If this was your last day…

I have seen and touched and danced and sung and climbed and loved and meditated on a lifetime spent living honestly. Should it all end tomorrow, I can positively say there would be no regrets. I feel fortunate to have walked in my shoes. I am truly lucky. I really have lived 1,000 times over.

That was my friend’s Facebook status update two months ago. He was still healthy. He did not know his asthma would cause a cardiac arrest and then die. It makes me feel better to know that he died with a happy life.

He used to always say he doesn’t want “drama” when he dies. He wants people to celebrate. So his family organized a party at a dive resort because his favorite place was the ocean.

If today were to be my last day, I can honestly say I lived a good life. Even though I am writing daily about blackouts and one night stands and other horrible things from my past, I am writing them as lessons to myself. And lessons to anyone else that can benefit or recover from my stories. They are reminders of what I am leaving in my past.

I have a lot of great qualities and have done many wonderful deeds. I have traveled to many countries and seen many wonderful sights. Great Wall of China. Giza Pyramids. Machu Picchu. Taj Mahal. Angkor Wat. Himalayas. I have many wonderful hobbies that do not require alcohol.

I want to keep living. Choosing sobriety actually makes me appreciate my life. I still want therapy to overcome my low self-esteem, but at least I do not want to harm myself anymore. Alcohol was depressing my mind and body in so many ways.

If today were my last day, I would prefer it to be a sober day. But my friends and family can pour red wine on my ashes after I am gone.
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Mistake # 92- I was a camping trip in the middle of Australia. We were a group of 14 people who left Alice Springs to camp in the outback and visit Uluru. It was a great trip. I made friends with a gay British guy and developed a crush on a German guy. After visiting Uluru, nine people from our tour left to the airport close to the rock. It was five of us on the bus back to Alice Springs. I spent time talking with the German guy.

Our group of five plus the tour guide met up that night at a pub. The tour guide put me in charge of getting a table and organizing. So I had to be the first one to arrive. And the first to start drinking.

The British guy kept saying he thought the guide had a crush on me. I didn’t care cause my eyes were set on the German guy. The German guy asked me to dance. I agreed. We were drunk and moving on the dance floor. He kissed me. I was happy. I went to the bar to get another beer.

When I came back to the dance floor, the German guy was not there. I noticed he was at the other end of the bar talking to some girl. I walked up to them and said hello. He introduced her as some girl he just met from Germany or Austria or some country that spoke his language. They said a few things to each other in German. They did not seem to want me there. My British new friend appeared and asked me to dance. He asked me what was going on. I was getting jealous and mad. Who was this girl? I stopped dancing to get more beer. And more beer.

I got trashed. I kept wanting to tell the German off. I kept telling my Brit friend “but he kissed me! I was gone two seconds to get another beer and he meets someone else?” I wanted to get wasted to forget I was hurt. Then instead of forgetting, I replaced my object of affection. I met an American guy. The Brit was encouraging this.

We started making out. I went back to his place. I am not sure if we had sex but we probably did. The only thing I remember about his place is getting scared and crying and telling him not to hurt me. I remember trying to run out the door but he stopped me, held me tight, and calmed me down by repeating “I am not going to hurt you.” Memories of the night fade in and out like flashing warning lights.

The next morning, he asked me why I flipped out. I said I did not know. I am not sure if I have a repressed trauma or a subdued suffering that I only remember in blackouts.

He took me out for breakfast. I felt ashamed for acting crazy the previous night. Then we ran into the German guy and the girl he met. I felt ashamed for the whole night. The American guy mentioned maybe I drink too much. I agreed. I never saw him again. But over the next few weeks, I sent him a few drunk texts until he stopped replying.

Put things in Perspective

I was mentally preparing today’s blog. It was going to be about cyber support being better than Facebook friend support. I was upset that I made a post on Facebook about being 90 days sober and only got a few likes. Even the people that seem to “like” every post I make did not click like on this. It made me feel as if I had been ditched. Like no one came to my party. EVERYONE wants to steer away from the sober chick. I was being self-centered and overanalyzing and that was getting me angry.

Then I read a post realizing that one friend that will never know about my sobriety. My friend that was in a coma died today.

