I don’t think the cravings for alcohol will ever go away. I just need to learn to cope, deal, and live with them. And not drink.
I went to my second SMART recovery meeting. I was late because I had the start time wrong in my head. I was 20 minutes late but the meeting lasts hour and half. I enjoyed it. I walked in on a discussion of a TED talk about addiction. (That reminds me, I need to watch that video.) I have not been to a SMART meeting since November. I have not been to an AA meeting since before that. When the group leader asked us to talk about our past week, a few added how they have been since their last meeting. So I started with talk of my past week and then added how I have been (related to my drinking problem) since November.
After my post of being sober at the party, I got drunk on the dinner cruise. I am not sure why I even did it. It was a masquerade party on a large yacht with many levels and rooms. There were three different DJs in different areas of the boat. Lots of bars throughout the vessel. I spotted a few of acquaintances on the bow taking pictures of the sunset. I posed with them for some photos and they all said I looked glamorous and beautiful. Maybe it was the compliments, or maybe it was the glamorous surroundings. Maybe the masks and the costumes and being surrounded by water made me feel it was another world. And it was a world where champagne flowed.
Without hesitation, I asked for a glass of champagne at one of the bars. I paid with cash because I swore I would just nurse this one glass and it would be my last. Then after a few sips, I thought maybe I would space it out and have one an hour. Of course that did not happen. I do remember at one point getting another glass and a handsome man named Mike started to talk to me. He asked my name and reached out to shake my hand. I remember thinking “I am too sober to handle talking to this gorgeous man.” I ordered a 2nd glass, pretending it was for my friend, and excused myself to find her. I drank both glasses.
I ran into a lot of people I knew at this party. Later I found out I even missed some people I knew, either due to the masks or being drunk. I even called one girl by the wrong name and when she corrected me, I realized I wrote about her in my blog. She was the woman that experienced my small meltdown after Burning Man 2014. I am not sure if I ever explained to her in my apology emails that I was struggling with sobriety. After she saw me drunk at this party, I felt like a fraud.
I did have fun for the most part. Except I spent $300 on drinking. That included the “oh let me buy you a drink” expression to my friends. I ran out of cash and started to use my credit card. Then when I couldn’t find my credit card the next day, I canceled it. I found it 3 days later in my wallet hidden behind my driver’s license. I slept in my car where I parked it a few streets away. I woke up with no coat and no shoes. I even went back a few days later to see if I left them on the street somewhere between the boat and my car, but by that time a homeless person would have snatched them up. I convinced myself that they are being more useful to a homeless person now rather than just a drunk mistake.
Again, one of the things I like about SMART meetings versus AA meetings was the way I got to discuss this setback. The leader asked me how it made me feel and told me to compare it to a recent night out where I did not drink.
I can not go to many of the SMART meetings because of my work schedule. But I will read the book I bought there and put the lessons to use to stay sober. I also started a book Sober for Good by Anne M Fletcher. It is full of advice from people who quit drinking with different ways. It even mentions people that stayed sober just from reading books about sobriety. I think the books I read in the beginning were a big help for me. Now I need to immerse myself in the dry books again to stay in the saddle.
I am not sure how much time I will have for reading my sober books nor reading novels for fun. On Monday, I start my first classroom class since 2002. I took a few online classes the past two years to get me prepared (and unfortunately none of those credits transferred.) But having to go on campus twice a week is going to take up a lot of my time. Plus, it is a college writing class that will require a lot of reading and writing papers. I also signed up to start an online art history class in March, but I will have time to adjust my life schedule to this writing class first. I am trying to work extra shifts when I can to help pay for the school. I am gonna be busy starting Monday. Too busy for drinks and hangovers.
I keep looking back on that boat party and regret the alcohol and money spent. But I also keep looking forward to being on track with school and my life. Wallowing in bitterness won’t help me succeed.