Winehouse

I am on my way to Barcelona.
Once again, thoughts of drinking. This time, Spanish wine.

But on the first leg of flights, I watched “Amy”, the documentary about Amy Winehouse. I related so much. Well, except for the amazing voice and famous thing. My voice is really crap. But the feelings of no structure and discipline as a kid and an absent father leading to a messed up life and relationship.

I am about to get on my next flight and looking up AA meetings in Barcelona.

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90 Days Sober!

I am 90 days sober! Yea!

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But I am not chasing for a chip this time like I did for 30 days. I might go to a meeting before work to see if I will get one, but I do not want to deal with the disappointment when they tell me they only give chips to home group members or people with sponsors. (But there are no rules for AA? Just a desire to stop drinking? Yea right. Do what they suggest or you are not worthy of a sobriety chip.)

I am going away next weekend to visit some friends.  I will have all Friday to myself while they work. It is the same area where I first tried AA in 2002 and then again in 2007. I will go to meetings there to get a chip.

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I feel good. Physically and mentally. I keep thinking of all the possibilities before me without booze in my life. Now can I survive the next 90 without soda?

Mistake # 90- I was traveling Australia and got very drunk at a bar in Airlie Beach. There was a “lagoon” to swim in because the ocean was too dangerous. The lagoon was more of a very large pool. I met a guy in the bar and we decided to go for a swim.

We thought skinny dipping was a good idea. This guy and I were making out in the pool, in the nude, and it started to rain. We ran out of the lagoon and searched for where we stripped off our clothes. We found them sitting in the same pile we left them. My purse with my camera, wallet and passport was still there. But my shirt and bra were missing.

I put on my underwear and shorts. It was pouring rain and drunk me ran around, trying to cover my boobs with my hands, and search the beach for my top. I even went up to the lifeguard to ask for lost and found. He laughed at me. He said it sounds like some kids played a prank.

The guy I was with gave me his shirt to cover up and we went back to his hotel. I kept thinking how stupid and lucky I was that only my shirt and bra were missing. Thank god my purse did not get stolen. I was so reckless. And I was also happy my purse had a plastic-like lining so my stuff did not get wet and ruined.

I also remember giving that guy a fake identity. A fake name and where I was from. I guess I either knew I would never talk to him again or I was so ashamed of my behavior while drunk.

One diet at a time

I broke the vegetarian part of my diet already. Someone brought a beautiful ham into work last night to share with the staff for Easter. There were also platters of fruit, meats and cheeses,  and lots of cakes and desserts. I managed to avoid the desserts and fruits (first two weeks of South Beach, no fruits.) But I had a few cubes of cheese and pieces of salami and pepperoni.  (I never said I was cutting out salt in this diet.)

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But I can say “at least I am still sober.” It feels when I have small setbacks like this in personal goals, I am okay as long as I do not drink. I will not make my goal of “10 push ups by 90 days sobriety.” (Tomorrow.) That is okay. I have not lost weight since I quit drinking three months ago. That is okay. Plans I had for dates have failed lately. That is okay.

I want to scream “I AM STILL SOBER!” I want an Oprah-style scream of “she is SOOOOBBBBBERRRRRR!” I want an audience clapping as I walk onto a stage. Damnit, I want Oprah to give me a new car for remaining sober.
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Well, maybe I will wait for a year of sobriety before she gives me gifts.

I think hoping dieting will be easier sober. I used to break diets all the time while drunk or hungover. A whole pizza to myself? Sure! Fast food drive-thru window? The grease will soak up my booze.

Now I need to start slapping the coworkers that bring in candy to share. I will not get jaundice from liver damage but I might turn orange from all the carrots I will be snacking on.

Mistake # 89 – I was sober “62-63 days” after my second DUI. I went to daily AA meetings during the time. After my court date, I decided I could drink again. I just needed to moderate and plan things better. Such as, plan a way to not drive if I planned to drink.

