Sleep is like Medicine

4 months sober. 120 days. I did not treat myself this milestone. No cake. No flowers. No time for a facial or pedicure. It feels blah. Not bad. I actually feel good and happy for the most part. Just not as exciting as reaching 30, 60 and 90 days. 6 months sobriety still feels so far. Maybe I need to get to a meeting?

I started to write this blog while at work. I started a blog about my housing situation but then deleted it. I thought I did not want a blog about bitching. But my mood after work changed.

This morning, after working a night shift, I decided to drive 2 hours to REI to buy new shoes. That was not the smartest idea. I was tired and so cranky by the time I got to the store. I started to get depressed and over think on the drive. I started to picture getting in an accident and my mom’s reaction. Then thinking that my mom would be the only person in this world that cared if I died got me crying. I was driving down the highway, bawling, fantasizing about my own death.

After I bought my shoes, I took a nap in the car. I slept on and off almost 5 hours. But my car is packed for a festival this weekend. So I could not lay my seat down much and I could not sleep comfortable. I was still cranky when I woke up. I went and ate fast food. I ordered a Diet Coke and bitched to myself out loud “at least it isn’t a fucking beer.” I drove an hour towards my mom’s. Again, I got very sleepy. Pulled over in another parking lot and napped for two hours.

Maybe I got in a better position or maybe since it was darker due to rain clouds, but I slept better for those two hours. I woke up feeling such a better mood. I got to my mom’s house (knowing she was away). I unpacked a few things and went to bed.

I think tiredness is one of my worst enemies.

Mistake 120- I had a friend visit and stay with me for the weekend. We started out as cyber friends and he lives an hour away. This was maybe his 3rd or 4th visit and I visited him once. He was a flamboyant gay guy and liked to party.

I have no idea what happened that night but we got in a fight. And it was an ugly fight. He accused me of attacking him. He had scratches to prove it. But I do not remember it. He even tried to call his roommate to come get him but I unplugged the phones. I do not remember if he left during the night or the next morning. I remember I tried to take sleeping pills that night because I got so upset. But they were not enough because I eventually woke up.

He and I never spoke again but he went telling our community of cyber friends that I was crazy.

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Boozing and Backpacking

I saw a thread floating around on Facebook about traveling backpackers. I laughed. A lot of that pertains to me. I miss traveling.

But the bits about drinking got me wondering if traveling sober well be difficult for me.  It is easy to tell myself “you will save so much money without drinking” but bars do tend to be a natural habitat for backpackers. I used to pick out places to eat in the backpacker areas based on the drink specials. I avoided hostels that did not allow alcohol consumption. If a hostel sold beers, I sometimes had the highest tab by the end of the night. I spent one Christmas Eve getting drunk at an elephant camp in Thailand with other travelers and the guide was shocked that I drank more beers than anyone. Even the German guys.  Beer really was cheapest beverage in some countries. That was my excuse when I kept getting drunk in Czech Republic.

I need to remind myself of the times I put my life at risk by getting drunk in other countries. The times I got lost or went home with strangers. The times I lost my wallet or passport. The time I almost got arrested in Mexico or ran nude in Muslim countries. I never drove drunk in other countries because I rarely drove in other countries. (Though once I drove from Tijuana to San Diego after a lot of tequila shots for lunch. I was so worried the border patrol guard would smell my breath but he was more concerned I wasn’t smuggling people.)

 

in a bar in Istanbul

in a bar in Istanbul

I have a trip planned in August to Portugal. I am a little nervous. It is my birthday gift to myself. I am already planning to spend the day at art museums and then a nice dinner. As of now, I will be spending it alone. I keep skipping the parts of my guide book that mention clubs and bars. In the past, I would go to bars alone in strange cities. I would sit and observe. And drink. I am hoping I will be able to stay strong and sober while traveling.

Mistake 119- I was staying at a hostel in Melbourne, Australia. I bought a bottle of abstinthe that day. I was so excited because it was still illegal in the United States. I remember I did not know how to drink it properly. I was mixing it with juice and some Gatorade type of drink. I got trashed on it by myself. I met a cute Swedish guy somewhere in the hostel. Either in the kitchen or common area. For some reason, I think it might have been by the soda machine. I don’t remember much except we ended up having sex in his dorm room. We were on the top bunk. He had 3 upset roommates. I told some friends about it the next day and everyone said “that is dorm life!” I spent the rest of my stay wondering if any guys giving me strange looks were his dormmates. Never talked to the guy again.

