First Sober Trip to Mexico

9am and I am on a plane waiting to fly to Mexico. I am not nervous: neither nervous about flying nor desire to drink. I feel all my “alcohol education” I have been teaching myself the past 8 months has helped. (I will reach my 8 month milestone while on this trip!)

I mentioned the time only because I got upgraded to business class and everyone around me is ordering orange juice and vodka. A screwdriver at 9am. I would have picked Bloody Mary if I was still drinking. But I am happy with my coffee. (Okay,  not really cause it tastes burnt.)

I have a few days of diving and reading planned. It is rainy season so not expecting too much sun. Excited that I won’t be wasting money and calories on margaritas. I am more worried about my willpower with chips and salsa. Trying to limit my complex carbs for the next month to see if it helps me drop a few pounds.

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Found my section on drink menu

Mistake 227- I spent New Year’s Eve in Cancun once with a boyfriend. We took a bottle of champagne to the beach for midnight after pre-drinking all night. I think we had “two-for-one” deals that night. After finishing off the bottle and feeling very drunk, we had sex on the beach. That would not be a big deal except I swear I caught flashes from a camera. I was too drunk to care. So might be photos out there somewhere of me and my boyfriend doing the nasty on a beach in Mexico.

Mistake 228- Last time I was in Mexico, I spent an afternoon getting drunk on the beach of Tulum alone. I then drank a few drinks after the sun went down. I started to walk back to my hotel. A truck pulled up as I was walking and the stranger offered me a ride. I got in. The man was an American living there. He said he watched me sitting on the beach that day He asked if I wanted to go on an adventure. I asked what did he mean. He said “you know what I mean.” My response was a loud, drunk laugh and I said no thanks. He dropped me off at my hotel and it wasn’t until I told some friends that I really realized the risky situation I put myself in.

Mistake 229- I kept drinking once I got back to my hotel. I overslept the next morning and almost missed my bus to the airport. I was hungover on my flight home.

Mistake 230- My first time to Mexico was when I was 18. I was new to drinking but already experiencing blackouts. (Wrote about a few mistakes already from my younger years.) I went to Tijuana and got very drunk with some friends. We never got passed the first bar because I was doing so many shots of tequila, I could barely walk. My friends had to almost drag me to the bus back to San Diego. I remember kissing one of my friends that night who had a girlfriend. I almost got in trouble for underage drinking when I got back to my school.

Mistake 231- I took another trip to Tijuana a few weeks later. Again, got super drunk but at least we made it to the main street of bars. I was so drunk I either dropped my wallet or was pickpocketed. I had no ID to return across the border. (This was before they required passports.) I started crying. Thankfully I was with a friend who had two ID’s: her drivers license and military ID. Since the photo on the military ID was black and white, she crossed the border with her drivers license and I flashed her military ID while hanging onto a male friend. Thankfully, I did not get busted for impersonating a military person.

Mistake 232- I took a trip further south from Tijuana with a guy I was “dating” (it was only sexual), our friend and his girlfriend. We all got a room to share. We spent the afternoon drinking so much that we all needed to nap before sunset. My guy and I were so drunk that we started to have sex as soon as we got in the bed. We did not seem to notice our friends were in the room. I do not talk to either of the guys anymore but I am still friends with the girl. She said it was the most awkward moment of her life.

Reel Recovery Film Festival

If you are near one of the cities hosting this festival,  try to check out a few of the films.  I will be in one of the cities during the dates and hope to find time to see a couple. I will give my review of whatever I get to see.

The cities are New York City,  Los Angeles,  Las Vegas,  Vancouver, Delray Beach, Houston, San Francisco,  and Sacramento.

Reel Recovery Film Festival

Writers In Treatmentis proud to present The REEL Recovery Film Festival. This multi-day event is  a celebration of film, the arts, writing and creativity. We showcase filmmakers who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, behavioral disorders, treatment and recovery. Slated for screening is an eclectic lineup of contemporary and classic films, documentaries and shorts from American and international, first-time filmmakers and industry veterans.

