Sober + Single = SUCKS

I know it is suggested to not start any new relationship the first year of sobriety. But I hate feeling so lonely. So I have been trying to go on dates. I figure I am not looking for a real relationship or anything serious now so it will not affect my sobriety. I am only living here for another three months. I want to find someone temporarily. Like a rental partner.

But I am not sure what is worse: sober and lonely or sober and rejected.

I have been messaging with some guys. My dating profile says I do not drink but most guys still ask me out for drinks. I figure I will accept the invitation and then drink tonic with lemon. But so far the dates have not happened. They change the plans or ask me to go out of my way to meet them. They all decline to meet for dinner.

I had one date but it was disappointing. We met for coffee but I will not see him again. He kept trying to finish my sentences and barely made eye contact. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was turned off by my looks so much that he kept looking around the restaurant or out the window. He might have been shy or uncomfortable, but it made me feel undesirable.

I have a profile on another dating site. This site matches people and then has stages of questions before exchanging emails. A few guys have begun the question process. But most break off the match after a few stages. Some break it off right after I send them questions. Was it something I said?

It has been deflating my ego. I usually think I am a good looking woman but starting to worry maybe I am looking old. Maybe men my age only want younger women. Maybe men think a woman who doesn’t drink is boring. Maybe only drunk men would be interested in me.

I felt lonely for my 100th day of sobriety. No one to celebrate it with in real life. No hugs. And it means it has been more than 100 days since I’ve had sex. The last few times I had sex, I was drunk and do not remember it. But abstaining from alcohol and sex is very boring. If they are going to go hand in hand forever, I’d rather be drunk.

I decided to get rid of one source of rejection. I deleted the one dating profile. Now I do not need to worry about flakey guys blowing me off. I actually rather enjoy a good book at dinner than suffer through a bad date. The other dating site is a paid account. So I am stuck with it for a few months. But I deleted the app on my phone so I will not be tempted to check so often and be let down as much.

I need to focus on bettering myself and not meeting new people. Reading. Writing. Exercising. Once I am more stable in my sobriety and understand who I am, I can discover another person.

But I am still lonely. I might search for old playmates to keep me company.

Mistake # 102 – I had a date with a guy I met online. He was a child psychologist. He was very good looking. Very nice. He was also a published photographer. A very successful guy that asked me out.

I showed up at the restaurant drunk. I actually drove there. The date seemed to go well. He invited me back to his place. It wasn’t too far but I followed him in my car. I remember concentrating real hard to try to drive straight. Parallel parking was very difficult.

We drank very nice wine. We drank lots of the wine. He showed me his books of photographs. I remember staring at a nice framed photo on his wall when he kissed me.

Then I do not remember much. I woke up the next day on his couch with my dress laying next to me. He came out from his bedroom to ask how I was feeling. I told him I had a headache. He offered me some ibuprofen and water. I thanked him. I left. I never asked what happened. I assume we had sex but I might have passed out before anything happened.

He texted me about an hour after I left to make sure I got home okay. I apologized for being so drunk that night. He made a comment that I seemed very wasted. I admitted I drank some before dinner and hoped I could make it up to him another time. He said he did not think that would be a good idea.

Maybe drunk dating is worse than sober dating for me.

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Unsure about AA

I went to another meeting last night. I got excited when I saw a box of chips sitting next to a women. I figured out she was the secretary. After they read their promises and steps and other pieces they read before each meeting, they celebrated two people’s milestones. One was received a 90 day chip and spoke. The other received one for 31 years and spoke. I listened but felt cheated that they did not ask if anyone had 30 days of sobriety. I was on day 35 and still chipless. It feels so childish to get upset about this.

Maybe the AA meetings in this area just operate differently that other areas I have been. When I first went to AA meetings in 2002 and 2007, there were all in the same area. They would announce at the end of meetings “who wants a white chip for a desire to quit drinking? Who had 30 days sober? Who has 60? 90? 6 months? 1 year?” and so on. I think they might have had a 45 day chip at a few cause I think I got one? I know somewhere I have 3 colored coins in storage. I think white, red, and maybe yellow or gold-like? 45 days or 90. Maybe it was 90 cause I think it was after my 2nd DUI.

