Yesterday I was feeling glum. My original plans were to grocery shop in the morning after work, sleep all day, wake up and go to gym, and then stay up late reading or watching movies. I am keep my body on my night shift schedule because I will most likely be called in for overtime tonight.

I got to the Whole Foods, started shopping, and dropped my phone. A cute man picked up and handed it back to me and said “at least it didn’t crack.” I smiled and made some joke about dropping it is why I have insurance. But when I got to the check out line, my screen was not turning on. Oh crap. It didn’t crack but it did break. I made the joke about the insurance but the truth is, my insurance on my phone ran out. I was allowed two replacements a year and I used them both up by ruining two phones when drunk.

I am new to this area so I was worried about trying to find my way home. I got mad at myself for relying on technology and GPS. I have an old Tom-Tom GPS thingie but it was not in my car. I did have my iPod Touch on me for listening to sober books (listening to Drinking Diaries currently.) I went back inside Whole Foods to use their WiFi and search maps on the iPod to figure my way to the highway.

Instead of sleeping in all day, I set my alarm for 4 hours sleep. I needed to wake up earlier so I could get my phone fixed. But all the Yelp reviews for phone fixers close to me were bad. I decided a quick 40 minute drive into the city would work since there were great reviews for phone repair companies there. I calculated it would take 40 minutes to drive to the city and but did not realize another 50 minutes to get INTO the city thanks to bridge traffic. I managed to get to the repair shop as the guy was walking out the door. He fixed it in fifteen minutes.

“Let’s grab some dinner in the city since I came all this way” I thought. I walked around wanting to find a place with good lighting so I could read while I ate. This will also, hopefully, avoid a place that was primarily a bar with food. I was thinking of just grabbing pizza when a woman was handing out flyers for free fries at a burger joint. It looked bright inside. But since I was eating alone, they sat me at the bar. I asked for the end seat near the sink so the booze would not be in my direct eyesight. The meal was good and I did not really feel any temptations.

The glum began to start when I picked my car up from the parking garage. When I paid, I started to calculate how much it was costing me to get this phone fixed. The price of the phone, the gas money, the bridge toll, the parking… it was all at least $200. A new phone would cost $500. But I started to think if I didn’t fuck up my phone while drunk twice, I would still have insurance. (I better get that overtime tonight!)

I read a few blogs while waiting for my car. Then I pulled over and read some more before leaving the city. A few bloggers wrote about relapsing. It started to get me scared. I worried about if I relapsed, would I try sobriety again? Would I be brave enough to blog about it? I keep thinking I have this sobriety thing easy since I have been mostly avoiding places with booze and I do not have kids or a partner that might make me want to grab a bottle. I have been volunteering to sign up for extra shifts at work to keep away from temptations (and fatten my paycheck.)

I started to think about one of the Drinking Diaries stories. I think it was called “First Sober Kiss” but I can not find it on the website. The author got sober by the age of 23. She talked about being drunk and promiscuous. I thought of some of the regretful, intoxicated intercourse I have had. I do not want to go back to that life. (Even though sometimes I am so scared I am not gonna know how to have a sober relationship if it ever happens.) These thoughts inflamed my glumness.

I left the city and started to drive towards the gym. I was still hoping for some exercise. Maybe it would clear my head. But thinking intensifies when I am driving. It leads to more thinking and overthinking. Add in tiredness and it creates a disheartened, crybaby. I started bawling and drove right pass the gym. I decided to go home to bed and just sleep for as long as my body wanted.

I  made a daily post last night before falling asleep. I was thankful that I wrote some already and saved as drafts. I just need to edit a bit and hit “publish post.” I fell asleep for eight hours.  It is now 5am and I am going to go the gym this morning. I feel better. Fatigue gone. And tomorrow I get my coconut cake for 50 days of sober.

Mistake #42 &43- I was living in Philadelphia but going to New York City every chance I got. It was summer and I was usually tan. But I was still pale by August because I rarely was awake in the daytime. I worked nightshifts and was up partying to sunrise if I was not working. Even if I only had one night off inbetween shifts, I would take the two-three hour Chinatown bus up to NYC, party for a night, and take a bus back in the morning.

I partied a lot with my Brazilian friend. She was a lot of fun. She had this cute, small apartment not far from Union Square. It was my crashpad for most of that summer. We would go to bars, go dancing, and have a few beers while watching the sunrise from her fire escape. It was a fun time for the most part.

On one visit on a weekend, I lost my phone. I think I lost it in a taxi or in a bar. I don’t remember. It was some cheap, Nokia. I got a free placement with insurance.