Mistake 226- I lived near a movie theater once. It was across the street from the parking garage of my apartment building. I was home drinking some beer alone and decided to check out a movie. I took a small backpack with me. I shoved 6 beers in the bag. I put a t-shirt in there to keep the bottles from clanking. I sat at the top and back of the theater. I finished all those beers and passed out. Missed half the film. 

Myself Without Alcohol

I want to know myself without alcohol.

Ann Dowsett

I began listening to the book Drinking: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. It has a lot of good information. I am beginning to hate alcohol. Why did I put that crap in my body? Expect more posts about things I learn from the book.

I am thinking of taking a nutrition class next semester. Maybe that will solidify in my brain of how much alcohol destroys my body.
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Mistake 225- I ran into a friend recently for a brief moment. We chatted a little bit. Then as I went to hug him goodbye, he kissed me on my lips. Nothing serious. But planted his lips on my lips for a few seconds. I thought “why did he do that?”

Then I remembered when I ran into him at a club several years ago. I was trashed. We made out. I don’t know how long it lasted. My friend pulled me away and told me about it the next day. I guess he now things I am just a kisser. I feel I need to reinvent myself to a lot of people. I am discovering who I am without alcohol.

Just Breath

I had another meltdown at the post office the other day. I was very frustrated by their strange hours (10am to 4pm.) When I couldn’t go there after work in the morning (because I was not staying up another 3 hours), I woke up early in the afternoon to go. I rushed to get there before they closed at 4pm. I did not eat, no coffee yet, and I was tired. When the guy behind the counter told me I did not have enough proper identification, I started to cry.

He was really sweet with helping me and I did find another form of identification that was good enough. There was a woman working that was there that morning when I first tried to come in but found out they did not open until 10. She was not too nice that morning and must have thought I was a nut case this time. I apologized to the man several times telling him I was just tired and hungry. He said he understood. But I don’t think he actually does unless he suffers depression.

I cut back on my 5HTP. I was taking it twice a day but I switched to once a day because I thought it made me sleepy. But I am gonna try the twice a day dose again.

At work last night, I started thinking about something and then got worrying and almost had tears again. I told myself to concentrate on my breaths. Breath in. Breath out. I counted to 60. I felt better. I really need to find time to start meditation. Thinking is my worst enemy at times.

I have been thinking a lot about my future and school. I am trying to figure out where I want to go for my program. I was set on going to one university but that school is making things difficult and I am not sure I want to go through the trouble of establishing residency and then not getting accepted. So I have been considering other schools. But I have an aquaintance that keeps trying to encourage me to go to the school that is giving me the hard time. He claimed I am not being “proactive” enough. That pissed me off because he does not know me well and does not know how much I have been working to go back to school. I keep trying to think what kind of ulterior motive he has. All I can guess is that he wants me to live near him. We met on a dating site and had sex a few times. Other than that, I do not know him. I hate how this is frustrating me. I want to write him “well I am sober now so we will never have sex again so I do not know why you care about where I go to school!” Of course, I will refrain from saying anything so mean to him. But I am on the verge of just deleting his friend link.

Mistake 222- When I first met this guy, we had a nice lunch date. He was nice but I did not really find him attractive. The second time, I was already drunk when I showed up and he kept buying me more wine. I remember it was a dark, strong red wine. Zinfandel maybe? But I took him home with me and we had sex.

Mistake 223- I moved away but was coming through town. He offered to get me a hotel room since I did not have a place to stay that night. Of course he would be staying in the room also. He showed up with snacks and 2 bottles of large wine. I remember thinking I would need to drink at least one of the bottles before we had sex. Now looking back, it almost feels like prostitution.

Mistake 224- Next time I saw him, we met at the beach before I had a flight. I remember he picked a place to eat but my only concern was a place that served alcohol. This place did not. I was irritated. But we had a quick dinner. We caught up on small talk and lives. I said something about wanting to get to the airport early and left. Instead, I went and drank a bottle of wine I had in the trunk of my rental car. I did not want to have to pack it. I sat on the beach, alone, and finished off that bottle before driving to the airport.

