Success Is A Stairwell

I don’t think the cravings for alcohol will ever go away.  I just need to learn to cope, deal, and live with them. And not drink.

I went to my second SMART recovery meeting. I was late because I had the start time wrong in my head. I was 20 minutes late but the meeting lasts hour and half. I enjoyed it. I walked in on a discussion of a TED talk about addiction. (That reminds me, I need to watch that video.)  I have not been to a SMART meeting since November. I have not been to an AA meeting since before that. When the group leader asked us to talk about our past week, a few added how they have been since their last meeting. So I started with talk of my past week and then added how I have been (related to my drinking problem) since November.

After my post of being sober at the party, I got drunk on the dinner cruise. I am not sure why I even did it. It was a masquerade party on a large yacht with many levels and rooms. There were three different DJs in different areas of the boat. Lots of bars throughout the vessel. I spotted a few of acquaintances on the bow taking pictures of the sunset. I posed with them for some photos and they all said I looked glamorous and beautiful. Maybe it was the compliments, or maybe it was the glamorous surroundings. Maybe the masks and the costumes and being surrounded by water made me feel it was another world. And it was a world where champagne flowed.

Without hesitation, I asked for a glass of champagne at one of the bars. I paid with cash because I swore I would just nurse this one glass and it would be my last. Then after a few sips, I thought maybe I would space it out and have one an hour. Of course that did not happen. I do remember at one point getting another glass and a handsome man named Mike started to talk to me. He asked my name and reached out to shake my hand. I remember thinking “I am too sober to handle talking to this gorgeous man.” I ordered a 2nd glass, pretending it was for my friend, and excused myself to find her. I drank both glasses.

I ran into a lot of people I knew at this party. Later I found out I even missed some people I knew, either due to the masks or being drunk. I even called one girl by the wrong name and when she corrected me, I realized I wrote about her in my blog. She was the woman that experienced my small meltdown  after Burning Man 2014. I am not sure if I ever explained to her in my apology emails that I was struggling with sobriety. After she saw me drunk at this party, I felt like a fraud.

I did have fun for the most part. Except I spent $300 on drinking. That included the “oh let me buy you a drink” expression to my friends. I ran out of cash and started to use my credit card. Then when I couldn’t find my credit card the next day, I canceled it. I found it 3 days later in my wallet hidden behind my driver’s license. I slept in my car where I parked it a few streets away. I woke up with no coat and no shoes. I even went back a few days later to see if I left them on the street somewhere between the boat and my car, but by that time a homeless person would have snatched them up. I convinced myself that they are being more useful to a homeless person now rather than just a drunk mistake.

Again, one of the things I like about SMART meetings versus AA meetings was the way I got to discuss this setback. The leader asked me how it made me feel and told me to compare it to a recent night out where I did not drink.

I can not go to many of the SMART meetings because of my work schedule. But I will read the book I bought there and put the lessons to use to stay sober. I also started a book Sober for Good by Anne M Fletcher. It is full of advice from people who quit drinking with different ways. It even mentions people that stayed sober just from reading books about sobriety. I think the books I read in the beginning were a big help for me.  Now I need to immerse myself in the dry books again to stay in the saddle.

I am not sure how much time I will have for reading my sober books nor reading novels for fun. On Monday, I start my first classroom class since 2002. I took a few online classes the past two years to get me prepared (and unfortunately none of those credits transferred.)  But having to go on campus twice a week is going to take up a lot of my time. Plus, it is a college writing class that will require a lot of reading and writing papers. I also signed up to start an online art history class in March, but I will have time to adjust my life schedule to this writing class first. I am trying to work extra shifts when I can to help pay for the school. I am gonna be busy starting Monday. Too busy for drinks and hangovers.

I keep looking back on that boat party and regret the alcohol and money spent. But I also keep looking forward to being on track with school and my life. Wallowing in bitterness won’t help me succeed.

Hello 2016

A quick hello to everyone. I am still here. Still sober. Doing good. I was busy for a few months studying for a certification for my job and just passed the test! And now I registered to start matriculating  classes this semester!  Which means I am more on track with my life than last time when I was just taking online classes to try to boost my GPA. (Hint that idea doesn’t work if the school doesn’t take any of those credits.)

I will get around to writing a more in depth entry soon. Or someday. I hope everyone following is having a good year so far and staying sober.