I went back up to visit the following Thursday because I had a friend visiting from the south. I originally met him when I lived in San Francisco and we got along right away. I remember loving his energy. He seemed so positive and upbeat. When I met him, he did not drink alcohol. But he started drinking again on this visit to New York. He told me about his issues with drinking and why he quit. I remember being glad he started again. We could have fun now! (And secretly I thought maybe I would have a chance to hook up with him finally.)

Drinking eventually killed him. I will have to save that for another blog because thinking about it is bringing back the glum.

He and I stopped in a bodega to pick up juice and wine in the late afternoon. The idea was to chug the juice and then fill the bottles with red wine. He also picked up some beer. We stashed the beer in his backpack. We alternated between our Jesus juice bottles and brown-bagged beer. We went to see the Brooklyn Bridge’s 125th birthday celebration. I remember there was a huge cake and fireworks. We were getting drunk and yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to a bridge.

We met up with friends in a bar afterwards. I remember almost getting in trouble for my bottles of “juice.” I tried to claim it was really just juice. A friend, who was a regular at the bar, asked me to please not drink my juice there. I started to buy rum and diet Cokes from the bar.

After the party at the bar was dying down, I took my friend to one more place. They played old 90s and rock music here. I wanted to dance. I remember rocking it out to Nine Inch Nails while my friend sat in a chair. He was looking glum. I did not realize, since we never drank together before, that he turned into a nasty drunk. He insisted on leaving. Okay okay… after a few more drinks.

I woke up the next day on my Brazilian friend’s couch. There was a note laying next to me “Did you lose your phone again!!!!!!”


Yep, I checked my stuff and my phone was missing. I went into her bedroom and found her sleeping. She woke up, saw me holding the note and looking confused, and started to laugh. She received a phone call from a taxi driver saying he found a phone in his car and her number was the first in it. That was such luck. Her name begins with a “C” but was one of the few I added to my new phone. I called the taxi driver back and he brought my phone to me. I lost two phones within one week! (Two mistakes.)

I have him a $20 reward. As he was taking the money, he said “Your boyfriend was not very nice. He said a lot of nasty things to me.” Huh? My boyfriend? “Oh him. Sorry. He is just a friend.”

“But he was not a nice friend.”

I do not know if the driver was trying to get me to give more money to make up for my nasty friend. I do not know what he did or said that was so nasty. But I do know I wish I would have recognized the danger my friend was in and I would have tried to help.

I don’t want to end up like him. I want to stay sober.

Who’s That Girl…

I have been listening to a lot of Madonna’s greatest hits. I like the old school and new Madonna. I was obsessed with her when I was little. My 3 close friends and I would dress up like her when we were 8-11 years old. We would wear one small earring and one large cross earring. We had layered, bright colored skirts and fluorescent scarfs to wrap around our teased hair. We wrote fan letters to her. We rode our bikes to the mall to see “Desperately Seeking Susan” and then “Who’s That Girl” a few years later. “Like a Virgin” was the first cassette tape I bought. I remember debating with my friends what the word virgin meant. I finally asked my mom.

Remembering those innocent times made me think of our sleepovers. Even as teenagers and we no longer lived near each other, we would get together for a few sleepovers a year. Usually someone’s birthday. We would have a fun night. Usually watch a movie. Paint nails and do our hair. Talk about boys. We never drank alcohol. We were for the most part, good kids.

I am trying to picture what would happen if we had a sleepover now. They all have kids. I am the only one choosing to remain child-free. Most likely, after the kids go to sleep, they would want to open a bottle of wine. Relieve the stresses of motherhood. Enjoy a few glasses while we watch movies, paint our nails, do our hair, and talk about men. We are allowed to do that now. We earned our right to imbibe with alcoholic beverages as adults.

But why do we need the booze?

I once had a teacher in high school that was giving us a small talk about alcohol. I do not remember why. He taught history or geography. But I remember he said something along the lines of “if you need to drink to have fun, you must be a very boring person.”

I did not drink back then. I was a good kid. In honor classes. Mostly As and Bs (with a few Cs in math classes.) Anti-drugs. A huge fan of New Kids on the Block. I was not really anti-alcohol. I just never had the desire back then. Or maybe I just never had the opportunity.

My first time getting drunk I was in the Navy. We were allowed to drink on base back then. I went to my first bar with my roommate on base. We were in uniform. We were 18 so we must have had beers or wine coolers. Liquor was only available for people over 21. Later, we went to a party off base. I remember I got drunk on Moonlight Margaritas. Everyone at the party took a walk to the beach that night. I attempted to go swimming. Everyone kept warning me the undertow was strong. I didn’t listen and ran out into the waves. Someone yelled my full name like a mother would and that got my attention. I came out of the water before anything dangerous happened.

That was the beginning of my drinking life. I continued putting my life in danger for twenty years.  Maybe I was still trying to figure out who’s that girl. Who am I? Now I need to figure out who I am without booze.

