9 months

I went on to a 3 day camping festival with some friends. It was a lot of fun. My feet and body are sore from exploring and dancing. I am so glad I got to reconnect with friends. There was a few times I wanted to drop the sobriety thing but I stayed strong.

I have told friends here I am not drinking but they seem to have short term memories. They offer me a beer, I say “no thanks I quit drinking” and the next day they offer me another drink. Maybe they think I meant I quit for the day? I have to ask what was in everything that was offered to me. I even turned down ice cream because I was not in the mood for dairy and later found out someone mixed booze into the ice cream. It seems some people can not live without alcohol but they are not even alcoholics! I never see these people making fools of themselves and they don’t blackout. They control their drinking. It makes me jealous. But I know I will never be able to moderate. I am allergic to alcohol. My body does not react the same. But my body is fine without poisoning it with booze.

I met up with my friends P and C that I last saw in June. They were actually the most supportive people from the whole weekend. When someone would offer me a drink, P would tell them “no she doesn’t drink alcohol anymore” before I could say anything. I smiled. I guess it took them a bit to get used to it. But by the time we said bye to each other, we all hugged. I cried. I am happy that I did not lose their friendship like I thought when I blogged about it in June.

Also they had another friend with them. I have known this girl for a few years and definitely thought she had a drinking problem. I saw her a few times very drunk and sad in the past. She was a depressive drunk. This weekend she told me she has been sober 4 months. I was proud of her. We talked a little about sobriety. She told me she has a sponsor and is doing AA. I wished her luck. I told her she can talk to me about it whenever.

I did overhear about another woman at the festival who did not have a good time. A person said she decided to celebrate her 30 days of sobriety by getting drunk. And I think they said she mixed some drugs with her drinking. She started to have a panic attack, flipped out, and had suicidal thoughts. It made me glad I was sober.

After the festival, I spent two nights in a hotel. I walked around the city in the afternoon. Again I wished I was able to drink. Whenever I used to travel and not have to worry about driving, I used that as an excuse to get drunk. I loved the creative names of some cocktails I saw on menus. But I stuck to water.

I then found an AA meeting. There was an interesting speaker. The only reason I went was to search for a 9 month chip and I was happy when they pulled out the chip box at the end. So I got a 9 month chip! (Even though I had to go to another city/area to get it again.)

My 30 days, 90 days and 6 month tokens are all coins. This one looks more like a poker chip. I see this as evidence that meetings work different in different areas. Especially my area that only gives 90 days and yearly chips.

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Busy but Sober and Sober Readings

Once again I am sorry for my lack of updates. But I am still here and still sober. Actually I am almost 9 months sober! I once heard a man in a meeting saying 90 days and 9 months sobreity are some of the most “dangerous” times because we get too confident and let our defenses down. I guess he suggests we stop being vigilant against these disease. I have felt a surge of pride that I have come this far and I am keeping aware of any lows or bouts of temptation. Not sure how much thanks of this confidence goes to Prozac.

I finished listening to Ann book The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol. It was a long “read” but I enjoyed it. It was very informational. She talked a lot about statistics,  society’s relationship with alcohol, the problems drinking causes, growing up with an alcoholic mom, and her struggles to stay sober. One word I learned from it that I loved is alcogenic.
I might try to find a cheap one online to order to keep as a reference.  There were a lot of quotes I liked in the book. Here is one:

Liquor soothes. It calms anxiety. It numbs depression. Ask any serious drinker. If you want to find your off button, alcohol can seem like an excellent choice .

Yes, alcohol was my off button switch. And sometimes it is a struggle to not want to flip that switch again, but I would rather deal with the struggle than deal with the consequences once that switch is turned back on.

I have been keeping busy. I still have not finished my book One Breath at a Time about Buddhism and the 12 steps. I have been working a lot (about 50 hours a week) and busy with my Substance Abuse Prevention class. I did go out with my mom one night and ordered her a beer at the bar. I did not crave it at all. And it was a beer I used to like!

I just received a book from Amazon that I am really liking and think I will learn from much. It is Get Sober, Stay Sober: The Truth about Alcoholism by Cynthia Perkin. The first chapter talks about AA and the pros and cons of it. I really like that she points out going to meetings is not enough. People need to work on their psychological issues behind their addiction. I have been saying that since I got sober. I have been working on my issues with reading and writing but I do think I should still seek a professional therapist. (At least to get a prescription for the Prozac so I do not have to fly to Mexico for more when I run out.) I might be settling in one place after December so that should help me stable and find a good counselor.

