Improvements

I was reading back through my journal from 2001 to 2002. A lot of it is about the relationship I was in and problems with school. But so many times I wrote “I need to quit drinking.” A few times I wrote “I need to control my drinking.” A few times I wrote in there intoxicated “I love being drunk!” When I wrote drunk, my handwriting doubled in size. My letters took up two lines rather than one. Drinking made so many things chaotic besides penmanship.

I already made a post estimating how much money I will save by going sober. I wonder how much time I would have saved if I quit 12 years ago? All those days I spent sleeping away hangovers. All those sights and trips I missed out on. All those nights in bars when I could have been studying or learning something or improving myself.

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I went to a meeting today. It was the noon one I like. A woman from Monday’s meeting recognized me and waved. It felt nice to recognize familiar faces. Maybe I will start doing this more often. I even spoke and admited I did not do 90 meetings in 90 days but I might start coming more often. My confidence of this being “easy” is scaring me. I am not gonna jump into the steps or this AA thing, but maybe more meetings and talk to more people will help keep me strong. Maybe I will get a sponsor, or as someone called it today, “special friend”.

Mistake #99- My friend took me to a concert. The concert venue was about a 30 minute drive. It was to see a local lesbian band. I got drunk. I was dancing with a girl that my friend had a crush on. I do not know what happened but my friend must have got mad. So I left the concert. I was sitting outside crying and trying to figure if I could pay for a taxi home. Then I met some strange woman who gave me a ride.

So I got in a car with a stranger while completely drunk and left my friend. Like I said, I do not know what happened (did I kiss the girl my friend liked?) but my friend did not talk to me for a while after that night.

Thankfully 11 years later, she is one of my good friends that is supporting my sobriety.

Get Healthy: take 2

I was silly to try to start a “diet” a week before going to see friends. Especially with a kid in the car. Now I know I can not tell another woman how to raise her kid, but my imaginary offspring would only eat veggie snacks, milk and water.

Thankfully my friend was stern enough not to let me drink soda. I told her how I almost got weak in a store on Friday by myself. I picked up a Vanilla Coke and told myself “at least it isn’t diet” but then put it back and grabbed water. I also grabbed some energy flavor stuff to add to my water that is supposed to repress my appetite. Not wonderful stuff since it is chemicals but maybe helpful to steer me from my diet soda and sugar addiction.

And all weekend, I did not bother to question what I ate. Tacos. Pizza. Hashbrowns. Lots of sugar in my coffee. My friend offered me stevia instead of sugar but I thought it tasted like medicine. I really just need to wean off sugar. Maybe even learn to drink coffee black.

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I went to a women’s AA meeting last night. I enjoyed it. Three women spoke about their stories of 20, 24, and 30 years sobriety. That just seems so long. I was inspired but also a bit sad. Will I ever be able to celebrate 20 years? 10? 5 even? Sometimes I get so scared of the thought of drinking but it seems a life of longterm sobriety is as possible as finding Narnia.

I think I will start going to more meetings. I liked that a few women talked to me last night but did not pressure me. I feel I am in pre-AA. I feel I am training. Prepping. I want to stay sober but I am not ready for a home group or sponsor. I want to wait until after I move this August to a more permanent home. I will invest in AA then. I sort of wish there was a website to find a perfect sponsor for me. Like eSponsor.com instead of eHarmony. OKSobriety. mAAtch.com

Sobriety means a change in lifestyle. Getting healthy is a change in lifestyle. Part of me wants to move to Saudi Arabia. Maybe that is the change I need.

Mistake # 98- Two years ago, I was visiting a foreign city. I got drunk at a bar with friends. Made out with a guy I called Player. I wasted the whole next day sleeping off my hangover. I did not get to see any sites. That night, my friend had a party. Player and I made out again in a corner but I do not remember. At a party the next night, I had sex with Player. Then I found out he had a girlfriend. She was out of town that weekend. I was upset but I did not remember the sex. I just figured it didn’t matter. But I did get drunk and sent him many nasty texts.
When I returned to that city again, I avoided seeing Player again.

