ATTENTION… animals and drunk drivers

I am on a small trip right now up north. And as I drive, I keep seeing “moose crossing” signs. And not just crossing but signs with big letters “ATTENTION” written in red at top. Then it would say for “next 7” or 10 miles. As soon as I see the signs, I expect a moose to be right behind it. Sort of waving to me. Like the moose from Wally World in National Lampoons Vacation. I slow down and get scared one will jump out. I deathgrip the steering wheel ready to quick turn in case one appears. I have my foot ready to jerk the brake. I keep scanning both sides of the roads while still staring straight ahead to keep my car straight as possible.

It reminded me of drunk driving.

Every shadow or boulder I saw on the sides I thought was a moose. As if it was a cop waiting to catch me. I was scared of swerving and scared one wrong move would be fatal. I wouldn’t even change the radio stations from fear of my eye being off the road one second. Those ATTENTION  signs might as well said “SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT”.

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I also saw a sign about how strict this state is with drunk drivers. How could anyone even think of driving drunk with moose jumping out all the time! Do they train the moose to jump out in front of drunk drivers more? Maybe have the bars offer customers moose rides home if they are too intoxicated to drive.

Wow I really am thinking of mooses like the one from Wally World.
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I arrived at my hotel late. The kitchen was closing. The receptionist gave me directions to downtown and said I can find a place for a late dinner there. I parked downtown and searched Yelp for reviews. Every place that I walked to was closing their kitchen as I arrived. I was welcomed to come in for a drink. Most of the late night places were crowded, loud bars. I finally food the only late night restaurant/bar with a patio. A patio meant I wasn’t trapped inside with the beer stench.

I am going back to the hotel right after I eat to get to bed early. I have a waterfront view. I hope to get up for sunrise. One of the benefits of not worrying about hangovers in the morning.

Mistake 153- I met a guy briefly in my city that was traveling the US. He was from Europe. A week later, he invited me to fly up to meet him in another city and he would drive me home in his rental car. It would be a quick roadtrip and I would get to visit places I have never seen. We would stop in one tourist town for a night and since I bought the flight, he would pay for a hotel room for us to share. I thought it sounded fun.

As soon as I arrived, I could sense he liked me. But I was not attracted to him. We did not have much in common. He was a baker and for some reason that made me think of the Pillsbury Doughboy when I looked at him. I was nice to him but I was not good with being firm. I might have gave him mixed signals. I also think that due to my low self-esteem, I savored any guy finding me attractive. So maybe I flirted a little.

We had a good day in the town. We went out for dinner on the waterfront. We had a bottle of wine with dinner. Then we went to a bar to play pool. We drank a lot and I kept ordering shots. Red-headed sluts.  It was one of my favorite shots even though I did not like Jaeger.  I knew he was flirting and coming on to me. I don’t know why I wasn’t honest or why I lead him on. I should have not drank that much but I kept the shots coming.

We got drunk and had sex. I do not remember anything about the sex. I just remember waking up the next day loathing myself. It was like I knew a car wreck was going to happen and I did nothing to stop it. He was in a very chipper mood. I felt disgusting. And I took out my revulsion on him. I was quite a bitch to him to whole 5 hour drive back to my city.

That was not the last time I saw him nor the last mistake involving him. But it was the only time we ever had sex.

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Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice everyone! Or I guess it is over in most of the world by now. I enjoyed it at a backyard party. They had Mexican theme. I met a lot of people and caught up with two old friends. And once again, I stayed sober.

They had a lot of specialty drinks. Bloody Marys made with tequila so they called them Bloody Marias instead. Mimosas with orange juice or lemonade.  Lots and lots of beer. This bin was full and this is what is left:

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If I was drinking, it would be empty. I am spending the night at the house. So I would have used that as an excuse to drink more. But I am not sure what “more” would have been compared to my normal drinking. A 6 pack a night? I brought 3 large jugs of ice tea. I mixed some with lemonade.

I don’t think anyone got trashed. Is this what parties normally looked like but I never noticed because I was usually too drunk? There was only one girl that seemed tipsy and she is also spending the night. Maybe everyone did not drink much because they were driving and were being responsible. That was a foreign custom to me.

I met people without liquid lubrication. I joked around with people. I enjoyed conversations. While there were a few moments of uncomfortable silence, it seemed to be a mutual feeling. It was much better than making an intoxicated fool of myself.

There was no real moment where I desired alcohol. My only problem was being conscious if I started to mention my sobriety too much.  I didn’t want to be a buzzkill. If I started to bitch about how drinking was such a problem for me,  I would try to change the subject. This was a party.  Not rehab. Not AA. My two friends don’t mind talking with me about it but this was not the environment for that. 