I was thinking about my “mistakes” the other day. A lot of people thank me for telling them. I am glad if they help others realize they have a problem and go sober. Also, I am glad I have the list to go back one day to remind me of how bad my drinking got. I still feel I am in the freshmen phase of sobriety but I hope I pass this school with honors.

Mistake 243: I spent the morning hungover. I met up with a friend for a very late brunch. I still felt slightly drunk that early afternoon but started drinking again. Mimosas were a necessity for brunch! 

I got a text message from a guy I had a crush on. He asked me to be his last minute date to a small wedding reception at a restaurant . I agreed. I was excited. I was just telling my friend how I thought this guy was cute and then I got the message. I drove home to get ready. (Already, I should not have been driving.)

I picked him up and we proceeded to the restaurant. It was a Middle Eastern themed place. It was a very nice evening full of lots of specialty drinks and wine. I was very drunk when we left. I basically started my day with drinks and did not stop. I do not remember if he was very drunk but he did not have a drivers license. He never said why but I suspected it was from a DUI. So I drove us back to his place. The next day, he told me how scary the drive was cause I swerved a lot. He said he did not realize how trashed I was. That seemed to be a common occurrence. I rarely realized how trashed I was.

Taking Steps

Last week was my ex-husband’s birthday. It was a big milestone one. Even though we haven’t spoken in four years, he recently accepted a friend request I sent him last November on Facebook. I sent it just to say hello and congratulate him on the birth of his child with his new wife. I really did not expect him to accept the friend request but surprisingly, he did. But no response to that email.

But he responded to my birthday greeting. Maybe that is because a big portion of the email was an apology for cheating on him and all the other problems my drinking caused. I told him I was almost 9 months sober. It was a heartfelt letter. I even admitted how I told his mom when we split that I was an alcoholic but I was not willing to quit back then. That was 14 years ago! I would have saved myself two DUIs and maybe prevented ruining other relationships if I quit then.

He told me he wishes the apology came earlier. Like a few years earlier. Like before he met his new wife. He said he thinks often of “what could have been.” But I think I needed to take the path I did. My roller coaster has had many downs but also some great ups. And plenty of loops. It is taking me some self-discovery (also Prozac) but I am liking who I am today.

Another step I took was to visit my sister. I have mentioned her before and she has her own mental and drinking problems. I have not seen her since 2009 and we had a nasty falling out three years ago that made me stop talking to her. My family is not talking to her. But she has been sober almost a year. She is in therapy. I wanted to reach out and be some support. I still am cautious and scared to trust her. But it felt good to extend that olive branch and visit her for a few hours. There is still a lot more repairing to be done to that relationship, but it is a start.

Jealousy

Sorry I haven’t posted anything lately. I got back from my trip to Belize and I have been busy. I have been working a lot, reading for my class, and my mom came to visit. But the good thing is that I haven’t had time to really think about drinking. I had a friend text me today to ask how sobriety is going and I told him I don’t even crave alcohol anymore. I took my mom to a show and bought her a beer and really did not feel jealous that I could not have one. I did not desire it at all.

And I haven’t posted because I feel I am struggling to think of more mistakes to write about that I am ready to share or that I have not already posted. Every once in awhile, I will be reminded of a night or event that triggers a mistake I forgotten.

Mistake 241- This night is a bit of a blur. I had a pool party during the day. About 6 guys I know came and two girls. The one girl was visiting from another country. I remember being nervous about the party and whether people were having fun and the food and what they thought of me. I remembering trying so hard to be liked. I was in my 30s but was like a teenager having a party to impress the cool kids.

I remember being super jealous of the foreign girl. She was in the pool in her bikini, flirting and wresting with all the guys. I think there were only 3 guys in the pool. But they kept grabbing her, dunking her, and picking her up. I thought I would be too heavy for them to try to pick up. I didn’t even want to put on my bikini cause I felt super fat around this tiny girl. So I just drank a lot and stayed out of the pool. I had a crush on one of the guys and it seemed he flirted with her the most.