The What Ifs

Being back in my old hometown made me think of where my life has gone since I left.  It made me start to contemplate how my life would be different if I stayed. I wondered about the “what ifs”. What if I never got that first DUI? What if I never lost my driver’s license? What I never got divorced? Would I have stayed here if none of that happened?

I tried to ask my friends these questions at dinner last Thursday. “I wonder where my life would be if I still lived here. Think I would be married again?”
Maybe, but that doesn’t mean I would be happy.

“Think I would have become a mom?”
Maybe, but I might have been one of those women who regretted it and blamed my children for missing opportunities.

“Think I would have turned into the world traveler I became?”
Doubtful. Even with raises, I might be making less money if I stayed here than I do currently. I might not have been influenced to travel.

“Think I would have gotten more DUIs?”
Most likely. I might have even lost my job. Or I might have killed myself or someone else with my drinking.

Or maybe I would have slowed down my drinking. When I moved away, I moved to a city with good public transportation, cheap taxis and many bars within walking distance. My partying was accelerated. Back then, I still blamed my DUI on bad planning.

The second DUI five years later was a wake up call. Or at least a whisper. I went sober for 2 months. Then I tried to control my drinking. Soon, I did not see the point in controlling. I did not value my life. I lived to have fun. I wanted to do anything to avoid boredom. I thought being the party girl would bring me happiness.

Today, before flying home, I stopped to visit my old job. They moved to a new building. I only knew three of the seven people there today. They asked about where I am living now and about my travels. I brought up the “what if” questions to them. I was told that they think deep down, I was meant to break out of here. They don’t think I would have found happiness if I stayed. It made me feel good. I felt they validated my nomadic ways.

But it got me thinking I can not look back on what if I never got my DUIs or if none of my drinking mistakes happened. It was a messy, bumpy road that brought me to this sober place I am in now. I can not even think “what if I relapse?” I can just pick up this journey from here and continue. I can learn (finally!) from all my mistakes. I can work to avoid them again. And I can remind myself the best way to do that is not to pick up that first drink.

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Mistake # 97 -I met up with a gay friend at a bar. The plan was to have a few drinks and then I was going shopping. But after a few drinks, I decided the shopping could wait. I mentioned to my friend I have not seen a drag show in this city. So he took me to one. Then we went to a few other gay bars that were all within walking distance from each other. He was giving me a tour of sorts. I was drinking a lot of rum and Diet Coke that night.

We ended up at a bar that he frequents and he started to order us some shots. I remember we met a guy. My friend was interested in this guy. So I tried to play wing-woman. When they announced last call, we invited this guy back to my friend’s apartment. I guess I was planning to crash on the couch. I do not remember much about once we got to the apartment except this guy was new to town and we talked a lot about the hassle of moving. But he must have gotten tired or just tired of my friend and I slurring our speech. He left. And I remember my gay friend saying something about even though he is gay, he still has sex with women.

I woke up in his bed. I do not remember the sex. We both sort of pretended nothing happened. Neither of us ever spoke of that night. I have had sex with friends before but he is the only gay friend I have done. He has actually avoided seeing me ever since that night even though we were both traveling in the same cities at the same time. I never thought I would kill a friendship with a gay guy via sex.

Reunion with Old Friends

My weekend trip was nice and I am glad I did it. It was a nice reunion with old friends. They are friends who are supportive of my sobriety and have been there for many of my drunk mistakes, including both of my DUIs. But I still felt they are either not 100% happy with my decision or they do not think this will be a permanent change.

 

The first day here, we all went out to lunch. We went to a Mexican place. Our friend that lives here drove. But once we got there, she asked if I would drive back so that she could drink with lunch. I was okay with that. I told her to drink up and enjoy since I could not. Everyone except me and the kids got tipsy.

 

Afterwards, we went to the beach. It was a great afternoon. I enjoyed playing with the kids and basking in the sun. We discussed all kinds of life problems for all of us from relationships to health. I felt most of my problems were based around my drinking. I also felt a bit selfish for relating so much to my alcoholism while my one friend discussed her separation and pending divorce. But I felt I was going through a divorce-of-sorts. I am trying to end my marriage of 20 years to alcohol.

