9 months

I went on to a 3 day camping festival with some friends. It was a lot of fun. My feet and body are sore from exploring and dancing. I am so glad I got to reconnect with friends. There was a few times I wanted to drop the sobriety thing but I stayed strong.

I have told friends here I am not drinking but they seem to have short term memories. They offer me a beer, I say “no thanks I quit drinking” and the next day they offer me another drink. Maybe they think I meant I quit for the day? I have to ask what was in everything that was offered to me. I even turned down ice cream because I was not in the mood for dairy and later found out someone mixed booze into the ice cream. It seems some people can not live without alcohol but they are not even alcoholics! I never see these people making fools of themselves and they don’t blackout. They control their drinking. It makes me jealous. But I know I will never be able to moderate. I am allergic to alcohol. My body does not react the same. But my body is fine without poisoning it with booze.

I met up with my friends P and C that I last saw in June. They were actually the most supportive people from the whole weekend. When someone would offer me a drink, P would tell them “no she doesn’t drink alcohol anymore” before I could say anything. I smiled. I guess it took them a bit to get used to it. But by the time we said bye to each other, we all hugged. I cried. I am happy that I did not lose their friendship like I thought when I blogged about it in June.

Also they had another friend with them. I have known this girl for a few years and definitely thought she had a drinking problem. I saw her a few times very drunk and sad in the past. She was a depressive drunk. This weekend she told me she has been sober 4 months. I was proud of her. We talked a little about sobriety. She told me she has a sponsor and is doing AA. I wished her luck. I told her she can talk to me about it whenever.

I did overhear about another woman at the festival who did not have a good time. A person said she decided to celebrate her 30 days of sobriety by getting drunk. And I think they said she mixed some drugs with her drinking. She started to have a panic attack, flipped out, and had suicidal thoughts. It made me glad I was sober.

After the festival, I spent two nights in a hotel. I walked around the city in the afternoon. Again I wished I was able to drink. Whenever I used to travel and not have to worry about driving, I used that as an excuse to get drunk. I loved the creative names of some cocktails I saw on menus. But I stuck to water.

I then found an AA meeting. There was an interesting speaker. The only reason I went was to search for a 9 month chip and I was happy when they pulled out the chip box at the end. So I got a 9 month chip! (Even though I had to go to another city/area to get it again.)

My 30 days, 90 days and 6 month tokens are all coins. This one looks more like a poker chip. I see this as evidence that meetings work different in different areas. Especially my area that only gives 90 days and yearly chips.

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Oktoberfest

Many years ago,  I met a couple from Munich, Germany. We got a long great and they invited me to stay at their place if I ever visit Germany. A year later, I emailed them to see if they could host me for Oktoberfest. They agreed and we made plans for me to stay on their couch for three nights of the two week celebration.

They told me they usually don’t allow anyone except family to stay during Oktoberfest.  They said the last time they had a friend stay, the guy got so drunk that he tried to urinate in one of their houseplants. They felt I would be a more responsible guest.

I spent my first evening hanging out with them. We met up with some other people, including one of my German friends visiting from another city. It was fun and a lot more than what I expected. It was a large carnival with rides and games. And then there were the packed beer “tents” (actual buildings ) with food, music and beer. Most of the tables inside are reserved and some of the reservations started a year ago. We managed to find a table outside one of the tents. We ordered pretzels and large mugs of beer. I have a photo of me smiling big while holding up my first Oktoberfest beer. Later that night, my host had me try different shots of schnapps. I was loving Munich.

The next day I returned without my hosts because they had to work. I met up with my friend and the group from the previous night. We walked around and drank as much beer as we could. We drank beer all day! I had some food. I think schnitzel or something very German. I have the menu that I stole. I met some people who I am still friends with today. My German friend left early and I stayed late. I was dancing on tables and spilling beer.

I drank so much that the rest of the evening is blurry. I know I got on a very high swing ride by myself cause I made a video of it. It was the kind of ride of swings that goes around and lifts you up so your feet fly below you. But this one was like 30 meters high. You were lifted above the festival.

Mistake 239- That night, I have a photo of me standing in front of one of those house of mirrors. But I am not sure what happened. I sort of have memories of being in there. I think with a guy. I do not know what happened or what we did. I sort of remember pushing him away. I am not sure. I know I lost the jacket that I had on in the photo. I remembering I was crying trying to give the taxi driver directions to my hosts’ place.

