Don’t mind me, I am just sober

Sobriety is not always easy. Now when I do something foolish, what is my excuse? I can’t say “oh I was just drunk” or “I am hungover and not thinking yet.” Is this what people mean about stopping the lies?

“Sorry. I am just a sober idiot.”

I hope not to do anything too foolish. At least, not as foolish as my drunk mistakes. So far I have been making small mistakes like missing an exit because I was daydreaming or forgetting to tell someone at work some information. I call them “brain farts.” Then I wonder how many brain cells died from booze?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend that he thinks drinking gives him a libido. I know drunk me was always a hornier me. I do feel my sex drive has decreased since I stopped drinking. But that might be from 1) the St John’s wort I started taking or 2) not meeting anyone that I desire yet. At least when I do meet someone, I will not embarrass myself with drunk debauchery.  I just might act like a tongue-tied teen. “Um… yea…hi…you want to… like… get coffee?” Maybe I will pass him or her a note and have them check yes or no.

My friend told me how I used to hit on him when I got blackout drunk. He and I used to be “friends with benefits” when we first met thirteen years ago. I used to pass out at his place frequently. I am not sure if we ever had sober sex back then? But he is now married, well, separated. I am friends with the wife. I have not been interested in him the past decade. Yet after his separation last year, I tried to kiss him. I tried to pull him on top of me sitting on the couch while his roommate, the guy I was seeing, was downstairs. I do not remember any of it.

The next morning,  he thanked me. He said it was a nice ego boost after his wife left him. He suggested he get a t-shirt “You know you have a drinking problem when you get so drunk you want sex with me.”

So hopefully even if I make dumb mistakes now, I pray none will be as bad as the ones I did drunk.

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Mistake # 85 – That friend, his roommate, and I were invited to an afternoon of wine and Jacuzzi time. Bad combination.

The host was an older man. He warned us he was gonna go in the hot tub all natural. I decided to do the same. My friends declined and wore bathing shorts.

The heat made that wine go to my head very quick. I remember having conversations in the Jacuzzi. Then I am a bit blurry about accepting a massage from the host. He had a massage table in his house in the living room.

My friends said it sounded like I was really enjoying that massage. Lots of moaning. They were both in the room during it. Then I invited the guy I was seeing to come massage me. This lead to me pulling him on the table with me. The host left the room. I did not seem to care that our other friend was in the room. He said he read a book and kept his eyes averted from us.

We did not have sex. I said something that made my guy start to laugh. He couldn’t stop laughing and had to get off the table. He was drunk too so doesn’t remember it. I don’t remember being on the table with him so I definitely do not remember what I said.

I thanked my friend the next day for not taking photos or video. Missing an exit on the highway can not compare to crazy things I used to do.

Savings

I am doing my taxes finally. I am reading back on credit cards receipts to try to find moving expenses and work related costs. I came across a lot of bar tabs.

pay advance$77 at a Mexican place for two people. I remember I did not even finish my black bean tacos there but we sure did finish a pitcher of margaritas. $57 later for drinks and I don’t remember much of that bar. Glad I did not leave my credit card like I usually do. We went to another tavern in between the Mexican joint and the bar but either he paid or I paid with cash. Next day $76 for dinner at an Asian infusion restaurant and I know half of that bill was drinks. That was average for me. Sometimes I spent more. Sometimes less. But that was $200 in two days. Some of that bill was food but I doubt we tasted the flavors as much as the beer and mixed drinks.

IMAGE--Cost-of-DrinkingI told a friend the other day that I will be saving a lot of money without booze. But if I were to average my spending at $200 a week, that would be a savings of $10,400 in a year! He told me that is a lot of airplane tickets. It was not until I looked at the credit card statement from last summer that I realized how much money I wasted from drinking. There were some nights I spent $100 in New York City or Los Angeles in a bar. That might have included drunk, friendly me buying rounds of shots. There were so many incidences where I left my credit card at the bar or lost a purse or wallet. I sit here reading my credit card statements and mourn how much I spent in bars.

