Travel for Tokens

If you have been following my blog, you would know that my local meetings do not give out many sobriety chips. At first I was very frustrated by this. I had to drive to a city two hours away to get my 30 day chip. I got my 90 day chip while on vacation in another city. I found it nice and convenient that I was to be traveling again for my 180th day.

I made plans to have dinner with an old friend. He and I have bickered about a lot of things in the past. When I first got sober, I stopped talking to him because of his comments about alcoholism.  He does not believe it is a disease. It is a choice.  I couldn’t handle that in my first 30 or even 60 days. I think it was near 90 days sober before I unblocked him and started to talk to him again.

He wanted to invite his roommate and roommate’s girlfriend to dinner with us. The problem is his roommate is my ex-boyfriend.  I told him I did not want them to join.  He said they might get upset if they are left out and I said “I don’t fucking care.” This guy was horrible with returning phone calls and text messages. He did not care when that hurt me. And the way we ended things was he called me about some papers and then said “you know that whatever happens, we will always be friends.” We never talked about it. We never had closure. And the last time I was in town, he canceled dinner plans with me to go see this girl. So I really did not want him and his new love joining my evening. I did not want closure with his arms wrapped around her. I could not handle that sober.

Thankfully my friend did not invite them. He and I had a great dinner. We talked and caught up. Afterwards, I felt bad that I seemed to monopolize the conversation with my recovery. He said a few times that he does not think I need to quit forever. I told him I know I do. He kept saying he thinks I can control it. If we had this talk a few months ago, I would have got angry. Instead, I just explained to him that I do not want to drink. I do not need to drink. He came up with his excuses for drinking and I told him that is fine.  I have no problem with other people drinking. I have a problem with my drinking.

After dinner, I started to drive him home. I was planning to go to a meeting. He even looked up meetings for me near his home. I was about to turn towards his street and he asked where was I going. The meeting is straight. “You want to go to the meeting with me?” He said sure. This was the first time I had someone go to a meeting with me.

It was a beginners meeting. The topic was higher power and God. I thought he would enjoy this because we discuss/debate religion and religious issues a lot. I got called on and felt like I was in school and had to write an answer on the chalkboard.  I have never been to a meeting before where they randomly call on people. But I spoke about my feelings of spirituality and using energy and the universe as my higher power. (Maybe one day I will get around to make a blog about my spirituality.) After the meeting, my friend thanked me for what I said. He thought it helped balance out all the God and Jesus talk. I think he might have enjoyed the meeting even if he does not believe everyone in that room has a disease.

There was a few minutes left and I did not see anyone with a box. I whispered to him “I guess no chip.” But then the chairperson asked for a volunteer to pass out chips. A huge smile crept across my face. They started out with 18 months. Then 12. Then 6. I jumped up like it was the lottery. I was the only person in the room accepting a chip. My friend kept clapping after everyone else was finished. It felt so wonderful.

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And then I thought I really hate my local meetings. Why do they deprive people of this awesome feeling of accepting a chip? Only 90 days and yearly chips? That does not seem like enough reinforcement.  Maybe I am just Pavlovian dog.

Mistake 182- Many years ago, I was at a party at the house of my friend that joined me at this meeting. I do not remember much (as usual). But I cheated on my girlfriend with some guy at the party. In most lesbian relationships, that is the worst betrayal. I do not remember much of the incident. The images of it are fuzzy like it didn’t really happen. Another guy witnessed it which is how I discovered what I did. Our group of friends made a joke out of it. I felt such shame because of the betrayal and the fact I had to be told by someone else what I did with my own body. Drinking controlled me. I finally gave up the losing battle of trying to control it.

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My marriage

Tonight I read some enteries in a journal I kept when I was married. Unfortunately, I do not have all my journals. I have a sister that found my journal from my first year of marriage. She kept it and was planning to use it as blackmail. She wanted to send it to my mother-in-law. She also shared it with all my family members. My whole family knew about  my feelings of my marriage. They knew about my sex life. They knew about what I wrote about each of them. There was a lot of negative things in there about the sister that took the journal. They found out about my affair.