We all had plans to go into the city for dinner with some other friends. It was going to be at least 20 people meeting at the restaurant. I allowed everyone to use my room and bathroom to change. We all made our way to the city. I was drunk by this point. I got more drunk at dinner. After dinner, we were going to a party in another friend’s apartment. Like I said it was a blur, but I think I gave the foreign girl wrong directions. I think I had her and one of the guys get in a taxi and I said we’d meet them there and I got into another taxi with some other guys. I never saw her at the party. I never talked to her again but I just remember having such hatred and jealousy for her cause she was skinny and the guys all were giving her the attention I wanted. It was MY PARTY!

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Mistake 242- I got very drunk at that party. It was a crowded apartment. I remember having some beer, either a 6-pack but more than likely a 12-pack, and I held onto it cause I was worried it would be stolen if left in the fridge. I woke up the next day sitting in a recliner chair. I was curled up with my legs hanging over the arm on one side. I was confused as to where I was and then it slowly hit me. I went to the bathroom and realized I was wearing a pair of thongs that were not mine under my skirt. I asked the hostess of the party and she said she gave them to me cause I lost mine. I later found my thongs in my purse. I have no idea how they got there or how I “lost” them. The other hostess of that party never really liked me after that night.

Ego

I am better than you.
I might not have what you have, but I am a better person.
I might not be as pretty or thin or rich, but my heart is better.
I might not be as happy as you, but I am more important.

These are some thoughts I seem to have at times to make myself feel better. I look at happy couples and tell myself I am better because their happiness will not last. I tell myself I am better off alone than settling. I do not even know these people but I convince myself that I am better. I will try to mask my jealousy by mentally degrading others.

I have traveled.
I have done volunteer work.
And now… I am sober. I do not poison my body with alcohol like you do. I do not drink that venomous juice which you THINK brings you happiness. I have REAL happiness because my mind is clearer.

How does someone with such low self-esteem develop such an ego? Is it a real ego or am I trying to believe I am better to cope with my feelings of inadequacy?  of course I do not think or react like this towards everyone. Only when I feel threatened.

This is another characteristic flaw I need to overcome. It stems from anger. Anger at myself.  Anger at my life.  Anger at my past. And it is because of fear that I really am worthless. I judge them to hide how harshly I judge myself.

Buddha describes anger this way: It is like you pick up a hot coal to throw at your enemy. The hot coal is your anger.  You are gonna be more hurt by the coal than your enemy. We need to feel the suffering the anger causes and then drop it. Let it go.

I need to learn to let go of my anger, fear, jealousy,  and judgements. I need to focus on compassion and that includes compassion for my past and problems. I need to stop desiring so much. Desiring a relationship and acceptance has cause me so much suffering.

I really need to start meditating.

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Oktoberfest

Many years ago,  I met a couple from Munich, Germany. We got a long great and they invited me to stay at their place if I ever visit Germany. A year later, I emailed them to see if they could host me for Oktoberfest. They agreed and we made plans for me to stay on their couch for three nights of the two week celebration.

They told me they usually don’t allow anyone except family to stay during Oktoberfest.  They said the last time they had a friend stay, the guy got so drunk that he tried to urinate in one of their houseplants. They felt I would be a more responsible guest.

I spent my first evening hanging out with them. We met up with some other people, including one of my German friends visiting from another city. It was fun and a lot more than what I expected. It was a large carnival with rides and games. And then there were the packed beer “tents” (actual buildings ) with food, music and beer. Most of the tables inside are reserved and some of the reservations started a year ago. We managed to find a table outside one of the tents. We ordered pretzels and large mugs of beer. I have a photo of me smiling big while holding up my first Oktoberfest beer. Later that night, my host had me try different shots of schnapps. I was loving Munich.

The next day I returned without my hosts because they had to work. I met up with my friend and the group from the previous night. We walked around and drank as much beer as we could. We drank beer all day! I had some food. I think schnitzel or something very German. I have the menu that I stole. I met some people who I am still friends with today. My German friend left early and I stayed late. I was dancing on tables and spilling beer.

I drank so much that the rest of the evening is blurry. I know I got on a very high swing ride by myself cause I made a video of it. It was the kind of ride of swings that goes around and lifts you up so your feet fly below you. But this one was like 30 meters high. You were lifted above the festival.

