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.

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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.

Dealing with a stressful night

I had a very emotional, stressful night at work.  I cried a lot.  I dealt with a lot of moral questions. It was mentally draining.

I had my friend to “talk” about it via text messaging. He was very helpful and supportive with this situation. He asked how do I deal with this stress and stay sober.

Without hesitation, I told him getting drunk would not solve it. I could hide my feelings in the bottom of a bottle or deal with them. I would rather deal with them no matter how unpleasant they are. I had no desire to drink. I just wanted to cry myself to sleep. But I couldn’t until my shift was over.

I kept running to the bathroom to cry. Then I would look in the mirror and tell myself to dry my tears. I am a strong woman. Fighting alcoholism proves that. Everyday is a struggle. I need to keep strong in front of my coworkers.

I told my friend that in the past, I would focus my pain on picking up booze on my way home. I would figure out where I could buy a 6 pack or bottle of wine at 7am. What are the laws in this state? Then I would drink away the thoughts and get drunk at 8am. But nothing would be accomplished except maybe a hangover when I wake up.

There have been times where I got trashed after a stressful day of work. And I would do very stupid things like sex with a stranger, get in a fight, or drive drunk. I used the excuse “I was stressed out. I needed that drink” which was never just one drink. I would drink until I blacked out to try to erase thoughts and feelings from the day. Obliterate the stress. But it usually created more instead.

I cried a lot last night but it is better than crying in a drunk rage. I was hurting but pain is part of life. Self-medication with wine will not make suffering disappear.
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Mistake 146- I woke up once with a burglar in my bedroom. It was daytime. I don’t want to get into the details except to say thankfully I wasn’t hurt and he left when he saw me. But I was so stressed and frightened. A friend came over to support me while the cops took a report. Then my friend took me to lunch. I ordered 3 large margaritas at lunch. When I got home, I proceeded to drink every bit of alcohol I had in my apartment. A lot of people said they would have been too scared to be in their apartment after such an incident. I felt safe as long as I had my booze with me. I ended up drinking pumpkin liqueur by the end because I chugged everything else. I kept posting rants on Facebook complaining about my city and crime rates. I did not remember these rants until I saw them the next day. I went and deleted them all then.

I had a friend message me the next day to see how I was doing. I said I was coping. She mentioned she is still bleeding. I was confused until I scrolled back and saw we had a whole long conversation the previous day. She had a miscarriage. I admitted to her I did not remember that conversation at all but was very sorry for her loss. She replied “lol it is ok. You had a horrible day.”

I coped with my fear and stress by drinking until I blacked out. But it did not solve anything. It could have made things worse.

Doctor DUI

I was watching the news this morning and there was a story of a doctor that got a DUI. I did not catch the whole story but I think he crashed and injured another person. Again, I am so glad I never hit another car or person with my DUIs.

I tried to Google the story to find out more information but I could not find it. Instead I came up with many other stories of doctors that got DUIs. I found this story about a doctor that got 3 DUIs before she finally admitted to being an alcoholic. The 3rd was just four days after her conviction for the 2nd.

Alcoholism is everywhere. Anyone could be a victim to this disease. It is still such a dirty word. Alcoholic.  So shameful. Only the weak have problems with alcohol. I wish it was not viewed this way.

Even though I feel I have more ups than downs now, I had this ache today when I thought “this is a forever thing. FOR-EV-ER!” I am not gonna be cured. I am not gonna graduate. I have to fight this disease every damn day. No matter how much easier it gets, it will never go away. Like an invisible birthmark. You know it is there always even if know one else sees it.

Maybe once I get done my 365 mistakes, I will have to daily find another DUI story to remind me to stay sober. Unfortunately,  there will be one every morning.

Mistake 145- I do not remember much about this night. I know I was 18. I met a guy in a bar. We started making out in the bar. Then we left. We walked to a baseball field. I think we had sex in the dugout. I think some of his friends followed us and took photos. I never saw nor talked to the guy again but a girl I was friends with heard about it. She was so mad and ashamed that she stopped talking to me. I remember she told me I need a babysitter. I just ignored the whole thing and prayed (still pray) that those photos never resurface.