As I read this journal I have now, which I started after I lost the other, there are a lot of up and downs in my marriage. I have been asked if my drinking problem caused my divorce. I can honestly say “no.” There were other problems to our marriage. I was not ready to get married when I did. I tried to delay the wedding three weeks before it but he said “if you are not ready to get married now it means you do not WANT to marry me.” He said we were over if I did not get married when we had planned. I thought if I did not marry him, I would never find another guy to love me. I was twenty years old. We were only together 8 months when we got married. We were dating 3 months when he proposed.

I always look back on my marriage and say “I was too young and it was too soon.” After we split up, he admited he rushed me into marriage because he was scared I would not wait for him. He was in the military and was going away for six months 2 weeks after our wedding. I think my affair is evidence that I would not have waited for him. I used “I wasn’t ready” as my excuse during the affair. It was lack of self-esteem that led me to an affair. Most of my marriage was poisoned by my low self-esteem.

There a lot of entries about my jealousy. I did not like this female friend he worked with or that woman flirting with him. Again, that is my low self-esteem. Then I would feel guilty that I was jealous of thinking of him with other women while I was the one that actually cheated. I do not remember him ever giving me a reason not to trust him.

Another problem we had was that I felt he did not give me enough attention. There are a lot of entries about him staying up late to play video games while I went to bed. He also had a hobby of painting minatures. He would go to bed at sunrise as I was getting up for work. He would work in the evenings when I was in class or home alone. Or he would want to stay home and watch cartoons while I wanted to go out. I wanted to go to bars and be social. I wanted to go to bars to get attention. I wanted to live the life I felt marriage was depriving me off: the party college years.

I dropped out of college after two years when I got married. Maybe deep down, I blamed or resented him for that choice I made. I left university and moved away from my family to be with him and I was not finding the happiness I thought I deserved. Sitting around balancing a checkbooks and watching Cartoon Network was not the fairy tale I expected.

He spent the first six months of our marriage deployed with the military. I was still in college and continued partying like a college girl. I had my first affair with a friend. It lasted a month. I wish I still had that journal to help me remember why I did it and how I felt. I think I justified it that I would start acting married when my husband returned home. If he didn’t “force” me to get married, it would not have been an affair.

Actually, I am also remembering a small car accident. The accident was in the winter. I was on my way to visit his mom while he was deployed. The car skidded on black ice and I slid into a van. My car was banged a little bit. I was more rattled than the car. He called when I finally got to his mom’s house. When I told him I was in a car accident, the first thing he said was “how is the car?” Not “how are you?” or “are you okay?” He was concerned about the car. The affair started a month later. I am not using that as an excuse. I was young. Naive. Craved attention. Middle child syndrome?

He went on another six-month deployment after two years of marriage. I started a new job. I met a lot of new friends at this job. They would invite me out to bars and clubs. This was the first time I had friends that were not his friends. I enjoyed going out dancing with other young friends. I loved the attention men gave me. A lot of this journal says “I don’t know why that guy was flirting with me but I was having fun!” When my husband returned, he did not like me going out. He admited he was not used to me having friends of my own. I also started going back to school. I did not admit to anyone that I was planning to leave him when I finished college. We split up a year before I was supposed to graduate.

Mistake #7: The night we split up: We were at a small club. Two women from my job were with us.  We were all dancing and drinking and having a good time. I guess I used to complain a lot at work about my marriage or that I was unhappy. One of the girls got drunk and said, in front of my husband, “you need to appreciate him more. He is hot and a very nice guy!” I was also drunk and told her to mind her own business. Somewhere in there, he agreed with her and asked why I seemed so unhappy. I turned to him and slurred “I love you but I hate marriage. I feel I am suffocating in it.” He took off his ring, threw it in my beer, and walked out. I finished the beer, put the ring on my thumb, and bragged to everyone in the club that I was getting divorced. I don’t think I really believed it. I stayed with my friend we were out with (but I never again talked to the woman that questioned my marriage.) When I came home the next day, he asked me to move out. I hid my fears of the future and lack of confidence in the bottle. My parties days were really starting to begin.