Expensive Hangover

Mistake 169- I visited Toronto, Canada many years ago. I only had a few days. I added a two day trip to Montreal. I reserved a train to Montreal and the return train would give me plenty of time for my afternoon flight from Toronto.

I went out my last night in Montreal and met two gay guys. They ended up taking me all around the gay section of the city to many gay bars. I think we ended up at a club called Pure. I have a lot of photos of me double fisting Heinekens that night. I got very drunk. I remember the two gay guys giving me a ride in a taxi back to my hotel and making sure I got to my room.

The next morning I woke up at 9:30am hungover. My train was at 10am. I freaked out and started to pack my bags. I realized I would miss my train. I still rushed all the way to the train station. I had a splitting headache and chugged Diet Cokes with Advil the taxi ride to the station.

The cost to change my train was no problem. But the next train wouldn’t get me into Toronto until later in the afternoon.  I would miss my flight. I had to call Expedia or whatever travel website I used back then. They could change my flight but it would cost me $150. I remember laughing (was I still drunk?) and said “wow this is an expensive hangover!” Also, the next flight wouldn’t be until the next morning. I had to work that same evening I would arrive home. I managed to stay with a friend in Toronto to avoid a hotel bill. Then I got home with enough time for a nap before working that night.  Such a mess for one night of drinking.

Why Drink if You Will Regret It?

Why do what you will regret? Why bring tears upon yourself? Do only what you do not regret, and fill yourself with joy.
-Buddha

I got my grades for my class today. I got an A. I was so excited. I was worried towards the end as the professor graded my papers and exams because I had 82.5 out of 100 points and the last thing to graded was worth 10 points. But I got 8.5 on that project. I was so excited. And again, my thoughts were to celebrate with a beer. I kept thinking “how can I celebrate this? I already got a facial today. I don’t need a pedicure. I want a real treat!” I settled for a peach green tea from Starbucks. It still doesn’t feel like a real treat.

Then I read that quote. That quote reminded me why I should not drink. I will regret it. The guilt. The hangover. The wasted money. The backtracking on all my accomplishments the past few months.

I just hope I don’t go through this “let’s get drunk and celebrate” battle everytime I finish a class.

Mistake 168-I have an old friend, V, that I got in a huge fight with that ended our friendship for years. When we finally started to talk again, we agreed to go on a roadtrip together. We thought this would be a good bonding moment. We drove to a city 4 hours away. There was a war protest going on but we actually wanted to go see a band performing at the protest. The band wouldn’t go on until midnight. So we decided to have dinner first. Then we met up with a gay friend of mine visiting from another city. V and I joined him at a gay bar after dinner. I started drinking heavily at dinner, of course. Then I got so drunk at the gay bar, I forgot about the band we came to see. My gay friend met some guy and left us at the bar. V was not familiar with this city. She said she had trouble trying to get me in a cab. She was mad that my gay friend did not stick around to help her. But I was the irresponsible one that got trashed beyond ability to walk.

Thankfully V and I are still good friends and she is one of my sober supporters. Maybe enough nights of babysitting me makes her a good supporter.

“Everything in moderation”

I did not take coffee with me to my festival over the weekend. I did buy one ice coffee one of the days, but other than that I was cafe-free. And I either had withdrawal headaches or it was dehydration. I took some Advil to combat the pain. But now I feel great. I am not giving up coffee, but I am definitely cutting down. Maybe 2 or 3 cups a day rather than the 2 or 3 pots I would sometimes have. (Seriously, while trying to finish my work for my class I was going through 2 to 3 pots a day!)

I made a post on Facebook saying I quit alcohol, soda, and now looks like I kicked the coffee addiction. But I do not want to give up my love of chocolate. An aquaintance commented “everything in moderation.”

She might have meant someting else or was referring to chocolate. But that comment pissed me off. I took it as she was recommending I moderate everything rather than quitting. I would moderate my alcohol if I could. But obviously I have made enough posts the last few months about fighting alcoholism. She doesn’t get it. A lot of people still don’t get it. Maybe it is my fault for lumping quitting alcohol into likeness of quitting soda and coffee. It just seems the same people who criticized people for DUIs or getting out of control drunk are the same who tell me to just not get trashed. I see them post comments on stories about DUIs “throw the bastard in jail.” No one suggests to get the person help. The ignorance is so sad. I don’t know what the answer is to overcome it. For now, I guess I will just keep losing “friends” that don’t understand.

Mistake 167- I was visiting this aquaintance in Canada many years ago. It was my birthday and we went out to some hip, bar area. I remember getting upset that places still charged me a cover charge on my birthday. And no bars gave me a free birthday shot or drink. I thought it meant Canadians hated birthdays. Or American birthdays. And then the drinks all seemed weaker than in America. I saw them measuring the liquor. Most places I frequented in the US just estimated what they poured in the drinks. (And if you tipped nicely, you got more estimated in your drink.) I remember feeling bored. Her and her friend were dancing up a storm. I danced a little but my shoes were hurting. I was so disappointed that I was so sober. What kind of shitty birthday is this!

