180 days

Six months sober. If you are counting lunar months. But today is 180 days since my last drink. And I feel great.

I was supposed to be on a flight right now. I had to go take care of stuff in another city. I had an AA meeting planned out so I could get my 6 month chip. But the flight was cancelled due to aircraft malfunction. I did not want to bother rushing to a local meeting at home since I know they do not give out chips except for 90 days and 1 year, and they set aside one day of the month for giving out chips. I am over that now. I travel enough to find my chips elsewhere.

Instead I leave tomorrow morning. I will search for a meeting tomorrow evening. This gives me more options since there are more evening meetings than late night ones. I might call to specifically ask for a meeting that gives out chips. Should I search for a beginner’s meeting?

In a way, this delay is good. I was getting worried. I have to see an ex-boyfriend on this trip and his new girlfriend has been asking about me. She wants to know if she needs to “be worried.” Why is it she needs to be worried about me and not him? I would rather just avoid him and really avoid meeting her. She told my friend she wants to make sure I do not still have feelings for him. The truth is, I will always have feelings for him. And I hate him for that. But I don’t want him, her, or our mutual friend (his best friend and one of my oldest friends) knowing. Now that I have less time to get done what needs to get done, maybe I can avoid them.

Instead I spent my 180th day sleeping. Then I went to dinner, read some of Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life, and treated myself to Minty Mint Chocolate chip ice cream! I think of all my treats, cake, flowers, and ice cream really are the best. Pedicures, facials and hair treatments feel more like necessities.
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There is a bar next to the ice cream parlor with a name that reminds me of a bar I used to frequent in another city.

Mistake 180- My first time at this bar, I was invited by a group of people. We all met at a dinner party at a restaurant. I was new in town. I joined them in moving the party to this bar in another section of the city. I drove there. I also texted a friend of mine that was visiting and asked her to join.

When I arrived at the bar, most of the party from dinner was inside dancing. My friend was a smoker so she and I sat outside on the patio talking. One guy from the dinner came out to buy us drinks. He was cute. I felt like I knew him. As soon as I arrived at the restaurant early that evening, I recognized his smile but I did not know from where. I was too new for him to have been a forgotten one night stand. All during dinner, he kept looking at me.

After he brought us drinks, I turned to my friend and said “oh my god I know where I know him! I think that guy has been messaging me on a dating website!” She laughed and asked to see the profile. We sat there looking at his photo and trying to figure out if it was him. It looked very similar. Same name. It had to be. He even emailed me his phone number. We came up with a plan: she would dial the number and I would go inside the bar to see if he answered. I walked in and headed towards the bathroom. And yes, I saw him leave the dance floor to go down a quiet hall and answer his phone. She told him it was a wrong number when he answered. I returned to the patio giggling.

She and I kept drinking, talking and giggling. She soon had to leave because she is a responsible person and had work the next morning. I went inside to join those that were left dancing. Only the Dating Website guy (DW guy), his friend, and a girl from the dinner party were at our table. I could tell DW guy was flirting with her. Then I had two male friends show up because they lived around the corner. They are big drinkers. Since DW guy was flirting with someone else, I turned to flirting with one of my male friends.

I ended up making out with that male friend. We ended up in a hallway in the back of the bar kissing heavily. I do not remember much of it except the other male friend walking by leaving and said “get a room!” Thankfully, that got us to stop.

The next day, I texted my friend to see how his hangover was. He said he had to call out of work. He mentioned he had his hands down my pants. I didn’t remember. He said we were lucky we were not thrown out. If our other friend did not walk by and say something, we might have tried to have sex in that hallway. We joked about it for months afterwards. We never kissed or hooked up again. It was just another mistake to sweep under the carpet of drunkeness.

And the rest of the story of Dating Website guy will have to be saved for another mistake.

Real Me

I was telling a friend how some friends have not been supportive. Some friends seem to avoid me now that I quit drinking. He said maybe they just miss the old me. They had fun partying with me. I was a fun person and that should be seen a good thing. His excuses were pissing me off.

