Responsibility

Have you heard about this story:

Man sues casino for getting him drunk

I laughed. I shouldn’t have. But I did. I thought “only in America would someone try to avoid responsibility and sue for their mistake.”

Yes, the casino should not have served someone who was visibly drunk. I always wonder what is “visibly drunk”. I have had blackouts that shocked friends because I “seemed fine”. They have let me drive because I was walking and talking okay. They tell me they did not know how drunk I was until I started swerving the car. I guess I was good at faking sobriety.

This guy lost money because the casino kept serving him alcohol. I want to yell “IT IS VEGAS! It is riskier than a minefield”. He has a $250,000 Mercedes-Benz. He was a regular in Vegas. He lost the money and then went to another casino, but that place was warned not to do business with him. (Was he going to try to win back the money there?) Plus, he admits he is on prescriptions that increases intoxication but the casino host is liable because he knew about the medication. To me, it sounds like a case of a sore loser who needs to get help instead of a lawsuit. If he wins this, I hope the judge will force him into rehab for alcoholism and gambling. I think this guy needs to take responsibility that his addictions are not the casino’s fault.

I have used “I was drunk” as my excuse to avoid responsiblity so much. That drunk sex did not count. I spent a lot of money but I will just work extra to make up for it.  I did not mean what I said. Sorry I lost my camera with my sister’s 30th birthday photos. I was drunk and whoever found it is an asshole for not posting it on Craigslist Lost and Found. Only jerks take advantage of drunk people.

Now I have to take responsibility for my sobriety. Am I finally an adult now?

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So many mistakes from trips to Vegas. Here are a few:

Mistakes #54, 55, 56, 57, 58, &59- I booked a trip to Vegas for a friend’s birthday. I invited a female friend from California to meet us there. I booked a room at the Flamingo because that was where Birthday Boy would be staying. A week before the trip, he told me his boyfriend dumped him and he couldn’t afford Vegas now. He canceled his trip. Then a few days before, my friend in California got sick and did not think she could join. Screw it. I was still going. I would enjoy Vegas alone.

I remember it was December. My first night, I spent time at the bar playing Blackjack on a machine. I played too much because the bartender kept flirting. Before bed, I decided to get photos of the Christmas tree across the street at Caesar’s palace. A cute guy was walking by as I was taking photos. I pointed at him and said  “YOU are not American.” He was startled. He stopped, apologized for not being American, and introduced himself. He was French. I tried to explain I did not know why I said that but I guess his fashion sense or hair or something suggested my observation. Maybe it was drunk powers. I asked if he wanted to join me for a drink. He was on his way back to his hotel but accepted my offer. It was about 2am.

Christmas tree in front of Caesar's

Christmas tree in front of Caesar’s

We drank in the casino and chatted. I must have been telling him things I liked about Vegas because we walked to the Venetian. He said he was impressed with the beauty. Then said some line about the beauty of the casino and me. He kissed me. We ended up at his hotel. I think he was staying at the Stratosphere. I remember going on the Speed Ride at the Sahara Hotel on my way back to my hotel the next morning. I remember still being drunk when I went on the ride.

The Venetian

The Venetian

I booked tickets for a few shows for the weekend. First, I thought “what would be a very Vegas thing to do?” Tom Jones was in town. I thought it would not be unusual to see him. I booked a seat for his show on Friday night. Then I reserved a ticket for Thunder Down Under on Saturday. It would have been more fun with gay guys but I would enjoy watching the Aussie male dancers by myself.

The Tom Jones concert was fun It was at the MGM Casino. The audience were at tables with four seats around each. I found myself seated with to three, young Canadians. They were in their twenties. Two girls and one guy. The four of us got along and had a great time. The one girl had a pair of underwear in her purse that she ran down to the front to throw on stage. We all went to a bar after the concert. We had a lot of drinks there. The Canadians eventually said goodnight and went back to their hotel. I tried to encourage them to stay out later. I asked about meeting up again the next day. They left without giving me contact information. Maybe I was an annoying drunk to them?

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I went back to the Flamingo and slept all day. I woke up for dinner and another night of drinking. The next night was horrible.