I woke up the next morning hungover. I tried to piece together the night but decided not to bother. I was too embarrassed. I had plans to meet up with my German friend at Marienplatz. I thought we would go to the festival together. But when I found her at the meeting point, she said she wanted to explore the sights of the city instead. I was upset. I came to Munich specifically for Oktoberfest. I already visited it years before and did the tourist stuff. She said “you only care about getting drunk.” I felt that was an okay goal during Oktoberfest. So she went off to see the city and I rushed to the festival. Some of the people I met the day before were meeting at noon and I wanted to join them.

When I got to the meeting point late, I did not recognize anyone. The group must have wandered off to a tent. I waited to see if any other stragglers would arrive. I started to get depressed. Could I have fun at Oktoberfest alone? I then thought maybe I should go find my friend. Maybe I should join her. I walked outside the festival trying to decide. As I wandered, I received a text message. A British guy from the previous night had my number and asked if I knew where the group went. I replied no but asked if he wanted to meet up with me. He said sure. Yea I had someone to hang out with! My mood lifted.

I saw a shop selling German festival clothing of dirndls and lederhösen. I decided to buy a dress. I wanted to really get in the Oktoberfest spirit. I bought one that was brown and yellow and match my sweater. It was a very cute outfit. I met up with the British guy and we had a great day drinking Bavarian beers.

We found some people from the group by the evening. I was drunk at this point. The British guy had to leave and I joined the group. We got a table inside a tent. I was standing on the tables dancing again. I had drunk German guys talking to me in German and they didn’t care that I did not understand them. I also met an American guy there with his friend. We joked about the drunk Germans must have assumed I was German because of my dirndl.

There was a woman walking around doing breathalyzer testing. She gave out certificates with your BAC level. I got it done and then had everyone I met sign it. I do not remember what my number was but I remember acting proud. I lost the certificate sometime that night.

Mistake 240- I woke up the next day in a hotel room. I was nude. I looked over and noticed I was in bed with the American. And his friend was in the next bed. The guy was nice and we exchanged emails. He found me on Facebook a few years ago.

Two embarrassing nights and two blackouts. I kept thinking “at least I did not try to pee in my hosts’ houseplants.”

Reel Recovery Film Festival

If you are near one of the cities hosting this festival,  try to check out a few of the films.  I will be in one of the cities during the dates and hope to find time to see a couple. I will give my review of whatever I get to see.

The cities are New York City,  Los Angeles,  Las Vegas,  Vancouver, Delray Beach, Houston, San Francisco,  and Sacramento.

Reel Recovery Film Festival

Writers In Treatmentis proud to present The REEL Recovery Film Festival. This multi-day event is  a celebration of film, the arts, writing and creativity. We showcase filmmakers who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, behavioral disorders, treatment and recovery. Slated for screening is an eclectic lineup of contemporary and classic films, documentaries and shorts from American and international, first-time filmmakers and industry veterans.

Mistake 226- I lived near a movie theater once. It was across the street from the parking garage of my apartment building. I was home drinking some beer alone and decided to check out a movie. I took a small backpack with me. I shoved 6 beers in the bag. I put a t-shirt in there to keep the bottles from clanking. I sat at the top and back of the theater. I finished all those beers and passed out. Missed half the film. 

Another festival and still sober

I went to another festival and did not drink alcohol. One thing that sucked is cans of beer were €2 but fruit smoothies and juice were €3- €4 and coffee and tea were sometimes €3. At least water was free. There were a few bars with liquor but I did not get close enough to see the prices.

This festival was an electronic music festival. I did not enjoy it overall. I like EDM (electronic dance music) but this was all psy-trance. I discovered it is not really my scene. I went because a friend invited me. Then I could not find him. I spent 3 days by myself at a festival of 20,000 people. And most of them were German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Israeli. It was hard to strike up a conversation, especially sober. I did try to speak to a few people but their English was not great and it was too difficult to have a conversation. I spent most of my time sunbathing and walking around taking photos.

Most of the people there were on drugs rather than drinking. People walked around with signs of the specific drugs for which they were searching. Or they had signs on their tents “We need WEED” or shrooms or stuff I never heard of.  The festival had all ages but mostly people in their 20s. I did not judge them. I must say I’d rather be around people stoned than people drunk. Less violent. Even the people on psychedelic drugs seemed to be in their own world rather than bothering other people.

