I get by with a little help from my friends…

Before I arrived at my friend’s,  I emailed her asking if she wanted to go for a hike this weekend. She responded “maybe we can go to the wineries so you can pick up some bottles to take home.” We did that last time I was here in 2008. I bought about 13 bottles in one day. I told her “I quit drinking but we can go and I will drive. I can pick up a bottle for my mom for mothers day.” 

She repsonded “oh didn’t know that. We will figure something out.”

I was nervous. She and I were great drinking buddies when we met 14 years ago. We lived in the same city for 3 years and most of our relationship was bars and clubs. Yet we managed to develop a real friendship. But was the foundation of that still booze? When I visited her five years ago, we spent one night grilling, talking of old times, and drank a case of beer. Could we catch up drinking tea or coffee?

When I got here, she offered me water. We sat on the couch talking. I avoided the topic of my sobriety. But then she asked about me and a guy. “What happened with that?”

“Oh I got drunk, yelled at him, and it just sort of ended.” Then I explained about that drunk weekend and my relationship with him. I was planning to move to his city. Due to my drinking problems, I can not get the job I was planning to get. After that drunk fight and without a job, I canceled moving there. That lead to me discussing why I went sober.

She listened. She nodded. I told her I was blogging about my drunk mistakes. She remembers some of my stupid, drunken nights. She said she had to carry me home many times.

She also started sharing with me stories of her mom. Her mom has been sober 30-some years. She has been in AA that long. My friend grew up in an AA family. She used to go to retreats and on AA camping trips as a kid. She laughed “I probably know more about it than you do.” It is true. She even did a book report about Bill W because AA books were all she had in her house as a kid.

She asked for my blog’s web address. I hesitated. She said “oh, I guess it is easier to be open and honest if your real friends don’t read it?” I was happy and shocked by her understanding. I told her maybe after a year, I will share it with a few, supportive friends. She agreed that would be best.

We went to a casino to see a comedy show. I was worried if I could have fun there without drinking. Instead, they gave me complimentary free sodas and I won $25 on slots! I laughed that before sobriety, I would have calculated how many drinks I could get with my winnings. Now I am thinking how much gas that will buy.

The next day, we had lunch and went antiquing. We had a blast. She has a fear of clowns and old dolls. We found one with a creepy sign. We laughed the rest of the day about it.
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We walked along the river and around the town. Our conversations were sprinkled with talk of my drinking problem. My friend, who used to drink Budweiser like water, said she might have two beers after work now. She can not remember last time she got drunk. She said she went from 21 to 80. She is “boring” and more into gardening than parties.

I tried to encourage her to order a beer with dinner. It was her birthday a few days ago. “Go ahead! Celebrate!” She said she never drinks before 7pm. She also never drinks around her mom. She said even if her mom can handle being around alcohol after 30 years, she thinks it would be disrespectful. My friend did not drink any alcohol around me all weekend.

She said she would be most worried about me being around some of my friends. Would I be strong enough to stay sober around “club friends”? I told her as long as I have enough good, supportive friends like her, I can do this.
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Mistake # 75 – I was at my friend’s house after a night of the bars. I was downstairs with her friend we called Crazy Hair. My friend went to bed upstairs. Crazy Hair and I kept drinking. Somehow, we ended up having sex in the kitchen. I remember bits of it. My friend upstairs heard all of it.

I woke up on the couch and Crazy Hair was sleeping on a chair. We did the awkward “morning” greetings. She left.
My friend came down to make me coffee and try to ask questions. I was embarrassed and did not really have answers. My friend told me Crazy Hair had a girlfriend away at college. That made me feel more guilty.

I continued to see Crazy Hair around at bars and clubs. She would flirt with me when the girlfriend was not in town. I never told anyone else about the kitchen sex. I began to develop a crush on Crazy Hair. So I finally told one friend. That friend got drunk and asked Crazy Hair about the kitchen. Crazy Hair denied it.

I was hurt. I told the friend “it happened! You can even ask so-and-so cause she heard it all!”

It took me years to realize Crazy Hair was an alcoholic. She started stealing booze from people’s houses. She had 3 DUIs within a few years. She was 27 and needed help. She most likely denied the kitchen sex because she did not remember it.

When she got worse, we all cut her out of our lives. Her family kicked her out. I last heard she moved to NYC to be a bartender. That was more than 10 years ago. I hope she got sober. If not, I doubt she is still alive.

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