And the Oscar goes to…

I went to an Oscars party last night. Well, actually, only a gathering with two new friends watching the awards on television. I texted my friend to see what I should bring. She said she was headed to the store to get chips, hummus and wine. I decided I would bring something to contribute and counterbalance the wine. I brought some yerba mate ice teas, a large vegetable platter, and ginger hummus.

The host offered me a glass of wine after I took my coat off. She listed all the choices of reds and whites, and then added she also had beers. I said I will keep to the ice tea. But once my tea was finished, she was a great host and jumped to offer me wine . I declined and asked for water. Sparkling or plain filtered?

No questions until the other friend, who had a few too many glasses of wine, asked “Do you not drink?” I did not bother with jokes that I was drinking plenty, just all alcohol-free. I said no, I quit. They asked if it was a diet or something temporary. I explained that I quit two years ago, with a few slips starting last summer, but I have been completely sober almost 3 months. The host seemed impressed. But the drunk friend asked the questions I might have asked if I was the drunk girl. “Can’t you even have a little bit? Don’t you know how to stop when it gets too much? Are you gonna try again after sometime sober?”  She told me how she can’t drink too much and I thought her current state of inebriation was obvious. I do not know how many glasses she had before I arrived, but she was matching her glasses of wine with my glasses of filtered water. She even began adding sparkling water to her wine to make spritzers and slow down the buzz.

I explained to her my slips last summer proved I could not have a little bit, nor should I try to go back to drinking anytime. I can not moderate. I was fine sitting there with my water but I know if I had one glass of wine, I would want the rest of the bottle. I would use too much mental energy telling myself to sip rather than chug and it was a lot easier to just avoid the taste to my tongue. And when the awards ended and she passed out on the couch, I was very glad I quit drinking. The host and I chatted a little bit more about our lives and I was able to drive home.

When I first quit drinking, I don’t know if sitting there avoiding their offers of wine would have been so easy. But I feel I have learned a lot since January 2014 about myself and what alcohol does to my body. I felt I honestly did not want to drink alcohol last night. No acting. No need for award for me.

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thoughts while slipping

The day I relapsed, I wrote about it in my journal while I was drinking. I hate the term relapse though. To me, that envisions giving up and drinking a lot more than I did. To me, a relapse lasts days, weeks, months or more. My slip was 1 day and then 1 more day. It was a slip. Here is my journal entries:

22 May 2015

…I walked more but was hungry two hours later. I stopped at a place on the waterfront. Upstairs had a nice view of the bay and a beautiful breeze. The waiter suggested fish or lobster with shrimp. I opted for the fish. And when he suggested “mojito”, I gave in. Today is 1 year and 4 months of no alcohol. I could blame it on seeing bottles and signs of rum everywhere. Or maybe cause I am feeling lonely. I thought “maybe just one drink.” After a few sips, I took a gulp of rum through the straw. It was like kissing an old lover that I never forgot. One that used to abuse me but at that second, I missed his tasty lips. Sparks flew. Our passion was rekindled.

I swore only one. But when I finished it and was still not done lunch, I thought “maybe a beer?” Might as well. I already broke my sobriety. I should have a beer but sip it to last the rest of lunch. Then I will stop. I feel ashamed but also debating if I will tell anyone about this.

So one mojito and half a beer and I feel tipsy. I am glad my high tolerance is gone. I am not sure if I will drink more or not the next few days. I don’t want to get drunk and lose something. And I am worried about what it will do to my brain and body.

“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”- Buddha

Is a sober world an illusion? Is having a few drinks ending my suffering of struggling to stay sober?
____________
After I left the restaurant, I kept thinking of getting another drink. I wanted to chase the buzz. I figured “why not!” I would start sobriety again tomorrow. I will just drink a little throughout today.
____________
I stopped at a bar to read my guidebook. I ordered 2 beers. Then I walked, took photos, and got a taxi to the waterfront. I watched the sunset. Then I went to another restaurant for dinner and a beer. I sat outside with the evening breeze and continued to watch the sun setting. I noticed the sunset was prettier once the sun was gone. I am trying to think of a metaphor for that but I am feeling drunk. After the light is gone, beauty arises?
_____________
I went walking along the waterfront. I had my headphones on and was feeling good. Later I regretted having my headphone on cause I missed a bunch of live music. A lot of guys made comments at me. Some looked like teenagers. It was a nice ego boost for a woman about to turn 40. Then I got lost. I finally hailed a taxi and was a good thing because I was walking in the complete wrong direction. But I now sit in a cigar bar, full of smoke, and one waitress for the whole place. I am gonna order one rum and Coke and then bed.
___________

23 May 2015

Back on sober track. After my rum and Coke last night, I had a daiquiri because that bar was famous for them. Then on my way back to my hotel, I wanted one more drink. There were people stopping people on the street to bring up to a bar. It was very small place with 5 tables and a 2-guy band. It was all old men and 2 female waitresses/bartenders. As I was finishing my beer, some pretty, young girls came in. They all had very short dresses on. They approached the old men. It seemed there was one young woman for each old man. They either danced or the girls sat very close to the men. I think they were prostitutes. The men looked to be in their 50s and big while these girls could have been their daughters. What kind of place was I in!