Even the first meeting I went to last month gave out chips. I stopped at one during a roadtrip and I wasn’t even sure about going sober. I did not collect a white chip then due to my uncertantity.

I have started to look up meetings in nearby cities just to get a chip! And to get out of the house and see the area. I am only here until May.

There is more to my skepticism about AA than just not receiving a chip.

For example, as I was leaving last night, a woman yelled out “wait” and stopped me. She was nice and I understand she was just reaching out. I introduced myself in the meeting as someone new to AA. Throughout the meeting they asked for stories from anyone under 90 days. I did not want to speak. I would have rather heard about other experiences. (I did speak for the first time Sunday and enjoyed that meeting.) She asked if I have been sober long and I honestly said no, but then felt guilty for not speaking up during the meeting. I do not want to go somewhere that is gonna make me feel guilty. I spent the day fighting to stay awake at work and kept wanting to doze off at this meeting. They only reason I went was because I was hoping for a chip.

So I was tired, chipless, and this woman kept wanting to chit chat. She introduced me to two other women. They asked where I was from and I replied “I am nomadic.” They laughed and she said “I am a road warrior too.” I have no idea what she meant. But I find saying  “I am nomadic” is easier than trying to explain that I move every few months with my job and travel abroad when I am not working. I did not feel like going into my life story when I was dreaming about my bed.

I apologized to the women and explained I was struggling to stay awake all day. They asked where I worked and then told me there is an AA meeting there. I told them I do not go to AA meetings where I work. I once had a therapist that recommended against that. This woman blinked. “Why?” I said in case coworkers or clients see me going there. She told me they are too busy looking at their belly lint to care if I am there.

Sorry, but I think I will take the advice of a professional therapist over an AA member. I know AA is “anonymous” but there is nothing legally saying someone can not tell others you are there or judge you for being there. Just yesterday, I had a coworker tell me she has no sympathy for people that “get themselves addicted to drugs.” I doubt she will have sympathy if she knew she was working with someone addicted to alcohol. I can not imagine walking to the parking garage and have her see me sneak off to a meeting.

When people did share last night, a lot of of was about “feelings”. A lot of people talked about finally being able to feel emotions again after going sober. I never a had problems with feeling. I had moments of happiness and sadness and the whole range during my drinking days. The only time I had problems with feeling was when I was on Prozac. I stopped that because it made me get drunk too quick. Also, I hated not being able to cry when a coworker died. I hated not being able to feel even sadness and grief. I now take St John’s Wort and it seems mellow enough to uplift and not block moods.

I think, even though we are all alcoholics, everyone is different. Therefore, we drank for different reasons and have different ways to recover. I am beyond fooling myself that I can drink moderately. I know I need to abstain. But I do not believe I need “90 meetings in 90 days.” I do not think working the steps is the only answer. And one of the promises always makes me pause. “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.” Does AA give finance classes? Teach me how to budget my money? Sobriety is not gonna make me stop spending money on expensive Broadway tickets. (I will just enjoy the show more now that I won’t be drunk during it.)

I was reading my old journals from when I first went to AA and I was “praying to God” but I know I never believed that. AA sort of pushed me into something I did not believe. I am now okay with prayers and people’s beliefs in God or gods or whatever. But it was traveling Asia and friending people of almost every religion that got me comfortable with that. I have sprirituality now from talking with monks and reading up about Buddhism. Abstaining from alcohol is actually one of thefive Buddhist Precepts. I will blog about my spirituality another day.

I was googling other ways to sobriety without AA. I found some interesting stories about people that left AA and stayed sober. Belle’s blog and her thoughts on AA came up in the search. I found a wikihow page describing the CORE process, or Commit, Objectify, Respond, Enjoy. Another program I found is SMART Recovery with it’s 4 point program of building and maintaining motivation; coping with urges; managing thoughts, feeling and behaviors; and living a balanced life. I have known people to go sober without AA. It is not the ONLY way. It works for some. But I am someone that likes to research all possiblities. I am like a 3 year old always asking “why?”

