Sober Campus and Stories

It is Alcohol Awareness Week. At least according to all the flyers posted all over my school’s campus, with photos and a stories of a victim from boozing too much. When I google the event, I find that April is actually Alcohol Awareness Month. Is my school getting a early start? Or is there a separate week or month to focus on alcohol abuse on college campuses? Either way, it is sobering to read those stories.

There was a different one posted in each bathroom stall and on almost every door to each building. A 20 year old fell off a balcony while intoxicated at one school and died. At another school, a guy passed out in the road walking home from a party and was killed when  a car drove over him. 18 year old girl was found dead in her dorm room from alcohol poisoning on a different campus. All young people who probably thought they were just having fun, just fitting in, just partying, and not realizing the dangers of getting drunk. It took me two decades to learn for myself.

I have to keep reminding myself I was lucky. Even with all the dumbshit I did or horrible things that happened to me when I was actively drinking, I am alive. I survived. I am here to tell my own stories and not have them plastered on a wall for people to contemplate while they are peeing. (Unless you are reading my blog on a laptop on the toilet.)

I have started to read Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. I am only on page 12 and so far I love it. It is me. It is my story. It is about my life! Well, it is Sarah’s story but so far I relate to so much of it. I have to force myself to put it down and finish my school work first. But a quote that sounds as if it came out of my own personal journal is this:

I think I knew I was in trouble. The small, still voice inside me always knew. I didn’t hide the drinking but I hid how much it hurt.

I have been making new friends that seem to accept that I do not drink. It is the old friends that have been irritating me lately. The ones that say they are proud of me, but continue to overindulge in bottles of wine. The ones that parade photos of being plastered online. The ones that perpetuate the glamour of getting shit-faced. The ones bragging about all the green beer they will chug this Thursday, as if that is the more important event in the world. I don’t know if I am jealous, concerned, or lonely. But all three feelings make me annoyed.

I am working Thursday night. I wonder how many years it will be that I volunteer to work St Patrick’s night to avoid the parties and Jamesons.

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Cleaning out the body

I have been trying to cut out sugar and add healthy items to my diet. The main reason is to lose weight but I also just read that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol.

“More people suffer liver damage from calories [in sugar] than from alcohol. Fatty liver disease affects up to 25 per cent of people in the United States, and the deadly disease can lead to liver cancer and liver failure,” the [American Liver] foundation said in a statement.

Fatty liver disease is the result of our livers filling up with excess fat. It is normal for livers to have some fat but if you have more than 5 to 10 per cent of your liver’s weight, it’s called fatty liver.

The article goes on to list foods you should try to eat or cook with a lot for a healthier liver:

-Seaweed
-Onions 
-Egg 
-Sesame Seeds 
-Avocado 
-Artichoke 
-Fennel 
-Ginger 
-Beans.
-Fish Oil
-Flax Seeds 
-Garlic 
-Broccoli 
-Cabbage
-Cauliflower 
-Kale 
-Brussels Sprouts 
-Collard Greens 
-Basil 
-Parsley

I read before about dandelion root helping to increase bile production to cleanse out the liver. I picked some up to add to my salads.

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And I picked up liver detox tea.
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I have also been drinking one bottle of kombucha tea per day. I learned about this fermented tea while in Thailand. I used to frequent a vegetarian place that made its own kombucha. There are a lot of health benefits to this drink. It has probiotics and antioxidants. I read a few articles debating whether kombucha is okay for alcoholics or not. Since it is fermented, it might contain 0.5%-1% alcohol. But some people say alcoholics should not use mouthwash or cold medicine. With all the other liver cleansing I am doing, I do not think kombucha is going to affect my sobriety.
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I wish I would have had lab work done at the beginning of my sobriety for comparison. But I do know my cholesterol was a little elevated when I had that tested about a year ago. It would be nice to see the health progression my body achieves with sobriety.

