Dealing with a stressful night

I had a very emotional, stressful night at work.  I cried a lot.  I dealt with a lot of moral questions. It was mentally draining.

I had my friend to “talk” about it via text messaging. He was very helpful and supportive with this situation. He asked how do I deal with this stress and stay sober.

Without hesitation, I told him getting drunk would not solve it. I could hide my feelings in the bottom of a bottle or deal with them. I would rather deal with them no matter how unpleasant they are. I had no desire to drink. I just wanted to cry myself to sleep. But I couldn’t until my shift was over.

I kept running to the bathroom to cry. Then I would look in the mirror and tell myself to dry my tears. I am a strong woman. Fighting alcoholism proves that. Everyday is a struggle. I need to keep strong in front of my coworkers.

I told my friend that in the past, I would focus my pain on picking up booze on my way home. I would figure out where I could buy a 6 pack or bottle of wine at 7am. What are the laws in this state? Then I would drink away the thoughts and get drunk at 8am. But nothing would be accomplished except maybe a hangover when I wake up.

There have been times where I got trashed after a stressful day of work. And I would do very stupid things like sex with a stranger, get in a fight, or drive drunk. I used the excuse “I was stressed out. I needed that drink” which was never just one drink. I would drink until I blacked out to try to erase thoughts and feelings from the day. Obliterate the stress. But it usually created more instead.

I cried a lot last night but it is better than crying in a drunk rage. I was hurting but pain is part of life. Self-medication with wine will not make suffering disappear.
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Mistake 146- I woke up once with a burglar in my bedroom. It was daytime. I don’t want to get into the details except to say thankfully I wasn’t hurt and he left when he saw me. But I was so stressed and frightened. A friend came over to support me while the cops took a report. Then my friend took me to lunch. I ordered 3 large margaritas at lunch. When I got home, I proceeded to drink every bit of alcohol I had in my apartment. A lot of people said they would have been too scared to be in their apartment after such an incident. I felt safe as long as I had my booze with me. I ended up drinking pumpkin liqueur by the end because I chugged everything else. I kept posting rants on Facebook complaining about my city and crime rates. I did not remember these rants until I saw them the next day. I went and deleted them all then.

I had a friend message me the next day to see how I was doing. I said I was coping. She mentioned she is still bleeding. I was confused until I scrolled back and saw we had a whole long conversation the previous day. She had a miscarriage. I admitted to her I did not remember that conversation at all but was very sorry for her loss. She replied “lol it is ok. You had a horrible day.”

I coped with my fear and stress by drinking until I blacked out. But it did not solve anything. It could have made things worse.

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New Mug and Sober Triggers

My mom came to visit yesterday. She brought me this gift: Purple Flower Mug

(In case you can not read the picture, the mug says “The Best Things in Life are the people we love, the places we’ve been  and the memories we’ve made along the way.”)

It is a large mug and she knows I like large mugs. Plus she knows I like purple. But the message was the best part for me. Having memories is so much better than blackouts!  And I have a new mug for all my herbal teas.

The visit was nice. She again asked how the “not drinking thing” is going and how I feel. I sometimes worry I talk too much about my sobriety with her but I like having her as an outlet. I can not discuss it at work and my friends on Facebook still seem uncomfortable with it.

The only thing she said that annoyed me was “It is a shame. That is what people do. Meet out for drinks.” I told her I can still go out and I am even willing to go to places with alcohol. I will just order water with lemon. I have to just keep reminding myself I can not drink just like her boyfriend, who is diabetic, has to avoid certain foods. Or anyone with an allergy has to avoid certain things.

I kept trying to share with her some of my drunk stories to stress to her how much I drank. When we used to share a bottle of wine, she would have a glass and I would drink the rest. She seems to block out the times I spent at her house sleeping all day after being up all night emptying her wine rack. She always thought of my DUIs as unfortunate mistakes. Maybe she is worried if she admits I have a problem, it is somehow her fault?

I am realizing that when I do finally get around to working on the 12 steps, I really need to make amends to her even if she does not recognize it. “Sorry mom for all those times you were worried when I was out drinking. Sorry for making you drive 6 hours away to bail me out of jail. Sorry for you returning to that city for my court date.  Sorry for all I put you through.”