I am going to a meeting today. I doubt I will get a chip. grrrrr But I do enjoy some of the meetings and hearing the stories. I just do not want to feel pushed. I like knowing there are other options. Maybe reading my journals has pounded my problem in my head. I do not want to go back to that life. I know I can not control it.

Reading books and blogs has been a huge help. I feel I don’t really need to call anyone if I have blogs to read. And responses from fellow bloggers has been a great support. Maybe instead of readingAA steps, traditions and promises from another century, I will survive sobriety with my cyber community.

Mistake # 28- It was my first time in Vienna, Austria. I was staying with a friend that I met in San Francisco. He actually was letting me stay in his room at his apartment with his roommate while he went to stay with his girlfriend. I met up with some people in a bar. They were all locals and I knew two of them from a website. They all had jobs or classes the next morning so everyone left at a reasonable hour. I stayed by myself to drink more. There was live music downstairs. I relocated down there with my journal and my pint. I wrote in my journal, enjoyed the band, and drank a lot. I am not sure what time I left. But I got lost on the way back. The streets of Vienna are not a grid map like I was used to in the USA. I started to walk down one, thinking I was going the right direction, and then find it curving the wrong way. I kept walking and wandering. I was drunk and scared. I started to cry. I texted my friend I was staying with and told him I was lost. I don’t know how long I walked but I mangaged to find my way to his apartment. I was lucky. I was in another foreign city with a language I did not know and was irresponsible enough to get drunk alone.

I woke up early the next morning with my friend barging in the bedroom. He said he was worried cause he got my text this morning and tried to call. I must have turned off my phone accidently or the battery died after texting him. He rushed home to check on me to make sure I was okay. I was embarassed and hungover. My eyes were red and puffy from crying. He was late to class because of my foolishness.

I had to take a train that day to another city. But on the way to the train, I was very tired and hungover. I laid down on the steps to a building, propped myself up against my backpack, and took a nap. I remember women walking by and pulling their kids from getting too close to me.

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.

Dignity

Even though I feel I am hidden from most temptations to drink while at my mom’s house, I do not feel this is a supportive environment. She is supportive of me not drinking, but I think she still believes it only a bad habit. She used to say that my dad could have stopped drinking if he loved his family enough. I told her about my recent argument with my friend about alcoholism being a disease. She asked if I actually believe it is a disease. I use delirium tremens as evidence that it is a medical problem.

Her boyfriend makes me feel uncomfortable. I am in my late 30s but I feel like a teenager here. He scolds me for leaving a glass on the table or my box of spices on the counter. Before my mom arrived Saturday, he told me to clean up my mess. I had a few bottles of sauces next to the stove to make her dinner that night. He criticized me for drinking too much coffee the other day and then makes fun of me for eating organic “crap.” I know he looks down on me for my drinking problem. It is my defect. He does not like me on “his” computer but does not want WiFi in the house. I was typing my blog yesterday and he stood behind me. I had to close the page.

There is a news story now about a drunk woman that tried to make sexual advances on a plane. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Minneapolis. I have a few friends joking that it sounds like me on the video. I know they are only teasing and not trying to be mean, but I am hurt. I guess they view me as the fun, party girl that always drinks too much and sometimes out of control. Sometimes when I admit I had DUIs, people start to share their close-calls and admit how often they drove home drunk but did not get caught. Then they want to toast with a alcoholic beverage to “not getting caught.”

I went to see the movie “The Monuments Men” today. Three thoughts floated through my head most of the movie. 1) I should not have drank all that tea because I had to pee. 2) I wish I brought Advil because my knee was aching from an injury I sustained while drunk last October. And 3), every time they drink in the movie, I wanted booze. They had champagne and wine and toasted with some mystery beverage in cups that I imagined was a good lager. They mentioned whiskey and cognac throughout the movie. I mourned that I will never be able to taste any of that again.

But there was one character in the movie, Donald Jeffries, who was the drunk of the group. There were a few lines joking about it. He was sober. How long? Since this morning. But then he redeemed his drunken reputation by helping save great masterpieces. There was a letter in the movie that said something about going on the mission to save art helped restored his dignity.