So I am not fun now? Just because I am not falling over drunk, not remembering the night, or waking up with a stranger in my bed, that means I am not fun? I feel that they miss me being the entertainment.  The jackass. The drunk fool. They don’t miss the “real” me. The real me would get suicidal from being so depressed from drunk mishaps. The regret I would feel the next day made me hate who I was and wish for death!  That is what they miss?

But of course, they didn’t know about that side of me. Not many know about my many suicide attempts. Nor all the times I drove drunk. Some know I have 2 DUIs and they share with me their DUI stories or drunk-driving-but-not-caught stories. I put on a great show of being happy most of the time. If I got drunk and depressed, they just ignored it and figured I would be okay once I sobered up.

Yes. I am finally okay. But it is not from sobering after after a night of drinking. It is six months of sobriety after twenty years of drinking.

Now I have to figure how to get people to know the real me. I have to get them to understand how sobriety is the best thing that has happened to me. I want them to see the benefits without shoving it down their throats. The real me is actually pretty awesome.

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Mistake 179- I drove to a club for a costume party.  It was a 45 minute drive. I got super drunk. I was not planning the night out well. I had no backup plan for getting home. Maybe I thought I would sleep in the car before driving (in a sketchy neighborhood.) It was a few months before my second DUI.

I met a guy. I don’t know how or anything about the meeting. But somehow I took him home. He drove my car and his friend followed in his. I woke up with this guy in my bed and his friend on the couch. He even asked how was I planning to get home with as trashed as I was and I told him I did not know.

I had a second date with that guy another time. I got trashed on that date. He asked if I was an alcoholic. I said “no, I just like to have fun.” We never had another date.

Maybe if I did not meet him in that club and have him drive me home, I would have gotten my second DUI sooner. Or might have been dead.

Helping

I went to dinner with a friend who quit drinking a few weeks ago. He warned me he thought it would be weird to go out without a drink. He has avoided being sociable. We ordered ice tea with dinner. I did not notice if he was aching for a beer and he never said anything.

I tried to give him advice without sounding pushy. I asked if he wanted me to go with him to an AA meeting. He said he doesn’t want to do the AA thing.  I wasn’t really sure what to tell him.  I am not really active in AA. I felt suggesting it was sort of a cop-out to actually helping him.  Then again,  I think everyone should at least try it.  Go to a meeting.  For me,  there is always at least one thing I hear in that whole hour that helps me. Maybe I just don’t want to feel the responsibility of being the only person with whom he can share his sobriety feelings.

My sister has been battling a lot emotional problems the last few years.  We stopped speaking three years ago because she had some mental breakdowns. She started leaving me nasty voicemails and texting me a lot of mean things while she was drunk. A lot has happened since then. But that is her story.

She is now trying to get help and go sober. Yet because of all the problems she has caused and the horrible things she has done,  no one in our family is talking to her. Her kids do not even want to talk to her.

She has started to message me recently. This has caused some strife in my family in a sort of “with her/against us” mentality.  But I know how important it is to have support when trying to get sober. I have sent her a few links to try to help.  She is getting professional help. I plan to check in and try to support her from afar. I am also worried about getting too involved in her problems and it hindering my recovery.

Mistake 178- When she started her nasty messages to me,  they started with accusations of an incident from the early 1990s.

I was drunk and ran into her old, high school boyfriend. We were in a military bar in another country. It was his birthday. A bunch of us were drinking pitchers of beer. With straws. We had long straws stuck in the large pitchers! Everyone was drinking and getting drunk like young military people tend to do. And somewhere in the night, he and I started to kiss. We left the bar and went somewhere else. We started to kiss heavily. He dropped to his knees and started some oral pleasantries.  Then when he tried to go to the next step, I stopped him. I said I couldn’t do this. He dated my sister. This was wrong. He seemed disappointed but was fine. We returned to the bar and acted like nothing happened.