After she left, I went to the grocery store. I was stocking up on veggies and ingredients for salads. I am determined to drop weight in the next month. I have a reunion June 7. I also bought some unsweetened tea and large gallon of water. I am going to put lemon, lime, mint, and cucumbers in the jug of water. Then I am gonna drink at least half of it each day. Keep refilling it. Hope it helps.

I walked past the beer section in the store. I glanced at some summer ale. For a brief second, I thought “I could just stop. I could just give up this sober thing. I could always try again later.” But I kept walking. I thought I worked too hard to stop now. This “sobriety thing” needs to be a forward thing. No backpedaling. No breaks. I do not want to think of the self-loathing that would follow if I drank that beer.

I picked up my last item but the sober-drink battle kept floating in my brain. It was not really a battle. Just a lingering thought. Just images of me sitting in bars. Just one drink in my hand.

Then a man passed me. He was wearing a hat from a university I used to want to attend. A university in a city that I was planning to move to until plans changed in January. That was when I found out I could not get the job I wanted because of my two DUIs. They said it did not matter how long ago the DUIs were. My plans for the job and moving there were canceled. That was when I decided to get sober. And seeing his hat was a reminder of why I quit drinking alcohol. It triggered me back to happy, sober land. I do not want anymore plans changed or futures ruined from my drunk mistakes. I am gonna keep being sober and even if my life does not become perfect, it will be a hell of a lot better than where it was going. I actually want to be alive.

Now I am gonna enjoy some mint tea.

Mistake # 105- I graduated college. My mom came to my graduation with my sister and nephew who was a baby. They stayed at a hotel. I joined them to stay in the room one night. My sister and I waited until my mom and the baby fell asleep. Then we snuck out of the hotel. I wanted to celebrate! Two women in their mid-twenties sneaking out like teenagers.

We went down to some bars that were walking distance. (I had a restricted driver license because this was after my first DUI.) We got drunk. We met some guys. They tried to invite us back to their place. We declined because we knew our mom would be too upset if we were not back by morning. We stumbled in the hotel room after last call at 2am. We tried to be quiet but for some reason, drunk people sound like elephants even when tip toeing. We woke my mom and she just warned us not the wake the baby. We slept in until the afternoon the next day while she took the baby out for breakfast and shopping. My sister and I got drunk again that night. Maybe the birth of my nephew distracted my mom from me and my sister’s alcoholism.

Sober Soup

Today I am 100 days sober.

I still feel I am treading the waters here. It does not feel like I am taking the plunge into sobriety yet. It seems like a test run. A competition. A challenge. Did I win yet?

I feel I have gotten this far with a sober soup. It is a mixture of different things. Belle’s 100 Day challenge was the broth. I added to that daily blogging, reading other sober blogs, reading my journals, reading memoirs such as Carolyn Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story and Kristen Johnston’s Gutsand reading articles about alcoholism. The support from real life friends and the cyber sober community was like spices added to this soup. It made it work. This mixture kept me from drinking alcohol the past 100 days. (AA meetings were the salt and pepper. I only needed a little bit.)

I feel I have this sober genie sitting inside of me. He sometimes is in my chest. Sometimes my stomach. When I think about having a drink, he punches me. He grabs my esophagus and says “Go ahead but I am gonna make you puke it up and regret it!” He holds a knife to my liver and threatens to rip it apart. He runs into my brain with a napkin soaked in chloroform. I know both booze and that will poison my memory. When I choose not to drink, he flicks his chin up and says “Yea! That is what I THOUGHT you’d do.” He is like a bully but one I need.

I am scared this genie won’t stick around. He is gonna eat all this soup and leave.

265 more days of blogging about mistakes, regrets, and other mishaps from my drinking problem. I have daily blogging to keep me accountable.

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Mistake #100- Was visiting my sister in 2002. We invited a guy that I used to date to go out with us. We ended up at a gay bar. I got wasted and left with some girl. I just left my sister there with a guy that she barely knew. There were some nasty messages on my voicemail when I woke up the next day.

My Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (rose tinted glasses that is)

I am feeling good and feeling positive. I started plotting out my awards for each 10 day milestone. Thinking of that coconut cake for 50 days was a huge help. Someone could have offered me a glass of expensive champagne and said there was finally peace in the middle east and I would have declined it and said “great, but no thanks cause I really want that cake!”

For 60 days, I am planning a facial. Hopefully my skin will start showing some booze free improvements.

For 70 days, I will get my legs waxed. (Wait, did I say rewards or punishment?) I have not shaved since I stopped drinking. A benefit of being single. But spring and short season is coming.

For 80 days, an 80s New Wave party! I am a little worried about handling that one. It is a Duran Duran theme and I know the DJs. I think it will be a reward and a test of temptation. But I know I can dance to New Wave sober.

For 90 days, I am going to see a Broadway show! orchestra seats!

For 100, I am going to plan a trip somewhere. I don’t know where yet. I actually work for 3 nights on days 100, 101, and 102. But the days after that… I want to fly somewhere. Soar to sobriety. Look to my future where each sober day is an award.
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Mistake #51- A quick one- There was a small club I used to frequent in 2003-2005. I used to go there for the New Wave parties I mentioned above. On Sundays, it was a rock and punk music night. And strippers. They had professional ones dance on a box in the middle of the dance floor and then invited anyone else to get up there as an amateur strippers. They even gave out awards for best stripper or aka “Slut of the Week.” I used to get wasted at this club. I would even go alone and  assume I would run into someone I knew or make a new friend. One night,  I am really thankful I ran into a friend. I don’t remember much but I woke up at home in my bed. Wearing my jeans and a pink, feather boa around my neck. No shirt.

I was confused until he messaged me online. “Get home okay?” I said yes and asked if he was at the club. He responded “LOL yes. You were awesome. You got up on the stripper box. You threw your shirt out in the crowd. Someone kept it.”

Um where did the feather boa come from? One of the other strippers gave it to me when I couldn’t find my shirt. My friend put me in a taxi after extracting my address from me.

Did I win Slut of the Week?

No.

Happy Sober Saint Patrick’s Day!

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This used to always be one of my favorite holidays. Right along with New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and my birthday. All big drinking days! I would work Easter, Mothers and Fathers Day, and Christmas if I could be off those other days. But even if I had to work, I would schedule an alternative day to celebrate. And get drunk.

I now hope to think of this day as a holiday to celebrate my Irish heritage. But without Guinness, Baileys, and Jamesons.

Mistake #50- I found my junior year prom date on MySpace. I haven’t seen him since I graduated high school 13 years before this. We were platonic friends when he went to my prom with me. I was a good girl back then. Now here we were both adults and living in the same area. He invited me out with his friends for St Patrick’s day.

I remember being so nervous meeting up with him. I was such a dork in high school. He was too. But I really wanted to make a good impression on him. I wanted him to see that I was no longer a dork. I wanted him to think I improved. I was now cool.

He stood outside the bar on his phone giving me directions. He thought I was coming from a different way down the street. He had his back turned towards me as I walked up and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and looked gorgeous. I thought of the ugly duckling story. He did not look like the nerdy, soccer player I used to know. He was now a handsome man. I was shaking when he hugged me. He asked if I was cold. I admitted that I was nervous. He said “then let’s get started drinking!”

He kept complimenting me. He told me I looked hot. I “filled out nice.” I blushed a lot. He said that according to my MySpace profile, I turned wild. The quiet girl who was on so many high school committees was now a party girl. There were a lot of photos of me chugging booze online. It was sort of my signature photo. Chugging a bottle of beer. Chugging a bottle of Champagne. Chugging a bottle of wine. Always a glass or cup in my hand. He said he wanted to see this party girl. I told him “no, you don’t want to see her.” He kept buying me shots.

His friends were all welcoming. Turns out, he was going through a divorce. His friends hated the wife. They wanted me to help him get his mind off of her. They kept buying me shots. My beers never neared empty because someone was always making sure I had a refill.