Burning Mistakes

In addition to my post about staying sober at Burning Man,  I will make a list of some drunk mistakes I’ve made there in the past. I already blog a few mistakes but just never mentioned they took place at Burning Man. For example, I woke up in medical once with an IV and was told I fell off an art car. I spent a night getting drunk alone and then sitting on the playa crying until a Black Rock Ranger came to check on me. I blogged about mistakes I made at parties afterwards in Reno. So many sad, depressing mistakes.

Mistake 214- I made plans to meet a friend on Tuesday of the week. As usual for me at festivals, I started drinking as soon as I woke up. He and I ended up at Distrikt, a daytime party. I do not know how long we were there or how much we drank, but I lost my camera. It was a good $400 camera. Even though the first photo was of my name, phone number and address, my camera was never found.

Mistake 215- Every year, there is an event called the Bunny March. People meet at a Bunny Camp, dressed in bunny ears, drink some “Bunny Juice”, and then have a parade around the playa. I remember I showed up drunk with some guy I met. I did not like the Bunny Juice cause it had tequila in it. I kept going to a bar across the street to get drinks with rum. We stopped at bars along the parade. I got so drunk, I lost the guy I was with.

Mistake 216- That night of the Bunny March, I ended up on my friend’s art car. I do not remember it at all but he had a photo to prove I was there.

Mistake 217- I woke up the next day with a necklace from Animal Control. They are a camp that captures people dressed as animals. I always wanted to be caught by Animal Control. They put you in a cage and give you “shots” before you are allowed out. But the one time I am finally caught by them, I do not remember any of it.

Mistake 218- My friends’ camp did a fire performance show every night at their camp. I had a large group of friends meeting me there. I was drunk when I arrived, kept drinking more, and not sure why I left them all. But I ended up back at my tent after the show and cried myself to sleep.

Mistake 219- I was at Burning Man with a boyfriend. I got drunk early on Saturday, got mad at him for something dumb, and went to watch the Man burn without him. His first and only Burning Man and I was being too drunk and stubborn to share that experience with him.

Mistake 220- One year, my camp neighbors were a fun camp that made very good homebrews. I spent the last Sunday night at their camp drinking and “helping” them so they wouldn’t have to take so much back home with them. I drank until I passed out in their camp. I woke up the next morning in a weird position in a chair. My neck hurt. I went back to my camp to find out that I missed my camp’s breakdown.

Mistake 221- One year, I spent Saturday night into Sunday morning drinking on a friend’s art car. I stopped back at my camp to grab something and my camp started to give me a hard time for not being there that morning. I was very irritated (and drunk) because I spent a lot of time all week working at the camp. I grabbed a bunch of beers, returned to the art car, and stayed there drinking until late Sunday night. My camp stayed mad at me and we never really talked about it ever since.

Those are the mistakes I can think of or remember. I have seen other drunk people do a lot worse. It did feel good to remember everything from this year.

 

Recidivism

I have begun another online college class. I am taking this class for credits towards my degree, in case I do decide to become an addiction counselor, and for personal learning experience. The class is Substance Abuse Prevention. I am way past the “prevention” part in my own life but maybe I can learn about something to prevent me from relapsing. And hopefully, get an A and bring up my GPA.

I will share in my blog some things I learn to try to help anyone reading that is struggling with alcoholism. (Not sure why else you would read my blog if you weren’t?)

Tonight as I was working on an assignment, I learned a new word. Recidivism. According to wikipedia, it “is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after he/she has either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or has been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior.” Sounds like a perfect word for so many of my mistakes. It is a synonym for relapse. Even though the word is mostly used with crimes and the prison system, it makes me think of all my one night stands, driving drunk, and losing things.

Mistake 213- I was out having a few drinks with a friend. She was actually my friend’s girlfriend. I knew him longer and better but she called me up and asked me to meet her at a bar down the street. She began to complain about her relationship with him. She told me she could not remember the last time they had sex.

