Goals

Soberistas posted a great blog with tips to stay sober. Let me summarize what I took from it:
1- think of the big picture and imagine your life. Think of your future and your relationship with alcohol.
2- break down your future into specific goals you want to achieve.
3- make an action plan for those goals that is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable,  relevant, and time-related.)
4- put plan into action
5- prioritize goals and start a journal
6- reward yourself!

All great ideas and tips! There is mention of losing weight being a goal. There are so many times I am disappointed that I have not lost weight since I quit drinking. Even quitting soda a month ago hasn’t helped. (But I do cheat on the soda bit.) But I think I need to focus my goals on self-improvement and narrow that down to school.

I want to return to school in fall 2015. I have been talking about this for many years. Usually the idea of paying for it is what scares me the most. I keep thinking I will get a job that will reimburse me but then I never stay somewhere long enough to obtain that benefit. In 2012, I settled in one area with the goal of starting an online program. But then I read some countries do not accept distance learning degrees. I did not want to spend the money and time for a degree that might be useless if I wanted to move overseas. I was also worried if I have the self-discipline and control for online courses.

I left my job in that area. I started the process to relocate to another city that had an university program I wanted with classroom lectures rather than online. Then, I could not get the job I wanted there due to my DUIs. (What I consider my rock bottom.) I went back to working contracts and I am planning to relocate to a different city now. I plan to establish residency there by August to reach my goal of 2015 start date.

Sometimes, I actually feel relieved at the obstacles I had to face. Actually, a lot of times I feel relief. If I stayed in that city I settled in for school, going sober would have been challenging. All my friends drank! And they drank lots! I loved my life there. At least one huge party a month surrounded by a lot of small get togethers throughout the week. My friends were fun, creative, and like a family to me. I only lived there a little more than a year but I felt instant acceptance. But it seemed if I was not working, I was drunk. I could not even maintain a work out routine nor regular yoga classes cause I was drunk or hungover. I really started to question my drinking habits at this point but I seriously said I was not ready to quit. After a decade of “drinking breaks” and attempts at moderation, I accepted I was an alcoholic. I was just not willing to change that. I was having too much fun.

And the city I was trying to move to but couldn’t because of my DUIs… that is another drinking city! Big party town. I am sure there are other things to do and it has great restaurants, but living there might have been a sober challenge.
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So my goals now are
1) stay sober,
2) relocate and establish residency in My Dream City,
and 3) obtain my degree. I have already set the wheels in motion. I started online classes to raise my GPA to increase my chances of acceptance. (I had to drop one class already though. I relaized jumping into two online classes was a bit tough and would hurt my GPA more.) And being sober is going to help me achieve better grades. (I hope.)

I still want to lose weight. I just signed up for a 30 day Ab challenge on Facebook (a little late since it started June 1.) But my focus will be on school. And sobriety. I just hope I don’t gain a “freshman fifteen.”

Mistake 133- I went to visit a friend for a weekend at a college 5 hours away. When I got there, he said his girlfriend was sick so he had to go take care of her the first night. He introduced me to a girl in his class and told me to hang out with her.

She took me to a party. Some guy she liked was going to be there. I don’t remember much except playing beer pong. I was in a city I did not know, at a school that was not mine, hanging with people I did not know, and I got trashed.

I had a blackout. Scary thinking I only started drinking a year before this and blackouts were starting to already become frequent. I “woke up” to realizing I was having sex with a guy. He was roommate with the guy whom was the reason we went to the party. We were on his top bunk bed. How the hell did I even climb up that ladder?

It is weird I remember his name because it is also my father’s name. And I remember he was short. I was so disgusted in the morning that I had sex with someone about a foot shorter than me.

The girl I went to the party with was there. She did not have sex with the guy she liked. She wanted a relationship and said she didn’t want to mess that chance. I was just the drunk stranger from out of town. No chance of relationships to mess up.