Mistake 239- That night, I have a photo of me standing in front of one of those house of mirrors. But I am not sure what happened. I sort of have memories of being in there. I think with a guy. I do not know what happened or what we did. I sort of remember pushing him away. I am not sure. I know I lost the jacket that I had on in the photo. I remembering I was crying trying to give the taxi driver directions to my hosts’ place.

I woke up the next morning hungover. I tried to piece together the night but decided not to bother. I was too embarrassed. I had plans to meet up with my German friend at Marienplatz. I thought we would go to the festival together. But when I found her at the meeting point, she said she wanted to explore the sights of the city instead. I was upset. I came to Munich specifically for Oktoberfest. I already visited it years before and did the tourist stuff. She said “you only care about getting drunk.” I felt that was an okay goal during Oktoberfest. So she went off to see the city and I rushed to the festival. Some of the people I met the day before were meeting at noon and I wanted to join them.

When I got to the meeting point late, I did not recognize anyone. The group must have wandered off to a tent. I waited to see if any other stragglers would arrive. I started to get depressed. Could I have fun at Oktoberfest alone? I then thought maybe I should go find my friend. Maybe I should join her. I walked outside the festival trying to decide. As I wandered, I received a text message. A British guy from the previous night had my number and asked if I knew where the group went. I replied no but asked if he wanted to meet up with me. He said sure. Yea I had someone to hang out with! My mood lifted.

I saw a shop selling German festival clothing of dirndls and lederhösen. I decided to buy a dress. I wanted to really get in the Oktoberfest spirit. I bought one that was brown and yellow and match my sweater. It was a very cute outfit. I met up with the British guy and we had a great day drinking Bavarian beers.

We found some people from the group by the evening. I was drunk at this point. The British guy had to leave and I joined the group. We got a table inside a tent. I was standing on the tables dancing again. I had drunk German guys talking to me in German and they didn’t care that I did not understand them. I also met an American guy there with his friend. We joked about the drunk Germans must have assumed I was German because of my dirndl.

There was a woman walking around doing breathalyzer testing. She gave out certificates with your BAC level. I got it done and then had everyone I met sign it. I do not remember what my number was but I remember acting proud. I lost the certificate sometime that night.

Mistake 240- I woke up the next day in a hotel room. I was nude. I looked over and noticed I was in bed with the American. And his friend was in the next bed. The guy was nice and we exchanged emails. He found me on Facebook a few years ago.

Two embarrassing nights and two blackouts. I kept thinking “at least I did not try to pee in my hosts’ houseplants.”

Drunkcations

I am enjoying my few days of “paradise”. I am doing some things I love: scuba diving, snorkeling,  and reading. I am relaxing and reflecting. I am thinking back to all the travels and vacations I have done where my relaxing meant recovering from a hangover.

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I am reading Kevin Griffin’s One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps. I have been reading this for awhile but keep getting distracted by school and travels. I am enjoying it and only up to step 3. I would recommend it for anyone who considers themselves Buddhist to read this before reading the Big Book. Or at least that is how I am going about it. One line just really bite me:

I’d always been afraid to get a sponsor because I didn’t want someone to tell me what to do.

Has that been my problem? Is that why I hesitate to commit to AA or get a sponsor? I still feel like I am in a phase of sobriety where I want to research all my options before “committing”. I already researched the “trying to control my drinking” and failed so I know I am committed to a life without alcohol. But will I divorce this idea one day? Commitments don’t always last.

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It is hard to believe I will never had another tropical cocktail or local beer. Sobriety is so much better than the drunken vacations I have done. But it is not easier. It is especially hard when I think of the good times I had when drinking while traveling. I need to stop romancizing the alcohol.

Mistake 237- I was visiting friends on a beach in Thailand. We all met a woman that was a yoga instructor and there on vacation. She’s offered to do a yoga class for us the next morning at 8am on the beach for free.

I stayed up drinking until sunrise. When my friends knocked on my door and I told them I wasn’t going, they laughed “she is hungover again.” I regret missing out on that. In fact, I stayed up drinking until almost sunrise my 3 nights there. My friends usually went to bed at a reasonable hour. I made friends with the locals.

Mistake 238- I went to a party in Singapore.  Even though the beers were $10 USD each, I drank a lot. I do not remember the end of the party and spent the next day hungover. I spent a lot of money that night. I started to nickname the city “Drink til poor”.

I am sure I can come up with plenty of other drunk mistakes from travels but I am going to enjoy my last day in “paradise.”