Mistake # 41 – I originally wanted to leave this story until the end of the year. But I think it goes well with my first drunk time.

A month after I first got drunk, I went to a party with a friend. It was at a hotel near the base. It was full of Navy guys. Most of us were under 21. We were playing drinking games. My friend and I had our own hotel room for us to sleep in after the party. I started making out with a cute guy at the party. I remember a little bit of sitting on the closet floor near the bathroom and kissing this guy. I remember we both were from the same state. He asked me to stay for the night. I said no. I went back to my hotel room. My friend invited her boyfriend back to the room. I passed out on the bed drunk. The guy I kissed was at the door knocking. My friend and her boyfriend decided to go out for late night food. They let the guy in and left. I do not remember much. But I woke up with blood on the bed. It was my first time.

I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. A few friends noticed I was depressed. I finally told two friends. They told me I should become a born-again virgin. Instead, I figured I had nothing left to save. The good girl I grew up as was now gone.

The Disease of More

I hear that phrase all the time. I feel I should have a medical record with that diagnosis.

I definitely suffer from the disease of more. More booze was destroying my life.

But what about the other things I always crave? More likes on Facebooks. More comments on my photos. More shares of my jokes. More Happy Birthday day posts. (I actually count them.) More compliments. More gifts. More followers. More views. 

I have started a coffee addiction. I keep wanting to kick my Diet Coke addiction but I think I will wait until 90 days sober for that attempt.

Internet is addicting. Smartphones are addicting. I deleted my Facebook app to attempt to cut down. I deleted my Foursquare app; the app for more stalkers. More Groupons. (Great to buy sobriety milestone treats.)

Sometimes I feel the AA meetings are like an addiction. Replace the bar with a room full of dry drunks. Instead of venting your frustrations to a bartender, you vent it to a room of addicts. Sometimes it seems some people are there to help others because they want to stroke their own ego. Sometimes people use AA as a crutch like they used to use liquor. The validation they used to get when drinking is being fulfilled by sharing in discussions. They are obsessed with steps. Jonesing for a daily meeting.

I need to develop an addiction to exercise. More weights. More reps. More miles. More resistance. More burn.

Less junk food. Less depression. Less temptations.

Mistake # 40 – My husband and I started to have parties every weekend. His friends from work would come over. They were Navy guys that lived in the barracks so they loved having an apartment they could chill in. I started to become friends with his friends and their girlfriends. I started to get invited to other parties when my husband was on deployement. At one of these parties, I met a guy, BP. I thought he looked like Vince Vaughn. One night when my husband was on a short deployment, BP started to play footsie with me. I enjoyed the flirting. I liked having more attention.

One drunk night, I let him kiss me. And over time, an affair started. I can not blame the affair on booze. It was my disease of more. I wanted more than what I was finding in my marriage. The affair lasted on and off for two years. It ended because he moved away. But that did not stop me from going to visit him.

We met up in Memphis. I went there with thoughts of trying to figure out what did I want: my marriage or to run off with BP. We got very trashed one night on Beale Street. The next morning, I was puking. Later that day, BP asked me if I took my birth control pill right before my vomiting episode. He asked if I might have thrown up my pill. I was not sure and also did not know what to do. I was naive. 

I went back home to my husband. My visit with BP was not as glorious as I hoped. I decided I would work on my marriage. Then my peroid was late. I kept trying to call BP. His roommate kept telling me he wasn’t home. I was confused. I was regretting that drunk night on Beale Street. What would I do if I was pregnant? How could I be sure of who was the father? I told my husband I went to visit my mom when I went to Memphis and returned his calls that I let go to voicemail. Could I continue with a pregnancy and let my husband believe it was his? 

My period came 10 days late. So I guess this is actually more of an almost-mistake.

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women Day to all the ladies out there!

I know there seems to be a lot writen about women and alcoholism. I have downloaded Drinking Diaries to my iPod and thinking of downloading Her Best Kept Secret next. I listen to them in traffic. I am not sure why it has to be a separate subject. It almost seems that is it more shameful for women than men to have an addiction. Is that because women are meant to be seen as pure and motherly?

I will admit when I see a news story about a death of a woman and they add “and she was a mother of 2”, I get bitter. I think “oh so that makes it worse? If I die it won’t be as bad as a mother dying?” I feel I am less worth. I feel no matter what good I have done compared to that mother, she will be seen as more valuable because she reproduced. Maybe I just feel anrgy about my messed up family.

It some countries, women drinking is definitely look down upon. And I never cared. Usually. I drank plenty in Muslim countries and almost got in trouble a few times for it.