I was only buzzed at the most yesterday but I did not sleep well. I woke up a bit hungover. I kept hitting snooze for one hour. Already having a night of drinking affecting my vacation. My day of slipping was 6 beers and 3 mixed drinks. Evidence of not being a moderate drinker!

25 May 2015

written while drunk:

    Why Do I drink (did drink?!)

I drink to feel loved
I drink to feel wanted
to be accepted
to be popular
I like the fuzz
the buzz
It feels innocent and
takes me back to childhood
before depression
before identity
before self hatred.

But it doens’t keep me there.
It creates an illusion.
Magical
But magic if fake.
It is not real
Sobriety is real.
Truth is real.

I need real.

26 May 2015

So I drank again last night. Then I met a guy. We bar hopped for places that were still open. Then I took him back to my hotel with me. We had sex. I had a tampon still in. I don’t even remember if it was good or not. We tried to have sex again this morning but I was too tired and hungover. Not sure if we will stay in touch or ever see each other again. I am ashamed and feel guilty. I have not had sex for over a year and was hoping to break that when I found someone I cared for. Instead I threw it away on some guy that gave me a compliment in a bar. I feel sick from the hangover and guilt. I wasted my last day sleeping and popping advil. I am still not sure I will tell anyone. Can I go back and pretend it never happened? I will start going to more meetings when I get home, find a sponsor, and work the steps finally.

Think It Through

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need to find a group of sober divers.

Stronger but not invincible

Tonight I went out to dinner alone. It was a nice Indian restaurant.  I ordered my food and continued reading my book Get Sober Stay Sober by Cynthia Perkins. The restaurant was pretty empty on this cold night. There were only two other tables occupied with a couple each. The table closest to me interrupted my reading. They wanted to know if I wanted to finish off their bottle of wine. It looked like a full glass-worth. For free. I told them no thank you. They assured me it was good. I told them I don’t drink alcohol. The man said “neither do I” and they both laughed.

It was very easy for me to turn down that bottle. I felt so proud. I thought of how much stronger I have gotten with saying no to alcohol over the past 10 months.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t mourn my move. I think I will always wish I could drink. Just like a prisoner sentenced to life in jail wishes for freedom.

At least I have my freedom. And my life.

Family and Genetics and Addiction

Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their environment–peers, family, and availability.  But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.  Alcoholism and drug dependence are not moral issues, are not a matter of choice or a lack of willpower.  Plain and simple, some people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently.

Family History and Genetics

I can still cry on Prozac

One reason I hated Prozac when I was on it 13 years ago is because it numbed me so much, I couldn’t cry. I remember a coworker died and I did not feel sad. Now I think it is because I just did not like her. But today I can not stop crying. I found out my last boyfriend, who I am still in love with, has started a heroin addiction.

I feel helpless. I feel guilty. I feel useless. I want to do something. I wish I knew what I could do. Or that there was something I could do. I know it is not my fault and most likely I would not have been able to prevent this. But I still feel if he and I stayed together, he would not have picked up the needle. If I did not get so drunk and jealous last time we were together, maybe we would have kept talking. I am physically and now emotional distant from him. I can not help but worry now. His new girlfriend is the reason he started using. I hate this woman now and that has nothing to do with jealousy.

I did leave a card telling my feelings for him and how I want him to get cleaned. I want him to get help. I gave it to a mutual friend to pass on. I doubt he will call me. But I needed to get the message to him.

I am glad I am on Prozac now. Not sure what this news would do to me. I might have spiraled down into deep depression. I am also glad to be sober to deal with these feelings.
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Mistake 251- When I first met my friend that introduced me to this last boyfriend, we were drunk at a club. We danced and made out. I drove him home with me. I drove drunk 20 miles while he kissed and played with me. He said he was impressed I kept the car from swerving. I am impressed we survived the drive. He laughs about it now but I think about it and it makes me grateful to be sober.

Eye Spy Me

I was looking in the mirror earlier and admiring my eyes. The more I looked at them, the more I felt blessed to have pretty, green eyes. Wrinkles and all, I love my eyes.

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Okay I do not love my dark circles. Can’t be perfect.

I am happy I am finally finding things about myself to like.  Things to appreciate. I spent so much of my life with bloodshot eyes from hangovers. Tired eyes from partying. Wet eyes from crying.

I chatted with an ex last night. It made me think of all the relationships I ruined with my drinking and low self-esteem. When they say you need to love yourself before another can love you, it is very true. I told her it is a shame because at my age, it seems harder to find someone not damaged. I know I come with enough baggage I could fill a train car. A few train cars. I am finally learning to love myself but it feels most people worth loving are taken by now. My ex told me she is planning to propose to her girlfriend.

Mistake 250- I went to a party and got super drunk off beer and shots of Jaeger.  I passed out as soon as I got home. I did not take my contacts out. When I tried to take them out the next day, I scratched my cornea. It was extremely painful. I had to go to the emergency room. They put morphine drops in my eye to stop the pain. Then they prescribed antibiotics and an eye patch until the scratch healed. I still went out with the patch on and got drunk again.