 

 

 

 

Friends with benefits and booze

A friend started emailing me Sunday morning at 6am. I just happened to wake up early that day. I asked if he was still up from the night before. He replied that he has not made it home yet from the night. I guessed correctly that he was drunk. He wanted to know when I would be in town next. I answered and then asked “don’t you have a girlfriend?” He does.

I am not sure if he was drunk flirting or just being friendly. I am not sure if he saw I was online and not many of his other friends were up at 6am. But we used to be “friends with benefits” when I lived in his area. After I moved away, I used to get messages from him “I miss you.” The last message before this Sunday, I told him to stop drunk emailing me because “it will never happen again.” I was probably drunk when I messaged him with that and meant I will never sleep with him again. He and I both knew that I most likely would if I was drunk enough.

Mistake 118- When I first met him, I did not like him. I thought he was weird and annoying. We met through other friends at a festival. I thought he was immature and I avoided him.

After I lived there for a few months and I saw him at a lot more parties, we started to get along. Not close but he was part of the group I partied with.

He began to date a girl that was quiet. Later, I found out she did not believe in gay marriage rights. His best friend was a lesbian. I asked him how could he date someone that did not believe his best friend deserved the same rights as them. He said she was really religious and nothing he could do about it. I started to refer to her as the Homophobe.

One morning, I woke up in his bed. I was horrified. I even said “No! Please tell me this did not happen!” But it did. He admitted he should not have been driving because he was so drunk. But he offered me a ride from whatever party we were at and we ended up having sex. He cheated on the Homophobe. I felt guilty but also like I beat her in some invisible contest. But I told him it would never happen again.

The Homophobe soon dumped him. She claimed he partied too much. He and I began hanging out at bars more. And we began having sex more often. He stayed over my place a few times and was always late for work when he did. A few of our friends suspected it but no one said anything.

Once, I brought up the topic of us starting a relationship. He said “with me? I don’t think we could have a relationship.” I asked why not. Am I too old? He said “honestly? Yes.” I am 9 years older than him. And he said he was still in love with Homophobe.

I moved away a few months later. He now has a different girlfriend. One I never met. I just do not know why he is drunk messaging me.

Another guy that thought I was good enough as drinking buddy and sex friend, but not good enough for something serious.

Less Sugar

I had a strange dream last night.  I was on a cruise-type of ship but it was also sort if like a military ship-meets- college dorm. And I think we were cruising the Bosphorus in Turkey. But I remember I walked into one room on this ship and it was full of alcohol and beautiful glasses.  It was an artistic looking bar and could create any drink I want. I looked at it and said “that is pretty but I can’t drink.  Oh well.”

It feels like my first “sober” dream. I did not drink, not try to drink, nor feel the guilt of sneaking a drink.  I have had drinking dreams before where I start to get so upset for drinking and then wake up so relieved it did not really happen. I had no desire to drink in this dream.

It has been a month since I gave up soda.  Almost four months since I gave up alcohol. I am drinking a lot of unsweetened ice tea and coffee. I have decreased the amount of sugar I put in my coffee and completely stopped artificial sweeteners.  I still crave bagels and other carbs but trying to eat fruit more. It is time for fresh fruit!

I packed up my stuff in the room I was renting.  Most of it is now stored at my mom’s house.  Things I need, such as work clothes,  gym clothes,  and daily clothes plus laptop and books will be kept with me in my car.  For the next two months,  I will either be traveling or renting rooms for a few days to few weeks.

Plus I start my online classes next week. AA meetings will not be a priority. I know I need to be vigilant to stay sober.  I feel safe with my sober bloggers. 

Mistake 117- I had a friend’s roommate that kept showing me attention. He flirted with me at parties. I liked him. I thought he was funny. But I did not want to make a move. I was worried my friend wouldn’t approve.

One night, I was drunk at a party and he offered me a ride home. I was very trashed and do not remember any of the night. I woke up still drunk the next morning with him in my bed. We had sex that night. So much for not making a move.

After he left, I found a painting in my living room. I texted him to ask what it was. He said “don’t you remember stopping at Walgreens and some guy asked for change and gave us that?” Nope, no recollection. “Yea you gave the guy $5 for it.” I was astounded that I would do that. This painting was probably stolen. He told me to hang it up to remember “our night”. But how could I remember the night with or without a painting?