I think I would have enjoyed it if I went with friends or was able to find my friend. He did not give me good directions how to find him. It made me melancholy and lonely. I sat alone at times with tears in my eyes. It made me over analyze why I am single and where my life is going. Just the other day, I was glad to be traveling alone. But there is a difference between traveling alone and going to a festival alone. I left the festival early.  I am torn between being mad at him and mad at myself for not having better sober social skills.

The lowest point was Friday afternoon.  I was drinking a cup of chai and people watching.  I was approached by a German person. I could not tell the gender. This person asked me if I was attracted to men or women. “Hows do you identify?” I did not know how to respond because I could not tell if this was a come-on line.  Then he said he is a transgender woman. He then asked “oh, were you born a woman?” I loudly exclaimed yes. Then tears started in my eyes. He said “oh no. Zo zorry.  Oh no!” I wanted to yea “fuck off”. Here I was unable to make friends and the only person to approach me thought I was a man dressed as a woman. I was already feeling fat and old but his comment added ugly to the mix.

It did not make me want to drink cause I know that would not solve it. It just made me want to hide in my tent.  That was when I decided I was going to leave early. One more day of sunbathing and then I would get the first bus out of there Sunday. I really felt out of place.

Mistake 202-I was spending New Year’s in Dallas with a boyfriend. We were barhopping gay bars. I remember our taxi driver even tried to warn us to avoid those kind of bars. “Are you sure you want to go there?” All I could think was “bigot.”
After many drinks, I remember making out with a blond Asian girl. Later, my boyfriend informed me that the girl was actually a boy. I pretended that I knew but I had no clue. He laughed because he said “she” did not even do a good dressing up job. He was drunk and knew it was a guy. He said I must have had super beer-goggles on.

Mistake 203- I was in a hot tub with a guy I liked and a transgender friend. I was extremely drunk. A few days later, the transgender friend said I was playing footsies with her in the tub. I was shocked. She took it as a hint that I was interested in her. I had to apologize for the mixed signals but I was definitely not interested in her. She began to pester me after that and I eventually had to end the friendship. I was too embarrassed and scared of another drunk encounter with her.

Happy Hour

I went to a happy hour last night. Not the best place for a person in recovery, right? But I had fun. I went there to meet other people that go to the festivals I enjoy. I planned to try to ask around if anyone knew of any sober festival goers, but I got wrapped up in conversations about projects and volunteering. I really enjoyed myself. I had a group of people whom with I shared a different experiences outside of parties.

This particular place had a water cooler next to the bar. I could help myself to as much water as I wanted rather than having to ask the bartender and wait. They had a trivia night going on in the main room and I started remembering how much I loved bar trivia night. Would I now kick ass at bar trivia against drunk people?

I spent most of my time there talking with one woman. I got there 2 hours after the happy hour started and she was obviously drunk. I now find it hard to have conversations with drunk people but it also reminds me of what I used to be like. I spoke with a few other people. I was proud that I was meeting people without liquor lubrication.

I am not going to make happy hour a common evening. This one had a specific theme. I don’t think I could have handle it three to six months ago without caving in and getting a beer. But it was a “happy hour” because I definitely left there happy.

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Mistake 177- I went to a “white party”. It was not a race thing.  It meant everyone had to wear white. I had a flowing white skirt, white tank top, and white blouse. I was drinking before the party and drinking lots at the party. I went out to dinner with friends after the white party. They said I kept swaying my head. They thought I was going to pass out in my food.

A guy who knew my friends offered to give me a ride home.  But I was too drunk to give him directions. I just moved there and could not remember the address. My driver’s license did not have my new address because I was living there temporarily.  So he drove me to his place with plans to drive me to my car in the morning.  But once at his place,  I started to make the moves on him. I ended up in his bed. I do not remember the night and had to ask him his name the next day.

We started dating. A month later,  we turned it into an exclusive relationship. Then it ended a month later.  I think I was always self-conscious of the way we met. But he had his own emotional issues.

Survived a Festival Sober!

I made it home from the festival without drinking alcohol! It wasn’t that difficult. There were only a few times that I craved an alcoholic beverage. Like when standing in line for breakfast and someone offered me a Bloody Mary. Or when I saw some bottles of champagne, I fancied a mimosa. But I found it easy to turn down beer and shots. Even the wine did not look appealing.