I felt guilty. I knew that I woke up in his bed 2 weeks prior. I was not sure if I had sex with him that night, but we were both nude in the morning. I sat there listening to her complain and pretended to be a caring friend. Today, I do not remember what I said to her. Last time I talked to him, he was ordered to drug and alcohol rehab by his boss. I guess he and I had a lot more in common than he and she. I hope she found someone that did not have a substance abuse problem.

Back on my Pink Cloud

(Do pink clouds last into 7 months?)

I am finally starting to feel better. It might have been helped by 5-HTP. I have taken it before but have not stuck to a daily routine of it. I do not know if I could start to feel results from it so quick. I began taken it twice a day for the past week.

Also, I think I figured out when my depressive slump of the past month started. When I went traveling, I had hopes and expectations of something physical happening with a friend. When it did not happen, I felt rejected. That, on top of traveling alone (and not being hit on like when I was younger and traveling), made me feel unpretty.  I still feel I need to improve some of my looks, but feeling less depressed about them. And still upset that my skin never got better since I quit drinking!

Mistake 211- I had a party and as it was winding down,  a guy invited everyone to a art gallery party nearby. All my other guests went home but I joined this guy and his girlfriend for the art gallery.

I was drunk when we got there. They somehow snuck me in without paying. I slightly remember meeting one of the Google creators and someone from the Real World. I kept drinking wine at this party.

I ended up making out with the guy who invited me. In front of his girlfriend.  This pissed her off and they started to have a fight.

Mistake 212- Don’t remember anything else but I know I ended up with another guy. He and I had sex in his friend’s van in the parking lot. Then he came home with me. If he didn’t,  I don’t think I ever would have known about the van.

Burning Sober

Burning Man is a dream for an alcoholic. Free booze EVERYWHERE! Every block of Black Rock City has an open bar and every hour of the day you can find someone serving. A lot of camps are dedicated to specific drinks. So if you want wine, you can find a wine bar. Spankys Wine Bar and Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro are two popular options. If you want a margarita, there are plenty late afternoon margarita Happy Hours. Some camps even make home brews to gift out to the citizens. If you feel you want champagne at 5am, there is a camp for that (Bubbles and Bass.) For years, the opulence of alcohol was one of my favorite things about Burning Man. And I never had to worry about a DUI because there is no driving in city (except for “art cars” or Mutant Vehicles.)

So it would seem that Burning Man would be a nightmare for a recovering alcoholic.

I am not sure if I would have been ready to try Burning Man sober if this was my first year going. Also, I am not sure I would have gone if I was less than 90 days sober. I felt having already experienced the temporary city for many years, plus 7 months sobriety, helped me handle the onslaught of free alcohol. I knew what to expect. I knew I would not be overwhelmed by the festival as a newbie, or virgin, would be. I knew there is a lot more to the city than partying and drinking. I also knew there were specific camps for alcoholics.

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The weeks leading up to Burning Man, I was starting to get worried. I was not worried I would drink, but I was worried about my emotional state. It seems the month before, my mood was more desolate. It might be a mix of a birthday, Robin William’s suicide, and other stresses. I was worried I would feel left out of most of the Burning Man fun or that my Burner friends would treat me odd. I decided to camp on my own from fear of staying with a camp with a bar. Then I was starting to get worried that camping on my on would be depressing and lonely. I was lucky and thankful that a week before the event, a friend invited me to camp with her and her friends. I think that was a saving factor of my week.

I found Anonymous Village my first night there. I walked into the meeting tent. It was the middle of the night and empty. Seeing a couple of Big Books on a table made me feel comfortable. I thought “this is where my people are.” And I don’t just mean recovering alcoholics and addicts. I mean Burners that are in recovery. There were pamphlets with meeting schedules and it listed two other camps, Camp Stella and Run Free Camp, that had AA and other 12 step meetings throughout the week. I made a mental note to return the next morning for a meeting. I really wanted to meet other sober Burners and hear how they handle issues of recovery on the playa.