After that night, he started to avoid me. Then soon he got a girlfriend. I was hurt. But I guess he didn’t want a relationship with someone that got so drunk she doesn’t even remember sex with him.

I gave the painting to Goodwill.

Unworthy

I had a conversation about relationships with a friend and why mine have all failed. Besides due to my drinking. I realized I get into some relationships because I like being liked. I do not actually want to be with the person, but I like that they want me so much.  Sometimes I do start to like, or even love the person. But I get into too many relationships out of loneliness.  And not even always because I am lonely. I just crave the attention. I realized I have hurt some men, and more women, with this behaviour.

Hell, I did not want to get married but did it because I was scared if I lost him, I would never find someone to love me again. I did love him. I just realized 3 weeks before the wedding that we were rushing it (only dated 3 months he proposed and married 5 months later.)

Now, I seem to always rush things. I love the high of feeling wanted. I savor the spark of the new. I know it goes deeper into feeling my family never wanted me growing up.  I felt I had worth finally as an adult if another person showed me affection.  But I also used alcohol to hide my feelings of unworthiness.

No matter how much I tell myself “you are worthy” or “you are beautiful”, I still feel surprised if someone else believes it. This is why I what to find a therapist who specializes in alcoholism. Hopefully next autumn after I move and settle somewhere, I can search.

Mistake 116- I was visiting a gay friend with my boyfriend. I think we all met up at a bar with mutual friends first. Then we went back to the apartment. My boyfriend and I were staying with my friend for a few days while we visited the city.

We sat around the apartment drinking wine. My boyfriend and gay friend were getting along. They were joking about foreign porn and foreign gay porn. I guess I started to get jealous. I do not know why but I started to accuse my boyfriend of actually being gay. (Many years ago, I had a boyfriend cheat on me with a guy and then start a relationship with that guy after we broke up. I think I have always been worried it would happen again.)

These accusations turned to a verbal fight. I was extremely drunk. They said I ran up to the roof and refused to come back inside. I said I would rather sleep up there but my boyfriend was scared to leave me alone up there. I was screaming and being dramatic. I do not remember any of it. My friend was worried the neighbors would call the cops.

Somehow my boyfriend coaxed me back inside and to bed. I woke up with red, puffy eyes and remember fighting but not the roof. I sort of remembered the reason for fighting. My boyfriend asked me why I would think such a thing and I could only think because of my past experience. But also, I was jealous he was giving my gay friend attention. They were getting along as two friends but I wanted the attention.

My boyfriend and I stayed together for another year and half. So many of our fights were about my questioning his love for me. I started those fights to test how much did he really want me. I need to learn to want myself before messing up another relationship.  So far, I am really loving this sober me.

Blackouts were so normal

I had a nice dinner last night with a friend.  We have known each other seven years but this was the first time we got together since 2010. We had a lot of catching up to do. But when we first made plans, I warned him I quit drinking. I gave him a brief description of my “bottom”. He told me he had a lot of questions for me about quitting.

He and I used to have a lot of fun times drinking. We both had night shift jobs. On nights off, I would stay at his place and drink 1 or 2 large bottles of Yellowtail wine. Sometimes 3. And by large, I mean the 1.5 liter bottles. Usually we got Shiraz. Sometimes Cabernet. We would drink until sunrise and talk about lots of different things.

He said I used to get mad when he would make me brush my teeth before passing out. My teeth and lips were purple but I would get irritated he encouraged me to clean them. I just wanted to fall asleep.

We did get to catch up a lot over dinner and walking around the city. But it is hard to cram four years into one evening. I felt a large portion of the conversation was about my sobriety. He said he thinks he drinks too much and he is worried about his weight and blood pressure. But he never had a “bottom” to get him to stop. I told him high blood pressure should be a good reason to quit. He quit cigarettes 2 years ago. I told him I think he can quit drinking if he feels it is something he should do.

He, like most people, asked if I am doing AA. I told him I go to meetings and I like the support of the groups, but I am not subscribing to the “rules” of AA. I have not seeked out a sponsor. I did not do “90 meetings in 90 days”. I feel reading and writing daily blogs was a great substitute. (I bet Bill W would approve of sober blogs as part of the program if internet existed back then.)