A few years back, I spent one to two weeks traveling the state of Kerala in India. It is a beautiful place known for it’s spices and beaches. This is the first elected communist state in the world. It has the highest rate of literacy in all of India. It also has the highest rate of alcoholism. And I just googled an article that the alcoholism and crime are increasing in Kerala. I remember seeing long lines of men at the government liquor stores before the stores opened. I pulled into one town on a bus at 10am and a line was down the block and around a corner. I saw mostly women working everywhere because the men were usually too drunk. I did not drink while traveling in Kerala because 1) I was tryiing to lose a few pounds before the beaches of Goa and 2) I did not want to be the only female in the liquor store line.

(This was a line at a different store later in the day.)


Mistake # 39- I went to Chicago in March 2008 for International Women’s Day. I was meeting up with a group of international nomadic women. It was a good weekend and I met several interesting women. We all talked about difficulties exploring the world as women alone and gave each other travel tips. There was a dinner the first night to introduce ourselves to each other. The second day there was a lunch and a tour of the city. (Freezing cold tour!) I also took some time to visit the Art Institute because it is my favorite art museum in the United States. And that night we were meeting for dinner at Uno’s followed by a bar crawl. We were going out to party Chi town style!

I started drinking at lunch.  I think I was tasting each kind of Goose Island beer, the local brew, they had on tap. Again, trying to help the local economy. I wasn’t driving so I didn’t care and the booze would help keep me warm. I drank a lot at lunch. The large glasses only, please. I was tipsy on my visit the the art museum. I stopped in bar after for a few drinks before dinner. I was drunk by the time we got to the bar crawl. I have photos of me and some of the women. We looked like we were having a fun time. There was a lot of dancing. I think some men were swinging around a stripper pole? I do not remember which bars or to how many we went. But I know I got kicked out of the last one. I do not know what happened or what I did. But all I really remember, that is not in the photos, is me crying outside of a bar and apologizing and a bounce telling me I am not allowed back inside. I don’t know if one of the women helped me get a taxi or if I managed to do that on my own. But the women I met that weekend never spoke to me again.

45 days: Really Sober

When I first quit drinking, I do not think I was serious about sobriety. I got trashed January 18th and thought about going sober the next morning. Then I got drunk January 21st to “prove” to my friends I had a problem. On the 22nd, I bought a pocket breathalyzer so I could control my drinking. Once my BAC got too high, I would stop.


I started my roadtrip across the USA that day. I stayed with a friend the first night. I stopped at a gas station to buy him some beer. I knew he loved Landshark.  The gas station had none. I was having inner discussions “will I accept a drink if he offers?” Thankfully, he did not offer me anything but yogurt.

I stayed in hotels the next few nights. The next time I stayed with friends the following Monday, I consciously turned down beer.

45 days sober now. Not the longest I have been sober. But this is my usual time when I start to consider trying to control my drinking.

I have to stop thinking of this as “forever”. Not sure one day at a time is really my thing. I focus and worry about the future too much. I need to think in the present more. Maybe I need to work on meditation.

I am working on short sobriety goals. Today is halfway to 90 days. Three months sober just seems like…wow. That’s like a trimester. It is the beginning of my new life. Maybe I will start showing by then. And I mean showing improvements.

I read and hear about people sleeping better and having glowing skin. I work night shift so I haven’t experienced either. My face actually broke out real bad the last few days. I need more hydration and sleep. Maybe I will treat myself to a facial for 60 days sober.

I bought yellow roses for my 45 days sober. I plan to buy a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake for my 50th day. I have an appointment with a personal trainer that day.  That will even out the calories from the cake.

I marked my calendar for every 10 days of sobriety.

I am giving this BAC track to some friends. I gave them my wine cards (cards to describe types of wine and food pairings) when I tried to go sober in 2007. I hope this is the last drinking paraphernalia I gift them.

Mistake # 38- One morning in October 2001, I woke up hungover. I realized I lost my camera. But I was happy I had my wallet. I had to be at work at 3pm. When I went outside, I realized I lost my car. I searched and searched the parking lot. I couldn’t remember where I parked it and could not find it anywhere. Finally, I called the number posted for the tow company. Turns out, I parked in someone’s assigned spot. My roommate, who owned the condo we lived in, warned me about her neighbors. I was glad she was home to give me a ride to get my car. I had to call in late to work. I paid $150 to get my car back.

Booze before Buddies

Sometimes I look back and think of the times I was such a shitty friend. But I am not a bad person. A lot of people will describe me as caring and heartfelt. I go out of my way to help those less fortunate and have done volunteer work. I get emotionally upset at tragic world events. I cried a lot when I heard news of the 2004 Asian tsunami and 2010 Haitian earthquake even though I did not know anyone affected.

But when I drink, getting drunk becomes a priority.

