Enough

I just looked at my blog name as I signed in and thought “should it be 365 reasons 2 B sober?”

Then I thought no, cause I feel this is a path I am taking to sobriety. After a year of writing down 365 mistakes, then they will become reasons to be sober. I was reading one of my old journals about my thoughts on AA and the 12 steps. I said instead of steps, it should be “guided trails.”

I woke up today and read some more of Caronline Knapp’s “Drinking: A Love Story.” Since it is too tempting to drink wine with it in the evenings, I figured drinking coffee with it in the daytime will be easier. My mom’s boyfriend told me I was drinking too much coffee. I told him at least I didn’t put Baileys in it.

I have been thinking about the word sober. People say if you have not had any booze since such and such date, you have been sober since then. I keep thinking “well I could have a beer and not be drunk so to me that is SOBER.” According to dictionary.com, a definition of sober is “habitually temperate, especially in the use of liquor”. One drink doesn’t affect me. Could I have maybe one glass, not admit it to those that know I am trying to not drink, and still consider myself sober? Yes, I could do that. It would not help my alcoholism.

A part in the 4th chapter of the book really grabbed me.

Enough? That’s a foreign word to an alcoholic, absolutely unknown. There is never enough, no such thing. You’re always after that insurance, always mindful of it, always so relieved to drink that first drink and feel the warming buzz in the back of your head, always so intent on maintaining the feeling, reinforcing the buzz, adding to it, not losing it.

I have chased a buzz so often. Many a time I have said “I need to keep up this buzz. If I start to sober up, it is hard to achieve this level of drunk again.” I could not diagnose what that level was. That level might have been 5 drinks from blacking out. I could not define when I went from buzzed to trashed. Friends have tried to say “well it is because you were mixing. Never have beer AND cocktails.” Or it was because I had shots. Or tequila. Or cheap wine. It was always the booze fault. Never mine.

I have stared at wine bottles salivating. I have been in situations where I did not pay attention to a conversation because I was gauging how much I could drink without looking bad. When was a proper time to ask for another drink? Was I drinking more than everyone else? Or when would they open the next damn bottle! Ms Knapp mentions comparing how much is in your drink to the other glasses. I DID THAT! I would complain if I felt I was being cheated out of booze. And if it was at my house, I always poured myself extra cause “my tolerance is higher.”

Somewhere after a few bottles, the happy joyful me turned into a depressed, jealous, angry drunk. Arguments happened. Sometimes physical fights. I woke up hungover a lot the last few years and the first thing I did was check my Facebook to see if I made any drunk posts. Then I would delete them. Sometimes a friend would email me to see if I was okay because my posts were depressing. I always responded “No was just drunk.” A lot of friends took to blocking my statuses or unfriending me.

I never felt I needed booze. I feel I am not physically addicted. Though reading this book is reminding me that yes, I can have one drink and still feel sober. But I will never stop at just one drink forever. I could go with one drink a day for thirty days. Then my brain will tell me “see, you can moderate.” That whole month, I will be aching for it to end. On the 31st day, my brain will say I have no problem. I have proved it to myself I can drink and “stay sober.” I will drink more than one drink and then another. Then I will want to keep that level of buzz. Then I will get drunk. Maybe not black out drunk that night. But the blackouts will return.

So even if I can have a drink and not feel drunk, I must remember sober is not just the opposite of drunk. Sober means abstaining from alcohol. Sober is enough. It has to be.

I have one real life friend that knows about this blog. I was messaging with him earlier and said “I get happy and outgoing at first and then I snap and become depressed and mean.” He remembers. He mentioned another drunk episode I forgot about.

Mistake #12 We were on a road trip. We were visiting a city that was new to both of us. We were dating about five months but fighting a lot about where our relationship was headed. I think I was worried I was wasting time if there was no future. We went to meet up with my friend’s roommate. We were gonna to have dinner and then an outdoor movie.

As soon as I met the roommate, I thought he was cute. He said he thought the same about me. But I was there with my boyfriend. So what if i thought this guy was cute. Nothing would happen. Then the drinking started. We enjoyed sampling a lot of the local brews he suggested. We were helping the economy!

After dinner, we headed to the outdoor movie. But we didn’t want to go there and let our great buzz die. So we went out of our way to find a mixer. I must have had vodka in the car already. We mixed lemonade with the vodka. My boyfriend and I sat away from the local guy and his friends. But he texted me the whole movie. It was an old movie from the 80s that my boyfriend did not know. So I was enjoying the text messages back and forth with the local guy making fun of the movie and quoting famous scenes. I did not see it as flirting.

After the film, the local guy invited us to a bar. Or club. I don’t remember. I was drunk. I drank most of the vodka and lemonade. I am sure my boyfriend drank a lot too but I was more trashed. The local gave us a ride to the bar. I really don’t remember anything there but my boyfriend told me I ended up kissing the local guy. In front of my boyfriend.

He doesn’t remember much about the night either. He said I got kicked out of the bar. I guess for being too drunk. And then we fought outside. I got hysterical. He said it took him thirty minutes to calm me down. I refused to get in the taxi. A few men have told me I have a fear of taxis when drunk. Actually, a fear of the taxi drivers. I am not sure if I have a repressed, drunk mistake to that story also.