My first summer party sober. Yea!

Mistake 152- My last trip to Goa, I sat on the beach all day drinking alone. I got drunk. In the late afternoon, I started to walk back to my guesthouse. I got lost.  I tried to ask for directions. People in India tend to give answers even if they do not know the correct explanation. I heard they think it is rude to not know so they make up responses. So this guy gave me the wrong directions.

It was hot. Over 90 F degrees. I was drunk and lost. I was getting irritated.  I texted a local friend to ask for help. He responded that he did not know what I expected him to do. He did not know where I was. I tried to describe where I was and wanted him to come pick me up. It was not as if I sent him my GPS coordinates. He told me I was being ridiculous.

I started to text him very rude responses. Called him “useless”. I then started to accuse him of trying to use me.  I was very mean in every text. He finally told me to grow up.  Then the messages turned depressing. I started to say he doesn’t know what it is like to fantasize about dying. He called me a drama queen. I told him no,  I was a “suicidal alcoholic”. I told him I never wanted to talk to him again.

I don’t remember all the texts messages but I know that they went along those lines. As I was walking and texting on a road in India, I was crying.  A taxi motorbike stopped and I got a ride back to my guesthouse.  (Thankfully it wasn’t some stranger on a bike taking advantage of drunk foreigner.) I deleted all my friend’s messages that night. He last text me the next day saying he hopes I get some help. I responded “fuck off.” I deleted all emails and contact I had with him. 

I don’t know why I reacted like that.  Was I crying for help?  This was a little over a year ago.  Was I realizing my drinking was destroying me? Was I just being a drunk drama queen? Was I scared of being lost in Goa and lost in life?

Summer solstice is a time of rebirth. I feel I am leaving so much confusion and destitution behind in my past. I am being reborn into a sober me.

Excuses, Excuses

I was at a friend’s house yesterday and noticed a newspaper article hanging on the refrigerator. I never noticed it before and I stopped because the photo looked familiar. It was my friend’s roommate. And the article was about her car getting stuck on train tracks and she getting a DUI. A lovely story to put on the fridge!

Her car got stuck on train tracks because she turned on them by mistake thinking they were the road. A cop noticed her standing outside of the car. She appeared drunk. The cop said she was falling over. A train was coming and he was able to get her away. The train hit her car. It totaled her car. She refused the breathalyzer.

I asked my friend about it. He said she wasn’t that drunk. She only had a few drinks and she can handle her alcohol. She was falling cause she was wearing heels. The newspaper made it seem worse than it was. That road it really dark so it is understandable why she turned on the tracks by mistake.

I couldn’t help but think he was just making up excuses. She probably told him these same excuses. When I first met her, she was falling over drunk. And she was barefoot that night.

What if she did not get out of the car? Why did she get out of the car? Thank god no one else was in the car. Thank god no one on the train got hurt. There are so many variables that could have made this a different situation. But excuses seem to push all the other possibilities out-of-the-way. She went to court and received a restricted driver’s license for a few months.

In my fear that blogging about this might “out” more information about me by connecting her story to me, I tried to google it. I could not find her story nor her photo. But sadly, I found that this happens a lot. I found a lot of stories of people getting their car stuck on train tracks while drunk. I found one woman parked her car on the tracks because she knew she was too drunk to drive on a Navy base. I found other stories about trains hitting cars. One girl was so drunk she didn’t even think to leave her car until two guys made her get out.

I think back to all the excuses I used to make. But there is no excuse for all the lives lost from drunk drivers.

Mistake 151- I was in Goa, India. I rented a scooter bike for the week. I went to a party in another part of the state about 45 minutes from where I was staying. I met a couple that got a ride there. We partied all day and night on the beach. I remember I stopped drinking about an hour before leaving the party. But that was still not enough time to sober up. I offered a ride to the girl. Her boyfriend got a ride back with one of my friends. I remember I got lost a little. I concentrated so hard on keeping the bike straight on the road.

We finally got back to the meeting point where my friend and her boyfriend were waiting. Her boyfriend was so happy. Later on, my friend told me the boyfriend was so worried. He kept saying he shouldn’t have let me drive her. If we were in an accident, he would have felt so responsible. He knew I was drinking a lot at the party. I not only put my life at risk, but her life also. And that would affected him too. It would have been a horrible chain reaction. Not to mention if I caused an accident that involved another vehicle and more people.

Alcoholics only think of themselves and live in excuses.