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The first Monday of Burning Man, the gates were closed due to rain. Driving on the wet roads would ruin them and since driving is prohibited when it rains, no one could drive in until the ground dried up. This made less people in the city. That lead to my first AA meeting on the playa having only 4 people. It wasn’t like the “default world” meetings where they read the 12 steps and promises and it feels the first 5-10 minutes are spent yapping about the same things. This felt more personal. We did a daily reflection reading and then just talked. I will admit I did not feel well connected to others because they have only been going to BM for a few years and they have been sober every since they started going. I felt I wanted to find someone who knows what is it like to spend almost every minute of Burning Man drunk and then come back and try to do it sober.

I did check out another meeting at one of the other camps but did not really connect there either. It did feel nice to know that I was welcomed to hang out at any of the sober camps if I needed to. They all told me if the “craziness” of Black Rock City was too hectic, I was welcomed to come sit at their camps. I never did. Instead I spent a lot of alone time biking around and exploring the art. I took more photos of art this year than any other year.

I also volunteered a lot. I always love to give back to the city. Burning Man is created and ran by volunteers. I have a few friends who go to party and have never volunteered. Most of them are “friends” are feel I am steering away from. I got to meet a lot of people during my volunteering shifts. I even spent an hour discussing addictions and mental issues with a supervisor that is a little up there in the Burning Man organization. We talked about our families and she poured out a lot. Then she thanked me. She said she doesn’t get to vent about it much.

Watching drunk people do stupid things also helped me stay sober. I watched a drunk guy ride his bike right into another bike after the woman repeatedly said “watch out!” No one was hurt but you could tell she was mad at him. There were constant calls to medical and the rangers about people being drunk and passed out. (Unknown if other substances were involved.) And, unfortunately, a young woman died this year after being run over by an art car. It is unknown whether alcohol or drugs were involved. I kept thinking of the year I woke up in medical with an IV and was told I fell off an art car. That young woman could have been me.

I did not see the Man burn this year. I slept all Saturday night. It felt great.

I went to one more meeting my last day. It was a women’s meeting. I finally felt I connected. All except one have been to Burning Man in their drinking days and this was their first sober year. I enjoyed sharing stories of our experiences. I regret not getting phone numbers or email addresses. And I also got two gifts! Gifting is a huge part of the Burning Man community. A lot of camps make “schwag” or swag to give out. (Never heard of that term for marijuana until I read that oxford definition.) A lot make stickers, pins, necklaces, or other things with their camp name or logo. Well Anonymous Village gave me a sticker and two coins! I got a token for my first sober burn and a “thine own self be true” coin. They were the best gifts I received all week.
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I thought of all those years I spent boozing at Burning Man. It seems so much of my week was spent drinking, planning my drinking and which bars to hit, or recovering from my drinking. I kept telling myself how Burning Man is so much better sober but I never really convinced myself that it was. Maybe next year, with more sobriety and tools, it will be better. Maybe next year I will camp with Anonymous Village.

Tidbits of a depressed mind

Watching the news this morning,  they talked about a doctor being brought to Nebraska with Ebola.  My first thought was “lucky guy. If I drive through Nebraska, can I catch it?”

When the Malaysian Airline’s flight went down, I wished I was on the plane. Same with the shot down one.

I want to find a job overseas to help others and do good, but also cause secretly I hope to catch some lethal disease and die. I justify this with cremation would be cheaper in Asia than in the US.

I miss happiness

It seems it has been a long time since I felt truly happy. Maybe I can go back through my blogs and figure out a day. But it seems my heart has been so heavy for the past month. I miss being happy. I really thought quitting alcohol was gonna alleviate my depression. I realize more and more that I drank to self-medicate my depression.

My car issue is almost hurting my brain. My car can not be fixed until next week due to delayed approval from insurance and then difficulty getting parts shipped out to nowhere. (If you are gonna hit a deer, try to do it near a big city or someplace less remote than the wastelands of Nevada.) I am figuring things out but I just resent this extra work and thinking.

I went to an AA meeting today. It helped me as far as reminding me “we” are everywhere. I can handle my problem without alcohol.

I am tired of being depressed. I am tired of trying to be strong. I am tired of trying to be brave. I am gonna see about going on medication when I get home.

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