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.

image

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.

Straight Edge friend and party friends

I just woke up at 5pm. I am getting on my night shift ritual again. I had to take a melatonin to help get me to sleep. I am not sure if that is why I had such vivid dreams.

Like most dreams, they did not follow a logical sequence. But I remember what was happening in the dream right before my alarm went off. I met up with an old friend of mine. He is super tall. He bought two small beers for himself and then a large IPA for me. He drank half of a small beer and offered that to me as a joke. I laughed and reached for the large IPA. I could almost smell the beer as if it was real. I put it to my lips, was about to taste it, and changed my mind. I put it down. I told him “no, I quit drinking.” He was about to push for me to drink it when two women stepped in between us and started to whisper to him that he shouldn’t encourage me to drink because it was obvious I was an alcoholic. He tried to argue with them that he has known me a long time so knew I was no alcoholic. Then I noticed a serenity prayer sitting on my lap. I told him I had to go. I had to get to a meeting.

This meeting was a pot luck dinner meeting and I told myself I would try to make that one every night!

Odd thing about the person I picked to be in this dream forcing me to drink: he is “Straight Edge.” Meaning he does not drink any alcohol or do drugs out of choice. He is super healthy. We have never drank together and he never encouraged anyone to drink.

I decided against announcing I was 30 days sober on Facebook. I have said things like that in the past and got comments of “but why would you torture yourself?” or other discouraging things. I also realize most of the people on my Facebook friends list are only party friends or, at most, acquaintances. Maybe at 60 or 90 days sobriety I will make a status update viewable to a select few.

Last night, I did make a semi-annoucement on Facebook. I made a post complaining about my housemates. A few people commented about housemate issues. My one friend from Malaysia said I need to find housemates that will buy me beer. I replied “I quit drinking.” He responded that world it coming to an end and Jesus and the messiah are coming back.

These are the kind of jokes I expect from my party friends. If our relationship was bonded by booze, how do I expect them to relate to me now?

Mistake # 24- I first met my Malaysian friend two years ago at a bar via other friends. We got along great. We were drunk on beer. I was fascinated that he was a gay guy living in a Muslim country. I went back to visit him a few times in his city.

A few months later, he and his group of friends had a whole weekend of parties planned. I was in a nearby country and booked my flight to stop in Kuala Lumpur on my way to another country just to party. Friday night we got super drunk. I think I drank a couple of bottles of wine. I woke up at the foot of his bed with nothing but a blanket wrapped around me. Guess I was safe hanging out with a gay guy.

The next morning, I found one of my wine bottles full with a cork missing. I did not want the wine to go bad so I started to drink it. For breakfast. Eh… I was on vacation! This was okay. (But also common for me. I am used to working nights so that made it okay.) We went to lunch with a group of his friends. I drank two large beers. Then we went to Saturday’s party. It was a little outside of the city in a jungle with hot tubs. There I switched to Barcardi and Diet Coke. I carried my own large bottles of both. I ended up in the pool with a guy. I ended up topless. In a Muslim country! Yes it is more liberal than some middle eastern countries but I am pretty sure I could have ended up in jail for that. To this day, his friends remember me as the crazy American girl who showed her boobs.

Reinventing self

I started my new job today. Well, I restarted it after my first day was delayed due to mixed up paperwork. The day went well and I got along well with all my new coworkers. I realized, I could be a whole new person here. I could be someone to them that NEVER drank. I could create an image of a “good girl.”

Years ago, I learned my lesson of not mixing my social and work lives. I tried to avoid being a victim of workplace gossip. I used to say it was because I was not judgemental like the uptight staff. Actually, I was worried about them judging me and my drinking.

Before learning to separate business and pleasure, I used to go to happy hour after a shift with coworkers. At 8am. We worked nights. We knew of the two breakfast places that had happy hour from 7am to 9am. Bloody marys, screwdrivers, and other breakfast juices with booze. Two for the price of one. It was a great deal and great way to blow of steam after a stressful night of work.

I will have to developed other ways to bond.

Mistake # 21: A couple years ago, I went out with two young women from work. We were all new to the area and job. We all met up at my place. We took a taxi to some local bars. A guy I slightly knew texted me. Even though I was not interested in him, I invited him to join us. The night turned into the four of us drinking and talking and having fun. I think.

I woke up the next day in my bed wearing only my shirt and underwear. I was hungover and not remembering most of the night. The two women from work slept in my living room. When I asked what happened, they did not believe I could not recall what I did.  They said I was making out with the guy that joined us. Then he tried to come home with us but they refused to let him. They kept saying “I can’t believe you don’t remember any of this?” Blackouts were a foreign concept to them. When I got to my apartment, I stripped off my jeans as soon as I got in the door without closing it. Then I stumbled to my bedroom and passed out. They had to lock up my place.