And that was my first impression of Canada. Not a country for people that like to drink! (I made up for it the next night when I want to visit another city.) But it was a shame that my night was “ruined” because I couldn’t get extremely drunk. I thought that was the goal of birthday nights.

Nomadic Life

I met a girl the other day and I was telling her about how I move every few months and travel all the time.  She said “Doesn’t that get lonely?”

I think that was the first time someone asked that. I said not really. I have friends all over and I make new friends everywhere. It might be harder to make new friends now that I am sober or different types of friends. I don’t want to become friends with people just because we have sobriety in common just as much as I regret having friends with whom partying was our bonding thing. I get lonely sometimes because I am single but I also think of the wonderful things I can do as a single woman.

As far as lonely without family, I feel happier the further away from that drama as possible. My mom is the only one that matters to me.  I have a new niece that I will probably never see. My brother and sisters use their kids as pawns in their greedy games and I just want to step back from it all. Wash my hands of their issues. I have my own problems.

My nomadic life is unusual.  It fit well into my partying ways of the past. If I made too much of a drunk fool of myself in one city, I would move again. Start over. I am starting to think I am getting too old for living out of my car and storage units.  I do want to have a base to call home. But I will miss my flexibility to travel long-term. Putting my stuff in storage rather than paying rent is cheaper while I go explore Asia or South America. I guess I am on the fence whether I need to quit. Maybe I will find a 12-step program for people addicted to travel. Wanderlust Anonymous.

Mistake 166- I was visiting some friends for a Pride weekend picnic. I spent the afternoon flirting with a friend of a friend. I always had a crush on her but she had a girlfriend. Her girlfriend was away for the weekend.
After a day of drinking and a night of partying, I woke up in her bed. We were both hungover and horrified. She had me get up and dressed quickly. She was reeking with regret. This made me feel worse.
When I tried to confide in our mutual friend, he got mad at me. “How could you do that! Her girlfriend is really nice. ” He blamed me. It was all my fault. I was always the drunk slut so it was always my fault. I was glad I did not live there anymore so I could just leave and avoid ever meeting the girlfriend.

No Alcohol Please

I love that when I go up to the bars at this festival,  bars where they gift free alcohol, and I say “do you have anything without alcohol?, everyone seems to try to accommodate me.
“I swear this is just Ginger Ale.”
“Sure honey, orange or grapefruit juice?”

I don’t even have to say why I do not want alcohol.  They don’t ask but I can’t help but think “THEY KNOW!” But I am not bother if they know.

Mistake 165- I was at a festival last October.  I got drunk and met this really gorgeous guy. He was drunk also. I remember we walked off into the woods and started to make out. I dropped my headlamp. Then we wanted to take me back to his tent. He wanted us to take a shortcut through the woods. With no headlamp or lights at all. I ended up slipping and literally tumbled down a hill on the path. Messed up my knee. Cut it open bad. We had a medic look at it who suggested I leave the festival to get stitches. I was too drunk to care and didn’t want to leave.

The cut got infected.  Turned to bursitis. And now I have an ugly scar there, small lump, and it hurts to keep it bent too long or in some yoga positions.

That guy came by my camp the next day. He said hi. I said hello. I was sitting in a circle with me friends. After he walked off, my friend next to me asked “why didn’t you get up to go talk to him?” I asked “who was that?”
“THE GUY YOU MET LAST NIGHT AND WERE MAKING OUT WITH!!!!”

I did not recognize him. Then I regretted not getting up cause he was very cute. Then again, he was not too smart to take me on a shortcut in the woods with no lights. But can I really judge another’s drunk mistakes?

4th of Dry July

For everyone that is doing a dry July… congratulations! Even if only for one month, there will be some benefits.

I am off for a festival for the weekend. I have a lot of fancy lemonade packed. Again I am behind on my blog but I am still sober!

Mistake 164- Last year I was at the same festival I am at now. But I drank a lot. I slept most of my days away and partied all night. I had a friend with me (she isn’t here this year) that was getting up in the morning to go to workshops and yoga. I was always too hungover. I am excited to be here again this year but sober!

Deconstructing Celebration Drinks

I posted yesterday how I really wanted to drink to celebrate my class ending. Instead, I got a facial and massage as my treat. While relaxing at the salon, I started to think more about what would have happened if I did go get drunk yesterday.

I would have started with one beer. And it might taste funny by now or might have tasted heavenly. I would drink it slow. Savor it. Be like “finally”. Then I would start to think “this isn’t so bad. Why did I quit!”