Mistake 190- I was visiting my friend who does not drink much. It was Thanksgiving weekend. She had old high school friends also visiting. We all went out. My friend was driving. I was doing a lot of shots with her high school friends. I do not remember much of the night. But I woke up in the front passenger seat of my friend’s car. I got up in a daze and went in the house. Thankfully she left the front door unlocked. I went to the bathroom to pee and when I came out, her 8 year old daughter was standing there. “Did you puke?” No I told her. She asked where did I sleep. She did not see me on the couch. I told her I slept in the car. “I do that sometimes because I am getting too big for my mom to carry me in.” I felt so embarrassed. Passing out in the car is what little kids do. Not grown women. (Unless passenger on a road trip.)

My friend told me how I was funny at the drive thru window. “We went to a drive thru?” I do not remember any of it. She said I kept making jokes about wanting rum in my soda and I was glad she doesn’t drink because there was no way I could drive. I ate my food and passed out right away. She couldn’t wake me once we got to her house.

Deconstructing Celebration Drinks

I posted yesterday how I really wanted to drink to celebrate my class ending. Instead, I got a facial and massage as my treat. While relaxing at the salon, I started to think more about what would have happened if I did go get drunk yesterday.

I would have started with one beer. And it might taste funny by now or might have tasted heavenly. I would drink it slow. Savor it. Be like “finally”. Then I would start to think “this isn’t so bad. Why did I quit!”

After finishing that one, I would ask the bartender for another. (I would have gone to drink at a bar instead of home alone since I was celebrating.) I might even tell the bartender how I quit in January but having just a few to blow off steam. He or she would congratulate me. Agree that sobriety isn’t all that great. And he or she would expect a nice tip as they open another bottle for me.

I would feel a bit tipsy. This good feeling would make me forget all the benefits of sobriety. I would order another beer. I might check to see if I had enough cash for more beer and if I did not, I would pull out the credit card. I might give myself a time limit or a bottle limit but I would soon ignore it to keep that high feeling.

I might not get very drunk. To me, that meant I was able to still walk and not black out. I would probably drink past the legal driving limit but not care. I might have met someone. I might have had fun. And the next day, I might have been proud I was able to celebrate and still remember the night. “See drinking can be fun! Why was I such a baby about the whole thing? It wasn’t THAT bad.”

I would have wasted money and thrown away 5 months of sobriety. I would try to moderate. I might have felt a little guilty at first but drank past that. Basically, one night of “celebrating” would have been opening the gates back to a hell I don’t want to return. Sometimes I hate the dogma of AA and recovery, but I must always remember that all this work and improvement could end with “just one.”

Mistake 163- I spent my 30th birthday in London alone. I was supposed to fly home that day but the flight was overbooked. I volunteered to stay an extra night. The airline gave me a free hotel room. I actually did not mind spending it alone. I knew I could entertain myself. I preferred CHOOSING to being alone than having friends let me down by not celebrating with me. It was the same reason I usually planned my own birthday celebrations because I did not trust my friends to make plans for me.

It was a good day. I spent the afternoon at a museum. I went to some Thai restaurant for dinner. I drank a whole bottle of wine by myself. After dinner, I decided to check out gay bars. I went to several and got a free birthday drink or shot. I sat by myself, drinking beers, and reading my book until the lines started to get blurry. I then decided to go to the nightclub Heaven.

I was drunk by the time I got there so most of it is a blur. But I remember a few things. I got mad because the bouncer would not let me in for free for my birthday. Then I sat down by a wall somewhere outside crying. A guy (or girl?) approached me and asked what was wrong. I told this person how it was my birthday and I refused to pay cover charge. His/her response was something about being homeless so I really have nothing to cry about. This must have motivated me or cheered me up or got me to stop crying because then I paid to get in the club. And once in, I drank lots. I danced but do not remember anything else inside the club. I met some guy. I woke up in his flat.

In the morning, I got the tube back to my hotel. I showered and napped until check out time. Then I rushed to the airport.