I am not sure if they told anyone at work about my behaviour. They barely talked to me anymore. All three of us were temporary employees and went our separate ways after a few months. Being a temporary employee made reinventing myself easy.

VD

I started a blog earlier today. Then I saved the draft while I read my journal to find a mistake to post for today. I was reading my journal from the summer of 2012. I decided to change my blog to be appropriate for the holiday.

As usual, there are a lot of entries stating I needed to quit drinking. It seems as the years went on, I said this more often. I kept noting things about my life I wanted to change.  I listed things I wanted to improve. But that summer I expressed fear.

I was single and was having too many drunken, one night stands. Sometimes I would wake up and not know if I had sex. It was always an awkward conversation or text message. And my bigger question was “did we use a condom?”

Then I had sex with a good friend that summer. I am not listing that as a mistake because I had a crush on him for years. But I do wish I remember it. He said I started to seduce him in a hot tub. I blamed the heat on increasing my intoxication. He voiced concern about my drinking.  He told me it was dangerous to get that drunk.  Do I always use condoms? I honestly told him I was not sure.

I got an AIDS test shortly after that.  It was negative. I have the results in my journal.

I had a few drinking breaks after that. But once the heavy drinking started again, I started having unknown sex again.

I was tested again a year later for everything. Thankfully, I was negative for all. I’ve been careful since then mostly because I have not been in any situations to put me at risk.

I am lucky. I read up a lot about STD rates in the United States. I have friends that tell me “no big deal” because they were unlucky to have caught something.

Mistake # 17- I had a date with a guy I met online. He was okay. He drove me home after dinner and drinks. Somehow I invited him in to watch a movie. We drank a lot of beers. He said he could not drive home.  I told him he could stay on the couch. I kept drinking. And drinking. I had a nice stocked liquor cabinet for when I ran out of beers.
I went to pass out in my bed. Not sure how he ended up in my bed. I do remember insisting he use a condom. And then sometime during sex, he pulled it off. I was too drunk to stop him. I cried. He finished and I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, he apologized before he left. He promised he had no diseases. He claimed he would get AIDS tested to prove it to me. I texted him weekly asking for the results. He never responded. Two months later I texted him a lie and said I had herpes and I got it from him. He finally replied that I must have got it from someone else. Then he kept trying to call. I wouldn’t answer. Hope I put some fear into him.

Journals and photos

I have been enjoying reading some of my old journals. There is information I wrote down that I forgot. Memories are being relived. Feelings are being remembered. Promises made were broken. It is entertaining.

I have been sober two weeks. It has not been hard so far. I really do not think it will be hard until I am in a social setting with temptation to drink. I was reading up about events in my area. Most of them are happy hour or wine tasting events. I will really miss wine. Especially a good petite sirah.

I have done a lot of winery tours. I have been to wineries in Napa, Hunter Valley in Australia, Niagara Falls in Canada, Finger Lake region in New York and one in Chile that included pisco distillery. I am not a wine snob that could pick out the fruits or descibe the woodsyness of a wine. But I like my wine to taste good. It is sad that I could easily drink a $50 bottle by myself in one night. And then still want more. I would usually start my night with the good or expensive bottles so that I would not know the difference if it was “2 buck Chuck” by the time I was drunk.

Mistake #8: I was at a friend’s wedding. Most people get drunk at wedding receptions. I was tipsy when I got to the wedding.

It was a late afternoon wedding. I started the day with brunch that had unlimited pitchers of mimosas for 2 hours. I made sure I got my money’s worth. I walked on the beach a little after brunch to sober up. But it was not gonna be enough. I drove to my hotel to change and get ready for the wedding. I was singing and dancing as I got ready. I really should not have been driving.

I was a little late to the ceremony. I had to wait outside because the bride was about to walk down the aisle. So I missed my friend’s entrance. The wedding was beautiful. It was a great ceremony where I cried tears of joy. The reception was also beautiful. The specialty drinks were red or white sangria. I drank a lot of both. I was drunk by dinner. I was trashed by the first dance. I do not remember the end of the party. I do know I got a taxi back to my hotel.

The next morning, my camera was missing. I tried to call the reception hall but I got a voicemail. I tried to call the taxi company (and was glad the number was in my phone or else I would not have known which company.) It was Sunday so no one would be in the office until Monday according to the recording. I took a taxi back to the reception hall to get my car. I looked around and asked people that were setting up for a church service if they found a camera. No luck.

I went home feeling depressed. I lost a lot of good photos on that camera. I had photos from trips and travels I took the previous months. It had a 32gb SD card. Plus it was a fairly good camera. I love my photos. Like journals, they are a great way to remember the past. They capture a moment in time. And all those moments could have been lost by my drinking.

I took a nap when I got home and swore to myself that if I find that camera, I would not drink for 30 days. When I woke up, there was an email from the bride that her maid of honor had my camera.

I did not keep my 30 day promise.

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.