I told him about sober blogs and the books I read. He wants me to suggest a few blogs for him to get started. I told him to reward himself with little things first few days and then every 10. I shared with him some of the positive outcomes I have experienced. Like saving money, no hangovers, feeling good, and pride to have come this far. I told him he should check out AA meetings but also check out SMART meetings.

We will hopefully get together again soon. It is hard with our schedules. Maybe we can even check out a meeting together.

I am not sure if my friend is an alcoholic.  Only he can decide that. I never thought of him as one. But then again, I don’t think many of my friends would have thought of me as one. I was just a “party girl”.

Mistake 115- He told me a story of one night I was staying with him about 6 or 7 years ago:

I did a scavenger hunt with other friends in the city. I remember part of the scavenger hunt was to find shots in an Irish bar. I remember the team all agreed I would do the shot. I was the one that liked to drink. We had to stop a few places for this game and if the place had alcohol, I chugged a drink. We finally got to the bar where all our friends met on Thursdays. We did not win but I still celebrated.

I got drunk. My friend came to find me. The plan was to meet at the bar and then subway back to his place. He said he found me passed out on a couch upstairs at the bar. Our friends told him he should just leave me there. “Ah she will find her way.”

He got me up and outside. He turned to say bye to some people and then lost me. He found me sitting on the curb. Passed out. He got me up after much work. He said he had to teach me how to walk. “First your left foot. Then your right foot.” After a couple steps, I insisted on showing him I didn’t need help by demonstrating I could run. One. Two. Three. Fall on the ground.

We got to the subway. He said I insisted on reading. So I pulled a book out of my bag, opened it, and read. Then my head would slump down after a few minutes. He would wake me and ask “how is the book?” I would tell him it was really good and go back to reading. Then my head would droop again.  The subway ride was about 45 minutes. He said at one point my head was on his shoulders and I was drooling.

We made it to his apartment. I stripped off my dress in front of him and passed out on the couch naked.

The next morning at breakfast, he asked “do you remember getting home last night?” I told him no. He said I answered “no” like it was completely natural not to remember a 45 minute train ride or the stumbling/walking/running bits to and from the train. Like “no, I don’t know who won the game” or “no, I did not watch the Oscars.” I was nonchalant about my blackouts.  It was just part of who I was. Oopsy daisy.

And my friends were used to me passing out in public places. I am sure if he didn’t bring me home, I would have ended up on another friend’s couch. Or in a strange man’s bed.

Old Alcoholic Movie

I watched the movie The Lost Weekend from 1945. It is about an alcoholic writer that gets left alone for the weekend and goes on a drinking binge. I don’t want to give it away,  but he ends up in a sanitarium for alcoholics. That is where people went for treatment before rehab. Scenes showed how horrible this disease can get.  I also thought “this is how people picture alcoholics.  Crazy people that would do ANYTHING for a drink.” The people that get the shakes and sweats without alcohol. The people that go through detox. The people that suffer delirium tremendous. I also noticed there were no women in the alcoholic ward in the movie.

I walked past the beer aisle in the store again and glanced at the choices. Why do they put it on the way to the milk section? But I did not really crave any of the beer. I just thought it was like window shopping for things I can not afford. Or things I admire but do not want to waste my money on. It is like when you realize you no longer love an ex-boyfriend but still like him as a person.

Mistake 114- I was living either in Philly or New Jersey. I went to Manhattan to party with friends. Somehow, I ended up in Brooklyn. I do not remember if the party moved there or if I spent the night with a guy. But wherever I stayed, I left early the next morning. I was still drunk. I was a bit lost. I could not figure out how to find the subway and I did not know the NYC bus routes. Once I got to Manhattan,  I could find the bus home.
I asked someone and they gave me directions to the nearest Metro stop but it was a far walk.

I was tired. It was summer and a warm, Sunday morning. I laid down on the sidewalk. I found a spot that seemed quiet and clean from broken glass. It was against a building. I just wanted a nap. Just a short nap and then I would walk to the subway. I had a thin jacket and bag that I put under my head.

I remember it was a Sunday because a woman and young girl woke me up. They were dressed for church. They asked me if I was okay. I told them “yes, just tired.” They might have been checking to see if I was alive. They asked if I needed help. They could give me money if I needed some. I must have looked homeless. I told them no, I just needed to find the subway. They pointed the direction and offered to call a taxi and pay for it. I declined. I got up and started the walk. 

I was so embarrassed.  Once I found the subway, I napped a bit and missed a few stops. I eventually got home and spent a long time recovering.