I never told anyone about that guy. Usually the story I tell is “I danced and drank until the tube was running again in the morning”. I have always been so ashamed of how that celebration ended. I pray for no more birthdays like that!

Jealous Jekyll

Mistake 160- I had three people staying at my place for a weekend. We were all cyber friends from a website. Two girls and one guy that were visiting my city. The guy was dating a friend of friends and I did not know him well. But I felt I did not like him soon after he arrived. Or I was jealous because he seemed to be flirting with one of the girl who happened to be a lesbian. And I was interested in her.

I had a party Saturday night during their stay. It was a good, successful party. About twenty people in my small apartment drinking beer and wine. Close to midnight, someone suggested we go bar hop. We couldn’t play music loud that late because of the neighbours. So we all left to continue the party elsewhere across town.

Somewhere and sometime in that switch, it seemed my personality switched. The more drunk I got, the more I couldn’t shake the jealous feelings. This guy had a girlfriend but I still felt he was flirting with the object of my affection. She flirted with him, me, and everyone but I hated him for leading her on. I kept trying to tell myself it was because I felt bad for his girlfriend. But I really think I did not like having competition with a man for a woman’s attention.

I am not sure what happened, but I got mad and left. I left my three guests at the bar. I got in a taxi. They said they came out of the bar and saw me pulling away. They said I turned around, looked at them, and laughed. I do not recall that.

I must have went to another bar or club. They had a spare key so I assumed they would have no problem getting back. When I got home later, I was mad at first thinking they were still out. The couch and air mattress in the living room were empty. But when I went in my bedroom, I saw the three of them sleeping in my bed. This outraged me. I screamed at them to get out of my bed. I accused them of have a three- some in my bed (even though they were all completely dressed and still in jeans.) They started to say their excuses but I would not listen. I said I wanted them all out of my apartment. This was about 3am.

They grabbed their bags and left. The girls were crying. I was crying. I think the guy was yelling at me but I just yelled right back. I heard they all went to a train station until they could get the first trains home. I cried myself to sleep. I felt like a crazy monster.

He complained to a lot of people about my drunk rage. I defended myself that I thought he was cheating on his girlfriend and in my bed. I told everyone I felt sorry for his girlfriend and he was untrustworthy. I did not know the girlfriend but I had many mutual friends with her. They were all baffled by this story. They never knew me to act like that so he must have done something really wrong, but they also knew she was a really sweet girl and trusted her judgement about the guy.

I never talked to any of them directly again. They all deleted me from their friends list. The guy and his girlfriend are still together many years later. I see him commenting on things on Facebook and he has even responded to me about a few things and I ignore him. His responses are never malicious. But his comments trigger my shame from that night. The lesbian deleted her account from the website. The other woman from that night is still friends with many of my friends but completely avoids me. I heard someone once say she was terrified by me that night. My eyes did not look normal.

Oddly, the afternoon before the party, I was telling them that sometimes drinking makes me feel like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Unfortunately I proved my point.

Charisma

I realize that not all of my mistakes are due to my drinking problem. Sometimes it was my low self-esteem.  Sometimes it was the charisma of another person. Sometimes it was a mix.

My friend the other day mentioned a guy as one of my drunk mistakes. I thought for a minute. I am not sure I would put him as a mistake. I said I always thought he was charming. She always thought he was creepy.  I do not know what it was I liked about him. Maybe it was because I was always drunk around him. She asked if I would have had sex with him if I was sober. I said maybe.

Then I thought of how he could be creepy at times. He would put his hand on my back in a bar and start rubbing it while I am talking to someone. He would catch my eye across the room and wink, even though he probably did that to 5 other girls the same night. Maybe he was fishing for a wink back and figure out who his catch of the night would be.

He tried to get with me one night when I was drunk but not single. He even knew my boyfriend. I was trashed and fading in and out of blacking out when I realized I was making out with him on his couch. I stopped and told him  “I can’t do this!”He was fine with it. We still slept in the same bed but did not have sex. I was woken up early when my boyfriend was Skype calling my phone. “Where are you?” Oh… I passed out on a friend’s couch.