I started having a few glasses of wine at my moms. I did not get drunk those first few times. I took that as proof I did not have a problem. Then I got invited to a pool party for Memorial weekend. I asked my friend if I could spend the night to avoid driving. He said no problem.

Since the fear of a DUI was out of the way, I drank a lot. I did not even try to control it. It was more fun when I did not have to worry about limiting myself. “Another mojito please!” I noticed my mixed drinks at home or private parties were always more stronger than the flimsy ones bartenders would make.

I got trashed. I do not know if I did or said anything bad in front of his friends. I ended up on the couch cause I could not make it to the spare room. I do not remember the party after sunset. I do not think I ever got in the pool. (Probably a good idea.)

A few weeks later, my friend that hosted the party was in the city for a weekend. I kept texting him to meet up. He kept giving me half-ass excuses. He kept blaming his friends. He said he did not know what the plans were until last minute and then would forget to share them with me.

I felt hurt. I could not figure out why his friends seemed to not want me to join. I told myself it was because they were gay and woman-phobic. But, just maybe, they didn’t want to babysit a drunk girl. Maybe I did make a fool of myself at the pool party? I have been contemplating a lot lately about friends that I might have lost or kept away due to my excessive drinking but they never said a word.

That friend still avoids me to this day.

Carbaholic

I noticed I have replaced drinking alcohol with eating a lot of carbs and sugars. While that may be temporarily better for me (at least I am not getting drunk), I know it is still not healthy. I been eating too many donuts and bagels. Snacking on too much candy. And even though I try to eat healthy chips, I still eat them too much.
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So I decided to try the South Beach diet again. I have done it before and the hardest part was always “no booze for the first two weeks.” That part is easy now. *wink wink* Now giving up other sugars will be the difficult option. I do not want to substitute sugars with artificial sugars because, well, they are artificial. I would rather do this as natural as I can.
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I am also planning to do this as a vegetarian. I have flirted on and off with vegetarianism the past two years. Ever since I read the book Fast Food Nation, I have become concerned about America’s food. I do not trust the safety of the meat industry. (But I trusted the FDA enough to control the alcohol I drank?) But sometimes I get weak in my resistance and eat meat. Sometimes it is just too easy.
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And as if giving up sugars and meat was not enough, I am gonna stop soda. No more Diet Coke. I think that has been my strongest addiction. I have read of so many horrible things and risks caused by Diet Coke. It actually increases appetite and chance of diabetes.
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I think for this triple challenge, I do need daily 12-step meetings!

“God grant me the serenity to change my sugar habits, accept I will avoid meat, and the wisdom to know the dangers of Diet Coke.”
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Mistake # 88 – I lost 10 pounds on Weight Watchers. Just in time for my first anniversary with a boyfriend. We celebrated by going to Napa for wine tasting. We joined a limo winery tour.

I was not happy with just “tasting”. I was never good with just sipping my beverages. I would even buy extra tastings or a whole glass of which ever I liked the best. I was trashed by late afternoon. I stole the wine cork screw from the limo because I liked the logo on it. We ate dinner in the hotel but I acted like a drunk idiot. I was loud and obnoxious. We fought.

I was very hungover the next day and slept most of the drive back. Not the romantic weekend for which I hoped.

I remember walking into Weight Watchers and gained 2 pounds with my weigh in. I told her I went away for my anniversary. She said “well I hope it was worth it.”

Back then I said “hells yea!” Now I am not so sure.

Keep Busy

I went to the gym for my last workout. My two month Groupon membership ends tomorrow.  I tried to go to spinning class but they told me I need a pass. I was supposed to sign up for the class. This is the first time I heard this since coming to this gym. Then I realized because it is a religious holiday, the class is more crowded. I said “nevermind”.

And I could go work out on the machines or weights instead. But being turned away from that class deflated my motivation.