The night got blurry. The subway stopped running back to my house at some point. One of his friends invited me to stay at his place in the city. Prom Date also lived in the suburbs and since it was too late to drive, he would stay there too. I remember some blond girl that I got along with well. I think she worked for Planned Parenthood headquarters or something. I think she was dating the friend who invited us both to stay on his pull out bed in the living room. I remember her saying “use condoms!” and put some in my hand. I remember making out with Prom Date on the couchbed. I had my shirt off. And then he stopped and said he couldn’t go through with this. He was still in love with his wife. I started crying.

He drove me home instead. I cried the whole way. I kept saying “sorry. I’m so sorry.” I am not sure what I was sorry for? Things never took off for us. I didn’t see him again until the summer and he was either still not over his wife or was just not into a drunk, party girl.

Glum

Yesterday I was feeling glum. My original plans were to grocery shop in the morning after work, sleep all day, wake up and go to gym, and then stay up late reading or watching movies. I am keep my body on my night shift schedule because I will most likely be called in for overtime tonight.

I got to the Whole Foods, started shopping, and dropped my phone. A cute man picked up and handed it back to me and said “at least it didn’t crack.” I smiled and made some joke about dropping it is why I have insurance. But when I got to the check out line, my screen was not turning on. Oh crap. It didn’t crack but it did break. I made the joke about the insurance but the truth is, my insurance on my phone ran out. I was allowed two replacements a year and I used them both up by ruining two phones when drunk.

I am new to this area so I was worried about trying to find my way home. I got mad at myself for relying on technology and GPS. I have an old Tom-Tom GPS thingie but it was not in my car. I did have my iPod Touch on me for listening to sober books (listening to Drinking Diaries currently.) I went back inside Whole Foods to use their WiFi and search maps on the iPod to figure my way to the highway.

Instead of sleeping in all day, I set my alarm for 4 hours sleep. I needed to wake up earlier so I could get my phone fixed. But all the Yelp reviews for phone fixers close to me were bad. I decided a quick 40 minute drive into the city would work since there were great reviews for phone repair companies there. I calculated it would take 40 minutes to drive to the city and but did not realize another 50 minutes to get INTO the city thanks to bridge traffic. I managed to get to the repair shop as the guy was walking out the door. He fixed it in fifteen minutes.

“Let’s grab some dinner in the city since I came all this way” I thought. I walked around wanting to find a place with good lighting so I could read while I ate. This will also, hopefully, avoid a place that was primarily a bar with food. I was thinking of just grabbing pizza when a woman was handing out flyers for free fries at a burger joint. It looked bright inside. But since I was eating alone, they sat me at the bar. I asked for the end seat near the sink so the booze would not be in my direct eyesight. The meal was good and I did not really feel any temptations.

The glum began to start when I picked my car up from the parking garage. When I paid, I started to calculate how much it was costing me to get this phone fixed. The price of the phone, the gas money, the bridge toll, the parking… it was all at least $200. A new phone would cost $500. But I started to think if I didn’t fuck up my phone while drunk twice, I would still have insurance. (I better get that overtime tonight!)

I read a few blogs while waiting for my car. Then I pulled over and read some more before leaving the city. A few bloggers wrote about relapsing. It started to get me scared. I worried about if I relapsed, would I try sobriety again? Would I be brave enough to blog about it? I keep thinking I have this sobriety thing easy since I have been mostly avoiding places with booze and I do not have kids or a partner that might make me want to grab a bottle. I have been volunteering to sign up for extra shifts at work to keep away from temptations (and fatten my paycheck.)

I started to think about one of the Drinking Diaries stories. I think it was called “First Sober Kiss” but I can not find it on the website. The author got sober by the age of 23. She talked about being drunk and promiscuous. I thought of some of the regretful, intoxicated intercourse I have had. I do not want to go back to that life. (Even though sometimes I am so scared I am not gonna know how to have a sober relationship if it ever happens.) These thoughts inflamed my glumness.