That night, they picked up a two bottles of wine. I have stressed so much I am okay being around alcohol but I still felt slighted they did not ask if I minded. The smell of it was inviting. Their big glasses looked so much better than my pink lemonade. I kept bringing up lots of drunk stories more to remind myself than reveal to them how bad my problem is.

I was also showing them photos on my laptop of my travels but felt it was boring them. They insisted that they found them interesting. But I was worried they found my travel tales as boring as my sobriety. Can this girl still be the fun friend we loved without booze? It is like they knew I need to quit but doesn’t mean they will like the new me. I am too different now from the girl they meet 13 years ago. I am always going to strange lands including this new land of abstinence.

They never said anything negative about my new lifestyle. I was just paranoid. When I started to fall asleep by 11pm while they started to get tipsy, the criticism of being a party pooper hurt. I felt left out but so tired I did not care too much. They began to tease me for crashing out early and I started to growl that a sleepy me becomes bitchy me so leave me alone! They went out to the porch and drank until 2am.

At 8am, I was the first one awake. The oldest kid was awake too. I took her for a walk to let the adults with hangovers sleep in. Usually, I would have been searching for a dark corner to sleep off my hangover. I might have just been going to bed actually. I might have stayed up after everyone else and then sleep all day and skipped out on spending time with everyone. I have done that many times. Being life of the party at night used to come before most daytime plans. I thought of how happy I was to be sober during that morning walk.

I am glad this is only a weekend with these friends. I do not think I could resist the urge to not drink around them if we had reunions more often.

Mistake #96- I was meeting up with friends for a weekend camping trip in Joshua Tree National Park. We partied at the campground Friday night. I went to sleep around midnight to get up early the next morning. There were plans for a Saturday afternoon hike. When I woke up, I decided there was plenty of time for mimosas with breakfast. We sat around a camping grill outside my friend’s tent, cooking up eggs and bacon, while I kept pouring sparkling wine in everyone’s cups of juice.

I went back to my tent around 11am to get something. I was already drunk. As I crawled into my tent, it seemd very comfortable. I laid down. I passed out. I had my feet sticking out my tent while I fell asleep on my air mattress. A friend came by around 11:30 to get me for the hike. I told him to leave without me. I was too tired.

I missed all the fun daytime plans. I woke up just before sunset and started drinking again. I have been to Joshua Tree at least 4 times and I never have hiked due to being too drunk or hungover. I am determined to return. I need to make a sober to-do list. (I personally do not like the term bucket list.)

Flying

I am realizing airports, airplanes, and flying are triggers that make me want to drink.

I have been to many airports around the world. In the ones I have frequently spent time in, I tend to have favorite bars. Atlanta. Newark. Los Angeles. Houston. Chicago. Frankfurt. I loved that most airport bars serve alcohol for breakfast. How many Bloody Marys could I chug before take-off?  In the afternoons and evenings, I would search out a pub with local beer. Sometimes, I would treat myself to overpriced glasses at a wine bar.

I used to love it when there was a bar near my gate. It felt like a bonus if I could sit with a drink and still view when the boarding procedure began. I loved the drunk conversations I would have with other travelers waiting for their flights. When there were flight delays due to weather, the bar patrons developed a bond.

I once spent four hours in Houston with a group of strangers drinking for free. A guy was celebrating his Army retirement. He kept ordering rounds of tequila shots. He insisted on paying for each beer I drank. I had to help him find his gate when his flight was finally leaving. I finally went to my gate but my flight was still delayed. I returned to the bar for one more quick beer. I grabbed two instead and chugged them. I almost missed that flight.

When I flew international, I would use up my foreign money on wine or beer. I would skip eating at the airport to make sure I had some cash for alcohol on the flight. Now I am not sure if I could do that. I know most American flights require credit cards for purchasing in flight.

I was a bit nervous that I was gonna be upgraded to first class for this trip. Free alcohol would be so tempting. I get free upgrades sometimes because I am a frequent flyer with a membership card. I was relieved there was no room. I was happy in my sober, economy seat.
I also get free passes to the airline lounge. I used to scoff that the only drinks they offered for free were coffee, tea, and ice water. Some of the lounges offer juice and soda. I used to spend my time sitting at the bar in the lounge. This time, I ate some cheese and typed on my laptop. At least they have free WiFi.