I feel sort of free without a membership now. I do not have to feel guilty if I do not get to the gym for a few days. I do not have to prescribe times to work out. Miss the 8am class? I can go for a bike ride. I do not need a specific time for that. (Just need to get a bike.) If I can not get to the gym before they close? I can go for a late night walk or do arm curls while watching a movie at home.

It reminds me off AA making me feel guilty for missing meetings. Maybe I should try out those online meetings?

I think I will go to a meeting at noon instead today. I need to ask about getting a 90 day chip. If they tell me I can not get one because I do not have a sponsor, I will most likely stop going to meetings in this area. That will make me feel I have more freedom.

I know people will think “oh no! Free time might make you want to drink!” I do not equate free time with boredom. Now if I had nothing to do in my free time, I might desire a drink. But I have a lot of books, movies, and sewing projects to keep me busy. I have so many photos from travels that need editing and posting. I have to look for a new place to live for June and July. I have to study for tests for work. I am considering online courses in May for which to prepare.

So I have a lot of things to keep me busy. I do not need to smell men and women sweating at the gym to exercise.

And once the weather finally warms up, I hope to hit the hiking trails!

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Mistake # 87- I had a few days off at work. I spent them drinking and chatting online. I met some guy on a dating site. I was telling him about some of the costumes I own. I invited him over to see them. This was middle of the day during the week. He came over. I did a little fashion show for him. Then we had sex. He left. He had to get back to work.
He ignored my messages and texts after that. I saw him at a few festivals and events and he avoided me. I can only imagine what he told other people.

Don’t mind me, I am just sober

Sobriety is not always easy. Now when I do something foolish, what is my excuse? I can’t say “oh I was just drunk” or “I am hungover and not thinking yet.” Is this what people mean about stopping the lies?

“Sorry. I am just a sober idiot.”

I hope not to do anything too foolish. At least, not as foolish as my drunk mistakes. So far I have been making small mistakes like missing an exit because I was daydreaming or forgetting to tell someone at work some information. I call them “brain farts.” Then I wonder how many brain cells died from booze?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend that he thinks drinking gives him a libido. I know drunk me was always a hornier me. I do feel my sex drive has decreased since I stopped drinking. But that might be from 1) the St John’s wort I started taking or 2) not meeting anyone that I desire yet. At least when I do meet someone, I will not embarrass myself with drunk debauchery.  I just might act like a tongue-tied teen. “Um… yea…hi…you want to… like… get coffee?” Maybe I will pass him or her a note and have them check yes or no.

My friend told me how I used to hit on him when I got blackout drunk. He and I used to be “friends with benefits” when we first met thirteen years ago. I used to pass out at his place frequently. I am not sure if we ever had sober sex back then? But he is now married, well, separated. I am friends with the wife. I have not been interested in him the past decade. Yet after his separation last year, I tried to kiss him. I tried to pull him on top of me sitting on the couch while his roommate, the guy I was seeing, was downstairs. I do not remember any of it.

The next morning,  he thanked me. He said it was a nice ego boost after his wife left him. He suggested he get a t-shirt “You know you have a drinking problem when you get so drunk you want sex with me.”

So hopefully even if I make dumb mistakes now, I pray none will be as bad as the ones I did drunk.

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Mistake # 85 – That friend, his roommate, and I were invited to an afternoon of wine and Jacuzzi time. Bad combination.

The host was an older man. He warned us he was gonna go in the hot tub all natural. I decided to do the same. My friends declined and wore bathing shorts.

The heat made that wine go to my head very quick. I remember having conversations in the Jacuzzi. Then I am a bit blurry about accepting a massage from the host. He had a massage table in his house in the living room.

My friends said it sounded like I was really enjoying that massage. Lots of moaning. They were both in the room during it. Then I invited the guy I was seeing to come massage me. This lead to me pulling him on the table with me. The host left the room. I did not seem to care that our other friend was in the room. He said he read a book and kept his eyes averted from us.