I cried a few tears of happiness while driving home. I did it! I survived and even had some fun. It was a huge accomplishment. I prove I do not break out in alcoholic hives just being around booze. I need to actually ingest that crap for it to mess me up.

The hardest part was meeting people. But my friends’ friends were very friendly and accepting. They kept offering me food and juice. A few guys talked to me but I did not think to ask for names or numbers. I had no game and acted shy.

Watching drunk people make fools of themselves was helpful. I watched people falling over or being loud and obnoxious. I kept thinking “thank god I am not one of them!” The last night, my friends found a strange guy passed out in their camp. Everyone kept giggling about the sleeping stranger. They let him sleep. I said something about having been the “sleeping stranger” many times. I usually spent my last night at festivals drinking a lot and waking up anywhere. I was happy not to be target of their mocking.

I did approach W, the guy I mentioned in my mistake yesterday. I saw him cutting across a field ahead of me. In my alcoholic, selfish mind, I thought he was doing that to avoid me. “He must have saw me walking down the road so trying to rush ahead!” I called his name he turned around, looked at me, and slowly said my name with a doubtful tone. When I acknowledge it was me, we hugged.

I started with “I owe you and apology” and he responded “no, I owe you an apology.” I was not expecting that. He started to explain there were problems with his family that last weekend we saw each other that he couldn’t explain. There was miscommunication between us. He doesn’t know what went wrong and he wished things did not end bad like they did. I told him that he did not deserve the nasty, drunk email I sent. I said I was sorry for the things I said. We agreed to be friends again. It was all short and quick.

I felt better after I walked away. I felt it lifted some guilt of my drunken bevaviour from the past. But I did not mention the drunk night nor when he asked my friend if I was an alcoholic. I did not tell him he was right about that. I did not get a chance to tell him I quit drinking nor that I was 4 months sober. Then I thought 4 months does not seem like much compared to my twenty years of drinking. Maybe the next time I run into him, I will have a longer milestone to share with him.

Mistake 125- I had a guy friend that I used to like a lot. We met at a festival. I saw him again a year later and he looked really good. He quit drinking and lost weight. He and I spent some time together at this event and I developed a crush on him. After the festival, I went out of my way to visit him. We spent a few great days together filled with conversation and sex.

A year later, I was living in his area. He started to act like an asshole and not the sweet guy I thought he was. We had sex a few times because I still had feelings for him. But he always acted like a jerk afterwards. He was demeaning and said things to make me feel stupid. I started to avoid him.

One night, while drunk, I confessed my feelings for him to a mutual friend. The next morning, she asked me of I knew about his STD. What? No! He never told me! She told me he has herpes. She even showed me an email where he confessed to her.

I was mad because he and I talked about STDs. We talked about being tested and we were lucky to be clean. He never mentioned herpes. I felt he lied. I brought up STD testing the next time I saw him. He texted me 3 days later to say he got tested again and was clean. I responded “including herpes?”.
No response.

I stopped talking to him for a few months. I avoided him at parties. Then I finally decided we could at least be friends. His lying, on top of degrading behaviour, cured my crush. A year later, I got blood tested for herpes and was clean. Then last summer, he asked me to share a hotel together after a festival to save money. Sounded okay to me.

It was going okay. We had separate beds. We met up with other friends that were staying at the hotel. I ignored his derogatory remarks. Then I spent a day at the hotel pool sipping cocktails. (He quit drinking 3 years before this.) I got drunk. That evening in the hotel room, I was drinking some more, and watching a movie. Not sure how or what happened, but I ended up having sex with the friend.

The next day, I was so disgusted with myself. I swore I would not have done that again. I did not find him attractive anymore. I thought he was a conniving creep now. But I was blacked out. I got drunk and vulnerable. I put my health at risk. And as usual, he was a jerk the next day. He left the hotel without saying bye.

I texted him later bitching at him. He was a recovering alcoholic and took advantage of me when I was drunk. He never responded.

I know I will still encounter lying jerks in sobriety. I just want to develop the self-confidence to know when to chose not to keep them in my life.

Festival day three

Things are going well. I hung out with my friends. I walked around checking out art. I napped. I went to bed early last night so I am up early on Sunday. I am going to see and participate more today. I will break down my camp this afternoon to leave early in the morning.