Do some non-American airlines offer free alcohol? I think I remember free wine on an international flight? I know I got free alcohol on an overnight bus in Argentina. They came around offering cups of whiskey before the meal, then wine with the meal, and a flute of sparkling, white wine before turning off the lights. It was such a luxurious bus. I hate turning freebies. Guess I will have to now.

Mistake #95- I had a flight from San Francisco to San Diego with a layover in Los Angeles. I spent my layover at the bar. My flight got delayed. I would drink, check on flight, still delayed, drink more. I missed the flight. I remember blaming the guy at the gate. Was he supposed to come find me at the bar?

Next flight would not be until the next morning. I was supposed to be at work at 7am. I called work to tell them I would an hour late due to flight problems. I slept in the airport. A lot of people asked why I did not rent a car and drive the two hours. I told them I did not want to spend the money. Actually, I was too drunk to think of that option. (And not in a condition to drive that night. )

Memory Lane

I arrived by airplane yesterday to start a roadtrip with friends to visit another friend’s new baby.The trip was supposed to be 4 adults and one child. It will now be two adults and child. I was upset yesterday about the two guys canceling. But I guess things could be worse.

I picked up my rental car at the airport and drove around. I drove to different memorable sights. I lived here for 7 years. I spent most of my twenties here. I turned 21 here. My first apartment was here and this was where I lived when married. It is also where I got my two DUIs.

I drove by the municipal courts and the jail. I looked up at the windows and wondered which one was my cell. I had bad flashbacks of coming here for court dates. I drove by the bus stop that I had to wait at when I lost my driver license. I cried a little and told myself I never want to go through that again. I thought of the woman I once met in AA who said she was sober for years and the one night she decided she could drink again, she got her 4th DUI.

Then I found an AA meeting. It was a small, women’s meeting. I was ten minutes late. But I enjoyed it. We read from the book the chapter “To The Wives.” While I was reading, it made me think of my mom and I started to cry so I passed the reading off to the next person. The highlight was they gave out monthly chips at the end. I GOT MY 90 DAY CHIP!

90 days Sober!

90 days Sober!

It felt so good walking out of that meeting with that in my wallet. I was so happy. But I was also scared thinking of a woman I met in the meeting. She was sober for 16 years. Then some tragedy happened to her family in January. She started to drink again. Just when I was getting sober, she was relapsing. She picked up a white chip right before I picked up this green chip. She also looked very familiar. I think we used to work at the same place. I thought “that could be me.” It scared me to think that no matter how confident I feel in this sobriety thing, relapse is always possible. This disease might go dormant but does not die.

I went to dinner with my friends. I told the two guys they are losers and I am mad at them for not joining the roadtrip. They kept apologizing. I told them they need to find time to go visit our friend and her new baby on their own. They said they would try. I shared with them my green chip. They all high-fived me. My one friend said she needs to get me a gift and she promises it will not be a bottle of wine.

We ordered dessert. I really wanted to order an almond rum cheesecake. I do not think the rum in it would affect me nor mess up my sobriety. But I got worried about ordering it in front of my friends. I wondered if I would have ordered it if I was alone. Then I thought I most likely would not because I would agonize too much about it. I got a coconut 6-layer cake. It reminded me of the coconut cake I had for 50 days but so much better!

I also ordered almond cappuccino. Then I panicked when drinking it because I thought it tasted like Amaretto. I asked my friend “taste this! Is that Amaretto? Is that alcohol?” He looked at me like I was crazy. Then I felt I was acting crazy. I told him nevermind. I looked at the desert menu and saw an Amaretto latte at the bottom with the alcoholic coffees. No, this was almond syrup in here. They would not have done that to me. Man, that would really suck if I lost my sobriety over a screw up on my order!

This morning, I went to another meeting. I was gonna try to get a 60 day chip. I realized one thing I really like about meetings in this area is that they have a lot in buildings dedicated to AA meetings. They are not all in a church basements. Some are in strip malls and others are small houses. I do not have to search and feel lost like I do when searching for the room in the churches back home. Also, they have more times here. They have 10:30pm meetings. They had a 7am, 8am, 9:30, 11am, noon, 1pm and a lot of different evening meetings. I felt more and more I really do not like my area meetings!

