsome stranger and not be hobbled by my own nagging insecurities.

From Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

I haven’t had much time to read this wonderful book because of school. I haven’t been sleeping much nor well because of stress from work and school and life.

My mom is no longer talking to me because I demanded my 14 year old nephew apologize for ditching me 4 months ago. Not much. I just wanted an apology. But I guess my mom and sister were offended, like I was criticizing their parenting. So they stopped replying to me. In defense, I told my mom about my suicide attempt in 2001 that put me into the ICU. She tried to call and left a message wanting to know what is wrong. I got the message as I was going to class so I shot back a quick text reply about our family ignoring problems and I still want an apology. A week went by and no response. I guess she just wanted to make sure I didn’t have a gun to my head at that moment but as long as it is just my ramblings about excepting a teen to learn say “sorry”, she can go back to ignoring me. So I blocked her number and my sister. Then I deleted my nephews and brother off Facebook. I declare myself an orphan and only child. It is not much different than going on through life with them all ignoring me anyway.

I see my cousins posting about their brother that died in February. Their posts are full of love and mourning. I feel jealous for their closeness. “Sibling day” just passed and it reminds me of how crappy my siblings are. I am too. When the terrorists attacks happened in Paris last fall, I secretly wished my sister was there. I will miss my nephew and niece but I also feel guilty I don’t miss, nor know, my other nephew and niece.

The stress of being family-less has been eating me up. And hating work because I feel odd and unlike has made me want to quit. I start thinking drastic thoughts. Start thinking of getting drunk to numb it all. Start fantasizing about ways to die. Some think gardening when they see hoses. I think carbon monoxide poisoning. I think of buying a flight somewhere and chasing Valium with whatever rum is local. I think of going to the Middle East, breaking a law like fighting for women’s rights, and getting stoned to death. I think of going on a sailing trip and skinny dipping, after taking a bunch of Valium. I just want to stop feeling.

Then I went to a party Saturday. It was a costume party. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed expressing my creativity. I enjoyed seeing people that seemed honestly happy to see me. I felt surprise that people seemed impressed by my costume. That they seemed really happy to hug me. I felt liked. And that is more I get from my family.

So the suicide dreams are slipping away as I get more acceptance. Maybe happiness is on its way.