Thoughts from Last Attempt at Sobriety

I started a “sober journal” in 2007. This was after my second DUI. I was so serious about it. But I can read doubt in between the lines. It seems I was trying to rush sobriety.  Went to daily AA meetings where I rushed the steps and talked about “God” but did not really believe it. It seems I was practicing to be sober.

My first entry April 7, 2007:

Sometimes I feel like a loser going sober. I feel like I lost the war. I lost the battle with alcohol. At least I am being taken as a prisoner instead of as a corpse.

This will test who my friends are. For awhile I have been depressed by the fact I felt all I have is drinking aquaintances instead of friends. [Name 3 friends] have proven themselves to be real friends.

Then I complained about a “friend” who texted me “I wish you could still party.” I stopped talking to him a few months later for being so unsupportive.  Will I lose friends this round of sobriety?

Then I started a list of mistakes I made from drinking up to that point. If I stayed sober that time, I don’t think I would have been able to create a list of 365 mistakes. That is one thing I would have been okay not accomplishing. But if I relapse this round, how much more will this list increase? Will this list be read at my funeral?

Found a page of my concerns about sobriety back then which I now feel I can answer:

1) will it be hard to make friends now that I don’t drink?
– Nope. Just different type of friends. Ones that like me for me. Not for drunk me.

2) will I find happiness?
– Yep. Even though I still get bouts of sadness and depression, I really feel I am overall happier. And I think more happiness is in my future. Just not suffering hangovers anymore makes me happier!

3) can I find a successful relationship?
– not sure yet since I plan to wait until I am sober for a year, but I am starting to have confidence that I will find someone. For now, I have my friend with benefits. And he has been fun.

4) will my current friends be supportive?
– all the people I knew when I wrote that and I am still in touch with have been wonderful and super supportive.  They have been around long enough to understand why I had to finally quit drinking. Only a few people are acting unsupportive.

5) will I be weak?
– well, I did get weak back then. I stayed sober a little more than 2 months. I did not try going sober again until 7 years later (except for “drinking breaks,” but those were never meant to be permanent.) Back then, I kept thinking I could learn to moderate eventually. Now, I know that is impossible.

Also, now I have a great sober blogging community to keep me strong.

Mistake 144 – I met a girl in Cairns, Australia with whom I became temporarily friends. We were sharing a dorm room. We had things in common. We talked about getting together again when we returned to America. But I got drunk and ruined the friendship.

I started an open water diving course in Cairns. It was a week long with the last 3 days out on a boat. But our last two certification dives were canceled due to cyclones. The boat went back to the docks. Most of the class returned to the boat the next day to continue the course. I declined. I was scared. I would finish my certification elsewhere.

I stayed in Cairns and partied with my new friend. We got along well. We went to see sites together. It was typical of how quick friendships can form when traveling. And the night my diving class came back from the boat, I invited her to come join my class at a bar. We were going to celebrate everyone’s new diving certification. And I confessed to her, I wanted to join because I had a crush on the boat captain.

It started out fun. When the captain started to flirt with her, I got jealous. Then she flirted back. And the answer to my jealousy was “get drunk!” I started badmouthing her to the other divers. How dare that slut go for the guy I liked! I talked my classmates into leaving that bar and sneaking over to another. We didn’t tell her where we were going. We just sort of ditched out and went elsewhere. I thought I was so clever.

But she arrived at the new bar with the Captain. She found me and said “wow you guys left quick? Why didn’t you tell me where you were going?” Oh I thought someone told you.  Then she asked if I was mad. I lied and said no. I kept drinking and doing a lot of shots. She then left with the Captain.  My response was to find first, cute random guy and take him back to the dorm room.

Then next day she told me how she went home with the Captain.  She found lipstick and tampons in his bathroom. She asked and turns out he had a girlfriend out of town. I laughed. That is what she deserved. I was a mean bitch. We stopped hanging out together even though we kept sharing a room. I booked a bus to leave Cairns soon. We did not bother to stay in touch.

Even if I lose friends in sobriety, what about the friends I lost from my drinking?