This meeting did not give out 60 day chips. I declined to get a second 90 day one. I really enjoyed this discussion. One of the first people to share talked about an accident she caused earlier this week while drunk and she is not sure why they did not test her BAC at the scene. She went to the hospital but got away from receiving a DUI. I shared about my DUIs and how it took me seven years after my last one to seriously attempt sobriety. Unfortunately, she left the room by the time I got to share. But there were many people in that room with less than 30 days who thanked me for my story afterwards and said it helped them. One guy said that he thinks 90 days is a dangerous time. Too much confidence. That made my eyes widen. Yep, that is how I feel right now. I also feel I have tools. But I am gonna keep his words in my head. I am glad I have this blog.

Mistake # 94- A friend was coming through town. She was visiting family but set aside a night to party with me. I was actually closer friends with her husband. He and I were “friends with benefits” many years ago. She did not like me when they first started dating due to my past history with him. But ten years later, she and I were finally friends.

But that night, we both got trashed. I was sore the next day because I wrestled with some girl which I don’t remember. I do not remember making out with that girl’s boyfriend before the wrestling match. And I only slightly remember having sex with my friend. She made me promise not to tell her husband. I kept that promise until 6 months later when I confessed to him during a blackout. He said he was more mad that he had to hear it from me instead of her.

When Plans Change

I am a bit frustrated right now.

Back in January,  when I quit drinking but wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick with it, I started making plans for a reunion with friends.  One of our friends was due to have a baby in February.  She lives 3 hours from our group of old friends. I asked everyone what would be a good weekend in April to for us all to go visit her and the new baby. No one replied. So I asked if this would be a good weekend. Yea, sure. So I requested off of work, booked a flight, and reserved a car.

A few weeks ago,  I asked if all three were still going down to see our friend and her baby. No, one of the guys couldn’t get off work because he is taking off next weekend to go somewhere else. He did not know that when I planned this? Okay, so instead it would be my two friends and one daughter on the 3 hour road trip.

Then last night,  I got a message that another friend can not get off work. He is also going away with the other friend next weekend. But we can all have dinner tonight when I arrive.

I am pissed. Why did they not rearrange their plans or suggest another weekend if this was not going to work? I always feel I am the one to go out of my way. Our friend has another baby that is almost two years and the group has not bothered to take the 3 hour drive to meet that boy. I feel since I am known to be nomadic, I can always be the one traveling to see them. While they take vacations and trips elsewhere, they never come to visit me.

And right after I got this message, there was a text from my work. They know I am off the next five days but they got super busy and could use my help if my plans change. If I did not spend money on a flight, I might consider it. I would rather go to work and make overtime pay. I am worried I am wasting my time for friends that can not make adjustments for me.

Maybe I am just being selfish again.  Maybe they did not know ahead of time they could not go. Maybe this really is out of their control. But I am disappointed and upset. I told them not sure I can make dinner because I might go see another friend.

And that is true. I am waiting to hear back from my ex-girlfriend.  I asked her a few weeks ago about meeting up for dinner. My group of friends told me before she is not invited to their homes. So I would have to see her in secret.

I took out my frustration last night with my food processor. I made “Greek hummus” with spinach and feta cheese.

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I woke up early today to pack. I did not sleep well from fear of not hearing the alarm clock. I was still mad when I got up but add tired to the mix. So I took out my anger on cucumbers and red bell peppers.  Now I have a salad for my flight.

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Oh and I treated myself for 90 days sober to my “sober jeans” but they are tight. They will be motivation to stay away from the wasted calories of alcohol. And bagels. I think those are more of a challenge lately.

So I guess chopping and processing and cooking could be my new outlet for anger instead of booze. Or at least one of them.

Mistake #93- It was my birthday. All my friends were planning a night at our favorite club. We started pre-partying at my friend V’s apartment. I remember I was wearing a shear, black top with a black bra. I remember because V’s boyfriend kept staring at my chest rather than my face. I immediately did not like him.

My girlfriend was going to meet us at the club. Her friend drove her and she would go home with me. She lived on another side of the river about 40 minutes away.