After finishing that one, I would ask the bartender for another. (I would have gone to drink at a bar instead of home alone since I was celebrating.) I might even tell the bartender how I quit in January but having just a few to blow off steam. He or she would congratulate me. Agree that sobriety isn’t all that great. And he or she would expect a nice tip as they open another bottle for me.

I would feel a bit tipsy. This good feeling would make me forget all the benefits of sobriety. I would order another beer. I might check to see if I had enough cash for more beer and if I did not, I would pull out the credit card. I might give myself a time limit or a bottle limit but I would soon ignore it to keep that high feeling.

I might not get very drunk. To me, that meant I was able to still walk and not black out. I would probably drink past the legal driving limit but not care. I might have met someone. I might have had fun. And the next day, I might have been proud I was able to celebrate and still remember the night. “See drinking can be fun! Why was I such a baby about the whole thing? It wasn’t THAT bad.”

I would have wasted money and thrown away 5 months of sobriety. I would try to moderate. I might have felt a little guilty at first but drank past that. Basically, one night of “celebrating” would have been opening the gates back to a hell I don’t want to return. Sometimes I hate the dogma of AA and recovery, but I must always remember that all this work and improvement could end with “just one.”

Mistake 163- I spent my 30th birthday in London alone. I was supposed to fly home that day but the flight was overbooked. I volunteered to stay an extra night. The airline gave me a free hotel room. I actually did not mind spending it alone. I knew I could entertain myself. I preferred CHOOSING to being alone than having friends let me down by not celebrating with me. It was the same reason I usually planned my own birthday celebrations because I did not trust my friends to make plans for me.

It was a good day. I spent the afternoon at a museum. I went to some Thai restaurant for dinner. I drank a whole bottle of wine by myself. After dinner, I decided to check out gay bars. I went to several and got a free birthday drink or shot. I sat by myself, drinking beers, and reading my book until the lines started to get blurry. I then decided to go to the nightclub Heaven.

I was drunk by the time I got there so most of it is a blur. But I remember a few things. I got mad because the bouncer would not let me in for free for my birthday. Then I sat down by a wall somewhere outside crying. A guy (or girl?) approached me and asked what was wrong. I told this person how it was my birthday and I refused to pay cover charge. His/her response was something about being homeless so I really have nothing to cry about. This must have motivated me or cheered me up or got me to stop crying because then I paid to get in the club. And once in, I drank lots. I danced but do not remember anything else inside the club. I met some guy. I woke up in his flat.

In the morning, I got the tube back to my hotel. I showered and napped until check out time. Then I rushed to the airport.

I never told anyone about that guy. Usually the story I tell is “I danced and drank until the tube was running again in the morning”. I have always been so ashamed of how that celebration ended. I pray for no more birthdays like that!

done (for now)

I finally finished my class. It is the first time I have taken a college class since 2002. And back then, I remember feeling so relieved and so excited to celebrate. Of course, that meant getting drunk!

I seriously kept wanting a beer the last few days. I kept thinking I wanted a nice cold, bottle of brew in my hand. Doesn’t have to be a good brand. Doesn’t have to be an IPA. I would even settle for crappy Coors Light. A nice first sip followed with an “ahhhhh” sound. I only wanted one. Just one beer to celebrate when I finally accomplished all the papers and projects I had to finish. I deserved one. I have been sober for 162 days and I busted my butt reading and researching for this class. All on top of working a full time job! Plus, I managed to go on a few, little get-aways the past few weeks.

Okay, so the roadtrips were not the most responsible decision while taking a class. I guess I thought since it was online, traveling during the sememster would not be an issue. If I did not go away last week and worked on these projects instead, I would not be so stressed and tired right now. If I was not so stressed and tired, maybe I would not be envisoning a beer as my prize.

But still, I wanted to party! I wanted to go sit in a bar and announce I completed my class. I felt so proud. I felt my goal of going back for my degree was actually in process. It felt so real. I am once again a college student. I don’t think this really sunk in back when I registered nor when I started. Maybe the stress of the past week was the wake-up call. I can do this. I just need better organization. And I definitely do NOT need to drink.

I still want to.

I won’t. I actually have plans to celebrate tomorrow with a massage and facial. Maybe find a yoga class. Maybe treat myself to some coconut water.

I know that “one beer” would tempt me into a 6-pack. Then a case. Then I would think “already broke the sobriety thing. Better make this relapse worth it. GET DRUNK!” No matter what the outcome of the night (one drink, 10 drinks), I will wake up feeling guilty. I will hate myself. It would be like I moved 162 days foward and 1062 backwards.