I wrote about it in my journal. My sister later read my whole journal. Since in the journal it said he and I “hooked up”, she thought it meant intercourse. When she confronted me, I told her it meant just making out. I am not sure if I ever told her about the oral. But to this day, she swears I fucked him.  I am not sure if “only oral” is any less worse. What is actually worse is that I stopped from going further because of his past relationship with my sister but the fact that I was married at the time was not a reason to stop.

Happy Hour

I went to a happy hour last night. Not the best place for a person in recovery, right? But I had fun. I went there to meet other people that go to the festivals I enjoy. I planned to try to ask around if anyone knew of any sober festival goers, but I got wrapped up in conversations about projects and volunteering. I really enjoyed myself. I had a group of people whom with I shared a different experiences outside of parties.

This particular place had a water cooler next to the bar. I could help myself to as much water as I wanted rather than having to ask the bartender and wait. They had a trivia night going on in the main room and I started remembering how much I loved bar trivia night. Would I now kick ass at bar trivia against drunk people?

I spent most of my time there talking with one woman. I got there 2 hours after the happy hour started and she was obviously drunk. I now find it hard to have conversations with drunk people but it also reminds me of what I used to be like. I spoke with a few other people. I was proud that I was meeting people without liquor lubrication.

I am not going to make happy hour a common evening. This one had a specific theme. I don’t think I could have handle it three to six months ago without caving in and getting a beer. But it was a “happy hour” because I definitely left there happy.

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Mistake 177- I went to a “white party”. It was not a race thing.  It meant everyone had to wear white. I had a flowing white skirt, white tank top, and white blouse. I was drinking before the party and drinking lots at the party. I went out to dinner with friends after the white party. They said I kept swaying my head. They thought I was going to pass out in my food.

A guy who knew my friends offered to give me a ride home.  But I was too drunk to give him directions. I just moved there and could not remember the address. My driver’s license did not have my new address because I was living there temporarily.  So he drove me to his place with plans to drive me to my car in the morning.  But once at his place,  I started to make the moves on him. I ended up in his bed. I do not remember the night and had to ask him his name the next day.

We started dating. A month later,  we turned it into an exclusive relationship. Then it ended a month later.  I think I was always self-conscious of the way we met. But he had his own emotional issues.

13th Step

I went to a meeting in which I have never been. It was the last meeting of the night in the area. I haven’t been going to many lately. Actually I did not go to any while taking my online class. It was a speaker meeting. I enjoyed it. It was mostly men and two women. I was worried the women would come up afterwards to start talking. The only reason I say “worried” is because I was annoyed that they had to make little comments throughout the meeting about everything said.

After the meeting, I was trying to rush out to avoid those women, and a man approached me. I sat next to him during the meeting but never looked at him. I thought it was discouraged for men to approach women in the meetings. But I was not upset he approached me. He was very good looking. He asked if I was new and I told him I have been sober almost 6 months. He said this was a very good meeting and told me some of the topics for different nights. I told him it is hard for me to have set meetings because of my work and travel schedule. He said Thursdays were very good nights. I almost wanted to cancel my Thursday plans to be there.

I want to keep to my self-set rule of not starting a relationship until I am a year sober. Or at least not a serious one. Then again, I thought I would be living in my “dream city” by my 1st soberversary.  I did not want to start anything serious here because I will not be staying here and did not want to be persuaded to stay. And once again, I feel I am getting a head of myself due to meeting someone with beautiful eyes and a nice smile. He might not have been trying to 13th step me. He might be married. Just reaching out to someone new at the meeting.

But I look forward to running into him again at a future meeting.

Mistake 176- I was staying at a friend’s place for 2 weeks while he was out of town. He lived with a female cousin. He warned me she was a bit bitchy. I avoided her as much as possible while staying there. I stayed in my room almost all the time when home and at night I was working or out partying.

One morning, I woke up with some guy in my bed. I think he was a bike messenger. I do not know where or how I met him. I just remember trying to get him out of the apartment without the bitchy cousin seeing him. He had the stereotype bike messenger look of tattoos head to toe and cuts and bruises all over. He gave me his number which I saved only until after getting HIV negative testing done months later.