We had fun from what I remember. I remember she gave me a ring with my birthstone for my birthday gift. It was in a heart shape.

A few of us went back to V’s place for an after party. I do not remember who drove us there that night. Her apartment was spacious. She had a couple couches spread out. There were two side-by-side in the living room facing the television and entertainment center. There was another one in the dining room instead of a table in there. You could see the couches in the living room from the dining room couch.

I passed out on the dining room couch. I woke up with my girlfriend waking me up and curling up next to me: half on the couch and half on the floor. I did not pay much attention. I was still drunk and needed more sleep.

In the morning, my girlfriend asked “who was that guy that was here?” I said V’s boyfriend’s name. She said “I don’t know. Some dark skin guy. He was creepy.” I asked what happened. She wouldn’t say anything. When V came out, she said something about her boyfriend leaving in the middle of the night. She wasn’t sure what happened cause she was drunk. My girlfriend again made a negative remark about him. V asked what happen. My girlfriend hesitated. We both asked “WHAT HAPPENED?” My girlfriend said she woke up and he was on top of her. V asked “did he have sex with you?” Again, my girlfriend hesitated. Then she said she did not know what was going on. But yes, she woke up and this guy was pulling off her pants. She tried to push him off but he was too strong. He started to have sex with her. She finally was able to push him off of her and ran over to where I was passed out.

I thought I sort of remember blurry images from the couch. But I could not be sure. I remember her coming over to me and sort of remember seeing him standing in the living room. I was not positive though. Drunk thoughts and visions are unreliable. Right away V got mad and asked “he raped you?” While I am bisexual, my girlfriend was lesbian. We guessed that he left V’s room, saw me passed out on one couch and my young, naive girlfriend in the living room by herself. V called him and asked him what happened. Of course, he denied it.

I spent that day, the day after my birthday party, taking my girlfriend to emergency rooms for a rape kit. The first ER was super busy. The next was also busy. I forget why we did not wait. But I finally took her to the military hospital on base. Her dad was in the armed forces and she was a dependent. V’s boyfriend was also military. When we told the staff at the military hospital what happened, they sent military police to the guy’s barracks. The police then came to the hospital. They told us the guy claims it was consensual sex. So they can do a STD test and give her the morning after pill,but there was no need for a rape kit because he admitted to sex. Now it would be a “he said-she said” case.

My girlfriend never filed a complaint. She was too scared. She did not want to go through the hassle of a trial. Plus, we were all drunk. I could not be a witness even though I was almost in the same room. She is not sure of the details 100%. And in this area we lived, we were worried that  jury would feel less sorry for a lesbian.

I felt so guilty for so long. I was so intoxicated and unable to help my girlfriend.

I went to V’s house the next day because I left a few things there. She saw me park at the curb and came out to my car. She asked me what did the hospital exam show. I told her that he admitted to the MPs that he had sex with her. She told me he was still denying it to her. Of course he was telling her no! She wanted to know if the exam showed tears or proof of sex. I said no, they did not examine for proof because he said it was consensual.Then I asked “is he in your apartment right now?” She said yes. She said she thinks my girlfriend was lying. I was outraged. I told her if she was going to believe him over my girlfriend, when I have military police that say he admitted to sex, then I could not continue to be her friend.

I might add that her boyfriend was actually in the process of being kicked out of the military. I think he killed someone while drunk? I forget. But he was not an angelic fellow.

V and I did not talk again for three years. When we did, it was because a mutual friend invited us out together with him. Until that point, we both avoided being at the same parties at the same time. When we made up, we were both drunk, looked at each other, and cried “I am sorry!” We never discussed the rape again. Her relationship with that creep did not last long after that night. My girlfriend and I broke up three months later.

Our mutual friends all think my girlfriend made it up. Their evidence is her coming up to V about a year later, very drunk, and saying she was sorry for everything that happened. She felt responsible for V and me no longer talking. That is why they said she is not invited to their homes. That is why I have to be secretive about wanting to see her. That is why I would rather go see her than my friends that are messing up my reunion plans.

I would like to try to discuss with her that night again. See what we can decipher of the night more than a decade later. And apologize to her for being too drunk that night to be there for her and all the other problems my drinking caused in our relationship.