Um Galão

One of the first words I learned upon arriving in Portugal after “olá” (hello) and “obrigada” (thank you) was “um galão”, which is espresso with hot milk in a tall glass.  I knew if I said “coffee” or “cafe”, I would get a shot of espresso. My pronunciation worked my first few days.  But when I tried yesterday, the waiter told me I am better off sticking to English.

I am traveling solo the next few days. It makes sobriety easier. I know “lonely” is one part of the acronym HALT that we should avoid when trying to stay sober. But I hate the temptation to join my friends when I am with them drinking. It is not even peer pressure I am trying to avoid. It is the desire to fit in and be able to drink like them. Being alone in a foreign country allows me to pretend I was never a fan of alcohol. Saying “um galão por favor” as easy as if ordering coffee in a bar was always my thing.

Mistake 199- I was in Istanbul for a short visit a few years ago. On my flight there, I watched the movie Smashed. It is about a married couple who drink a lot. The wife decides to get sober after some very embarrassing and dangerous incidents. It made me think about my drinking and consider staying sober just for my few days of Istanbul.  But once there, I used the excuse of needing to try the local beer. So I drank some with every lunch and dinner. Not much. Just one or two a meal.

The last night, I met up with a friend.  He suggested coffee. Well we met at a coffee place that served beer. So I drank beer and he drank coffee. We both had flights the next day. After one cup of coffee, he decided to go back to his hotel to sleep.

I did not want to sleep yet. And I wanted to see what Turkey’s night life was like! So I stopped in a few bars and clubs on the way back. I sat in each place alone. Drinking a beer or two. I might have even had a few mixed drinks. It was pathetic. I finally went back to my hotel feeling a little drunk but not trashed. It was just wasted money and time. I had a hard time waking up the next day and my taxi almost left me.

Traveling sober is so much better!

Blabbing about Sobriety

Once again I feel I talk too much with my friends about my sobriety and drinking problem. I get worried I will annoy them. I feel like that person at work always wanting to talk about their kids or grandkids or cat and you really do not care. It is like they have nothing else in the world to discuss except that one topic. But I feel I need to discuss this topic to keep sober.

So many of my regular stories about life or travels start out “so I was drunk and…” Lately, I tell the stories to emphasize how bad of a drunk I was. Last night, my friend and I were swapping stories of mutual friends. He asked me why I did not like specific people. I realized, usually, the only reason I did not like these people was because I felt that person did not like me once while drunk. They did not have to say or do anything that would make me feel they disliked me. I just got a feeling and therefore I would come up with reasons to not like them in return. I figured if they did not like me, there had to be something wrong with them. He told me that was messed up and psychotic. I told him it was my alcoholic mind.

image

My "mixed" drink in Porto: Snappy (like 7-up) and Red Bull cause I had jet lag

We also talked about sex stories. We talked about bad sex, drunk sex, and sober sex. I then tried to remember the last good sex I had sober. It was difficult trying to think back that far. And that difficulty made me sad. My drinking life made me pathetic. I really hope to never go back. Hence why I have to keep reminding myself of the stories.

Mistake 193- I asked my friend if I did anything stupid while drunk when I first met him. I remember waking up the next morning on the couch I was supposed to stay, alone, with clothes on, so it had to be a somewhat behaved night. He does not recall anything happening that I should be embarrass me. But fast forward to a drunk email exchange. He said I asked him if he slept with a girl I did not like but the way I asked was not nice. He said he denied it because he was scared of my reaction if he admitted to it. He now asked me why I did not like her. I said I could not remember but my guess is I was jealous. And while I might have normally hid my jealousy, the drunk brought it out. I apologize to him now.

I will still get jealous in sobriety. I just hope to control it better now.

Travel: not what it used to be

I used to fly to Europe at least once a month many years ago. I would work a night shift, stay up afterwards, then fly to London. It would be morning by the time I arrived in London and my new day would start. From there, I would take a train or inexpensive flight elsewhere.  I almost always slept well on those flights.