Since I quit drinking, I have paid off one credit card. I think, with the overtime and extra work I have been doing, I will definitely pay off another by summer. Maybe I will pay them all off and be debt free soon! It is such an exciting thought! This seems like an additional bonus to sobriety. Besides not losing phones and cameras, I am not throwing my hard earn money away! And I am saving my brain, body and dignity.

I found an alcohol spending calculator if you want to figure out how much you spent/spend on drinking.

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Mistake # 84 – I flew to make a surprise visit to my mom. I had my brother invite her over for dinner and I was going to show up. I reserved a rental car. But first, I was going to spend the night with a friend in the city.

My friend would met me after work. Or after a date. It was something that would keep him late. I went to a Brazilian restaurant and had dinner alone. I spent $45. I had a lot of caipirinhas. Then I went to our meeting point at one of my favorite bars. I used to frequent this place. It was all new staff now but I still felt like it was home. I got very drunk. I spent $55 there. I do not know what time my friend arrived. He might have joined me for a few drinks. He helped me maneuver the subway system and then a bus to his place. I woke up next day and realized my purse was missing.

He was at work. I texted him “where are my bags?” He said he put them all by the front door of his apartment. My carry-on bag was there and a shopping bag. But no purse. He said he grabbed all the bags he saw next to my stool in the bar. I said the purse would have been hanging on the back of the stool. He doesn’t remember it.

I had my wallet in there of course. And in the wallet, my driver’s license, credit cards, debit card, and all my cash. Good thing I at least had my phone. Bad thing was I could not pick up my rental car. I was not even sure how I would fly back home without identification. I was super depressed sitting in his apartment trying to figure out what to do.

I tried to call the bar. They would not open until 4pm. I thought maybe I should check the bus station or the lost and found. My friend had a large basket on his table full of change. I gathered ten dollars in quarters, nickels and dimes. I took a bus back to the station where we waited to leave the city the previous night.

As I was waiting in line at the customer service, I received a phone call from the bar. They had my purse. YEA! I was saved! I got out of line and took a subway to the bar. I took out $10 from my wallet to tip the guy. I was saved! I went back to my friend’s place, got my bags, and went to pick up my rental car. I was late for dinner but I was still able to surprise my mom.

So much wasted. Money. Time. My mind.

Nepali New Year

I love celebrating different new years from different cultures. I feel it gives me a lot of new chances to start over. While Nepal has a lot of different ethnicities and 9 different New Years, Baishakh 1st is the national New Year celebration. April 14, 2014 in the Western calendar coincides with Nepali New Year 2071. When I googled how do the Nepalese celebrate it, I found:

People make new resolutions this day. Students plan their study schedule for the year. People exchange gifts and greeting cards.

Not getting trashed and drunk which is how I usually spend my New Years.

I was lucky enough to celebrate it last year in Bhaktapur, Nepal. The celebration there starts with Bisket Jatra. I watched parades, chariot races and families picnicking. They raise a tall pole and the New Year starts when it is pulled down. I was too drunk by the time it came down. I spent the whole evening drinking.

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one of the large chariots for the tug of war

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locals on a chariot

 

 

I arrived in Nepal with plans to abstain from alcohol in hopes I would lose weight over my three-week stay. I abandon that plan in order to celebrate New Years. I decided to celebrate an Eastern holiday with Western traditions?

 

I have done a lot of travel, but Nepal was one of my favorite countries. I would love to return and hike to the Everest Base Camp. Just the base camp. I am not a mountaineer. I did a three-day trek along the Annapurna circuit to Poon Hill. It was beautiful!

one of the mountains in the Annapurna range

one of the mountains in the Annapurna range

I got very drunk the night before I went on the hike. I forgot about that until now. I met up with a friend of mine from the United States. He just happened to be traveling Nepal and we were both in Pokhara at the same time. We started drinking at lunch. Then at happy hour. I kept meaning to end the night early but the intoxication of beer kept me going. We got very drunk and he ended up in my bed.