I do sometimes act very protective of my good friends when drunk. I have threatened bodily harm to men that try to take advantage of my drunk married friends. But if my friend ignores my help, I will take it personally and stop talking to them or some other pity punishment.

I can become super bitch when boozed up.

Mistake# 37- My friend from Mistake 36, that I blogged about yesterday, was in town for another night. At first she said her boyfriend was going to rent a car and drive three and a half hours to pick her up. Then he claimed there were no car rentals available. Either he was lying or a complete idiot. I was able to find several car available online. I said I was okay with buying her a bus ticket back home. The problem was there were only 3 buses a day and they all left before 7am. I think the times were 4:30am, 5:30am and 6:30am. We were invited to a party on Saturday night so I told her I would take her to the bus on Monday morning.

She said she wanted to leave Sunday morning. She said she was missing her boyfriend. His kids would be visiting and she wanted to spend time with them. I wonder if my drinking on Friday night helped her form this decision.

I told her she would have to get a taxi to the bus station. I was planning to get drunk and would not be available to drive. She tried to talk me out of the party. “Why are we going to this party? You only know a few people.”

“Yes but I will meet more people and make more friends. Besides, it is a themed costume party and I love dressing up!”

The theme was Mardi Gras. I had a gold dress with purple stockings, purple sheer scarf, and purple wig plus big purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads. (I did not earn these. I have no idea what happened to the huge pile I earned in New Orleans.) I kept offering my friend to borrow something to fit in with the theme. I had a huge chest of costume pieces. She refused. She said it wasn’t “her thing.”

Since she kept pestering to leave on Sunday, we came up with a plan. Since I did not want to drive after hitting a wall the night before, I was going to drive to my friend’s house and get a ride from there. We would put her bags in my car and she would get a taxi from his house. This friend’s house was actually my “friend with benefits.” I knew I would most likely stay the night there with him. We parked my car and she left her bags in my backseat.

The party was good. Lots of great costumes and a King Baby cake. My friend spent the whole time sitting on a couch on her phone. She was texting her boyfriend. She did not mingle. I am not sure if she was uncomfortable with all the drinking or because of her medication. Or maybe she was just shy and I never noticed. I ignored her and enjoyed meeting people. The hostess and I were having a conversation about costumes and wigs. I mentioned my wig was itchy and she offered to let me borrow a head cap. We went into her bedroom to search for it. When we came out of the bedroom, my friend was standing at the bedroom door. She looked like a lost puppy. “I didn’t know where you went.”

I don’t know why but this irritated me. I felt she was being a buzz kill. It was a small apartment and she got worried when I was out of the room for a few seconds. I tried to encourage her to talk to others but she went back to her couch. I thought “fuck it. I am gonna have fun.” I was also irritated that she was insisting on leaving the next morning at my expense.

I did not want her to ruin my night. I started doing jello shots. There were other kinds of shots too. There was a lot of liquor. At some point, everyone started yelling “show your tits” and all the girls started flashing. I think there was some drinking games involved.

I woke up at my FWB’s bed. Hangover, of course. His bedroom was too bright and I always bitched at him to get blackout curtains. He complained my blackout curtains always made him oversleep at my place. I checked my phone and there was a text message from my friend “thanks for the weekend. I hope you find your keys.”

I asked him where was my stuff. I followed the path of my clothes out to his living room. There I found my purse with my wallet but no keys. We texted the host of the party to find out I left my keys there.  The bad part about leaving my keys at the party: I could not get my friend’s bags out of my car. And she still insisted on leaving that morning. My FWB said we stopped at an ATM so I could get money on the way to his place and then called her a cab. I checked my bank account. I took out $100. I had $80 in my wallet the night before. I had nothing in my wallet the next morning. I gave her $180 when a taxi might cost $20 and the bus should be about $60.

I never sent the bags and she and I have not talked since. 12 years of friendship gone. It might have been crappy for her to take advantage of me financially like that but if alcohol was not such a focus of my life, the weekend might have turned out different.

too personal

I am starting to worry if I am posting too much personal information and stories. I am trying to tell my stories without causing future damage to myself. I was mentioning to my mom about having a blog and following other sober blogs. Then I started to get paranoid that she would freak out if she knew of all the stories I posted.

I must remind myself I am doing this for myself. I am going sober for myself. Maybe I need to reveal all to fight my battle. I feel like with each post, I am taking off an item of clothing and about to stand nude in front of a room of strangers. Maybe I need to be vulnerable to wake up.

I was reading my “sober journal” I kept after my second DUI. The first month was so much “I am NEVER drinking again” and listing some consequences of my drinking. That list has increased a lot in 7 years. But after about 45 days, I started to write “maybe I can drink and just not get drunk? Maybe I can still enjoy wine with dinner?”