He has an apartment with a great location. It has great views. Great party atmosphere. He is smart. Makes good money. Was semi-good looking. I have another friend who, without knowing I had sex with the guy, asked “how does he get so many girls? What is his secret?” I do not know. All I can think is it must be his charisma. I was drunk the few times we had and almost had sex. But I knew I was interested in him even before having the first drink of the night.

And that is when the low self-esteem comes in the mix. I knew he was a player. I knew he slept with probably half of my friends in the city. (Except the ones that thought he was creepy.)  I did not think I deserved better. It made me feel better that I was one of his many chosen. It is like I did not want to be left out on the cheering sex squad. And many years later, I can not even decide if sex with him was a mistake.

Maybe it was a mistake. But it was not a drunk mistake. And there were many other drunks occasions at his parties, some  involving other guys, but not always mistakes.

I am invited to a party at Mr Charisma’s place this weekend. I have been debating it. I think I could handle being around the alcohol. But I do not think I want to try to handle being around him.
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Mistake 148- I think it was the same weekend I first had sex with Mr Charisma. He tends to act like nothing happened the next day when we are around friends. We were at a bar crawl. And I met a gorgeous Scandinavian man there. This guy paid me a lot of attention. He was not hiding his attraction towards me. But I got trashed! (That is the point of bar crawls, right?)

Somehow after the party, me and Mr Scandinavian ended up back on Mr Charisma’s couch. Maybe there was an after party on the patio? I remember making out with the gorgeous guy on the couch, clothes starting to come off, and Mr Charisma walked through the living room. He just looked at me and shook his head. I doubt he was jealous. But it made me feel like a cheap slut. Mr Scandinavian and I stopped what we were doing out of embarrassment and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

One drink for you… 3 drinks for me…

I went out for dinner last night with a friend. I have known DG for 7 years. When I first met her, it was right after I gave up my post-DUI sobriety. It was about two weeks after a pool party where I got trashed. I was still thinking I was able to moderate.The first weekend I met her, I got trashed two nights in a row. I don’t know why I was lying to myself that I did not have a problem.

When I got into the City, I felt very good. I thought “wow I have come a long way in sobriety. I no longer feel temptations to drink here.” The Happy Hour signs on the sidewalks were not trying to trip me anymore. The cheerful people on the patios drinking did tantalize me with their drunk laughter. I felt strong.

When DG arrived, we got a nice table outside. We had a great view for people watching. We chatted and caught up. Service was very slow at this place but we finally got our drink orders placed.

When her Cabernet arrived, I felt a little weak. I could smell her wine as much as I could smell my own breath. It smelled so lovely. It must have been a good bottle. I really wanted a sip. And I found this desire sad. I was just feeling satisfied at not wanting alcohol. One whiff later and I was craving the poison. Maybe I need to start drawing my Sobriety chips on my hands when I go out to remind myself not to reach out for it.

I am not sure what she would have said if I asked for sip. She knows I quit drinking but she did not know the whole story until tonight. And she did not say much about the story yet seemed to understand. Or at least understood I drank way more than normal people. She might not understand why I need to abstain but she does not have an issue if I do not drink.

She was never a big drinker. I would seriously have about 5 glasses per her one when we would party. We have meet up about once or twice a year since I moved away and that usually involves meeting for dinner. I usually would have 2 or 3 cocktails for her one. She took a long time to finish that Cabernet. What a weird and normal drinker she is!

I made one comment that I made too many mistakes when drunk. She started to list some of my mistakes. *sigh* I wonder if I have any friends that DO NOT have drunk stories I do not remember.

Mistake 147- The first time I met DG, it was at a picnic. Nothing bad happen the first day. We were in a public park and alcohol was illegal. No one was drinking until later in the evening. I had a good time and met people. DG and I connected and got along well. I did not get trashed. But the next night, I did.

