No More Slipping

I slipped again two weeks ago. I am finally ready to just call it a relapse. One long drawn out relapse full of slips since last May. Slipped… sober 3 months… slip…sober a month… slipped again. And each time, something bad happened.  The first time I lost a favorite dress. The 2nd time I scratched up my shins doing laundry drunk. And this 3rd time,  I dropped a shopping bag with a Dali clock I just bought and broke the stand. I am gluing it back together as much as I can but actually hope the cracks will remind me to stay sober!

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I keep saying “I am back on track” after each slip. But obviously I need to make a change. I need to do something. I really want to stay sober. I have experienced many of the benefits. I don’t want to face anymore of the horrors. I know everyone is going to say “go to meetings” and “get a sponsor.” I almost went to a meeting last night but decided to go to bed early.

This latest slip was in Barcelona. Well, actually in Figueres after visiting the Salvador Dali museum. Sangria was included in the special at lunch. I got tipsy while talking with an American couple sitting next to me about the Dali museum and travels. Towards the end of my meal and half pitcher, I felt they were judging me. I felt they were disappointed for some reason. “Look at this drunk traveler.” Was I slurring? I think my feelings of guilt were making me paranoid.

I had dinner that night in Barcelona with a friend and her friend. She knows I am sober but her friend did not. They ordered a pitcher of sangria but I declined the glass when the waiter brought me one. My friend apologized for the pitcher when her friend went to the bathroom. I wanted to confess my afternoon drinking session but I was ashamed.

The next day I planned to walk around the city taking photos. I headed to the Barri Gothic area. But I felt an itch everytime I past a place offering sangria. I finally stopped and ordered a half pitcher with pizza. Then I spent the rest of the day walking around, taking photos, and stopping for sangria. I stopped at 3 different places along the Ramblas. I kept telling myself I deserved it. I was relaxing. I was people watching. I came to Spain to see the Dali museum and accomplished that so now there was no hurry.

I got drunk and started to chat with a local guy online. Soon we made plans to meet. I spent the night at his place. We did not actually have sex because he couldn’t get it up. But I am disgusted at the risky situation I put myself in. And the next day, I went back to the room I was renting and slept most of the day. A wasted day.

That evening I did get to an AA meeting. It was a big book meeting. I don’t remember what the reading was but I did not relate to it. I felt out of sorts. The shame and guilt were worse than a hangover.
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So I am at 2 weeks sober today. Again. Pink fucking fluffy cloud.

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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.

Think It Through

I think without counting days, months and looking forward to a coin, my thoughts of drinking again has been increasing. It was only as I started to write this blog that I realized today is one year and 2 months. No chip for 14 months sobriety?

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But I sit here watching a beautiful sunrise and realize I am, once again, thankful for my sobriety. I am on a short diving trip to a Caribbean island. It has been so nice here. I experienced a few amazing dives. Yet, I want rum so bad. I want to party like the rest of the divers. I want to “belong”.

Everywhere I go on this island, they advertise rum drinks. Rum happy hour. A free rum cocktail with dinner. Or free tshirt if you do 10 shots of something. And then there is the local beer.

After my dives, everyone on the small boat talked about getting drunk next. “TIME TO PARRRRTTTY!” The fact that my dive guide on my second morning was hungover was a bit disturbing. And then he ran out of air early and shortened everyone else’s dive. It seemed everyone that worked here or was staying here for a few weeks or months did nothing else but dive and drink.

There was a huge beach party going on last night. Everyone on the boats were going. It was free for ladies before 11pm. My dive shop was organizing a pre-party at the shop that included one free rum drink.  Then they would go to the party in a large group. I was worried about temptation. 

A lot of the females I met were encouraging me to join. But I really wanted to go because of one cute guy I met while diving. He smiled at me a lot and swam close to me on all the dives. He sat next to me at times, asked about my tattoos, and chatted with me about our previous dives. Does he have a crush on me? Would I be able to attend this party and flirt with him sober? If he offered me a drink, would I be able to turn it down? Or would one rum and Coke be okay and loosen me up enough for flirting? Just one and then I will stop.

Asking myself these questions almost made me cry. I kept reminding myself of stories from my past. I remembered sitting on a sailboat on a dive trip, away from the rest of the group, listening to Ani DiFranco on my iPod, and crying because I was ugly. I think I was upset because of a guy I liked or jealous because another girl was getting more attention. But it was one of those times that overthinking while I was drunk led to depression. Someone heard me crying and checked on me. I lied and said I was fine. I was actually thinking of jumping off the boat. I don’t remember why I did not or how I got to my bunk. I was hungover diving the next morning.

There were other stories that came to mind. There were times I missed a flight, bus or ferry due to a hangover. I had a ferry the next day at 7am. Could I go to this party, get some sleep and still make it to my ferry?

I was tired from four dives that day. I decided I would take a nap at my hotel and worry about my decision when I woke up. I was upset that other people do not have this inner debate about enjoying on alcohol.

Instead, I just kept sleeping. When my alarm went off after a two hour nap, I thought it through. I decided I did not want to risk temptation. I did not want to risk missing my ferry. I wanted a good night’s rest before diving today. And I did not want to risk disappointment in case cute, diver guy was not interested in me.

I need to find a group of sober divers.

Oktoberfest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drunkcations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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