150 days= 5 months sober

It does seem easier. But there are still times I wish I could drink. I wish I was capable of moderating.I wish I was “normal”.

Then again, I do feel happier. When I think of how long I battled depression, it almost feels the alcohol was the main source of it. It was keeping me numb and I suffered so many regrets due to my drinking. I have not found all the answers to life with my short 5 months of sobriety, but I am finding self-love.

Two years ago, I traveled a lot around Asia. I rememeber I told a friend I wanted to get a tattoo that said “love” or “love myself” or something similar. I wanted to get it in Sanskrit or Thai or another languages from a country I enjoyed. My friend asked me why I wanted a tattoo like that. I replied “as a reminder to love myself. ” She told me I shouldn’t need a tattoo for that.

She was right. I never got the tattoo because I couldn’t figure out a correct translation. It did get an “om”, which is a Hindu symbol, but I got it as a reminder to balance out my life. I did not realize how alcohol was keeping my life so lopsided. It made so much else heavy with guilt and pain. I wasted so much time recovering. I kept putting off returning to school. I spent so much money on my habit. Now I am learning to balance work, school, finances, travel, and personal life all while staying sober. I am honestly feeling such an improvement in all areas of my life.

5 months does not seem all the exciting but it does seem surreal. I never imagine I would not drink alcohol for this long. Again, no huge treats planned. I got a lot of work to do for my class. It feels great knowing I have a sober brain to do all of it.
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Mistake 150- It does not seem like a huge mistake, but it was something I regretted and time I will never get back.

My friend and I were traveling in Goa. We were staying with a friend. He and I stayed up late making sangria from two bottles of very cheap Indian wine. We both had the worst headaches when we tried to get up the next day. Our friend who lived there kept putting pitchers of water in between our beds all day. We slept all day. We would wake up just to take ibuprofen, drink water, and maybe go to the bathroom. We wasted a whole day that could have been spent at the gorgeous beaches or visiting a fort of a tourist site. We were too hungover.
I still partied a lot the rest of our stay. My friend did not. I think that was when our travel friendship started to break down and ended a few weeks later.

Manual Shift Driving

Mistake 149- A bunch of my friends made plans to go away to a city 5 hours away. A bunch of them were taking a bus. I decided to drive there by myself. Since I had my car, two of my friends asked me if they could get a ride back with me. There was a concert on Sunday afternoon for which they had tickets. I said sure. No problem. We were all going to a house party on Saturday night. I was staying over at the house for the night. I told them to just meet me there Sunday morning.

That party consisted of a lot of drinking. A lot of shots. The kitchen counter tops were covered in bottles, glasses, and sticky stuff. It was a good party. I have no idea what time it was when I finally passed out on the couch.

The next day, my two friends showed up to head back home. I kept requesting for more sleep. But they had to be back for that show. They offered to drive my car. So I  got up and grabbed my stuff with hopes to sleep in the backseat. Yet, neither of them knew how to drive manual shift. I was worried they would kill my transmission trying to drive it so I got behind the wheel. I drove them the long, 5 hours back. I drank a lot of Diet Coke along the way. I really think I was still drunk until about an hour into the drive. I don’t think it was just a hangover and don’t think I legally should have been driving.

Interestingly, I first learned to drive manual shift because I was out with a guy that was too drunk to drive once. I couldn’t figure out his stick shift car. I swore I would learn manual shift in case I was ever in that situation again. Instead of saving me from being the passenger with a drunk driver, it caused me to be the drunk driver more than I wanted.

Charisma

I realize that not all of my mistakes are due to my drinking problem. Sometimes it was my low self-esteem.  Sometimes it was the charisma of another person. Sometimes it was a mix.

My friend the other day mentioned a guy as one of my drunk mistakes. I thought for a minute. I am not sure I would put him as a mistake. I said I always thought he was charming. She always thought he was creepy.  I do not know what it was I liked about him. Maybe it was because I was always drunk around him. She asked if I would have had sex with him if I was sober. I said maybe.

Then I thought of how he could be creepy at times. He would put his hand on my back in a bar and start rubbing it while I am talking to someone. He would catch my eye across the room and wink, even though he probably did that to 5 other girls the same night. Maybe he was fishing for a wink back and figure out who his catch of the night would be.

He tried to get with me one night when I was drunk but not single. He even knew my boyfriend. I was trashed and fading in and out of blacking out when I realized I was making out with him on his couch. I stopped and told him  “I can’t do this!”He was fine with it. We still slept in the same bed but did not have sex. I was woken up early when my boyfriend was Skype calling my phone. “Where are you?” Oh… I passed out on a friend’s couch.