This time, I barely slept. Is it due to the seats not reclining as much as before? Or because I do not fly with wine anymore? No more pre-flight Bloody Marys. Now I order water or orange juice with my meal. Or it could be because I am used to the window seat and this flight I had aisle seat. I envied the girl with the bulkhead to lean against.  I even got a little pissed that she was not taking advantage of it and she watched movies most of the flight. 

Yet arriving tired is better than arriving hungover! I am excited to start my day and a new country.

Mistake 191- My first time in London, I went to meet up with a group of friends I met online.  We had a good amount of people that showed up at this pub. I was excited that such a large group of Brits came out to meet me. Three of the guys that were there were three of the guys I spent a lot of time flirting with online. By the end of the night, I made out with all three plus another guy I did not know. One guy never spoke to me again and told some of the others in our cyber community I was a “slag”. Another guy is known for being a player so no one was surprised.  The guy I did not know was married. And I went home with the fourth. Actually, we did not go home but went to his car. Then after sex, we slept in his car in front of his mate’s house.  The positive thing out of that was when we went into his mate’s house for breakfast, I met his mate’s housemate who I began dating. But for the 10 months we dated, I could never understand what he saw in a slag like me.

Rational Mind

The other day, I was thinking of how I seem to be more focused lately. I seem to work out issues rationally and plan a little better. I seem less discombobulated. Is this a surprise benefit of sobriety?

Then I read Soberista’s blog “Why You Shouldn’t Fear Taking the Alcohol Free Leap“. It was reassuring. It helped reinforce what I was thinking and made me even more happy that I quit drinking. “But when alcohol begins to lose its magical properties and undergoes a gradual metamorphosis into a foul, domineering, mind-twisting liquid, one which causes the drinker to regard it with equal measures of love and hatred, then it’s time to consider a life free from its influence.”

Mistake 187- I went to a wedding in California and had some bottles of wine and champagne left over from the reception. I packed one of the bottles of wine in my luggage. Since my flight was late in the day, I spent the afternoon sitting on the beach alone drinking the other bottle of red wine from a plastic cup. I poured the champagne into a large plastic water bottle. After finishing off the bottle of wine by myself, I drove to the airport to return my rental car. I checked in for my flight. Then I drank the champagne from the plastic bottle before going through security. I finished about half when I started to feel sick. I ran to the bathroom and forced myself to throw up I dumped out the rest of the champagne.  I felt better after vomiting. I went through security and then slept almost the whole flight home.

And memories keep resurfacing…

Sometimes, I get worried I will not remember 365 mistakes. Then other days, I feel I will have no problem coming up with one daily. It is amazing how one little thing will trigger a new regret.

“Oh wow, I forgot about that night.”

A month ago, I slacked in daily blogging and coming up with mistakes. I was busy with finishing my online class. I returned to those entries and filled in daily mistakes. During those days of not blogging, I felt a little struggle at times. Thoughts of “drinking in moderation one day” started to seep in my mind.  Once I returned to daily posts again, those thoughts were pushed away. Sober blogging has helped me so much more than any AA meeting could.

Mistake 185- I mentioned my husband’s friend Alaska yesterday and the time I cheated on my husband by kissing another guy while partying with this friend. After I separated from my husband, Alaska invited me over one night. The memories of the evening are foggy. I was drunk when I drove over there. I remember being impressed he drank good beer. We drank lots of it. He started to tell me how he was always interested in me and my husband was dumb to let me go.  I remember we had sex on the rug. And I remember him begging me not to tell my husband. I laughed. Why would I tell my estranged husband I just fucked one of his closest friends? I don’t think I stayed there. We were worried my husband would see my car out front. I was drunk still when I drove back to wherever I was starting at the time. 
I remember mixed emotions afterwards. I felt shame. And triumphant. I felt like it was revenge against my husband. I felt confident that another man still wanted me. I think a small part of me fantasized about a relationship with him.