I left the city and started to drive towards the gym. I was still hoping for some exercise. Maybe it would clear my head. But thinking intensifies when I am driving. It leads to more thinking and overthinking. Add in tiredness and it creates a disheartened, crybaby. I started bawling and drove right pass the gym. I decided to go home to bed and just sleep for as long as my body wanted.

I  made a daily post last night before falling asleep. I was thankful that I wrote some already and saved as drafts. I just need to edit a bit and hit “publish post.” I fell asleep for eight hours.  It is now 5am and I am going to go the gym this morning. I feel better. Fatigue gone. And tomorrow I get my coconut cake for 50 days of sober.

Mistake #42 &43- I was living in Philadelphia but going to New York City every chance I got. It was summer and I was usually tan. But I was still pale by August because I rarely was awake in the daytime. I worked nightshifts and was up partying to sunrise if I was not working. Even if I only had one night off inbetween shifts, I would take the two-three hour Chinatown bus up to NYC, party for a night, and take a bus back in the morning.

I partied a lot with my Brazilian friend. She was a lot of fun. She had this cute, small apartment not far from Union Square. It was my crashpad for most of that summer. We would go to bars, go dancing, and have a few beers while watching the sunrise from her fire escape. It was a fun time for the most part.

On one visit on a weekend, I lost my phone. I think I lost it in a taxi or in a bar. I don’t remember. It was some cheap, Nokia. I got a free placement with insurance.

I went back up to visit the following Thursday because I had a friend visiting from the south. I originally met him when I lived in San Francisco and we got along right away. I remember loving his energy. He seemed so positive and upbeat. When I met him, he did not drink alcohol. But he started drinking again on this visit to New York. He told me about his issues with drinking and why he quit. I remember being glad he started again. We could have fun now! (And secretly I thought maybe I would have a chance to hook up with him finally.)

Drinking eventually killed him. I will have to save that for another blog because thinking about it is bringing back the glum.

He and I stopped in a bodega to pick up juice and wine in the late afternoon. The idea was to chug the juice and then fill the bottles with red wine. He also picked up some beer. We stashed the beer in his backpack. We alternated between our Jesus juice bottles and brown-bagged beer. We went to see the Brooklyn Bridge’s 125th birthday celebration. I remember there was a huge cake and fireworks. We were getting drunk and yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to a bridge.

We met up with friends in a bar afterwards. I remember almost getting in trouble for my bottles of “juice.” I tried to claim it was really just juice. A friend, who was a regular at the bar, asked me to please not drink my juice there. I started to buy rum and diet Cokes from the bar.

After the party at the bar was dying down, I took my friend to one more place. They played old 90s and rock music here. I wanted to dance. I remember rocking it out to Nine Inch Nails while my friend sat in a chair. He was looking glum. I did not realize, since we never drank together before, that he turned into a nasty drunk. He insisted on leaving. Okay okay… after a few more drinks.

I woke up the next day on my Brazilian friend’s couch. There was a note laying next to me “Did you lose your phone again!!!!!!”

huh?

Yep, I checked my stuff and my phone was missing. I went into her bedroom and found her sleeping. She woke up, saw me holding the note and looking confused, and started to laugh. She received a phone call from a taxi driver saying he found a phone in his car and her number was the first in it. That was such luck. Her name begins with a “C” but was one of the few I added to my new phone. I called the taxi driver back and he brought my phone to me. I lost two phones within one week! (Two mistakes.)

I have him a $20 reward. As he was taking the money, he said “Your boyfriend was not very nice. He said a lot of nasty things to me.” Huh? My boyfriend? “Oh him. Sorry. He is just a friend.”

“But he was not a nice friend.”

I do not know if the driver was trying to get me to give more money to make up for my nasty friend. I do not know what he did or said that was so nasty. But I do know I wish I would have recognized the danger my friend was in and I would have tried to help.

I don’t want to end up like him. I want to stay sober.

Booze before Buddies

Sometimes I look back and think of the times I was such a shitty friend. But I am not a bad person. A lot of people will describe me as caring and heartfelt. I go out of my way to help those less fortunate and have done volunteer work. I get emotionally upset at tragic world events. I cried a lot when I heard news of the 2004 Asian tsunami and 2010 Haitian earthquake even though I did not know anyone affected.