I do keep seeing one guy that I know from my past. I want to talk to him and apologize, but when I saw him at another festival last year, he told my friend “we are no longer on speaking terms.” So I have not approached him. I keep hoping he will say hi to me so I can tell him I quit drinking and that he was right. I am an alcoholic.

Mistake 124- W and I met at a festival in 2010. We instantly got a long. We had things in common. We discussed music and diving and festivals. He was beautiful. One afternoon (while I was drunk), he told me I was the most amazing women he ever met there and asked for permission to kiss me.

We spent the rest of the festival together. People asked how long we were together and we would laugh. “We just met this week.” My friends all commented that I looked so happy.

Then W and I both confessed to each other: we were both in relationships. He had a girlfriend he was living with for 5 or 6 years. I was with my boyfriend for a year but I felt that was rocky. I did not foresee a future with my boyfriend so was not sure what was the point of staying together. But W and I agreed that this relationship of ours would not last past the festival.

But we stayed in touch. We would email each other artistic ideas. We talked about projects we would love to create for festivals. We were both frustrated with our camps and talked about maybe finding another camp together. I loved the way he composed his words in his emails.

A few months later, my boyfriend broke up with me. He said it was due to the long distance. I think he was also jealous because I found new friends that were into the festivals. He did not care for the festival life I enjoyed and said he would never fit in with my life and friends if he were to move near me.

I told W in an email that I was now single. He, who lived on the other side of the country, decided to come visit. He also had a cousin he would visit. He was staying with his cousin and family. We planned two nights he would stay with me.

The first night I was to see him was Friday. I told him about an event at a club downtown. We could meet there and back to my place afterwards. I was nervous. This was the real world we were meeting in. And I never asked him about his girlfriend That was a subject we just didn’t discuss. I was drunk by the time I got a taxi downtown.

My friend C was meeting me before going in the club. But the bouncer would not let me in because I was drunk. She took me to a cafe around the corner to sober me up. We ate snacks and drank water. I told her the story of me and W. He was waiting in the club for me. I was finally presentable enough to get in the club. And I started drinking again as soon as I got in.

I don’t remember much except being nervous around him. And turns out at one point, he grabbed C and asked her if I was an alcoholic. I only knew her a few months at this time and we only hung out twice. She told him no, she doesn’t think so. (I was with her my last drink. Three years later, she still doesn’t think I have a drinking problem.)

C gave me a ride home that night. I cried a lot about screwing things up. She told me I didn’t screw things up. She told him I had a tough day at work (which I did.) Call him the next day to apologize. So after sleeping off a hangover, I called him. He accepted my apology and we decided I would pick him up for another party that night. (If I drive, I won’t get drunk! That plan usually works.)

That night everything was great. I drank very little. We danced a lot. I met his cousin. It was a wonderful night. It felt we had some of the festival magic again. He came back and stayed with me that night. We had amazing sex.

In the morning, I asked the question. What was his relationship status? He told me it was the same. He was still with his girlfriend. Everything was great between them. If I was going to have a problem with that, we would have to end things. I did not know how to react. I kept thinking if everything was so great, why did he fly 3000 miles to see me?

We talked about getting together the next night. He still had a few more days in town. But the rest of his stay, he blew me off. He said there was family drama he had to attend to. I kept thinking it was because I asked about his girlfriend. I flipped from regretting asking about her to being angry. Does she know? Does she suspect and ignore it? Does he have girls from festivals in many cities?

On his last night, after he made another excuse not to see me, I got drunk. I chatted on instant messenger with a friend about the situation. I told my friend my feelings and what I wanted to say. He told me to write an email while drunk but not to send it until I am sober. See if I still feel the same. Instead, I wrote a nasty letter while drunk and sent it. I told him how I felt sorry for his girlfriend and he was untrustworthy. I must have said a lot of mean things in that drunk email. I did not hear from him again until that festival last year where he said “we are no longer on speaking terms.”

And now he is at this festival. He is with a woman that I don’t think is the girlfriend he had before. (I saw her in photos from his diving trips.) I don’t know if they ended or this is just another festival girl. I want to say hi but I keep hoping he says it first. I want to shout “this is ice tea! Not beer in my cup!” I guess I want his congratulations. I want him to accept my apology for that drunk Friday night. I want to apologize for whatever I said in that email. I want to make amends.

Not sure if I really just wish he was alone.