I do not remember where I ate. But I must have drunk a lot with dinner. I remember planning to take the monorail drunk but I was getting frustrated because it was not arriving fast enough. I had to get down to Excalibur for the Thunder Down Under show. I gave up waiting for the tram and went back through the casino to get a taxi. Then I bitched at the taxi driver for not going fast enough.

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I was a little late for the show. I had a good seat at a table in front. I do not remember any of the show. I was trashed. And I kept ordering more drinks. I have a photo of me with the dancers after the show. I think you can get one for $15. I look so sloshed in this photo. I am squatting in front of them with my arms spread wide in front of me like I am saying “TA-DA!”

After that show, I decided going to the nightclub Pure in Caesars Palace would be fun. Get some dancing in before going back to my room. I remember waiting in line and chatting with everyone else waiting. I kept running across to the closest bar for more rum and Diet Cokes while waiting. I think we waited an hour. (It could have been 15 minutes.) I can not believe I was still functioning and standing. I was so drunk at the male revue show. They still let me in the club. I do not remember anything inside except I met a very tall, Latino guy. He was a local.

Most of the rest of the night is a complete blur but I recollect bits of it. I ended up back at his apartment. But I decided I did not want to have sex. I do not know what happened but I started to get upset. I screamed and yelled at him “DON’T TOUCH ME!” He kicked me out.

I had no idea where I was. I could see the hotels and casinos on the strip but I could not figure out how to get there. I was crying and walking towards the lights. I lost my phone. Before I did, I called and left a very depressing message on my sister’s voicemail. It scared her. I remember seeing a shuttle van for a casino that must have been off duty but there was a driver in it with his window down. I ran over, howling, asking if this guy could give me a ride to my hotel. He started to roll up his window to avoid the hysterical, wasted woman. I grabbed money out of my wallet and started wailing “I have money! I can pay you! PLEASE!!!!” He drove away.

I must have dropped a lot of that money. I remember having a stash of hundreds in my hands I was trying to shove through that van’s window. I did not have it the next day. I think I lost $600-$800. Lost it. Not gambled it.

I walked back to the strip most of the way. I cried and screamed into the air the whole time. I can remember screaming “I WANT TO DIE!” I decided to start walking in the middle of the road hoping a car would hit me. I don’t remember if there was a median or just lines in between the different directions. I remember the road I was walking on went over I-15. Maybe I was on Flamingo Road? I remember cars honking their horns and people yelling “get out of the road!” I am sure there were a lot of insults shouted too.

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One car pulled over in the middle. I now think maybe there is a flat, median in the middle of the road? I think he parked his car there. He got out and tried to help me. I screamed at him. I kept accusing him, this total stranger trying to help me, of trying to rape me. He somehow calmed me down and got me into his car. He stayed outside to prove to me he wasn’t trying to drive me anywhere. He called the cops.

A female cop arrived. She gave me a ride the rest of the way to my hotel. She told me she has seen a lot of horrible things in Vegas. I kept saying I hated men. She told me not to trust men in Vegas.

I slept the whole next day. My flight was very late at night. I kept extending my check out time and paying extra. I told the front desk I was ill and I needed more rest.

A few days later, I got a phone call from that man who saved me. I think his name was Alex. To whoever he was, thanks.

And thank gods I did not walk to the edge of that road and jump over onto I-15.

Drunk sex with a stranger. Drunk and annoying strangers. Drunk show I don’t remember. Drunk and dangerous situation in an apartment. Drunk dropping money. And drunk deathwalk. 6 regretful drunk mistakes all in three days.

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Difference

I went to an AA meeting yesterday. It was my first one in this area. “This” being my home for the next few months. It was a noon meeting. I really enjoyed it. I felt welcomed. I liked the people and the discussion. One of the women gave me a meeting list and collected phone numbers of several of the women for me. It felt like a scout meeting and I wish I had a sash. I would sew my sobriety chips on the sash as I earn them.