I was embarrassed the next morning when my trekking guide was knocking on my door at 7am.  I think the guide was embarrassed when he noticed a guy in my room. I told him to give me 10 minutes. I still needed to pack! I was running around my guesthouse room, nude, and trying to pack for a three-day trek. My friend laughed as he helped. The 10 minutes was more like half an hour. We got a late start on the hike. We drove to the start of the trail. (The car he hired was mad about the wait.) I was dreading that day because it was all uphill and I was hungover.

I did not drink during the hike up because I was worried about my performance and endurance. But I ordered beers at the tea houses on the way back down to Pokhara. We arrived in a town and rested before getting the bus back to Pokhara. I ordered some snacks and a beer. I was taking photos of the scenes in the street and people. There was a little girl with curly hair that kept looking at me. I thought she was very cute. Then a little boy walked over and started to talk to me. His English was very good.

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I think he said he was 11 years old. I remember he said he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. I told him that was a very good decision. Then he told me I should not be drinking beer. He said “bad people drink beer and smoke cigarettes.” I told him I do not smoke. He said “okay, well, you should not drink beer also. Promise me you will not drink beer no more.” I laughed and told the kid “I am sorry, but I can not make that promise.” He seemed upset.

It is sad that I could not make a promise like that. Maybe I can find that kid next time I go back to Nepal.

I got drunk with my friend when I got back to Pokhara. We hung out with some people he met while I was on my trek. He left us early and I spent the rest of the night with these new people. I was supposed to leave the next morning on a 7am bus to Lumbini. I missed it. I was able to find an overnight bus leaving that evening. I did not sleep well on that bus because I spent the night pushing off roving hands from an Indian guy sitting next to me. He kept trying to put his hand between my legs or on my breasts. I had to keep moving them. I regretted not keeping my nail file with me. I would have been safer on the 7am bus.

Realizing it is Nepali New Year today brings back many great memories of my trip there but also drunk stupidity.

May you embrace the start of a new year and whatever resolutions you care to make!

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Mistake # 83- While in Bhaktapur, I met up with a local guy from a travel website. He offered to show me around. A local guide is always a plus but truthfully, I did not want to be alone for the festival. I remember being surprised that this guy’s eyes were a very light brown. I asked him if he was mixed with another race. He said a lot of people ask him that but no, he is full Nepali.

We walked around while he told me some history and stories. He also told me about his wife in Europe. They were waiting for his visa so he could join her. They met while she was traveling in Nepal and fell in love. It sounded beautiful and quick. I was a bit skeptical. I enjoyed the company regardless.

He took me to non-tourist bars. Little, tiny, places. Literally hole-in-the walls. I loved it. I drank and drank. I kept toasting to him “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

I was locked out of my guesthouse by the time I got back. I was mad because even though I knew the guesthouse had a midnight lock time, I specifically asked if they would keep it open later due to the holiday. The owner told me yes. But the security guard fell asleep.

I banged a lot on the door. On the windows. I yelled “WAKE UP!” I threw rocks at upper windows hoping other guests would go down and wake up the guard. I was a drunk, selfish asshole. The local guy I was with kept trying to get me to quiet down.

The guard finally woke up. He let us in. The local guy ended up coming to my room with me. We had crappy, semi-sex. We were both too drunk. The next morning, he helped me find a taxi I needed to get back to Kathmandu. I did not want to look him in his beautiful eyes. I felt so ashamed.

He emailed me a few months ago. He asked if I had plans to return to Nepal. I guess his visa to join his wife never came through.

Coma

I received an email that a friend of mine is in a coma. I met him while traveling in his country. Another mutual friend suggest we meet up. We got along right away. I don’t use this phrase usually, but he felt like a brother.

We have stayed in touch via Facebook. He used to be a recipient of my drunk chats since he is 12 hour time zone difference away. I would be drunk and he would be at work. We discussed traveling, relationships and diving. I was supposed to go see him last January for a diving trip but I changed my plans and went to Borneo instead. Now I might never see him again.