But I couldn’t help but feel she looked down on me. She didn’t know what she was getting into when she agreed to hang out with me. She wasn’t looking for a babysitting job. She walked me back to my friend’s dorm and left. I was glad I wasn’t a student there so I would not have to face her again. I spent the day hungover in my friend’s dorm watching movies.

New Mug and Sober Triggers

My mom came to visit yesterday. She brought me this gift: Purple Flower Mug

(In case you can not read the picture, the mug says “The Best Things in Life are the people we love, the places we’ve been  and the memories we’ve made along the way.”)

It is a large mug and she knows I like large mugs. Plus she knows I like purple. But the message was the best part for me. Having memories is so much better than blackouts!  And I have a new mug for all my herbal teas.

The visit was nice. She again asked how the “not drinking thing” is going and how I feel. I sometimes worry I talk too much about my sobriety with her but I like having her as an outlet. I can not discuss it at work and my friends on Facebook still seem uncomfortable with it.

The only thing she said that annoyed me was “It is a shame. That is what people do. Meet out for drinks.” I told her I can still go out and I am even willing to go to places with alcohol. I will just order water with lemon. I have to just keep reminding myself I can not drink just like her boyfriend, who is diabetic, has to avoid certain foods. Or anyone with an allergy has to avoid certain things.

I kept trying to share with her some of my drunk stories to stress to her how much I drank. When we used to share a bottle of wine, she would have a glass and I would drink the rest. She seems to block out the times I spent at her house sleeping all day after being up all night emptying her wine rack. She always thought of my DUIs as unfortunate mistakes. Maybe she is worried if she admits I have a problem, it is somehow her fault?

I am realizing that when I do finally get around to working on the 12 steps, I really need to make amends to her even if she does not recognize it. “Sorry mom for all those times you were worried when I was out drinking. Sorry for making you drive 6 hours away to bail me out of jail. Sorry for you returning to that city for my court date.  Sorry for all I put you through.”

After she left, I went to the grocery store. I was stocking up on veggies and ingredients for salads. I am determined to drop weight in the next month. I have a reunion June 7. I also bought some unsweetened tea and large gallon of water. I am going to put lemon, lime, mint, and cucumbers in the jug of water. Then I am gonna drink at least half of it each day. Keep refilling it. Hope it helps.

I walked past the beer section in the store. I glanced at some summer ale. For a brief second, I thought “I could just stop. I could just give up this sober thing. I could always try again later.” But I kept walking. I thought I worked too hard to stop now. This “sobriety thing” needs to be a forward thing. No backpedaling. No breaks. I do not want to think of the self-loathing that would follow if I drank that beer.

I picked up my last item but the sober-drink battle kept floating in my brain. It was not really a battle. Just a lingering thought. Just images of me sitting in bars. Just one drink in my hand.

Then a man passed me. He was wearing a hat from a university I used to want to attend. A university in a city that I was planning to move to until plans changed in January. That was when I found out I could not get the job I wanted because of my two DUIs. They said it did not matter how long ago the DUIs were. My plans for the job and moving there were canceled. That was when I decided to get sober. And seeing his hat was a reminder of why I quit drinking alcohol. It triggered me back to happy, sober land. I do not want anymore plans changed or futures ruined from my drunk mistakes. I am gonna keep being sober and even if my life does not become perfect, it will be a hell of a lot better than where it was going. I actually want to be alive.

Now I am gonna enjoy some mint tea.

Mistake # 105- I graduated college. My mom came to my graduation with my sister and nephew who was a baby. They stayed at a hotel. I joined them to stay in the room one night. My sister and I waited until my mom and the baby fell asleep. Then we snuck out of the hotel. I wanted to celebrate! Two women in their mid-twenties sneaking out like teenagers.

