PHALT

I am adding a P to the recovery acronym H.A.L.T.

And it stands for Prozac.

I forgot to take my Prozac pill this morning. I am not sure if that is part of my problem this afternoon or not. Ever since I got my prescription increased, I have been more senstive to the side effects. I was nauseous the first few days and my appetite decreased.

Today, I am feeling the rest of HALT: hungry, angry, lonely and tired. I rushed out to a doctors appointment after not much sleep only to forget my wallet. I ran home to get it, returned to the doctor, and then find out they do not take my insurance.  (Thanks a lot Zocdoc for messing that up!) I called another doctor and can’t be seen for a month. It is for my eyes, so not an emergency, but still frustrating.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream! I wanted to grab a beer.

Instead, I grabbed a bagel and coffee. I am gonna go home and take my Prozac. Then I am gonna go see some friends to combat the loneliness. And tonight I am going to bed early!

The bagel is already working. Take that PHALT!

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Travel Drunk

I really struggled this past week. I really wanted to drink. And I was close to doing so. I really thought about going to the store and buying a 6-pack of IPA. Or maybe just one big bottle. I only wanted one.

Then I decided if I was going to break sobriety, I would want to do it with more flash. I did not want to do it sitting home alone. I did not want to do it in a bar with strangers. I also would not want my friends to know. So I thought I would do it on my next vacation. I am going away in 2 weeks to a place that is known for their vodka. And even though I wasn’t a vodka girl, I would treat myself to a shot of their best vodka. Maybe a beer to chase it. Maybe I would become a travel drunk. Only allow myself to drink in other countries. I could go back to my sober life once I return to the states. I actually started to fantasize about having that first glass and sort of feeling free. No more struggle to fight the disease. Just let it win.

Fortunately, part of the lesson in my nutrition class last week was about alcohol. The chapter was about energy metabolism but also talked about the influence alcohol has on the body. The damage it does to the liver. The effect it has on the brain. It listed the short term problems and the long term problems. It has a table with the signs of alcoholism. I read them and was reminded why I can not have even one drink. Tolerance. Impaired control of amount of drinks. Time spent drinking or recovering. Withdrawal. I remember my body actually shaking sometimes the next day but I never credited it with alcohol withdrawal. It is not so much about abstaining to impress people with my number of months just to get a 2 year coin one day. I am not a moderate drinker and I never will be so therefore I should not drink any alcohol. At all.

I was lonely and depressed last week. I avoided Facebook for a couple of days because it seemed every time I logged on, someone else had a positive relationship status change. Everyone is having kids and settling down and they have nothing else to talk about. Real world issues don’t exist to them because their families have become their real world. And in my real world, I am still struggling. No one checks in on me like they do when wanting monthly updates of pregnant friends. I need to find a group of sober women, who are child-free by choice, and like to travel.

I went to the doctor and got a prescription for Prozac again. He also had me set up an appointment with a therapist in his office but she is only there one day a week. I can not see her until June. Not sure if she works with alcoholics much, but at least I am getting a start. Maybe she can recommend someone.

And on a positive note, the city I am going to in two weeks is very expensive. I do not really want to waste my money on vodka and beer.

Awkward

Yesterday, I got a nasty letter from a family member. I am not going to go info the details, but it got me very upset. I sat in my car crying for awhile. Then I thought a spinning class would help exercise out my feelings. But no classes starting nearby soon. I then thought yoga would help. Again, no classes available.  Instead I decided to go to an AA meeting.

I have been to this meeting previously. It is near my work and has meetings that end right before I go to work. It was an okay meeting and I even shared. It was a large group. I started to consider making it my home group. I left it feeling better.

Then an hour later, I got an email on a dating website.  It was a guy that I exchanged a few emails with a few months ago and then he deleted his account. It was a simple, friendly email asking how I was doing. I told him I have been busy with work, school and traveling.

Then this morning, he replies that he think he saw me at the AA meeting. He said he recognized me from the website. He restarted his account just to message me. Next time I see him at a meeting, I should say hi.

I thought AA meant Alcoholics ANONYMOUS!  His message made me feel so awkward.  What if somone else recognizes me? What if it is a crazy guy from a dating site that starts to stalk me? What if somone from work sees me leaving there? They know I am not Christian so it would seem odd that I am hanging out in a church right before work.

I regretted sharing. I am not going to those meetings anymore. Not sure if I want to go to any in this area now. It would seem like this should be a happy moment like “oh you finally met a guy” but he did not seem interested in seeing me again besides bumping into each other at a meeting. Why did he have to message me? He could have said something at the meeting or waited until we did bumped into each other. I want to delete my dating site account. I don’t want to take that chance anymore.