He had an asthma attack. That caused severe pneumonia. That led to cardiac arrest. He has been on a ventilator the last few days fighting for life.

I hope he wakes up. This has also been sort of wake up call to me.  A message to appreciate my life daily. To be very grateful my drinking never put me in a coma. Or I never killed anyone. Just one drink could take me back to my blackouts and getting behind the wheel of a car. Even if I think I could drink and just “plan” better to avoid driving, I have proven over and over that the drunk monster will screw up plans.

Sobriety brings me a new respect for my life.

I pray for my friend and his family.

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Mistake #82 – When I met my friend, it was for a festival. It was a last-minute decision for me to go there. I was staying with an acquaintance of a friend since all hotels were sold out. There was a large group of us that went out together. We watched parades during the day and danced in a club at night. I do not remember when the drinking started but I got drunk on cheap, local beers. One of the locals invited everyone back to his place for afterhours drinking. The guy I was staying with was getting tired and wanted to leave. As usual, I did not want the partying to stop. “No just stay! Stay a little bit longer. Everyone is having fun. Don’t be a party-pooper.” This guy insisted on leaving. I was too drunk to notice when he left without me.

I woke up on the end of a bed. The guy hosting the afterhours had many people crashing in his room but I was a surprise guest. “How did you end up staying here?” I blamed my host. He just left me! A lot of the people in the room were not fond of that guy so they all agreed how rude that was to ditch me. But I now admit I acted like a little, drunk brat. And thankfully I was at a safe place to pass out drunk.

Hungry Like A Wolfie

I was supposed to celebrate 80 days of sobriety by going to a New Wave party with a Duran Duran theme. I did not go. I was planning to dress as a wolf for the party. But I decided I did not want to take the chance. I did not know anyone else going besides the DJs. They would be too busy to socialize much. I did not want to be in a bar without friends with whom to hang out and dance. I would feel lonely. I would want a bottle of beer to stand with and make me feel at ease.

I had a good friend post on Facebook that he was in a nearby city. I wanted to see a play in the city. We agreed to meet up after the show.

I picked up a ticket for the show and had three hours to kill. I have proven already I could be in this city and not want a drink. I thought avoiding temptation would be easier by now. But last night, it felt different.

This time, those Happy Hour signs seemed to jump out on the sidewalk. They wanted to trip me. I was being watched by all the patrons on the patios with their wine glasses and their eyes beckoned me to join. “Just one glass”. It would be nice to have a glass and read my book. The desire was a ghost haunting me as I walked down the street. It whispered in my ears to give up this silly sobriety thing.

I think being alone caused the craving. Or because it was nice weather. Or my mind was weak. It made me sad. I wanted it exorcised. I thought I was having an easy time with not drinking. That damn, fucking Wolfie found me!

I dodged the bars. I went for a manicure/pedicure instead. Then I went for dinner at an Indonesian place. I ordered ginger tea. The two women at the table next to me kept ordering glasses of wine. Three each by the time I finished my meal. They should have got a bottle instead.

An non-alcoholic would not count how many glasses of wine strangers had.

After the play, my friend was outside waiting. We found a cafe for tea. We haven’t seen each other since October. We had a lot of catching up to do. A couple weeks ago, I told him I quit drinking. He told me he did also. He did it to be healthier. He is vegan. He high-fived me when I told it has been 80 days for me.

We compared public reactions to both veganism and alcoholism. He said how hard it is to find someone to date that supports his lifestyle. He said people seem to get offended by his eating habits. People tell him it is not healthy. I feel that is like people trying to tell me I do not have a problem. His diet and my abstaining should not affect other people. Why are people bothered by it?

I confessed how hard the afternoon was. It has seemed easy most of the past 2 1/2 months. He said it will get easier. I am not sure it will. It sucks. That Wolfie. That ghost. That desire. She will always be there. I just have to learn to handle that bitch.