I KNOW that I can not drink alcohol. I can not moderate my drinking. I need to keep reminding myself of horrible things I did when drunk. I need to be more worried about what will happen to me if I continue drinking than people’s opinion of my past.

I need to be personal. This is my journey.

(After writing that, I got a comment on yesterday’s blog that a reader connects with my stories. I smiled and cried as I read that comment on my phone. Maybe I need to be personal to help others, also.)

Mistake #36- Last year, I had a friend come to visit me. I have known her since my mid-twenties. We used to party a lot and go clubbing. She taught me to wear sequin pants to get attention. I always thought she looked like Christina Ricci. She still does.

A few years ago, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I never noticed. I always thought she was sweet girl with a bubbly attitude. She told me stories of manic phases with online shopping and depressed phases with bedroom hiding. I did not know how to react because I guess I was uncomfortable with the disease. But she quit drinking due to her medication. She actually said she quit partying. She plays video games for fun. She described herself as a “homebody.” I still wanted to take her out to meet all my friends.

The first night, I took her to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. I knew she did not make much money at her job so I offered to treat her for the weekend. I even paid for her bus ticket to visit me. Unfortunately, I think that made me think she had to just go along with everything I wanted to do. I invited some of my friends to join us that posted online from a nearby bar. I am not sure if I was trying to show off to my new friends my hot friend or if I was showing off to her “look at all my friends!”

I drank a lot of wine with dinner. My car is a stick shift and she does not know how to drive it. My friends invited us to another bar in another section of town. I was excited to show her that area. I was trying to play “bar tour guide”.  To a girl that did not even drink alcohol anymore.  I was okay to drive over there. (Not sure if I was legally okay.) We hung out at a few bars there and I think I switched to beers. This place had my favorite IPA (at that time). It was a local brewery so I figured I was trying to help the local economy. My friend kept drinking Cokes.

I wanted to show her one more bar on the way home. It wasn’t too far from my apartment. Maybe a 5 minute drive. It is a dark, dive bar. Actually, a famour strip bar. I told her no one can come to town without checking out that place. I said I would have just one drink and we could leave. But then some college boys started to flirt with us. We thought it was hilarous and I wanted to stick around for this entertainment. They had to be 15 years younger than us. I was glad for the darkness of the place. Last thing I remember is ordering a rum and Coke for me and a plain Coke for her and yelling to the waitress “Make them both a double!”

I woke up the next day in my bed with a hangover. I went out and walked to the store to grab a few things while I let my friend sleep. When I came back, she said “so are you mad about your car?”

My eyes went wide. “What do you mean?”

She asked “oh you haven’t seen it yet?”

I rushed out of my apartment and down to the parking garage. As soon as you open the door, my car is right there. And a big piece was missing off the side door. About 6×4 inch panel was missing. I gasped. She told me that I drove home that night and I was doing fine until I tried to drive around a curve in the garage. I hit the wall. Or actually the concrete pillar. She said I hit it, then backed up, and then hit it again. She said she was so scared.

I walked down the ramp and saw the missing pieces of my car laying there on the ground. I picked them up and went back up to my car. The back passenger door had huge scratches across it. I was so thankful that was the only damage. So thankful I did not hit anything else or anyone.

I decided I would try to fix it myself. I bought glue that is supposed to help fix boats to try to glue back on the piece and car paint to try to cover up the scratches. The glue did not work cause I need to sand down where it came off or something. The paint doesn’t really work cause they don’t make my car color anymore. The pieces are still in the back of my car a year later.

When people ask me what happened, I just say “eh tight parking garages” or “oh small mishap.” No one pushes for more information. That was not the last time I drove after drinking.

Fat Tuesday

My friends in New Orleans are celebrating Mardi Gras. I am celebrating another day of sobriety.

I used to love making lists of party destinations. I wanted to experience the greatest festivals around the world. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. St Patrick’s in Dublin. Full Moon parties in Thailand. Oktoberfest in Munich. I have been to some and made drunk mistakes while living it up. I now wonder if I could still attend the ones I missed and enjoy them sober.

Mistake #35- I was on a cross-country trip with a friend and we planned to stay in New Orleans for two nights. We stayed with a family she knew in Metairie, a suburb of the city. We were in luck that this was the beginning of the Mardi Gras season. The first night I went to bed early because I was tired from driving. The next night we were going to the French Quarter to celebrate!

Before we went out, I was had lunch alone and was checking Facebook on my phone. It was Valentine’s Day. I noticed that the guy I recently stopped seeing changed his FB status to “in a relationship.” We only broke up the previous week. And in the two months we dated, we never had that status. I texted him asking if that was why he wanted to stop seeing me. He replied “sort of.” I asked if he was seeing her while dating me and he said “kind of.” I was furious.

