Excuses, Excuses

I was at a friend’s house yesterday and noticed a newspaper article hanging on the refrigerator. I never noticed it before and I stopped because the photo looked familiar. It was my friend’s roommate. And the article was about her car getting stuck on train tracks and she getting a DUI. A lovely story to put on the fridge!

Her car got stuck on train tracks because she turned on them by mistake thinking they were the road. A cop noticed her standing outside of the car. She appeared drunk. The cop said she was falling over. A train was coming and he was able to get her away. The train hit her car. It totaled her car. She refused the breathalyzer.

I asked my friend about it. He said she wasn’t that drunk. She only had a few drinks and she can handle her alcohol. She was falling cause she was wearing heels. The newspaper made it seem worse than it was. That road it really dark so it is understandable why she turned on the tracks by mistake.

I couldn’t help but think he was just making up excuses. She probably told him these same excuses. When I first met her, she was falling over drunk. And she was barefoot that night.

What if she did not get out of the car? Why did she get out of the car? Thank god no one else was in the car. Thank god no one on the train got hurt. There are so many variables that could have made this a different situation. But excuses seem to push all the other possibilities out-of-the-way. She went to court and received a restricted driver’s license for a few months.

In my fear that blogging about this might “out” more information about me by connecting her story to me, I tried to google it. I could not find her story nor her photo. But sadly, I found that this happens a lot. I found a lot of stories of people getting their car stuck on train tracks while drunk. I found one woman parked her car on the tracks because she knew she was too drunk to drive on a Navy base. I found other stories about trains hitting cars. One girl was so drunk she didn’t even think to leave her car until two guys made her get out.

I think back to all the excuses I used to make. But there is no excuse for all the lives lost from drunk drivers.

Mistake 151- I was in Goa, India. I rented a scooter bike for the week. I went to a party in another part of the state about 45 minutes from where I was staying. I met a couple that got a ride there. We partied all day and night on the beach. I remember I stopped drinking about an hour before leaving the party. But that was still not enough time to sober up. I offered a ride to the girl. Her boyfriend got a ride back with one of my friends. I remember I got lost a little. I concentrated so hard on keeping the bike straight on the road.

We finally got back to the meeting point where my friend and her boyfriend were waiting. Her boyfriend was so happy. Later on, my friend told me the boyfriend was so worried. He kept saying he shouldn’t have let me drive her. If we were in an accident, he would have felt so responsible. He knew I was drinking a lot at the party. I not only put my life at risk, but her life also. And that would affected him too. It would have been a horrible chain reaction. Not to mention if I caused an accident that involved another vehicle and more people.

Alcoholics only think of themselves and live in excuses.

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Doctor DUI

I was watching the news this morning and there was a story of a doctor that got a DUI. I did not catch the whole story but I think he crashed and injured another person. Again, I am so glad I never hit another car or person with my DUIs.

I tried to Google the story to find out more information but I could not find it. Instead I came up with many other stories of doctors that got DUIs. I found this story about a doctor that got 3 DUIs before she finally admitted to being an alcoholic. The 3rd was just four days after her conviction for the 2nd.

Alcoholism is everywhere. Anyone could be a victim to this disease. It is still such a dirty word. Alcoholic.  So shameful. Only the weak have problems with alcohol. I wish it was not viewed this way.

Even though I feel I have more ups than downs now, I had this ache today when I thought “this is a forever thing. FOR-EV-ER!” I am not gonna be cured. I am not gonna graduate. I have to fight this disease every damn day. No matter how much easier it gets, it will never go away. Like an invisible birthmark. You know it is there always even if know one else sees it.

Maybe once I get done my 365 mistakes, I will have to daily find another DUI story to remind me to stay sober. Unfortunately,  there will be one every morning.

Mistake 145- I do not remember much about this night. I know I was 18. I met a guy in a bar. We started making out in the bar. Then we left. We walked to a baseball field. I think we had sex in the dugout. I think some of his friends followed us and took photos. I never saw nor talked to the guy again but a girl I was friends with heard about it. She was so mad and ashamed that she stopped talking to me. I remember she told me I need a babysitter. I just ignored the whole thing and prayed (still pray) that those photos never resurface.

Big Heart

I went to my first AA meeting since I got my 30 day chip. It was a 7am meeting and I went after I stayed up all night finishing Kristen Johnston’s Guts, watching a movie, doing laundry, and reading blogs. I felt great when I got to the meeting. The mood went down by the end.

I hate going there and leaving feeling guilty for the times I don’t go. I heard: “When I first got sober the only way I made it was to go to daily meetings.” “Work  the steps or this program won’t work.” “If you miss a meeting, you will want to drink.” “You need a sponsor to stay sober.”

Again, I got a list of names and phone numbers of the women in the meeting. Again, I thought “I am not gonna call any of them.” I would rather get to know someone before I would want to think of calling them. I understand the point behind giving out the numbers and I appreciate it. But I honestly would rather call my close friend in Virginia if I feel the need to drink. She knows I have gone sober. She told me to call anytime. Day or night. I guess that makes me lucky to know I have someone to call.

I could not follow most of the people that spoke. It seemed like tangents. All I really understood was that I better go to a meeting or else. The only way is the AA way. I will relapse if I don’t follow their rules. I swear it makes me want to stay sober and NOT go to meetings just to prove that I can. Take THAT! I will show them.

Ok that is stubborn me thinking. I am also tired and about to go to bed.

The one thing I got out of this meeting was thinking about my health. There was one guy sitting across the room that was yellow. He looked jaundice. I kept looking up at his pale, golden skin and thought “liver damage.” And that got me thinking of my heart.