And I feel depression is hitting me again. I am avoiding Facebook now cause one more engagement or pregnancy announcement might push me over to edge. I am starting to be tired of being alone.

Unwanted Sympathy

I find it annoying when a non-alcoholic tries to tell me they know how I feel. “I have done some stupid things while drunk also.” Oh really? Stupid things? Have you woke up in the hospital? Unable to remember how you got there? Woke up behind the wheel with your car in a ditch? In jail? Your few bad decisions are nothing compared to my 20 years of blackouts and depression. Of drinking myself to death because I thought that would bring me happiness. My DUIs will follow me the rest of my life while your one night stands won’t.  (Unless it resulted in a child or STD.)

It is not fair for me to judge a person who is only trying to reach out with consoling words. But it fucking irritates me. It is like a person who had the flu comparing their suffering to someone with cancer. I did not only stop drinking. I am struggling with avoiding it in this alcoholphile society. I am struggling with my defects that caused it to be such a problem. I am struggling while you try to patch it with a bandaid of words.

I feel like hibernating. I want to go sleep in a cave where alcohol does not exist. And where there are no people who will toss wishy-washy words of wisdom my way.

Think It Through

I think without counting days, months and looking forward to a coin, my thoughts of drinking again has been increasing. It was only as I started to write this blog that I realized today is one year and 2 months. No chip for 14 months sobriety?

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But I sit here watching a beautiful sunrise and realize I am, once again, thankful for my sobriety. I am on a short diving trip to a Caribbean island. It has been so nice here. I experienced a few amazing dives. Yet, I want rum so bad. I want to party like the rest of the divers. I want to “belong”.

Everywhere I go on this island, they advertise rum drinks. Rum happy hour. A free rum cocktail with dinner. Or free tshirt if you do 10 shots of something. And then there is the local beer.

After my dives, everyone on the small boat talked about getting drunk next. “TIME TO PARRRRTTTY!” The fact that my dive guide on my second morning was hungover was a bit disturbing. And then he ran out of air early and shortened everyone else’s dive. It seemed everyone that worked here or was staying here for a few weeks or months did nothing else but dive and drink.

There was a huge beach party going on last night. Everyone on the boats were going. It was free for ladies before 11pm. My dive shop was organizing a pre-party at the shop that included one free rum drink.  Then they would go to the party in a large group. I was worried about temptation. 

A lot of the females I met were encouraging me to join. But I really wanted to go because of one cute guy I met while diving. He smiled at me a lot and swam close to me on all the dives. He sat next to me at times, asked about my tattoos, and chatted with me about our previous dives. Does he have a crush on me? Would I be able to attend this party and flirt with him sober? If he offered me a drink, would I be able to turn it down? Or would one rum and Coke be okay and loosen me up enough for flirting? Just one and then I will stop.

Asking myself these questions almost made me cry. I kept reminding myself of stories from my past. I remembered sitting on a sailboat on a dive trip, away from the rest of the group, listening to Ani DiFranco on my iPod, and crying because I was ugly. I think I was upset because of a guy I liked or jealous because another girl was getting more attention. But it was one of those times that overthinking while I was drunk led to depression. Someone heard me crying and checked on me. I lied and said I was fine. I was actually thinking of jumping off the boat. I don’t remember why I did not or how I got to my bunk. I was hungover diving the next morning.

There were other stories that came to mind. There were times I missed a flight, bus or ferry due to a hangover. I had a ferry the next day at 7am. Could I go to this party, get some sleep and still make it to my ferry?

I was tired from four dives that day. I decided I would take a nap at my hotel and worry about my decision when I woke up. I was upset that other people do not have this inner debate about enjoying on alcohol.

Instead, I just kept sleeping. When my alarm went off after a two hour nap, I thought it through. I decided I did not want to risk temptation. I did not want to risk missing my ferry. I wanted a good night’s rest before diving today. And I did not want to risk disappointment in case cute, diver guy was not interested in me.

I need to find a group of sober divers.

Nutrition

I have been taking a nutrition class the past few weeks. I have been enjoying it and learning a lot. It really makes me think before I eat something now. I have started counting calories to try to drop a few pounds before the summer.

It has been irritating some coworkers who are criticizing my healthy habits I have developed. One coworker asked me how I have lost weight this past year. I told her “first I cut out alcohol, then soda, then added sugars.” Her response: “I could never cut out alcohol! I don’t care if that makes me sound like an alcoholic!”

I thought “yea. It does.”

There is a lot of mention in almost every chapter about alcohol. Each time I learn something negative about it, it reaffirms my sobriety. It might say alcohol is okay in moderation but that means 1 drink a day for women. One drink! I don’t know anyone who has one drink! Everyone I know who says “oh but wine is good for you” usually don’t realize that means a glass and not the whole bottle.