I went back to the house we were staying to get my friend and get ready for the night. I needed to get trashed. We were going to hit Bourbon Street and I was gonna forget about him. We dressed up fancy and I put on a Venetian mask that I bought that day. It was beautiful and about $25. We began to hit the bars at happy hour. I think we had dinner in there somewhere. We watched mini parades of people playing music. We went to bars that had balconies to get good views of the people.

I began “earning” beads. My fancy black dress was easy to flip down for quick flashing. I drank a lot of shots and would toast to the ex-boyfriend “FUCK HIM” with each one. He was from Los Angeles so I started to bash all Californian men. “SCREW THEM ALL!” My friend said I was pretty funny but she was worried about me cause I kept falling. And I was getting serious about earning my beads.

I woke up the next day in a hotel bed. My dress was laying on the floor next to the bed. My pile of beads (at least 30) was laying on top of my dress. I found one of my earrings on the nightstand. My Venetian mask was missing. No one was in my room. I sort of remember kissing a guy from a local university in one of the bars. I put on my dress and searched for the missing earring. It was a pretty, yellow amber one I bought in Germany. As I was searching, a guy walked in. I looked at him and tried to piece together if I knew him and what was his name. He must have noticed my confusion cause he laughed and said “A. went out to lunch. He will be back soon.” Oh yes… that was college boy’s name. I thanked him. He said something about my huge collection of beads. I gathered them up into my arms. I wrote my number and email on hotel stationery and said “if you guys find my earring, please send it to me.” I had no plans to really stay in touch with this guy. I just wanted my earring. He took the paper and said sure.

I got a taxi back to Metairie. The family was pushing their baby in a stroller on the way to see a parade. The mom laughed and said “oh the days of the walk of shame!” She actually was the same age as me. My friend filled me in more on the night. Yes, I was kissing the college guy in the bar. She wanted to leave and I refused. So she left me there. I told her about the missing earring and she said “you will never see it again nor hear from him. He used you and that is that.”

I felt ashamed but I defended myself with “I used him! I got over one guy from LA but getting under a different guy in a different L.A.”

Sometimes humor is my best defense.


I went to an AA meeting the other day where most people talked about issues with their kids and how it affects their sobriety.  It made me so glad I chose not to procreate.

But that does not mean my sobriety is not affected by children and family. I have a niece and nephew who mean the world to me. They are my younger sister’s kids. I was a big part of their life when they were younger. Then she and I have not gotten along since 2011. I am not sure what her diagnosis is but I know she is suffering from mental problems in addition to substance abuse. I suspect the mental issues are secondary. She did not want me in the lives of her children anymore.

My mom has helped raise them a lot. I don’t think my sister would have managed without her assistance. My mom secretly kept me in touch. She would have them send me cards and talk to me on the phone when they visited.

My sister began to show increased erratic behavior last summer. She gave her two children to their paternal grandparents “for a little bit” and then spent two months fighting for them back. (Their father has been out of the picture most of their lives.) The children were returned to her. I heard she seemed normal for a month and then began “acting up”. My nephew is a preteen and the poor kid told me his mom is “sick”. He is old enough to know.

Last fall, she gave them to my older sister and her husband. She signed away her parental rights and sent them a 1000 miles away. She was mad at my mom so did this rather than give her custody. I was worried because I have not gotten along with my older sister for two decades. I could never pin-point the reason. Maybe she has mental issues too. But I guessed I would never see the kids again.

Since they were born, I have sent them postcards, gifts and foreign currency from all the places I have been. I have taught them few words here and there in other languages. I’ve taken them on trips to cities that are driving distance to their home. Now the poor kids were uprooted and taken away from the only life they knew. Besides my mom, my brother has been closest to them. He was my nephew’s best friend.

At first, my older sister contacted me and said she wanted me included in their life. Over the months, new and stricter rules keep being placed that makes it harder to speak with the kids. We are only allowed to call for a few minutes on weekends but my sister and her husband monitor the calls. I do not know if they get the cards I send. Then they told my brother and I we can not visit the kids. It has been tearing us apart.

Then last night, her husband told my mom that my brother and I are no longer allowed to speak to the kids. I emailed my sister asking what did I do to be denied contact. She responded with a myriad of reasons and excuses that did not make sense. When I tried to refute each one, she replied with mean messages and told me “this is not about you!” Then, to add nastiness to her emails, she said the kids do not even ask about me. She said my close relationship to them is made up in my mind.

There are so many feelings going through my head and body. I am hurt and angry. Saddened. Worried. I worry so much about those kids. My nephew is very sensitive and emotional. Before I went away when his mom first started with her problems, he apologized to me for his mom being mean. He cried and told me not to leave. I think my niece is still too young to know what is happening. The times I have talked to him, he talks to me about art and books and the latest Walking Dead. I wonder what they are going to say to him when he doesn’t hear from me nor my brother.