I think after I am done in my current location and move, I am gonna seek professional help. I want to find a therapist. The thought of drinking again scares me the shit out of me.

Mistake # 81- I used to be a regular at the New Wave night when I lived in that city. I am sure I did many stupid things. But I remember one night in particular: I introduced myself to a cute guy. He already knew my name. He said “um, yea, we met at the last New Wave night. We made out in that corner.” I was so embarrassed. I ignored him the rest of the night and avoided him any other time I saw him. I do not want that embarrassment or fear anymore!

Just Leave

I have new housemates. I found out when I heard the person moving in. Their voices woke me up. (I work night shift so I sleep all day.) I went to the kitchen to fill my electric tea kettle and I met two people moving in bags. They were helping whoever this new housemate will be. I still have not met the housemate.

I am pissed. My landlord told me the other day she will let me know when the name of whoever moves in. But she did not warn me. She did not tell me she was even showing the house! Whoever this person is better be quiet during the day Saturday so I can sleep. I agreed to work overtime that night.

So I am reacting as I usually do: I am leaving. I had some argumentative text messages back in forth with my landlord telling her how unprofessional and rude this is to the tenants. I even threatened her that it is not legal to bring people into the home without telling the current tenants. She responded that I am only renting a room in her home with priviledges of the common area so she can show people the house whenever she wants. I still feel I have the legal right on my side. But there is no lease. Just a verbal agreement. And I do not feel like fighing. Since I am paid up until the end of May, I will stay until then. My job contract, as of now, ends June 28. So I need to find a place to live for the last month in this area. I think I will like to live closer to the city.

I have been watching  House of Cards a lot lately. I am loving this show. I just started season 2. I realize that “just leave” seems to be my answer to a lot of life problems. I want to tell some of the characters on the show to just move away. Start over. It has worked for me the past 10 years. I move every couple of months to new cities and towns. I work temporary contracts where I can find them. I love the flexiblity of it and the chance to experience so many parts of this country. I travel to other countries inbetween jobs. It also gives me a chance to reinvent myself.

I have friends all over the world. Most of those people know me as “party girl.” That was how we met. I feel they will be the hardest to convince I need to stop drinking. The only image they know of me is with a bottle or glass in my hand. They associate me with travel and intoxication. But my close friends, the ones I knew before I was nomadic or I got to know outside of the bar illusions, are the ones that I feel will be most supportive. If anyone does not support my sobriety, I will just leave that relationship behind.

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Mistake # 80- I had one night in Tokyo. I had a friend that lived there that was going to show me what she could in one night. She made plans for us to have sushi and saki with her girlfriend and friend. After plenty of saki, we decided to do karaoke.

It was a fun night until her girlfriend started to get quarrelsome. When my friend and I met, she was on vacation to the US. I was her holiday fling. We stayed in touch but this new girlfriend was jealous. When she began to get mean, my friend decided to take her home. I still wanted to party. But I did not want to spend the night listening to the insults so I agreed to go back to my hotel.

As they were walking me to the subway stop, we ran into their male friend and his boyfriend. Those two were celebrating their anniversary. She introduced me and said it was a shame I had to end my Tokyo night so early. The guys invited me to join their celebration.

I spent the rest of the night in gay bars with the two guys. I kept drinking Asahi and any other Japanese beer I could try. We sang karaoke at a few places. The one guy was Japanese and spoke no English. The other was Australian and was the translator for me and the boyfriend all night.

I woke up on their couch. The Aussie guy woke me up so I could get a taxi back to my hotel. I had to grab my bag and get to the airport. I still felt drunk as he walked me to the taxi stand. He told me the night before, I kept opening the taxi door to take photos of the flowers. It was upsetting the taxi driver. He laughed and warned me not to upset this taxi driver. “Taking photos of flowers? Did I use the flash?” No need. It was daytime by the time we left the bars. I guess Tokyo has no closing time? One of the photos from my camera:

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I had enough time to grab my bag, check out, and take the taxi to the train. Wasted $180 on a room in which I spent 10 minutes. The train to the airport served beer. The beer was cheaper than coffee. So I drank beers. I drank at the aiport. I wanted to be drunk for that long flight home. ImageI am still in touch with the Aussie guy. He is always asking for a drunk Skype date. Of course, that would mean one of us was drunk in the daytime. That was usual for me before I decided to go sober. He always tells me my couch is available whenever I come back to Toyko. Would he still be offering it if I tell him I quit drinking?