I regret not going to see him in January now. But I know I can not change that. I have so many regrets that I can not change. And there might be other friends that I will never see again due to changes in plans or unexpected circumstances.  That is how life goes.

So what if I do not get enough “likes” on a Facebook post? I still have my life and sobriety. Also, it doesn’t mean everyone on my Facebook friends list are against my sobriety. I am sure a few are and many do not understand why I decided to do this. I hid my problem well. And there are some who prefer me as a drunk. Those are people I will not miss.

I do not need every person in the world to accept my sobriety. I just need to accept it. It is my life I am saving. And the support of a handful of real life friends has been helpful.

Last autumn, I read a book Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (while fully clothed and totally sober by Harlan Cohen. It was good. The thing I took from it the most was that there will be thousands of people who will not like me but I need to care about the hundreds that do. I need to focus on the people that support my sobriety and not get upset over those that do not.

Thanks again to everyone who liked and commented yesterday on my 90 day anniversary.
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Mistake # 91- I was at a party at my friend’s house. She lived a mile away from me. She said I got mad at one of our other friends and then disappeared. They did not notice at first. Then they could not find me when they realized I was gone. My car was still out front. They kept calling and calling my phone. I finally answered it. Turns out, I was so mad, I left and walked home. And I must have grabbed my box-of-wine and walked home holding it. I had it on my nightstand.

I do not remember leaving the party. Thankfully I got home okay.

90 Days Sober!

I am 90 days sober! Yea!

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But I am not chasing for a chip this time like I did for 30 days. I might go to a meeting before work to see if I will get one, but I do not want to deal with the disappointment when they tell me they only give chips to home group members or people with sponsors. (But there are no rules for AA? Just a desire to stop drinking? Yea right. Do what they suggest or you are not worthy of a sobriety chip.)

I am going away next weekend to visit some friends.  I will have all Friday to myself while they work. It is the same area where I first tried AA in 2002 and then again in 2007. I will go to meetings there to get a chip.

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I feel good. Physically and mentally. I keep thinking of all the possibilities before me without booze in my life. Now can I survive the next 90 without soda?

Mistake # 90- I was traveling Australia and got very drunk at a bar in Airlie Beach. There was a “lagoon” to swim in because the ocean was too dangerous. The lagoon was more of a very large pool. I met a guy in the bar and we decided to go for a swim.

We thought skinny dipping was a good idea. This guy and I were making out in the pool, in the nude, and it started to rain. We ran out of the lagoon and searched for where we stripped off our clothes. We found them sitting in the same pile we left them. My purse with my camera, wallet and passport was still there. But my shirt and bra were missing.

I put on my underwear and shorts. It was pouring rain and drunk me ran around, trying to cover my boobs with my hands, and search the beach for my top. I even went up to the lifeguard to ask for lost and found. He laughed at me. He said it sounds like some kids played a prank.

The guy I was with gave me his shirt to cover up and we went back to his hotel. I kept thinking how stupid and lucky I was that only my shirt and bra were missing. Thank god my purse did not get stolen. I was so reckless. And I was also happy my purse had a plastic-like lining so my stuff did not get wet and ruined.

I also remember giving that guy a fake identity. A fake name and where I was from. I guess I either knew I would never talk to him again or I was so ashamed of my behavior while drunk.

One diet at a time

I broke the vegetarian part of my diet already. Someone brought a beautiful ham into work last night to share with the staff for Easter. There were also platters of fruit, meats and cheeses,  and lots of cakes and desserts. I managed to avoid the desserts and fruits (first two weeks of South Beach, no fruits.) But I had a few cubes of cheese and pieces of salami and pepperoni.  (I never said I was cutting out salt in this diet.)

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But I can say “at least I am still sober.” It feels when I have small setbacks like this in personal goals, I am okay as long as I do not drink. I will not make my goal of “10 push ups by 90 days sobriety.” (Tomorrow.) That is okay. I have not lost weight since I quit drinking three months ago. That is okay. Plans I had for dates have failed lately. That is okay.

I want to scream “I AM STILL SOBER!” I want an Oprah-style scream of “she is SOOOOBBBBBERRRRRR!” I want an audience clapping as I walk onto a stage. Damnit, I want Oprah to give me a new car for remaining sober.
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Well, maybe I will wait for a year of sobriety before she gives me gifts.