I am not sure how often I can go to that particular meeting. I start working night shift tonight. Noon will be my midnight. But I did find a meeting near my job that starts an hour and half before my shift. So I plan to try to catch a meeting and then a quick bite before work. I just hope I wake up in time. I am not a “morning” person even if it is waking up in the evening. I love my bed more than I ever loved booze.

The meeting’s topic was “Differences”. I smiled thinking of that topic. I thought of the Johnny Depp quote I posted a week ago. I will repeat it here:

I’m not sure I’m capable of leaving behind a personal message. But if I did, I hope it would be that it’s okay to be different from the crowd. In fact, it’s really good to be different from the crowd, and that we really should question ourselves before we pass judgement on someone who is different to us.

-Johnny Depp

I was using that quote to make myself feel better about being different from non-alcoholics. And here I was at a meeting that was about NOT being different from alcoholics.

I remembered back to the first few times I went to AA meetings. I would listen to the stories about someone getting drunk at work, hiding bottles of liquor, or shooting up a drug and I thought “wow I am not that bad! I don’t do that. I just need to learn to control my drinking.” Years ago, I read Augusten Burroughs Dry and thought I would never be as bad as him. I read Brett Butler’s Knee Deep in Paradise and Jerry Stahl’s Permanent Midnight. I had a fascination with reading memoirs about addiction. I even told people I read them for comparasion and to feel better about my life. 

Now I read memoirs about addiction for support.

So no, I am not different from the other alcoholics in there and even though I never did hard drugs, I can not say that I never would have done something that stupid while drunk. I am still trying to adjust to not being different from all those people and that I am different from the 90% of people that can moderate drinking. 

Another reason I was glad I went to this meeting was because of one woman. She shared a story because she was worried about some things she did. She is worried she might go to jail next week. I never met this woman before but I felt a heavy heart for her. I saw myself in her. I feel selfish now but I kept thinking “that could be me if I keep drinking”. I really wish her the best of luck and will pray for her. 

Prayer. Now that is something different. I will have to save that for another day’s entry. 

Today I am 30 days sober! I bought myself some pink roses to celebrate.

 
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Mistake #23- I was dating a guy from a country that spoke a difficult language. Or at least it was difficult for me to learn. We were staying with his friends for one night while traveling in his country. We all went to a bar to meet up with more people. Everyone at the table started conversing in their native language. I felt left out and unwanted. I started to drink beer. I was ordering the largest size available. I played a game on my iPod. It was either Mahjong or a Tetris-like game. I was pretending to be completely engrossed in my game since I could not pay attention to the discussion.

I was actually getting mad. How dare my boyfriend subject me to such a boring night? Why is he not explaining to me what is spoken or even the topic? Why is he not even chatting with me in English? The more I drank, the more angry I became. The more I drank, the more I started to blame him for the whole night being a failure. I drank and thought. Thought and drank. Negative rationales were brewing. My eyes started to water because I began to get depressed. 

When we left with his friends (since we were staying at their place), I continued to act super involved in my game. I walked a little bit behind the three of them. The girl in the couple stopped and walked along with me for a bit and asked about the game. I pretended the game was more interesting than chit chatting with her. I have no idea what the couple and my boyfriend talked about (in their language) but it was obvious I was upset.

Back at the apartment, I went to our room right away. The couple offered us some beers but I refused. My boyfriend and I fought in the bedroom some. He did not understand why I wanted to stay in the bedroom. I was too embarassed at this point to want to have drinks with them. I cried myself to sleep alone. 

The next morning, the couple was gone to work by the time I woke up. I had a hangover. But the awkwardness I created the night before was hurting more. We explored the city some but then were on our way. We never got to say bye to the couple in person. I asked my boyfriend to please apologize to them for my rude behaviour. “Just tell them I was drunk.”

The same excuse as usual.

Healthy

I have told a few people I quit drinking to try to be healthier. Maybe I should actually follow that advice. I signed up for a two-month gym membership today. And I bought 10 yoga classes. Thank you Groupon!

It is hard to quit a lot of things at once. I am finding it harder to stop drinking soda than alcohol. I am addicted to Diet Coke but I know the chemicals in it are bad for me. I keep telling myself at least I can still operate a car after a 6 pack. It annoys me that I have so many friends that codemn me for drinking soda but they would never encourage me to quit booze.