He has an apartment with a great location. It has great views. Great party atmosphere. He is smart. Makes good money. Was semi-good looking. I have another friend who, without knowing I had sex with the guy, asked “how does he get so many girls? What is his secret?” I do not know. All I can think is it must be his charisma. I was drunk the few times we had and almost had sex. But I knew I was interested in him even before having the first drink of the night.

And that is when the low self-esteem comes in the mix. I knew he was a player. I knew he slept with probably half of my friends in the city. (Except the ones that thought he was creepy.)  I did not think I deserved better. It made me feel better that I was one of his many chosen. It is like I did not want to be left out on the cheering sex squad. And many years later, I can not even decide if sex with him was a mistake.

Maybe it was a mistake. But it was not a drunk mistake. And there were many other drunks occasions at his parties, some  involving other guys, but not always mistakes.

I am invited to a party at Mr Charisma’s place this weekend. I have been debating it. I think I could handle being around the alcohol. But I do not think I want to try to handle being around him.
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Mistake 148- I think it was the same weekend I first had sex with Mr Charisma. He tends to act like nothing happened the next day when we are around friends. We were at a bar crawl. And I met a gorgeous Scandinavian man there. This guy paid me a lot of attention. He was not hiding his attraction towards me. But I got trashed! (That is the point of bar crawls, right?)

Somehow after the party, me and Mr Scandinavian ended up back on Mr Charisma’s couch. Maybe there was an after party on the patio? I remember making out with the gorgeous guy on the couch, clothes starting to come off, and Mr Charisma walked through the living room. He just looked at me and shook his head. I doubt he was jealous. But it made me feel like a cheap slut. Mr Scandinavian and I stopped what we were doing out of embarrassment and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

One drink for you… 3 drinks for me…

I went out for dinner last night with a friend. I have known DG for 7 years. When I first met her, it was right after I gave up my post-DUI sobriety. It was about two weeks after a pool party where I got trashed. I was still thinking I was able to moderate.The first weekend I met her, I got trashed two nights in a row. I don’t know why I was lying to myself that I did not have a problem.

When I got into the City, I felt very good. I thought “wow I have come a long way in sobriety. I no longer feel temptations to drink here.” The Happy Hour signs on the sidewalks were not trying to trip me anymore. The cheerful people on the patios drinking did tantalize me with their drunk laughter. I felt strong.

When DG arrived, we got a nice table outside. We had a great view for people watching. We chatted and caught up. Service was very slow at this place but we finally got our drink orders placed.

When her Cabernet arrived, I felt a little weak. I could smell her wine as much as I could smell my own breath. It smelled so lovely. It must have been a good bottle. I really wanted a sip. And I found this desire sad. I was just feeling satisfied at not wanting alcohol. One whiff later and I was craving the poison. Maybe I need to start drawing my Sobriety chips on my hands when I go out to remind myself not to reach out for it.

I am not sure what she would have said if I asked for sip. She knows I quit drinking but she did not know the whole story until tonight. And she did not say much about the story yet seemed to understand. Or at least understood I drank way more than normal people. She might not understand why I need to abstain but she does not have an issue if I do not drink.

She was never a big drinker. I would seriously have about 5 glasses per her one when we would party. We have meet up about once or twice a year since I moved away and that usually involves meeting for dinner. I usually would have 2 or 3 cocktails for her one. She took a long time to finish that Cabernet. What a weird and normal drinker she is!

I made one comment that I made too many mistakes when drunk. She started to list some of my mistakes. *sigh* I wonder if I have any friends that DO NOT have drunk stories I do not remember.

Mistake 147- The first time I met DG, it was at a picnic. Nothing bad happen the first day. We were in a public park and alcohol was illegal. No one was drinking until later in the evening. I had a good time and met people. DG and I connected and got along well. I did not get trashed. But the next night, I did.

We went to a late afternoon BBQ. I started drinking then. Then we went to a party to watch the Tonys and kept drinking. Then we went dancing. The last thing I remember is the dance club. Then I woke up in DG’s living room the next morning. She let me come stay at her place because I was too drunk to get home. She said on the walk to her place, I kept yelling I needed sex. She said I was quite funny. “I HAVEN’T HAD SEX IN A LONG TIME! I NEED SEX!!!” She had a guy staying with her, who I apparently almost molested.  She really thought the guy was scared. He was foreign. He had a girlfriend back home. She said I tried to kiss him several times and he pulled away.

I guess I am lucky she has a sense of humor and put up with my crazy, drunk behavior. I am glad she likes me for whatever reason we connected that first day and not for my drunk antics.