 

Not Normal

Sometimes, I hate not being normal. Or more that I wish people stop believing in “normal”.

I hate not believing in TGIF cause I never worked a Monday to Friday job. Weekends are just another day of the week to me. I hate that more things aren’t open 24 hours because that would work well with my night shift job. I hate that my gym closes early on Saturdays and Sundays. I guess no one wants to work out when they can spend their weekend in a bar.

I think I have always tried to be different because it was easier than trying to be normal. So being the rebel who abstains from drinking should come naturally for me.

Yesterday, I was woken up early by voices in the house. I am renting a room and until now, there is only one other housemate. The landlord was going to show the house for prospective renters for the empty room. I was annoyed she did not call or text me a warning. I walked into the kitchen and grumbled “good morning” at 4 pm.

She laughed “oh still sleeping?”

I told her yes because I worked last night and work tonight. I then told her I would appreciate it if she told me when she was bringing people to look at the house. I might be in the shower or sleeping. She told me she will let me know the name of whoever rents. I hope she warns any new tenants that I sleep during the day. I would appreciate the house to stay quiet like it has the past two months. I do not have a normal schedule. I will move elsewhere to accommodate my abnormality.

I watched When a Man Loves a Woman. I can not believe I never saw the whole thing. I remember seeing the beginning with my mom. Maybe I got bored with it? Maybe she changed the channel?

I cried a little. I related a lot to Meg Ryan’s character. Her drunk and fun side. Her drunk and sad side. Fighting with those who loved her. Forgetting promises. Letting people down. Promising to drink less and then getting drunk. I remember waiting until night to take all my beer and wine bottles to the recycling. I would borrow a cart from the doorman to cart boxes of my bottles to the bin. She would wrap hers up in newspaper.

I also thought I am glad I never had kids. I have friends that said having babies made them cut back on drinking and partying. I would not have stopped. My journal entry April 19, 2007- “I think I am so bad that even being pregnant wouldn’t stop me from drinking.” I would have ruined more lives. I have many reasons why I choose not to have children. But gonna add this to the list.

I always felt not normal for not wanting kids. But maybe normal is overrated.
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Mistake # 79- I was drunk at home on a Thursday night. I was scanning an online dating website. I started chatting with a Kiwi guy. I invited him over. He lived an hour away but he drove to my place.

He was very cute. I thought he looked like Jason Statham. We drank. We had sex. The next morning, he called out sick to work. I had the day off.

I made mimosas when we woke up the next day. We decided to go out for more when they ran out. I was living downtown and walking distance to many bars. We walked to an Irish pub. We were disappointed they did not have a breakfast or brunch menu. I forget what I ordered but I remember he insisted on eggs. I remember he paid extra to have something not on the menu.

He also ordered us shots that he said were from New Zealand. I think they were called “Wolf Pussies”? They were creamy and good. I think butterschnapps and Jaeger was in them? Since they were something he had to specially order, they cost a lot too. And we had 4 or 5 each. Plus a lot of mimosas. The bill for everything came to $150.

We went back to my place. More drinking. More sex. We started to call the day “Downtown Drunk Day.” We joked that we should do this every year.

We “dated” for a few weeks. But our dates involved him coming to my place, getting drunk together, and having lots of sex.

The one day, he couldn’t come over because he was going to a movie with a friend. That friend turned out to be another woman from the dating site I met him on. He said he wanted to try something serious with her. I was too much of a party girl. He wanted someone that wanted to settle down.

I told myself I was too much fun for him. But it seems, I was not normal enough for him.