When I quit drinking for two months last fall, I was upset I did not lose weight. I really thought cutting out the calories of beer and wine would make me drop pounds. Hopefully adding exercise and proper eating to the sober thing will get me a size smaller before I finish the 100 Days Challenge.

Mistake #22- Ten year ago, I went to a gay club with some gay guys I knew. I used to be a regular there with another group of friends that all moved away or moved on. I got very drunk and passed out. The bouncers woke me up to kick me out. I ended up leaving with a very hot guy. This guy was very built and muscular. I think my gay friends were trying to hit on him but since he was straight, they encouraged me to get with the guy. My friends did not want to leave when I was kicked out but he offered to give me a ride. He took me to an after party. More drinking.

I went back to his place afterwards. I remember it being disgusting and messy.  We did not have sex that night. I didn’t know why cause I was too drunk. But the next morning, we attempted sex and he was having issues. I took a shower. When I came out, he asked me for a favor. He started to pull down his pants and I was about to protest what I thought he was going to ask. Then he handed me a syringe and asked me to give him a shot in his ass. I was relieved but then was shocked. “Steroids???” He smiled. No wonder he had performance problems.

I ignored his calls and never saw him again.

Reinventing self

I started my new job today. Well, I restarted it after my first day was delayed due to mixed up paperwork. The day went well and I got along well with all my new coworkers. I realized, I could be a whole new person here. I could be someone to them that NEVER drank. I could create an image of a “good girl.”

Years ago, I learned my lesson of not mixing my social and work lives. I tried to avoid being a victim of workplace gossip. I used to say it was because I was not judgemental like the uptight staff. Actually, I was worried about them judging me and my drinking.

Before learning to separate business and pleasure, I used to go to happy hour after a shift with coworkers. At 8am. We worked nights. We knew of the two breakfast places that had happy hour from 7am to 9am. Bloody marys, screwdrivers, and other breakfast juices with booze. Two for the price of one. It was a great deal and great way to blow of steam after a stressful night of work.

I will have to developed other ways to bond.

Mistake # 21: A couple years ago, I went out with two young women from work. We were all new to the area and job. We all met up at my place. We took a taxi to some local bars. A guy I slightly knew texted me. Even though I was not interested in him, I invited him to join us. The night turned into the four of us drinking and talking and having fun. I think.

I woke up the next day in my bed wearing only my shirt and underwear. I was hungover and not remembering most of the night. The two women from work slept in my living room. When I asked what happened, they did not believe I could not recall what I did.  They said I was making out with the guy that joined us. Then he tried to come home with us but they refused to let him. They kept saying “I can’t believe you don’t remember any of this?” Blackouts were a foreign concept to them. When I got to my apartment, I stripped off my jeans as soon as I got in the door without closing it. Then I stumbled to my bedroom and passed out. They had to lock up my place.

I am not sure if they told anyone at work about my behaviour. They barely talked to me anymore. All three of us were temporary employees and went our separate ways after a few months. Being a temporary employee made reinventing myself easy.

Focusing on the Negative

“Sometimes the past should be abandoned, yes. Life is a journey and you can’t carry everything with you. Only the usable baggage.” ~Ha Jin

(I have no idea where that is from but a friend just posted it and I thought it went well with my blog today.)

A friend recently messaged me I should focus on the positives things about going sober instead of the negative. This lead me to try to explain the pink cloud to him. I have tried to quit drinking in the past and those times I focused on the positive. I felt wonderful. I imagined how great my life will become now that I quit. I thought of all the improvements in my life and the weight I would lose and how my relationships will become perfect.

What happens when all that doesn’t come true?

That overconfidence can be dangerous for recovery.

Alcoholics have notoriously selective memories. No matter how sickening the hangover, how humiliating the drunken behavior, how dangerous the blind-drunk drive home, we seem incapable of recalling consistently or clearly how bad things got when we drank. – “Drinking: A Love Story” Caroline Knapp

I wrote about being on a pink cloud my 9th day of sobriety. After trying to explain it to my friend, I decided to read up more about it myself. I found this website and it’s description of the pink cloud to be interesting: Alcoholrehab.com:

People can feel cheated when the super highs of early recovery are replaced by more modest emotions.