Sober at the Party

I went to a party last night. It was a costume party. Again, I loved seeing all the creativity and beautiful outfits people made. And I loved the music!  I was reminded that if the DJ is good, I can dance without alcohol or drugs.

I arrived 11:30pm. I thought that was a good time. My friend said she would arrive the same time. I waited. And waited. I walked around a lot and texted a friend. I felt like a loser on my phone at a party. I had a hard time trying to find people I knew because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and everyone was in costumes. A lot of people had masks, wigs, or just looked different. Feeling aline made me want to drink. If I had a few and got tipsy, I wouldn’t mind the waiting and I would have the courage to talk to strangers.

My friend showed up with her friends close to 130am. And she was trashed. It was so annoying. She kept telling me wonderful things about myself and how good I look since I got sober. Her slurring made me even happier to be sober than her compliments. I kept apologizing to people as she pushed through the dance crowd. At least she is a friendly drunk. She hugged a lot of people and told them all how beautiful they are.

I left at 3:30am. We had plans for a dinner cruise with friends today. We were supposed to arrive between 3:30 and 4:30. It is now almost 5pm and she has not even responded to my messages. My guess is she is still sleeping away her hangover. She most likely will miss the boat leaving the dock. I guess I better try to meet some peope.

Women for Sobriety

I was reading an article (can’t remember which one now) about other programs that help people stay sober besides AA. I find a lot of these articles on The Fix website. I follow it on Facebook. I recommend it to everyone who is struggling with an addiction and likes to read.

I came across a website Women For Sobriety.  I submitted to join last week but I am just getting around to exploring the site today. It is interesting. It is a forum for women only to discuss our struggle and support each other. The first thing I came across while reading introductions was 13 affirmations that should be said each day. (I guess I should have read it in an “about” section first but I was skipping ahead. ) I really like these and plan to say them daily. For as long as I remember to. Actually, I might print them out and put them on my bathroom mirror.

1. I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.  I now take charge of my life and my disease. I accept the responsibility.

2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself.  My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.

3. Happiness is a habit I will develop.  Happiness is created, not waited for.

4.  Problems bother me only to the degree that I permit them to.

5. I am what I think.  I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.

6. Life can be ordinary or it can be great.  Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.

7. Love can change the course of my world.  Caring becomes all important.

8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.  Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.

9. The past is gone forever.  No longer will I be victimized by the past, I am a new person.

10. All love given returns.  I will learn to know that others love me.

11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.  I treasure all moments of my new life.

12. I am a competent woman and have much to give life.  This is what I am and I shall know it always.

13. I am responsible for myself and for my actions.  I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Another Sober Halloween… and a date with a person in recovery

I feel I have lots to say and wish I committed more time to blogging. Just like I wish I committed more time to AA meetings, yoga, reading, exercise, etc.

I survived another Halloween sober! Then again, I shouldn’t really say it is another because last year I did not go to any parties. (I also just looked back and realized I wrote about planning to go out for Halloween but I never wrote about the night.)  Last year, I went to help set up and decorate for the party I was going to that night. I brought my costume in a bag. I did not know anyone in this group yet and wanted to help set up as a way to meet people. I originally planned on attending a parade in between set up and the party. I spent all afternoon helping and did meet a few people who I still talk with today. By the end of set up, I was so tired. I went to take a nap in my car. I decided to skip the parade. That nap felt so good. When my alarm went off, I decided to skip the whole party and slept in my car some more. I never got to wear my Gizmo costume.

This year, the party and the parade were on different nights. And I skipped helping with setup. I napped at home before getting ready. I was ready for a late night of dancing! I did drink a Red Bull on my way there and stash another in my car for the drive home.

I asked a guy to meet me at the party that I went on a short date with a month ago. He seemed nice and he likes the outdoors. He does not drink but for religious reasons. I am now not sure I want someone like that. I will get to that in a bit.

I went dressed as the Mad Hatter. I must say, I did an excellent job on the costume and makeup. I had teapot earrings and carried a little toy teapot all night. I got a lot of compliments. I think that was my highlight: all the positive attention! That was one of my main reasons for drinking, right? There were a lot of jokes of “what is in the teapot?” and people suggesting I sneak vodka in it. I actually could have because they did not check it at the door. I was really wishing I hid ice tea in it because it was $3 for bottle water and the sink in the bathroom had a very slow drip.