I think hoping dieting will be easier sober. I used to break diets all the time while drunk or hungover. A whole pizza to myself? Sure! Fast food drive-thru window? The grease will soak up my booze.

Now I need to start slapping the coworkers that bring in candy to share. I will not get jaundice from liver damage but I might turn orange from all the carrots I will be snacking on.

Mistake # 89 – I was sober “62-63 days” after my second DUI. I went to daily AA meetings during the time. After my court date, I decided I could drink again. I just needed to moderate and plan things better. Such as, plan a way to not drive if I planned to drink.

I started having a few glasses of wine at my moms. I did not get drunk those first few times. I took that as proof I did not have a problem. Then I got invited to a pool party for Memorial weekend. I asked my friend if I could spend the night to avoid driving. He said no problem.

Since the fear of a DUI was out of the way, I drank a lot. I did not even try to control it. It was more fun when I did not have to worry about limiting myself. “Another mojito please!” I noticed my mixed drinks at home or private parties were always more stronger than the flimsy ones bartenders would make.

I got trashed. I do not know if I did or said anything bad in front of his friends. I ended up on the couch cause I could not make it to the spare room. I do not remember the party after sunset. I do not think I ever got in the pool. (Probably a good idea.)

A few weeks later, my friend that hosted the party was in the city for a weekend. I kept texting him to meet up. He kept giving me half-ass excuses. He kept blaming his friends. He said he did not know what the plans were until last minute and then would forget to share them with me.

I felt hurt. I could not figure out why his friends seemed to not want me to join. I told myself it was because they were gay and woman-phobic. But, just maybe, they didn’t want to babysit a drunk girl. Maybe I did make a fool of myself at the pool party? I have been contemplating a lot lately about friends that I might have lost or kept away due to my excessive drinking but they never said a word.

That friend still avoids me to this day.

Carbaholic

I noticed I have replaced drinking alcohol with eating a lot of carbs and sugars. While that may be temporarily better for me (at least I am not getting drunk), I know it is still not healthy. I been eating too many donuts and bagels. Snacking on too much candy. And even though I try to eat healthy chips, I still eat them too much.
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So I decided to try the South Beach diet again. I have done it before and the hardest part was always “no booze for the first two weeks.” That part is easy now. *wink wink* Now giving up other sugars will be the difficult option. I do not want to substitute sugars with artificial sugars because, well, they are artificial. I would rather do this as natural as I can.
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I am also planning to do this as a vegetarian. I have flirted on and off with vegetarianism the past two years. Ever since I read the book Fast Food Nation, I have become concerned about America’s food. I do not trust the safety of the meat industry. (But I trusted the FDA enough to control the alcohol I drank?) But sometimes I get weak in my resistance and eat meat. Sometimes it is just too easy.
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And as if giving up sugars and meat was not enough, I am gonna stop soda. No more Diet Coke. I think that has been my strongest addiction. I have read of so many horrible things and risks caused by Diet Coke. It actually increases appetite and chance of diabetes.
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I think for this triple challenge, I do need daily 12-step meetings!

“God grant me the serenity to change my sugar habits, accept I will avoid meat, and the wisdom to know the dangers of Diet Coke.”
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Mistake # 88 – I lost 10 pounds on Weight Watchers. Just in time for my first anniversary with a boyfriend. We celebrated by going to Napa for wine tasting. We joined a limo winery tour.

I was not happy with just “tasting”. I was never good with just sipping my beverages. I would even buy extra tastings or a whole glass of which ever I liked the best. I was trashed by late afternoon. I stole the wine cork screw from the limo because I liked the logo on it. We ate dinner in the hotel but I acted like a drunk idiot. I was loud and obnoxious. We fought.

I was very hungover the next day and slept most of the drive back. Not the romantic weekend for which I hoped.

I remember walking into Weight Watchers and gained 2 pounds with my weigh in. I told her I went away for my anniversary. She said “well I hope it was worth it.”

Back then I said “hells yea!” Now I am not so sure.