(I actually added that link to my blog because I wanted to save it and I really wish I had the money to go to a rehab program in Thailand. Do they allow scuba diving as part of the program?)

I am writing this blog for my recovery. Some people might read it and see I am worse of a drunk than they are. Some might read it and think my mistakes weren’t that bad. Others might relate to my stories. Some readers might have no problem with alcohol at all and do not understand my blabbings. But I am writing about 365 times that I do not want to forget. Moments that I want to reflect on when I think just one glass of wine will be okay. I have already forgotten a lot of the incidences. Or buried them in my mind. Journals and stories from friends are helping me.

Thanks for reading.

Mistake # 20- NYC costume party: I was finishing a 30 days drinking break. The end to my break was going to coincide with a trip to New York City to visit a friend. People teased me for picking an expensive city to start drinking again. My break was over on Thursday night. No problems. I went out with a friend for a few beers and conversation. She went home at a reasonable hour and I went to another bar. I drank alone until 1am. I drank again on Friday with another friend. Again no problems. Then Saturday, I went to a costume party. I started drinking in the afternoon that day. Beers with a late lunch. Lots of beers. I picked up some beers for “pre-drinking” in the apartment before the party. I was drunk on the subway to the party. I was very trashed at the party. And I continued drinking overpriced rum and cokes.

That night I met a guy that I thought of as a small, internet celebrity. I have his YouTube videos saved on my account. I had a small crush on him. I have no idea what I said or happened, but anytime I have seen that guy since that night, he avoids me. I joked and defended myself by saying that I am not a stalker. Just a drunk.

I woke up the next day at my friend’s apartment laying next to a purple skirt. It was a long, shiny skirt. It had a ripped zipper. I asked him where did it come from? He said he found me at the party passed out on a couch hugging it. He has no idea how I acquired it. The blackouts are baggage I will not miss.

Support

I am still not comfortable telling most people about my sobriety. I have not told many friends that I have quit drinking. I am worried about their reactions. I am worried they will try convincing me to moderate my consumption. I am worried they will not believe I have a problem.

Last night, a friend called. She wanted to talk about her job and boyfriend. We chatted for awhile. She mentioned a festival this summer and asked me to go with her. I told her a few reasons I am not sure I can go this year and then added “I quit drinking” so not sure I can handle it sober. She did not push me to go nor argue with me. She even asked if I could avoid my party lifestyle if I relocate to the area I plan to move to this summer. We talked about the challenges I am facing. And at the end of the conversation, she told me to call her if I ever need to talk to someone. It was so reassuring. I texted her later to tell her how much I appreciated her encouraging words. She replied “Big hugs, let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you in this.”

I still feel I need to be cautious about who I tell. It seems it will be a litmus test for real friendship. But also makes me realize I measured most of my potential as a person in how much I could party.

I had lunch with my mom today. She ordered some sort of alcoholic cider drink and I had a soda. She said “are you still not drinking? This is very good” and pushed the straw my way. I told her no thanks. It annoyed me.

We talked about different things during our meal but towards the end, I started mentioning my problem. I talked about ethnicities that have high rates of alcoholism and diabetes because they do not process sugar well in an attempt to educate her that both are diseases. I brought up the 100 Day Challenge and that I should finish May 1. I was trying to think of an award. She changed the subject.

I can’t be too mad at my mom. She has seen me and listened to me quitting several times. She much rather try to avoid confrontation and ignore problems. She had to drive 5 hours to bail me out of jail once and then come down for my court date 2 months later. Neither of us thought I would walk out of the courtroom that day. But she still doesn’t understand addiction.

So I am trying to estimate which friends to reach out to for support. I feel I can avoid drinking at my mom’s but do not feel I can consider her as support yet. Maybe after my 100 days or 6 months of sobriety, she will start taking me more serious. Or maybe if I start to share with her some of my mistakes, she will understand it is a real problem.