Knowing people there that I met at Burning Man made the night so much better. I felt included. It felt wonderful to walk through a crowd and have people recognize me or see people I knew. It made me almost glad I missed it last year when I did not know anyone in this group of people. I also had a friend there that I recently discovered moved to my area! I met her at Burning Man 2008 and we have gotten to know each other via Facebook. I am thrilled she is living nearby so now I will have a friend in my area. It sounds so pathetic but I really need friends nearby. I want to invite people over for dinner and to see my home. I have been feeling lonely.

I regretted inviting my date. First of all, his breath stank! I offered him gum several times and he turned it down. I wanted to beg him or go to my car for a toothbrush. Then we would lose each other in the crowd and he would get upset. I did not think it was much of a problem because I knew we would eventually find each other in the club. There were 3 small dance rooms. So he  grabbed my arm to avoid losing me and that annoyed me. And I thought it was rude when we walked down the stairs because he held onto my arm and walked next to me, blocking the path of people walking the opposite way on the stairs. I asked how he was getting home and he told me by train, but I knew the last train stopped soon. The next one would not be until 530 am.  For some reason, I felt he was fishing for me to offer him a ride home. He asked me what time WE were leaving. I told him I might stay to help clean up. He said he could stick around for that too.

I started to get too tired around 4am. There was still another hour of the party to go. I told my date that I couldn’t last any longer. He asked me for a ride to the train station. He gave me a sob story about waiting there but I was not biting the bait.

As we walked to my car, we passed a small crowd around a young woman. This woman had a bleeding knee. I stopped to offer help. The crowd was a bouncer holding her up and three strangers. The woman fell on the dance floor (wearing 4 inch heels) and could barely stand. The bouncer was trying to get her a cab. The strangers (2 women and a man) were trying to assist him and decipher her address. I told the crowd I had a car and could drive her home if it wasn’t too out-of-the-way. (Let me clarify that date definitely lived out-of-the-way.)  I felt sorry for this young woman and I don’t always trust taxis, especially around inebriated helpless females. With help of Google maps and several questions, we figured out her address. She thanked me constantly on the way back and slurred answers about herself. She kept saying she thinks someone slipped something in her drink. It was possible, but she reminded me of myself in one of my many blackouts. I made sure she had her walllet and cell phone on her. I even mentioned that I used to be just like her in my drinking days. My date said “oh really?”  I told him yes and that is why I quit.

His “oh really” response is why I am not sure I should try to date people that abstain from alcohol for religious reasons. I get worried they won’t understand the reasons I need to abstain, not just choosing to abstain. I worry they will judge me for my reasons and for my pass. I also worry they won’t be able to sympathize with my struggle.

So now to talk about my date the next night with someone that is in recovery. But it wasn’t the type of recovery I expected. This date was with a woman who has over a decade sober. She already told me she is not willing to date me because I am so new and we will just be friends. I respect that. I could use more sober friends. Yet she told me she never had a problem with alcohol. She never liked the way it made you lose motor control. She had a drug problem. I never asked which drug because it doesn’t matter.

I don’t think of her as different or worse than an alcoholic in recovery. Yet I do think there is a difference in temptation for her and I. I felt she wouldn’t really understand my problem because alcohol is so normal in society. I confessed to her my recent relapse. She started to give me the AA lectures and I should get a sponsor. I mentioned that I thought of writing a letter to make amends with my sister and she told me I should wait until a sponsor advises that. This is when the AA dogma annoys me: what makes a sponsor an expert? I actually had a therapist advise me to write this letter months ago but I have been putting it off. I hate when people talk about sponsors as if they are the antidote to a fucked up life. They are like ushers to sobriety. I do want a sponsor but I am not going to listen to everything this person says unless they have a master in psychology.

So while I wouldn’t mind having this woman as a sober friend, I am not sure how far this friendship will go if it is full of her lecturing me.

But I want to add that I just got an email from my friend that just moved to this area. She said she doesn’t know what changed about me but I look great and happy. I told her I quit drinking. That was a nice reminder of how sobriety does shin through.

Drunk Guy Videos Drunk Girl During Sex

I read this story and think “thank god cell phones weren’t around when I was in college.” There were a lot of horrible drunk nights that I had blackout sex and could have been recorded.  Hell just because I am not young nor a college student, if I drink again, this could happen to me.