We went down to some bars that were walking distance. (I had a restricted driver license because this was after my first DUI.) We got drunk. We met some guys. They tried to invite us back to their place. We declined because we knew our mom would be too upset if we were not back by morning. We stumbled in the hotel room after last call at 2am. We tried to be quiet but for some reason, drunk people sound like elephants even when tip toeing. We woke my mom and she just warned us not the wake the baby. We slept in until the afternoon the next day while she took the baby out for breakfast and shopping. My sister and I got drunk again that night. Maybe the birth of my nephew distracted my mom from me and my sister’s alcoholism.

45 days: Really Sober

When I first quit drinking, I do not think I was serious about sobriety. I got trashed January 18th and thought about going sober the next morning. Then I got drunk January 21st to “prove” to my friends I had a problem. On the 22nd, I bought a pocket breathalyzer so I could control my drinking. Once my BAC got too high, I would stop.

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I started my roadtrip across the USA that day. I stayed with a friend the first night. I stopped at a gas station to buy him some beer. I knew he loved Landshark.  The gas station had none. I was having inner discussions “will I accept a drink if he offers?” Thankfully, he did not offer me anything but yogurt.

I stayed in hotels the next few nights. The next time I stayed with friends the following Monday, I consciously turned down beer.

45 days sober now. Not the longest I have been sober. But this is my usual time when I start to consider trying to control my drinking.

I have to stop thinking of this as “forever”. Not sure one day at a time is really my thing. I focus and worry about the future too much. I need to think in the present more. Maybe I need to work on meditation.

I am working on short sobriety goals. Today is halfway to 90 days. Three months sober just seems like…wow. That’s like a trimester. It is the beginning of my new life. Maybe I will start showing by then. And I mean showing improvements.

I read and hear about people sleeping better and having glowing skin. I work night shift so I haven’t experienced either. My face actually broke out real bad the last few days. I need more hydration and sleep. Maybe I will treat myself to a facial for 60 days sober.

I bought yellow roses for my 45 days sober. I plan to buy a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake for my 50th day. I have an appointment with a personal trainer that day.  That will even out the calories from the cake.

I marked my calendar for every 10 days of sobriety.

I am giving this BAC track to some friends. I gave them my wine cards (cards to describe types of wine and food pairings) when I tried to go sober in 2007. I hope this is the last drinking paraphernalia I gift them.

Mistake # 38- One morning in October 2001, I woke up hungover. I realized I lost my camera. But I was happy I had my wallet. I had to be at work at 3pm. When I went outside, I realized I lost my car. I searched and searched the parking lot. I couldn’t remember where I parked it and could not find it anywhere. Finally, I called the number posted for the tow company. Turns out, I parked in someone’s assigned spot. My roommate, who owned the condo we lived in, warned me about her neighbors. I was glad she was home to give me a ride to get my car. I had to call in late to work. I paid $150 to get my car back.

Training

Today I had a meeting with a trainer at the gym.  He asked me questions to figure out who to pair me up with and gave me some advice to meet my fitness goals. A lot of what he said made me think of my sobriety goals.

-gonna take awhile
-little bit at a time
-even when I am not at the gym (AA meeting), I have to focus on my goals

I was very happy when he asked me if I drink alcohol and I replied “I quit.” He said “good for you!” He asked if I had anyone supporting me in my fitness goals. I said no. I am alone. That is also how I feel with going sober. Maybe I should start a fitness blog also?

As he went on about long term goals, I did not tell him I most likely will be moving from the area in May. It makes me feel deceitful. I hope I can continue my goals to work out wherever I do move just like I hope I keep going to AA there.

I feel the next few months of my life will be work, sleep, blog, read, AA meetings,  and the gym.  Oh, and Walking Dead every Sunday night. I have a few plans for friends to visit and to visit friends while I am living in this area.  I will wait until just prior to the visitation to tell them I quit drinking. Lucky for me, most of the plans are with friends with whom I have a real relationship. Meaning, there is more to the friendship than partying. I know what they do for a living! I have or will meet their children!

I am in training to get fit and sober!