Mistake #19- About seven years ago, I was invited to a pirate themed birthday party for a woman I knew from a website. She lived near my mom. The party started at her house and then we went on a 3 hour boat ride.

I barely knew the hostess and knew no one at this party. So to feel more comfortable, I started to drink quickly. And drink a lot. They had a huge cooler with a batch of a mixed drink with lots of different rums. I think it was called Pirate Poison or something like that. I brought a bottle of wine as her birthday gift. She had a glass and I think I drank the rest. I was feeling friendly and drunk as I walked with this group of people to the boat dock.

I remember having a good time. I drank a lot of that poison punch. I remember dancing. I took a lot of photos but the last few are all blurry. I woke up the next morning on a couch in her garage. I got up, grabbed my bag, and just left. I never went in the house to find her. I drove to my mom’s.

My mom was drinking coffee and reading her newspaper when I got home. She asked where did I sleep and I told her at the house. She said “well at least you didn’t drive drunk.” But not sure I was completely sober that morning.

The polish on my toenails seemed it was scrapped off. The birthday girl called me to check on me. I apologized for passing out. She said I passed out on the boat. Two guys had to drag me back to her house. I was wearing sandals so my toes dragged all the way back. Hence… no more toenail polish.

Allergies

Early sobriety has the quality of vigorous exercise, as though each repetition of a painful moment, gone through without a drink, serves to build up emotional muscle. -Caroline Knapp “Drinking: A Love Story”

I read some more of my journals last night. I had to have a tissue box next to me because I kept crying. There are so many stupid things I did. I hurt my mom and others I love so much. But my love for alcohol prevented me from stopping the cycle. I know a lot of people who try to go through life without any regrets. For me, most of my regrets were subdued stupidity. I chucked my regrets off as drunk mishaps. Misfortunes. Mistakes.

I was eating some chocolates and read the allergy warning label on the side of the box.  “This product manufactured on equipment also used in the production of products containing Peanuts and Tree Nuts.” I was glad I do not have nut allergies. The candies were clusters of chocolate and coconut. I thought of the people who are allergic to coconut and felt sorry them. I could not imagine being allergic to strawberries or bananas because I love those also. There have been incidences when I was traveling in  a foreign country and ate whatever mysterious food was offered to me. It made me grateful that I did not have any allergies or dietary restrictions.

Maybe I should start considering alcohol as my allergy. Blackouts are my reaction instead of rash or anaphylactic shock.

Mistake # 18- It was autumn 2003. I went out with some friends on a Friday or Saturday to a late night gay club. It was the kind of place that stays open until 3 or 4am. We usually got there a little before 11pm to pay reduced cover charge. I drank a lot. Most likely I drank rum and cokes. My friends said they lost me at some point on the dance floor.

I woke up in the emergency room. I was freezing laying there on a stretcher. I had a hospital sheet on top of me  to try to keep me warm. I was wearing a skimpy tank top and short skirt. It was the kind of top that one does not wear a bra. I had on pantyhose but they were all ripped. The male nurse asked me if I knew where I was. I recognized the logo on his badge. He told me I passed out in the club and was unresponsive. I was alone. The club called 911. My purse was missing so I had no identity on me. They did a drug screen and it was negative. I am not sure if they ever told me if they did a BAC level (I would assume they did) but if they told me the results, I have forgotten it.

He asked me if I knew how to get home. I told him I could get the subway but I did not have any money. He gave me a subway token and let me take the sheet to keep warm. I must have looked like a top prize sitting on that subway seat with smudge mascara, tossed hair, and a white sheet draped around me at 8am. I lost a thin jacket at the club in addition to my purse with cell phone, wallet and house keys.

I had to go to my sister’s house to get my spare set of keys. Then I had to have my locks changed to be safe. My dad was at her house watching TV. He said nothing about my messy appearance. I assume he did not want details.

When my dad had cancer, he went to that same hospital for his treatments. He lived with me his last few months of life. After he died, I found a sheet with the hospital logo. I was not sure if my dad brought it home after one of his admissions or if it was from my ER visit. I kept it and just told myself it was from him. I refused to be reminded of my embarrassing trip to that hospital.