We went to a late afternoon BBQ. I started drinking then. Then we went to a party to watch the Tonys and kept drinking. Then we went dancing. The last thing I remember is the dance club. Then I woke up in DG’s living room the next morning. She let me come stay at her place because I was too drunk to get home. She said on the walk to her place, I kept yelling I needed sex. She said I was quite funny. “I HAVEN’T HAD SEX IN A LONG TIME! I NEED SEX!!!” She had a guy staying with her, who I apparently almost molested.  She really thought the guy was scared. He was foreign. He had a girlfriend back home. She said I tried to kiss him several times and he pulled away.

I guess I am lucky she has a sense of humor and put up with my crazy, drunk behavior. I am glad she likes me for whatever reason we connected that first day and not for my drunk antics.

Google myself

I tried to Google my blog. I typed “365reasons” and the first 4 things that popped are were “365 reasons i love you”, “365 reasons i love my boyfriend”, “365 reasons i love her”, and “365 reasons to drink.”

Love, love, love and alcohol. It is what is on everyone wants.

I went and clicked on the 4th option. I found it depressing. The top story was 365 Excuses to Get Drunk. As if people need an excuse? It was depressing that there is a whole magazine and website dedicated to, not just drinking, but “standing up for your right to get falling down drunk since 1996.” I actually might have read the magazine? I think I found a copy of it in a bar and that was where I discovered the term alcoheimers. Man, I was not just an alcoholic. I was a DEDICATED alcoholic. I am surprised I did not get a subscription to the magazine. I guess the closest I ever came to a drunk subscription was a wine club. They sent me cases every few months. The magazine would have been cheaper.

A bit further down, I found a link to an app on a Smartphone for drinking: 365 Reasons to Drink. I wonder if I can get someone to create an app after I complete my year of daily blogs. But my app would be a personal one with my mistakes. Everyday it will beep with my sobriety count and instead of some daily reflection, it will say “remember the time you passed out on the street in Brooklyn” or another drunk mistake.

Crazy that when I went back and added “not” to the front of the word “drink” in the Google search, my blog came up. I guess that is a good thing!

I am not beating myself up over my past and my drunk mistakes. I am realizing how far I have come. I watched Rum Diary tonight. And even though Johnny Depp’s character is an alcoholic and there is a lot of my old favorite liquor in the movie, I did not desire any rum. Instead I thought about booking a flight to Puerto Rico where the movie takes place. I even started to look up volunteer opportunities there. (Let me know of any volunteer jobs or companies you would recommend.)

A friend that I had dinner with a couple weeks ago emailed me and said he plans to quit drinking. He has a sobriety date set up for his birthday in a few weeks from now. He said he plans to pick up as much overtime at work to avoid the temptation. He said that helped when he quit smoking. He wants more tips from me. I need to plan a night next week to have dinner with him again.

(I have been very bad with reading other sober blogs lately. I am not being selfish. It has been time consuming to write my daily blog on top of work, school work, and my travels. But I was just reading through some and found this post about Sober and Awkward. Her rock bottom was a car wreck. She hit another car head on. She just got sentenced to 6 months in jail. I cried. I cried for her and for thinking “that could have been me!” I now feel selfish.)

Mistake 142- Many years ago, when I was still new to drinking but already blacking out and making mistakes, I went to a party at my friend’s house. Her housemates were away for the weekend. I remember she regretted the party because of lot of stuff got ruined. Drunk guys threw furniture into the pool and over into a canyon. People were having sex in her roommates bed that was off limits.

I had sex in the bathroom. I barely remember someone trying to open the door on us. I remember she was so mad at me. Our friends were mad at me also. I can’t remember now, but I think either the guy had a girlfriend or one of my friends liked him.

I helped her clean up the next day. I kept apologizing. 20 years later, she laughs it off as “we were dumb and in college!” When college kids do crazy things like that, it is seen as normal.