Mistake # 26- Five years ago, I took off 5 weeks inbetween jobs to travel Europe. I had my flights booked. I had a Eurorail pass for the train. First stop was a few nights in London to visit a friend. It was her 30th birthday party. We drank a lot of wine and mojitos, her favorite drink. The ones I made were crap but very strong. I passed out in her spare room. Good thing I was staying with her for my visit.

I did not see any sites of London the next day because I was hungover.

The next night, I went out with one of her friends. The birthday girl stayed home because she needed a night off from drinking. Wuss. We went to a pub to meet up with a large group of travelers. Pints were about £2 each which is very cheap for London. I drank a lot until the place closed at 11pm. One of the guys was a member at an after hours club. He was able to get us all in. I do not remember much once there. I was glad I had her friend with me to get me back to where I was staying. I can not imagine trying to navigate London’s bus system drunk.

I woke up the next day to get ready for a flight to Amsterdam. Then I realized my travel purse was missing. My travel purse with my money, credit cards, and passport. I felt like an idiot. I felt lost. I was scared. I missed my flight but was glad it was with a discount airline. I maybe lost only $40.  I used my friend’s computer to try to look up getting a new passport from the US Embassy. It was Sunday so I would have to wait until the next day and it would still take a few days.  Did I just ruin my whole trip?

I called and left a message with the club. I felt it was useless. I did not know when they would open. I sat around my friend’s house crying and regretting the night. I should have stayed in with her. She tried to cheer me up. She offered me some of her good wine. Finally around 5pm, she received a phone call from the club. They had my purse! Everything was in it.

I booked a new flight for early the next day. I only missed out on 1 day of the trip! I was still able to see the few things I wanted to see in Amsterdam and visit friends in other Dutch cities. I did not lose my passport again the rest of the trip.

But I did make more drunk mistakes.

One more week until my first milestone!

I know this sober thing is to be taken one day at at time. But I am excited for my 30th day of sobriety next week! It really should not be too amazing. I have done it before. I have also cheated in the past on my 30 day drinking breaks.

In 2011, I met with a friend that was sober for seven months. He did it on his own after spending a night in jail. We talked about my problem. We both just came from a festival where I woke up one night in the medical tent. I had an IV in my hand to rehydrate me. The story of how I got there is confusing. I either fell off a moving vehicle or I was found passed out drunk. I had bruises on my legs. My friend suggested I try to stop drinking for 30 days. He said just do 30 days and then decide if I wanted to continue. I made the promise to myself and him.

After 28 days of being sober, I was invited to join some people for happy hour. I was in a foreign country. I like meeting new people. I did not want to be left out. And as I sat down, I decided that 28 days was a lunar month and that was a good enough dry month. I ordered a few cocktails. I ordered a lot of cocktails. The three people I met drank a lot less than I did. I think they actually left me at the table and I drank until closing time. I almost missed my bus the next day.

I did a 30 day drinking break last year that ended with me getting trashed at a club and blacking out.

I tried a 30 day drinking break last fall that was interrupted by a music festival. I modified that break by saying “well I didn’t say 30 days IN  A ROW.” I got drunk at the end of the festival and made a fool out of myself to a man I loved. We ended the romantic relationship.

Last October, I received some possible negative news in relation to my career. It was an indirect result from drinking mistakes in the past. I did not make a 30 day drinking break then. Instead, I just said “not gonna drink for awhile.” Then I decided “not gonna drink until New Years Eve.” I couldn’t imagine not getting drunk for New Years. I hated 2013 and was looking forward to celebrating a new year. But I thought not drinking for 2 months would be a sign to me that I could control it. I thought it would earn me good karma points.

I did not make it. I drank December 29. Since my last drink before that was October 28, I modified that promise with “well I have been sober two months. That is good enough.” I was in Thailand. I did not want to leave the country without having a Mai Thai.

I drank a lot the next three weeks. Made more mistakes. Put myself in danger. And then I got word that the possible negative news for my career was more real. I felt that was my “rock bottom.” I could not imagine my career ending. It is the most positive thing I have.