Even if I wasn’t an alcoholic, what would I accomplish going to a bar alone to drink to celebrate? Maybe meet someone? But I am only in this area another month. That would be a waste. Maybe get a giddy, tipsy feeling? Ok that would be nice but I can watch a nice movie instead. (Finally have free time for such things!) Maybe spend a lot of money? I almost have my credit card balanace at zero. I don’t need to waste money on booze.

Once I get my grade, and another layer of stress is lifted, I think I will give some credit to being sober. (I am sure I will get an A or B.) This is just the beginning of a lot more classes and accomplishments.

I have a weeks worth of blogs to catch up on and add mistakes. My class has inspired a lot of thoughts about comparing alcoholis and AA to religion. I am not stressing about it right now.

 

Mistake 162- When I graduated school in 2002, I had a graduation party. I got very drunk. Then during the party, I decided to call my ex-husband. We had some legal arrangements of which to take care. His new girlfriend answered the phone. She would not allow me to speak to him. I could have just hung up the phone and tried again another time. But since I was drunk, it turned into a screaming match. She kept accusing me of wanting him back and I kept yelling insults at both of them. I said a lot of horrible things. Years later, I found out he was sitting on the couch next to her during the whole conversation. We never settled the legal matters for which I was calling. It ruined his credit. The whole situation could have been dealt better if I did not drunk-dial.

Robin Williams- Rehab

Robin Williams returns to rehab.

“It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there,” he said in a 2006 interview. “It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.'”He admitted he once thought he could handle addiction on his own.

“But you can’t. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “You really think you can, then you realize, I need help, and that’s the word … It’s hard admitting it, then once you’ve done that, it’s real easy.”

 

Mistake 161- This is sort of a mix of addictions. I started to watch Breaking Bad when the show was about to end. I would binge watch it on my nights off. But one morning, I got home from work and started to watch it at 8am. I also started drinking beers. So I am not sure if it was addiction to the show or the 8 beers I had for breakfast, but I stayed up watching it until 2pm. Then I had to get some sleep before working at 7pm. I remember justifying it as being like going to a bar until 2am before working the next day.

Jealous Jekyll

Mistake 160- I had three people staying at my place for a weekend. We were all cyber friends from a website. Two girls and one guy that were visiting my city. The guy was dating a friend of friends and I did not know him well. But I felt I did not like him soon after he arrived. Or I was jealous because he seemed to be flirting with one of the girl who happened to be a lesbian. And I was interested in her.

I had a party Saturday night during their stay. It was a good, successful party. About twenty people in my small apartment drinking beer and wine. Close to midnight, someone suggested we go bar hop. We couldn’t play music loud that late because of the neighbours. So we all left to continue the party elsewhere across town.

Somewhere and sometime in that switch, it seemed my personality switched. The more drunk I got, the more I couldn’t shake the jealous feelings. This guy had a girlfriend but I still felt he was flirting with the object of my affection. She flirted with him, me, and everyone but I hated him for leading her on. I kept trying to tell myself it was because I felt bad for his girlfriend. But I really think I did not like having competition with a man for a woman’s attention.

I am not sure what happened, but I got mad and left. I left my three guests at the bar. I got in a taxi. They said they came out of the bar and saw me pulling away. They said I turned around, looked at them, and laughed. I do not recall that.

I must have went to another bar or club. They had a spare key so I assumed they would have no problem getting back. When I got home later, I was mad at first thinking they were still out. The couch and air mattress in the living room were empty. But when I went in my bedroom, I saw the three of them sleeping in my bed. This outraged me. I screamed at them to get out of my bed. I accused them of have a three- some in my bed (even though they were all completely dressed and still in jeans.) They started to say their excuses but I would not listen. I said I wanted them all out of my apartment. This was about 3am.

They grabbed their bags and left. The girls were crying. I was crying. I think the guy was yelling at me but I just yelled right back. I heard they all went to a train station until they could get the first trains home. I cried myself to sleep. I felt like a crazy monster.

He complained to a lot of people about my drunk rage. I defended myself that I thought he was cheating on his girlfriend and in my bed. I told everyone I felt sorry for his girlfriend and he was untrustworthy. I did not know the girlfriend but I had many mutual friends with her. They were all baffled by this story. They never knew me to act like that so he must have done something really wrong, but they also knew she was a really sweet girl and trusted her judgement about the guy.

I never talked to any of them directly again. They all deleted me from their friends list. The guy and his girlfriend are still together many years later. I see him commenting on things on Facebook and he has even responded to me about a few things and I ignore him. His responses are never malicious. But his comments trigger my shame from that night. The lesbian deleted her account from the website. The other woman from that night is still friends with many of my friends but completely avoids me. I heard someone once say she was terrified by me that night. My eyes did not look normal.

Oddly, the afternoon before the party, I was telling them that sometimes drinking makes me feel like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Unfortunately I proved my point.