That word stuck in my head. That is one more thing I lost. Dignity. My friends laugh at my mishaps. My mom’s boyfriend doesn’t seem to trust or like me in their house. If I go back to drinking, my mom will just see me as weak. I imagine my exes describing me as a crazy drunk. Dictionary.com defines dignity as “bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect…” I do not have self-respect. I struggle for self-love at times. I loved alcohol more than I love myself.

I know that this path to sobriety will not be easy and will come with it’s own problems. But maybe I can find dignity again.

Mistake # 14- Halloween parade: It is my favorite holiday of the year. I made an awesome costume that year. I spent a week creating a bird costume. Then at the beginning of the parade, I poured a bottle of “oil” all over me. The “oil” was pancake syrup with black food coloring. I was an oil spill victim. It was amazing but I was very drunk. I carried a water bottle full of rum and Diet Coke. I had a 2 liter bottle and a small bottle of rum in my bag for refills. My friends were wearing costumes with white bottoms so they ordered me to march in the parade far from them so the “oil” would not drip on them. I was stopped at one point by a news crew for an interview that never aired. I don’t remember being stopped but my friends said it happened. I must have been too trashed to be shown on TV. I do not remember the end of the night. Maybe my friend I was staying with came to meet me? Maybe I took a taxi to his place? I am lucky I was not driving that night. My favorite holiday but I was blacked out for most of it. In fact, I think the only Halloweens I fully remember are ones when I work.

Beginning this blog one week sober

I have had this idea for awhile. For the past year, I have started to jot down in a pocket calendar, that was gifted to me by a former boss, the mistakes I made while drunk. The things I lost. The one-night stand. The blackouts. The accidents. The dangerous situations. The fights. I have achieved goals of “30 days no booze!” and then would celebrate that goal by getting trashed. And then more mistakes. I thought if I could come up with 365 mistakes I have made while intoxicated, those mistakes would give me a reason to go sober for a year. And I am hoping if I can make the goal of a year sober, I can attempt a life change of abstinence.

I recently found my personal journals from 1998- 2008. I skimmed them and found many memories from drunk nights, both good and bad. I am not going to lie and say all my drunken times were mistakes. But there were too many close-calls, of my life or other lives, for me to continue drinking. I believe my lack of self-esteem is the core of the problem. My addiction was born by my desire to be accepted. Cleaning up is being born of my desire to live.

 

This blog will be my way to list and share some of those mistakes. I will start with small ones and try to work my way up to the destructive ones. I will also write about my current state and how I am dealing with my sobriety. I will try to do this daily. I will not use the real names of anyone. 

 

As of today, I am 8 days sober. It has not been hard. I have been driving across the United States since my last drink. So there has not been any temptation. I just downloaded the audiobook “Living Sober Sucks” by Mark A Tuschel to listen to for today’s drive. I will be spending time with friends the next few nights. I know the time will be full of my crying about my addiction and their supportive words. They are friends who have been with me for a long time and have seen some of the wreckage cause by my drinking. Going sober seems to be the time of testing who are friends and who are party associates.

As for an example of a mistake from my drinking, I will start off with this past New Year’s Eve. I was partying with some friends in Kuala Lumpur. We were at an apartment complex in the suburbs and the party was on the rooftop lounge. We had a nice view of the Petronas Towers. I broke my Galaxy3 that night by throwing it to a friend to take a photo of me while we were both drunk. He didn’t catch it. I do not remember seeing the fireworks over the famous towers. I do remember helping a stranger while he was puking. I do not remember leaving the party. I woke up the next day on a bed in a strange apartment in another suburban area. There was a fan blowing. My friend’s friend was lying on an air mattress in the room. I did not really know her and did not feel she even liked me. I went into the living room to play Sherlock Holmes and track down my belongings. The owner of the apartment was one of the party’s organizers. She was sweet. She offered to give me a ride into the city later that day. But I wanted to leave sooner. I wanted alone time instead of being hungover with these two women I barely knew. She gave me directions on how to take the bus to catch the Metro to the city. I was happy I had money on me and did not lose my purse. I worried how I was going to travel the next 3 weeks with a broken phone. It felt like a wasted New Years Eve.