I got him out of the place without her seeing him. But she must have heard us cause my friend asked me who was my late night guest while he was gone. I made up some story about an old boyfriend or fuck buddy or something being in town. He wasn’t mad but I never asked to stay at his place again. He recently got married and I didn’t go to the wedding from fear of running into his cousin.

Staying here a bit longer

My job offered to extend my contract for however long I am willing to stay. I wrote out a pro and cons list and shared it with my friends on Facebook. The one pro I did not list to share with my friends seems like one of the biggest: I got sober here and feel safe staying sober here.

I was looking forward to moving and starting over in a new place. New job. New apartment. But I would be with old party friends. And new coworkers. New environment. New stresses and worries. New AA groups.

Okay I wouldn’t mind the new AA groups since I haven’t really liked the ones in my area too much and I hate that they rarely give out chips.

But I am slightly worried what moving will do to my sobriety. At least here I am near my mom, who has gone from not understanding alcoholism to being my biggest sober supporter. She still doesn’t understand it but she knows I can not drink any alcohol. And she is thrilled every time I tell her how long I have been sober. Also, I want to spend more time with my mom. She needs my support with family issues as much as I have needed her support.

I am negotiating the contract and pay. I am excited. I might even keep staying until after Christmas. And after my 1st year of sobriety. Maybe then I can handle moving a bit better. I will be taking off 5 unpaid weeks for previous plans. The manager already told me that is fine. I like my coworkers. I like my job. This should be a good opportunity for me in so many ways.

Mistake 174- I wrote the last two days about parties I went to called Drunk Disney. Well I have a friend that I used to go to Disneyland with and we usually ended up calling the days “Drunk Disney.” We were upset the first time we went to discover no alcohol was served in Disneyland. But we learned they served it across in the other park California Adventures. And also in Downtown Disney. We would get drunk for lunch. Once, we filled a 24 ounce water bottle with white wine. It looked like electrolytes added to water. We have photos of us taking turns chugging the wine while wearing those big Mickey Mouse gloves.

Once, we got drunk and then went to some bar in Downtown Disney after the park closed. Or at least I was drunk. The bar was in the middle if the walkway. She wasn’t drinking anymore since she was driving us home. I ordered a large glass of red wine. Then I thought of going to visit the guy I was dating after she dropped me off. I texted him asking if I could come over.

His response was he “thinks we are moving too fast.” This was 2 days after he gave me spare keys to his apartment. I was hurt, confused, and mad. And my response was to drink to forget my feelings. I started ordering shots. My friend said she didn’t think that was a good idea. I lied “only one or two.” I ordered more when she went to the bathroom.

Then she started getting sweet text messages from the guy she was dating. That mad me jealous. I was basically no longer wanted by a guy and she is sharing with me that she was still wanted. I started making rude, bitchy comments. I bashed the guy she was dating. She told the bartender to cut me off. We had to leave. She had work early the next day. I was not nice to whole ride home.

Poor pity me.

We still did our Drunken Disney days and remained friends. She is one of my sober supporters now.

Drunk Disney 2

Mistake 173- I only went to Drunk Disney one more time. Usually I was working or away when my friends organized the nights. The second party was the movie Aladdin. I wore a belly dancer costume. I made homemade hummus. I also brought 2 large bottles of red wine. I was a little late so started chugging my glasses to catch up to the party. I don’t remember the rules of the drinking game. I don’t think I even watched the movie much. Everyone was talking over it. I drank and mingled.

Then I woke up on the couch the next morning. I had on a t-shirt cause my belly dancing top got uncomfortable. Not sure if I changed into the shirt in front of everyone. The skirt was hiked up and my panties were showing as I was passed out. The wine bottles were empty. The host got me some ibuprofen and Diet Coke. My head was pounding.

I am glad I don’t live there anymore with the temptation of going back to those parties and making more mistakes.