I am trying to restrain outrage and hatred. I have been reading Buddhist quotes to try to find a peace of mind. I am going to start a journal of letters to them but not send it. Hopefully my mom will be allowed to see them this summer (unless she gets cut off too) and she can show them the journal. I hope keeping these letter will show them I never stopped loving and thinking of them. Hopefully my younger sister will seek help and regain custody.

I know I mention that my sisters have mental issues but fail to mention mine. I know I am an alcoholic. I suffer depression. I plan to explore whether my depression triggered the alcoholism or the other way around. Maybe if I can treat my depression, I can fight the drinking problem. I am not perfect. But the kids should not have to suffer.

I am not letting it affect my sobriety. I did tell my mom I wished I could just drink a bottle of wine and call my older sister to give her an earful. I know that was not rational thinking.

I pray for my little K and D.

By your own folly you will be brought as low as your worst enemy wishes. – Buddha

Mistake# 34- I was visiting a friend in Florida. She had her two little girls with her. One was 4 and the other 7. I spent a week with them traveling from Tampa to Pensacola to St Augustine. I was asked to join them to watch the girls while my friend took care of some things. She was going through a divorce.

The week was  a good reminder of why I do not want kids. I even went to the airport early to try to get an earlier flight home. I was drained from spending time with her kids. I was tired of their yelling and screaming. I was irritated by their crying over a stuffed animal or cartoons. I was so fed up with their fighting that I went out alone my last night.

The last night was a visit to St Augustine. It is the oldest city in America. We spent the day sight-seeing. I remember two girls arguing relentlessly and not listening to their mom. That night, I decided to go out alone. I wanted my own time. I went to some place for dinner and margaritas. A guy from the bar started smiling at me and then asked to join me. We talked and had many margaritas. Many! He invited me to a small party down the street.

I got drunk and went back to this party full of strangers. I do not remember much except a beautiful kitchen, more margaritas, and he and I having sex in a bedroom. Then I stumbled back, along cobblestone streets, to find the hotel. I do remember being scared I was gonna break my ankle on the antique road.

The oldest daughter was waiting up for me. She said she was worried when I did not come back by the time her mom went to bed. I told her I got lost.

Shamed by a 7 year old.

dinner party

I went to a birthday dinner last night. I arrived late because I miscalculated how far of a drive it was. I was still one of the first few people to arrive. I thought it was going to be a dinner and some drinks but it turns out she was turning the bar section of the restaurant into her birthday celebration. So most people were arriving later for the drinking portion. The birthday girl was there with five friends when I arrived. A total of thirty were expected.

I was trying to think of excuses  for why I was not drinking. No one asked. My friend called the bartender over to get my order and said he makes good drinks. I told him ravioli and “just some water.” I think it helped that I did not know anyone but the birthday girl. No one else knew  what my drinking habits were like. She was too busy introducing people and drinking. It was her night. She was center of attention. Why would people care if I drank booze or not?

I was irritated that when I ordered two Diet Cokes, it was not free refills. $2.50 for soda! What if I was designated driver? I sort of was DD for myself.

As more people started to arrive and claim they needed to “catch up”, I knew I had to go. Rounds of shots were being ordered. People started to pound drinks. Some yelled “gonna be a WILD night!” My friend was a little disappointed when I told her I had to leave but I gave an honest excuse that I was going to visit my mom. It was  a long drive. We promised to get together soon. I will approach the sober subject then.

Later that night, I saw a video of the party posted online. Bongos came out. The bar was packed with people dancing. Most looked drunk. I was glad I did not stay. I would have been bored sober and pitied myself. I am not ready for dinner parties where the focus is on drinking.

Mistake # 33- I was living near Washington DC. I made plans with a friend to see the “DC Drag Race” or “High Heel Race” near Dupont Circle. This is an annual event where drag queens race down a block or two in high heels. We got a good seat with a view of the race. That means we got there early. I do not remember which bar but it had an upstairs balcony. We started drinking and drinking lots. I do not remember much about the race except my favorite drag queen was dressed like Britney Spears. She was pushing a baby carriage and kept dropping her baby.

I woke up on my friend’s couch the next day. There was a large cup from McDonald’s on the coffee table. I sipped it and it tasted like flat Diet Coke. I went up to his room and asked him where was my camera. He proceeded to fill in details of the night to try to figure out where I left my camera. I also realized my wallet was missing. My driver’s license and credit cards. All gone. He said we stopped at McDonald’s on the way home. Maybe I left everything there. Nope. And not at the bar either. I was taking a short trip to Europe two days later. I had to get traveler’s checks from the bank. I was thankful I did not have my passport out with me that night. More collateral damage due to my war with alcohol.