But when I drink, getting drunk becomes a priority.

I do sometimes act very protective of my good friends when drunk. I have threatened bodily harm to men that try to take advantage of my drunk married friends. But if my friend ignores my help, I will take it personally and stop talking to them or some other pity punishment.

I can become super bitch when boozed up.

Mistake# 37- My friend from Mistake 36, that I blogged about yesterday, was in town for another night. At first she said her boyfriend was going to rent a car and drive three and a half hours to pick her up. Then he claimed there were no car rentals available. Either he was lying or a complete idiot. I was able to find several car available online. I said I was okay with buying her a bus ticket back home. The problem was there were only 3 buses a day and they all left before 7am. I think the times were 4:30am, 5:30am and 6:30am. We were invited to a party on Saturday night so I told her I would take her to the bus on Monday morning.

She said she wanted to leave Sunday morning. She said she was missing her boyfriend. His kids would be visiting and she wanted to spend time with them. I wonder if my drinking on Friday night helped her form this decision.

I told her she would have to get a taxi to the bus station. I was planning to get drunk and would not be available to drive. She tried to talk me out of the party. “Why are we going to this party? You only know a few people.”

“Yes but I will meet more people and make more friends. Besides, it is a themed costume party and I love dressing up!”

The theme was Mardi Gras. I had a gold dress with purple stockings, purple sheer scarf, and purple wig plus big purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads. (I did not earn these. I have no idea what happened to the huge pile I earned in New Orleans.) I kept offering my friend to borrow something to fit in with the theme. I had a huge chest of costume pieces. She refused. She said it wasn’t “her thing.”

Since she kept pestering to leave on Sunday, we came up with a plan. Since I did not want to drive after hitting a wall the night before, I was going to drive to my friend’s house and get a ride from there. We would put her bags in my car and she would get a taxi from his house. This friend’s house was actually my “friend with benefits.” I knew I would most likely stay the night there with him. We parked my car and she left her bags in my backseat.

The party was good. Lots of great costumes and a King Baby cake. My friend spent the whole time sitting on a couch on her phone. She was texting her boyfriend. She did not mingle. I am not sure if she was uncomfortable with all the drinking or because of her medication. Or maybe she was just shy and I never noticed. I ignored her and enjoyed meeting people. The hostess and I were having a conversation about costumes and wigs. I mentioned my wig was itchy and she offered to let me borrow a head cap. We went into her bedroom to search for it. When we came out of the bedroom, my friend was standing at the bedroom door. She looked like a lost puppy. “I didn’t know where you went.”

I don’t know why but this irritated me. I felt she was being a buzz kill. It was a small apartment and she got worried when I was out of the room for a few seconds. I tried to encourage her to talk to others but she went back to her couch. I thought “fuck it. I am gonna have fun.” I was also irritated that she was insisting on leaving the next morning at my expense.

I did not want her to ruin my night. I started doing jello shots. There were other kinds of shots too. There was a lot of liquor. At some point, everyone started yelling “show your tits” and all the girls started flashing. I think there was some drinking games involved.

I woke up at my FWB’s bed. Hangover, of course. His bedroom was too bright and I always bitched at him to get blackout curtains. He complained my blackout curtains always made him oversleep at my place. I checked my phone and there was a text message from my friend “thanks for the weekend. I hope you find your keys.”

I asked him where was my stuff. I followed the path of my clothes out to his living room. There I found my purse with my wallet but no keys. We texted the host of the party to find out I left my keys there.  The bad part about leaving my keys at the party: I could not get my friend’s bags out of my car. And she still insisted on leaving that morning. My FWB said we stopped at an ATM so I could get money on the way to his place and then called her a cab. I checked my bank account. I took out $100. I had $80 in my wallet the night before. I had nothing in my wallet the next morning. I gave her $180 when a taxi might cost $20 and the bus should be about $60.

I never sent the bags and she and I have not talked since. 12 years of friendship gone. It might have been crappy for her to take advantage of me financially like that but if alcohol was not such a focus of my life, the weekend might have turned out different.