Though still not sure if I would have done that if I was not drunk.

New Friend

I feel like a little kid in kindergarten who comes home from school: “Mommy, I have a new friend!”

I went to an event last night to meet new people. I spent most of the time talking with one woman. We were talking about festivals and Portugal. I have a trip planned there soon. She was suggesting restaurants and bars I should visit. She kept telling me about bar areas in different cities. I just nodded and said “sounds fun.” I told her I like to visit museums and historical places. She did not know of any to recommend. I finally said “well I quit drinking 6 months ago.”

She said “good for you.” We talked a bit more. We chatted about festivals. The more we talked, the more drunk mistakes came to my memory. As I mentioned some, she said “well it sounds like quitting was a good idea.” She soon asked me for contact information. She wants to see photos and hear stories of my trip. We added each other on Facebook and plan to meet up for coffee when I return.

Yea! I made a new friend without booze! Proof that there is more to me than being a party girl. I want to flaunt this in the face of “friends” who don’t want to hang out with sober me.

We were chatting with another woman who was tipsy. This woman kept bending over to talk to us and her long hair kept dipping in her wine. She just squeezed the wine out of her hair and kept drinking. I was disgusted but know that I also would have kept drinking it during my boozing days. There were a lot of disgusting things I would have done.

Mistake 184- I am not sure if I was separated from my husband or not at the time. I was going to a club with two female friends and invited my husband’s friend Alaska. I remember my husband told me the first time he brought Alaska over before I met him, he saw our wedding photo and told my husband I was hot. My husband told me this with pride. After meeting, Alaska would always hit on me when my husband wasn’t around. I took it as a compliment.

I am not sure why we invited him to the club. Maybe I was trying to hook Alaska up with one of my friends. Not sure why my husband wasn’t there unless he was working or we were separated. I got trashed. I do not remember much of the night (either because this was so long ago or because I was so drunk). But I remember kissing some guy in the parking lot. One of my friends grabbed Alaska and started to make out with him so he wouldn’t see me kissing someone not my husband. Later on, she yelled at me for being so stupid to kiss a guy in front of my husband’s friend.

I think I was still with my husband because I do remember another night after we did separate where Alaska and I hooked up.

Stronger with Support.

image

I have another friend tell me he supports my sobriety.  I started to cry. I was so happy and relieved.  He is a huge part of a group of party friends. But I also think he knows of many of my drunk mistakes. He is a very healthy guy so maybe he is looking at it from that point of view. Either way, I feel my hometeam is gaining support. I feel stronger.

It also helps to think that there will be a lot of very disappointed people if I do relapse.  I feel I now need to stay sober for others. Of course, staying sober for myself if most important. But having stands of supporters shouting “you can do it” will help me in this race. I just need to remember that there is no finish line.

Mistake 183- I met this friend a few years ago at a New Year’s party. I was in a long distance relationship at the time. A few weeks later, this friend asked me out for margarita happy hour. I had a crush on him when I first met him so going out for drinks when I had a boyfriend was a bad idea. But my relationship was starting to go downhill. I spent most of the evening complaining about my boyfriend. I drank a lot at the two-for-one happy hour. I kept drinking until the trains were no longer running.  This friend offered to give me a ride home. 

I am not sure if we kissed in the bar first or not. But I do remember making out in his truck outside of my apartment complex.  I tried to invite him up to my place. He said “I think we both know what will happen if I come up.” I thought “D’uh!” Of course that is what I want to happen. He said that would be a bad idea. I felt rejected.

This next morning he called to make sure I got up for work.  I might have slept through my alarm. I thanked him for calling. He asked how was my hangover. I said I would survive. Then I thanked him for not taking advantage of drunk me. He said he was very tempted but didn’t want to ruin our friendship.

For some reason, that evening makes his support all the more meaningful.