He finally got me in a taxi. We were staying at a friend’s place that was away. I woke up in the middle of the night in the passenger side of my car. My boyfriend was inside the house. I had to pee. I opened the car and my car alarm went off. I ran inside to find the keys to deactivate it. I went pee and then climbed into bed with my boyfriend. I had no idea why I was in the car or what happened after the movie.

I know I lost a favorite bracelet and a cell phone. Mostly I lost my mind that night. I don’t know how he stayed with me another 15 months.

First Temptation: Reading with wine

There are so many blogs about recovery!

I started to read some last night. And one blog would mention another and I would open that page. I kept wondering “should I start reading this blog from the beginning.” Then I would realize some of those blogs are more than two years old. It would take a long time to read each post. But it is comforting. It is motivational to think those bloggers have been sober that long and still blogging. I feel I got hoisted back on my pink cloud.

Earlier in the evening, I was reading “Drinking: A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp. I was at my mom’s house alone. She works far away and near my brother so she stays there when she has to work the next day. Her boyfriend went out for the night. I looked forward to a quiet night of reading the book. But then I realized something was missing: a glass of wine.

In my old apartment, I would spend many evenings reading and drinking. I have not owned a television since 2005. I love reading books. I also spend, or waste, a lot of time online. I watch movies on Netflix or videos on Youtube. I read articles and connect with friends from around the world on Facebook. But once in awhile I would turn off my computer to catch up on reading. I curled up on my couch with a blanket or in my bed. Or I would relax in the tub with a book, bubbles and aromatherapy candles. But I always had a glass of wine with me. I even bought a book tray that goes across the tub with a special slot for a wine glass.

I put down the Ms Knapp’s book and went to the computer. I filled up a large glass with water. I made a mental note to pick up some lemons and limes to flavor my water.  I started to read and click “follow” on blogs that I found interesting. I commented on and liked a few. It started to feel like a cyber support group. (Thank you soberlearning and rfscout for giving me encouraging words not to pick up that glass of wine.)

I enjoy reading how other people overcame struggles. It is an embarrassing malady to have. Too many friends have discouraged my decisions to go sober in the past. It is as if I told them I have an incontinence problem. They don’t understand. They don’t want to be around me with that problem. “Just control it.”

I thought of going to an AA meeting last night. I decided I was too lazy to go. Maybe I will go to some when I get back to where I am currently living.

I spent the time this afternoon reading a journal form 2003-2005. There were a lot of entries where I ended it “I need to quit drinking!” Sometimes I admitted I had a problem but I did not want to do anything about it. I was too scared of what going sober would do to my awesome social life. That was 10 years ago. If I went sober, it would have prevented a DUI.

Today I kept wondering if I could control my drinking. Maybe if I only drank wine in restaurants. Or no more than a bottle a night at home. No more strong IPAs. For now, I want to commit to 365 days without alcohol.

Mistake #11- This is one I would have forgotten if I wasn’t checking out photos on my mom’s computer: My nephew’s kindergarten graduation.

I went out the night before with a friend. I do not remember the night at all. I do not know where we went or what we drank. But I woke up in his bed. And I woke up with my mom calling my phone and asking if I was ready for the graduation. They would pick me up on the way to the school.

I stuttered that no, I was not ready. I might have even mentioned being at a friend’s house. I would meet them at the school. Just text me the address. I grabbed my clothes and rushed to my house. I took a 2 minute shower to try to wash off the stench of booze. I put on a cute skirt and top and drove to the school. My mom saved me a seat. My sister and niece were in front of us. I honestly remember that instead of being hungover, I will still drunk. There is a photo of me between my 6 year old nephew and 3 year old niece and she is pushing herself away from me. I guess she was too young to be an enabler.

Russell Brand, Addiction and Keeping Buzzed

I am not really a fan of Russell Brand. But I found this article about addiction excellent. It is from March 2013 but it is relevant to me now.

Russell Brand on heroin, abstinence and addiction.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article are:

But the price of this is constant vigilance, because the disease of addiction is not rational.

…what was surprising was that my reaction was not one of gratitude for the positive changes I’ve experienced. Instead I felt envious of this earlier version of myself, unencumbered by the burden of abstinence. 

I have been questioning whether I really have a PROBLEM. I told a friend last night I was quitting for 365 days and then I plan to reevaluate my drinking. Maybe blogging about 365 mistakes will answer my question.

Mistake # 9: One of my favorite writers is David Sedaris.  I had tickets to go see his book reading last year.  I got there early and waited in line for an hour to get his autograph. I chatted with the two women in front of me.  The three of us took turns holding our spot while one would go get drinks.  I got tipsy in that waiting line.  I was drunk when I got his autograph and forgot all the things I planned to say when it was my turn.

I grabbed two more drinks before going to my seat in the auditorium.  Double rum and cokes. Two drinks for me. I had a friend meeting me but she was a late. Those drinks helped keep me from sobering up. I always felt if I started to lose my buzz, I could not get back to the same level of intoxication.

After Mr Sedaris finished the readings, there was another long line for autographs. I had mine. The bar in the building was closed. So while my friend waited, I left to go search for a place to get a drink. I was desperate to hold onto that high. The lack of bars in that area was frustrating. I found a place where I was able to get one drink to chug. It was either another rum and coke or wine.

When I got back to the book signing line, my friend was almost up to the front. I stood next to her. As she got her book signed, I slurred a question to him asking for writing advice. He said “write everyday.”

I cherish the book he signed but really regretted the state I was in. I went to a party afterwards and kept that alcohol high going until I blacked out.

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.