I used to get tested for tuberculosis every year for my job. A TB test is a little shot under the skin in the arm and then have it read a few days later. I had them done for years. Then in 2010, my test reading was positive. This means I was exposed to tuberculosis somewhere. My guess is on a chicken bus in Bolivia. Or anywhere else in South America. My tests will always read positive so instead I need to get chest xrays every so often.

The report from my first xray said no lung problems.YEA! But it then said the words “cardiomegaly.” Enlarged heart.The doctor did not seem concerned. I was. I did what most hypochondrics do and I googled the causes. On webMD I found:

  • Viral infection of the heart
  • Abnormal heart valve
  • Pregnancy, with enlarged heart developing around the time of delivery (peripartum cardiomyopathy)
  • Kidney disease requiring dialysis
  • Alcohol or cocaine abuse
  • HIV infection
  • Genetic and inherited conditions

I had no viral symptoms, no valve problems, no pregnancy, no kidney issues, no HIV, and no genetic or inherited condition. (Oh except I inherited alcoholism from my dad.)  Alcohol abuse must be the cause! Oh my god my heart is going to explode because I was a lush! I overworked one of the most important organs in my body with booze. I was going to have a heart attack at the age of 35. My then-boyfriend tried to reassure me I was going to be okay. It just meant I have a big heart because I was such a caring person. I remember screaming at him “You have no medical background so shut up!”

It did not stop me from drinking.

Next few xrays, no mention of cardiomegaly again. One did mention scoliosis. Maybe from passing out on barstools.

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Mistake # 45- I was at a club with my two good friends. The female (the one I mentioned above that said I can call whenever), was drunk and passing out in the club. Our male friend was our ride. He was always our ride because he did not drink. He was lucky to be born with a liver condition so he avoided alcohol. (Please read the sarcasm when I say he was lucky.) He told me it was time to go home.

I did not want to leave. I wanted to stay and party. Can’t he just put her in the truck and let her sleep? He did take her outside of the club and sat her on the curb next to his truck. He then came back in and demanded I leave. I was stubborn and refused. So he picked me up, threw me over his shoulders, and carried my drunk ass outside of the club and to his truck. He put me down while he fumbled with our other friend to get her in the truck. I RAN back inside the club. He later said I looked like Phoebe from the TV show Friends when she would run crazy-like to scare away muggers. He got our other friend in the truck and came back looking for me. He said he found me squatting behind a guy trying to hide. I told the guy “Don’t let him take me.” My friend said “fuck you then! Find your own ride home.” He left.

I partied. I danced. I drank. I managed to find a ride home. Once I got home, I must have felt guilty. So I drove to my friend’s apartment. I don’t really remember doing that. He said he opened the door and I stood there crying. “I am so sorry” I bawled. He had me come inside while I cried and cried about being such a shitty friend. Then I cried myself to sleep on his couch. He was so mad at me that night but forgave me the next day.

We aren’t talking anymore. I sort of blamed him for my second DUI. Maybe I will reach out to him to make amends one day. Just not ready yet.

Long-term Recovery

Today I watched the film The Anonymous People on ManyFaces1Voice.org. I cried  some. It was moving and inspiring.

The thing I really liked was too use the term “long term recovery” instead of saying alcoholic. But how long do I have to be sober to consider it long term? It still feels sort of strange to think this is forever. I gave up on the idea of forever when I got divorced.

It is crazy to think of treating addicts as criminals.  I started reading Orange is the New Black. I love the show but reading the book makes me realize how it is a waste for our society to send someone to jail for a non -violent crime ten years after it happened due to our “zero tolerance” on drugs. I look forward to reading more. And I really look forward to the second season of the show.

I am going out for a friend’s birthday dinner tonight.  I am a little nervous about temptation but feel better after watching the movie.

“The easiest part was kicking it. The hardest part is living it.” – a man in the film

Mistake #32- I went out for drinks with friends.  I was separated from my husband for a few months. I started to date a guy that had a condo near the beach. I was getting upset that he didn’t call me or answer his phone that night. I was a little drunk and decided to drive by his place to see if his car was there. Was he out with another girl? I was jealous yet I was the one who still thought she was gonna fix her marriage eventually.

I got pulled over. I quickly took a sip of mouthwash I kept in my car door.  I read that they can not use results of a breathalyzer if you have mouthwash on your breath due to the alcohol in it. I told the officer I was just on my way to my boyfriend’s house. She asked if I was drinking and I admitted yes but diminished the amount. She asked why my breath smelled like mouthwash. I said I met a cute guy at the bar and I kept some in my bag to freshen up my breath. She had me step out of the car. Her partner said something about real alcoholics drinking mouthwash for the high. I stuck to my breath freshner story. When they asked me to walk on a straight line, I started to cry. I told them I have been having a really hard time being separated from my husband and I was in school and please please PLEASE I can not get a DUI! I walked the line while bawling my eyes out. I did other soriety tests while crying. I must have done okay because they did not arrest me. They gave me a ride home.

The whole ride home she lectured me. She talked about drinking and driving and all the deaths she has seen. I kept thanking her. I cried. I must have seemed such a mess especially with my stories of husband, boyfriend, and meeting a guy in the bar.

I walked into my roommate’s room when I got home and woke her up. I cried and told her I almost just got arrested for a DUI. She hugged me and told me stories about her “almost” DUIs too. I swore I would never drink and drive again. I finally went to my room and cried to sleep.

I got my first DUI a year and half later.