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When discussing energy and calories in nutrition, it says:

When consumed in excess of energy needs, alcohol, too, can be converted to body fat and stored. When alcohol contributes a substantial portion of the energy in a person’s diet, the harm it does far exceeds the problems of excess body fat.

Alcohol interferes with the growth, maintenance, and repair of the body. It yields 7 kilocalories of energy per gram in comparison to 4 kilocalories per gram for carbohydrates and protein. And to think all of the times I would avoid bread because of the carbs but drank beer like it was nothing! No wonder I got a beer belly. (And beer ass and thighs.) I had all my excuses such as “I don’t go out dancing as much anymore” and “my work schedule made me gain weight” or “I walked less when I lived in such-and-such place”. But the real reason I gained so much weight was because much of my diet was beer and alcohol. And the more I got tolerant of light beer, the more I had to drink stronger beer to get buzzed. And the stronger beers had more calories. Plus, I did not eat the healthiest when drunk. Pizza at 2am! Greasy burgers were great hangover food.

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Anyway, I do not want to sound like a health nut. Looking at the nutritional side of drinking really helps me put my problem in perspective.  And not just the wasted calories, but all the diseases alcohol puts a person at risk for like cardiac disease, malnutrition,  and cancer. Most of my coworkers now know that I quit drinking alcohol, but I think (hope) they believe I quit due to diet changes. I am just still worried about the judgements of others if they know the real reason.

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Scared of being weak

Tonight I went to see a show with a famous celebrity in it.  Actually,  I saw the show the other night.  Tonight I returned to the theater for an autograph and photos.  I got the autograph and only one semi-good photo.  The rest were blurry.  I was happy and excited.  I met some other people who were also waiting for autographs and photos.  We swapped stories about other celebrities we have seen in the past.

After he got in his black SUV and left,  I heard a woman make a comment she saw another celebrity go into a bar across the street. She bet that Our Celebrity would go there too. I said “but he drove away?” She said that was to throw off the fans. So I decided to take the chance. She and I both went to the bar.

It was actually a nice tavern with food and drinks.  I told the host I just wanted a snack. Could I sit in the bar area? He said there were no seats but I could wander until a seat came available. I felt silly. Like a stalker. I asked to use the bathroom. It was occupied. I stood by the door waiting.

As I was waiting, the Celebrity walked in. OMG. OHMIGOD. He walked right past me. He was a foot away from me and looked gorgeous.  I wanted to pull out my phone and snap a photo but that felt rude away from the stagedoor. I saw him walk to the back of the bar and met up with some lesser – famous celebrities. I was shaking. The celebrity group moved into a closed-off room in the back. I used the bathroom.

I started to walk around the bar while casually looking to the back. Could I get glimpse? How would I try for a photo?  Then I saw some people leaving their spot at the bar.  I grabbed myself a seat. Asked for a menu. Kept turning my head to peek at the entrance to the back room.

The reason I am posting the story on a blog about sobriety is because I REALLY WANTED A DRINK! I wanted to order wine. One glass.  Something to calm my nerves.  Something to make me blend in. I was starting to imagine how good a glass of Shiraz would taste. If he comes out from the back, maybe I would have liquid courage to say hi. Tell him I love the show. Maybe offer to buy him a beer. I am not sure if I wanted the drink more to sedate my excitement or lower my inhibitions. But I really, really wanted a drink. I can not remember the last time I felt a trigger this strong. I even went to an AA meeting today. But I still considered throwing away 1 year, 1 month and 21 days of sobriety over one hot celebrity.

I ordered Diet Coke instead. Lots. I was tired and needed caffeine.  And even though I quit Diet Coke a few months ago, I was not upset I relapsed on that.  I had to keep telling myself over and over that I do not want to start over again. Even if I never tell anyone and manage to keep it to one glass of wine,  I would have thrown away so much progress. I ordered some food. I texted a few friends and browsed Facebook. I killed that desire. But it did not die easily.

The celebrities left as I asked for my check.  They looked tipsy. One tripped over the red rope that quarantined their private party off. One looked me right in the eye and I wanted to say something but I froze. I felt scared. They continued on their way. I paid my bill and continued on my way also. 

The whole ride home,  I felt nervous. I feared that feeling of weakness. It would have been so easy to order a drink and try to pretend it never happened.  I felt I was reduced to the helpless feelings I felt a year ago in early sobriety.

I cried. I never expected this many mixed emotions about seeing a celebrity. Or is it because of the strong temptation I felt?  I think both. 

I think it is time I look for a sponsor.