Keep Busy

I went to the gym for my last workout. My two month Groupon membership ends tomorrow.  I tried to go to spinning class but they told me I need a pass. I was supposed to sign up for the class. This is the first time I heard this since coming to this gym. Then I realized because it is a religious holiday, the class is more crowded. I said “nevermind”.

And I could go work out on the machines or weights instead. But being turned away from that class deflated my motivation.

I feel sort of free without a membership now. I do not have to feel guilty if I do not get to the gym for a few days. I do not have to prescribe times to work out. Miss the 8am class? I can go for a bike ride. I do not need a specific time for that. (Just need to get a bike.) If I can not get to the gym before they close? I can go for a late night walk or do arm curls while watching a movie at home.

It reminds me off AA making me feel guilty for missing meetings. Maybe I should try out those online meetings?

I think I will go to a meeting at noon instead today. I need to ask about getting a 90 day chip. If they tell me I can not get one because I do not have a sponsor, I will most likely stop going to meetings in this area. That will make me feel I have more freedom.

I know people will think “oh no! Free time might make you want to drink!” I do not equate free time with boredom. Now if I had nothing to do in my free time, I might desire a drink. But I have a lot of books, movies, and sewing projects to keep me busy. I have so many photos from travels that need editing and posting. I have to look for a new place to live for June and July. I have to study for tests for work. I am considering online courses in May for which to prepare.

So I have a lot of things to keep me busy. I do not need to smell men and women sweating at the gym to exercise.

And once the weather finally warms up, I hope to hit the hiking trails!

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Mistake # 87- I had a few days off at work. I spent them drinking and chatting online. I met some guy on a dating site. I was telling him about some of the costumes I own. I invited him over to see them. This was middle of the day during the week. He came over. I did a little fashion show for him. Then we had sex. He left. He had to get back to work.
He ignored my messages and texts after that. I saw him at a few festivals and events and he avoided me. I can only imagine what he told other people.

I’m A Rough and Tough, Nothing’s Gonna Knock This Girl Down

No Doubt – Settle Down

I have been coming up with my “Sober Playlist”. It is something that I listen to in the car to remind me why I need to stay sober. Or when I am having a tough time with sobriety. When I want a drink, these songs remind me why would can not drink. I will post the list another day.

But I just added this song. Every since it first came out a few years ago, I used it to cheer me up when feeling down. Now, it seems to fit perfectly with my struggle to fight my drinking problem. Some lyrics that I relate to alcoholism (even though I do not think that is what Ms Stefani means the song to be about):

I’m fine (and nothing’s gonna knock this girl down)
I’m hella positive for real, I’m all good no
I’m fine (and nothing’s gonna knock this girl down)
It’s kinda complicated that’s for sure

And then:

But you can see it my eyes, you can read on my lips
I’m trying to get a hold on this
And I really mean it this time
And you know it’s such a trip
Don’t get me started
I’m trying to get a hold on this

and:

No big deal (I can handle it)
It’ll bounce off me (I can handle it)
Been around the block before, doesn’t matter anymore
Here we go again (Are you kidding me?)
Are you insane? (Are you kidding me?)
We’re underneath the avalanche so heavy again

I keep listening to it on repeat and telling myself going sober is me getting in line and settling down.

Mistake # 86 – I was living in Philadelphia. No Doubt was in concert across the river in Camden, NJ. I took a ferry across. The venue was right along the river. It was an amphitheater type of concert place that is only open in the summer. The ferry dropped you off right there.

I met up with some friends from New Jersey. We had lawn tickets. Blink 182 was the opening act. We had fun sitting on the grass, drinking, dancing, and enjoying the show. I was trashed by the time No Doubt came on stage.

I barely remember them performing. I do remember sneaking into the seated area. I think I flirted with guards to get past the ticket checkers. But I kept getting caught, escorted back out and told to return to the grass area.

My friends texted or emailed me the next day asking what happened. They said I was with them one second and then gone. They had no idea what happened to me. I woke up in my bed. I do not know if I was kicked out or left. I must have gotten the ferry back to Philly. (Thankfully they let me on the ferry and I did not fall overboard!) I must have got a taxi from the ferry dock to my house.

I do not remember how I got home and not sure what happened, but I think the fear I sometimes get of taxi drivers when I am blackout drunk stems from that night.