I decided to quit. After one more night of getting drunk. I had a bottle of my favorite rum to empty before I go sober. I made one more mistake that night. And three days later, I had my last drink.

30 days will be the first milestone in this new life. I woke up today thinking about it and got worried. I know I can stay sober until February 20th. It is the days after it that scare me. Staying sober until 60 days. Then 90s days. Then complete the 100 Day Challenge. I am still scared to tell a lot of people.

And I woke up mad. I hate not being able to drink like most people. I drank to try to fit in. Will I fit in anywhere now besides an AA meeting?

Then I read a quote I wrote in my journal in April 2012. It was from a biography about Johnny Depp.

I’m not sure I’m capable of leaving behind a personal message. But if I did, I hope it would be that it’s okay to be different from the crowd. In fact, it’s really good to be different from the crowd, and that we really should question ourselves before we pass judgement on someone who is different to us.

-Johnny Depp

So I am different. And this 30 days of sobriety will be different from my drinking breaks in the past. I really need to take this one day at a time. One mistake at a time.

Mistake # 16- The mystery of waking up in the medical tent at that festival with an IV in my arm. To this day, friends from that festival tease me about falling off vehicles.

Beginning this blog one week sober

I have had this idea for awhile. For the past year, I have started to jot down in a pocket calendar, that was gifted to me by a former boss, the mistakes I made while drunk. The things I lost. The one-night stand. The blackouts. The accidents. The dangerous situations. The fights. I have achieved goals of “30 days no booze!” and then would celebrate that goal by getting trashed. And then more mistakes. I thought if I could come up with 365 mistakes I have made while intoxicated, those mistakes would give me a reason to go sober for a year. And I am hoping if I can make the goal of a year sober, I can attempt a life change of abstinence.

I recently found my personal journals from 1998- 2008. I skimmed them and found many memories from drunk nights, both good and bad. I am not going to lie and say all my drunken times were mistakes. But there were too many close-calls, of my life or other lives, for me to continue drinking. I believe my lack of self-esteem is the core of the problem. My addiction was born by my desire to be accepted. Cleaning up is being born of my desire to live.

 

This blog will be my way to list and share some of those mistakes. I will start with small ones and try to work my way up to the destructive ones. I will also write about my current state and how I am dealing with my sobriety. I will try to do this daily. I will not use the real names of anyone. 

 

As of today, I am 8 days sober. It has not been hard. I have been driving across the United States since my last drink. So there has not been any temptation. I just downloaded the audiobook “Living Sober Sucks” by Mark A Tuschel to listen to for today’s drive. I will be spending time with friends the next few nights. I know the time will be full of my crying about my addiction and their supportive words. They are friends who have been with me for a long time and have seen some of the wreckage cause by my drinking. Going sober seems to be the time of testing who are friends and who are party associates.

As for an example of a mistake from my drinking, I will start off with this past New Year’s Eve. I was partying with some friends in Kuala Lumpur. We were at an apartment complex in the suburbs and the party was on the rooftop lounge. We had a nice view of the Petronas Towers. I broke my Galaxy3 that night by throwing it to a friend to take a photo of me while we were both drunk. He didn’t catch it. I do not remember seeing the fireworks over the famous towers. I do remember helping a stranger while he was puking. I do not remember leaving the party. I woke up the next day on a bed in a strange apartment in another suburban area. There was a fan blowing. My friend’s friend was lying on an air mattress in the room. I did not really know her and did not feel she even liked me. I went into the living room to play Sherlock Holmes and track down my belongings. The owner of the apartment was one of the party’s organizers. She was sweet. She offered to give me a ride into the city later that day. But I wanted to leave sooner. I wanted alone time instead of being hungover with these two women I barely knew. She gave me directions on how to take the bus to catch the Metro to the city. I was happy I had money on me and did not lose my purse. I worried how I was going to travel the next 3 weeks with a broken phone. It felt like a wasted New Years Eve.