We did not have sex. I said something that made my guy start to laugh. He couldn’t stop laughing and had to get off the table. He was drunk too so doesn’t remember it. I don’t remember being on the table with him so I definitely do not remember what I said.

I thanked my friend the next day for not taking photos or video. Missing an exit on the highway can not compare to crazy things I used to do.

Savings

I am doing my taxes finally. I am reading back on credit cards receipts to try to find moving expenses and work related costs. I came across a lot of bar tabs.

pay advance$77 at a Mexican place for two people. I remember I did not even finish my black bean tacos there but we sure did finish a pitcher of margaritas. $57 later for drinks and I don’t remember much of that bar. Glad I did not leave my credit card like I usually do. We went to another tavern in between the Mexican joint and the bar but either he paid or I paid with cash. Next day $76 for dinner at an Asian infusion restaurant and I know half of that bill was drinks. That was average for me. Sometimes I spent more. Sometimes less. But that was $200 in two days. Some of that bill was food but I doubt we tasted the flavors as much as the beer and mixed drinks.

IMAGE--Cost-of-DrinkingI told a friend the other day that I will be saving a lot of money without booze. But if I were to average my spending at $200 a week, that would be a savings of $10,400 in a year! He told me that is a lot of airplane tickets. It was not until I looked at the credit card statement from last summer that I realized how much money I wasted from drinking. There were some nights I spent $100 in New York City or Los Angeles in a bar. That might have included drunk, friendly me buying rounds of shots. There were so many incidences where I left my credit card at the bar or lost a purse or wallet. I sit here reading my credit card statements and mourn how much I spent in bars.

Since I quit drinking, I have paid off one credit card. I think, with the overtime and extra work I have been doing, I will definitely pay off another by summer. Maybe I will pay them all off and be debt free soon! It is such an exciting thought! This seems like an additional bonus to sobriety. Besides not losing phones and cameras, I am not throwing my hard earn money away! And I am saving my brain, body and dignity.

I found an alcohol spending calculator if you want to figure out how much you spent/spend on drinking.

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Mistake # 84 – I flew to make a surprise visit to my mom. I had my brother invite her over for dinner and I was going to show up. I reserved a rental car. But first, I was going to spend the night with a friend in the city.

My friend would met me after work. Or after a date. It was something that would keep him late. I went to a Brazilian restaurant and had dinner alone. I spent $45. I had a lot of caipirinhas. Then I went to our meeting point at one of my favorite bars. I used to frequent this place. It was all new staff now but I still felt like it was home. I got very drunk. I spent $55 there. I do not know what time my friend arrived. He might have joined me for a few drinks. He helped me maneuver the subway system and then a bus to his place. I woke up next day and realized my purse was missing.

He was at work. I texted him “where are my bags?” He said he put them all by the front door of his apartment. My carry-on bag was there and a shopping bag. But no purse. He said he grabbed all the bags he saw next to my stool in the bar. I said the purse would have been hanging on the back of the stool. He doesn’t remember it.

I had my wallet in there of course. And in the wallet, my driver’s license, credit cards, debit card, and all my cash. Good thing I at least had my phone. Bad thing was I could not pick up my rental car. I was not even sure how I would fly back home without identification. I was super depressed sitting in his apartment trying to figure out what to do.

I tried to call the bar. They would not open until 4pm. I thought maybe I should check the bus station or the lost and found. My friend had a large basket on his table full of change. I gathered ten dollars in quarters, nickels and dimes. I took a bus back to the station where we waited to leave the city the previous night.

As I was waiting in line at the customer service, I received a phone call from the bar. They had my purse. YEA! I was saved! I got out of line and took a subway to the bar. I took out $10 from my wallet to tip the guy. I was saved! I went back to my friend’s place, got my bags, and went to pick up my rental car. I was late for dinner but I was still able to surprise my mom.

So much wasted. Money. Time. My mind.