And the Oscar goes to…

I went to an Oscars party last night. Well, actually, only a gathering with two new friends watching the awards on television. I texted my friend to see what I should bring. She said she was headed to the store to get chips, hummus and wine. I decided I would bring something to contribute and counterbalance the wine. I brought some yerba mate ice teas, a large vegetable platter, and ginger hummus.

The host offered me a glass of wine after I took my coat off. She listed all the choices of reds and whites, and then added she also had beers. I said I will keep to the ice tea. But once my tea was finished, she was a great host and jumped to offer me wine . I declined and asked for water. Sparkling or plain filtered?

No questions until the other friend, who had a few too many glasses of wine, asked “Do you not drink?” I did not bother with jokes that I was drinking plenty, just all alcohol-free. I said no, I quit. They asked if it was a diet or something temporary. I explained that I quit two years ago, with a few slips starting last summer, but I have been completely sober almost 3 months. The host seemed impressed. But the drunk friend asked the questions I might have asked if I was the drunk girl. “Can’t you even have a little bit? Don’t you know how to stop when it gets too much? Are you gonna try again after sometime sober?”  She told me how she can’t drink too much and I thought her current state of inebriation was obvious. I do not know how many glasses she had before I arrived, but she was matching her glasses of wine with my glasses of filtered water. She even began adding sparkling water to her wine to make spritzers and slow down the buzz.

I explained to her my slips last summer proved I could not have a little bit, nor should I try to go back to drinking anytime. I can not moderate. I was fine sitting there with my water but I know if I had one glass of wine, I would want the rest of the bottle. I would use too much mental energy telling myself to sip rather than chug and it was a lot easier to just avoid the taste to my tongue. And when the awards ended and she passed out on the couch, I was very glad I quit drinking. The host and I chatted a little bit more about our lives and I was able to drive home.

When I first quit drinking, I don’t know if sitting there avoiding their offers of wine would have been so easy. But I feel I have learned a lot since January 2014 about myself and what alcohol does to my body. I felt I honestly did not want to drink alcohol last night. No acting. No need for award for me.

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Charisma

I realize that not all of my mistakes are due to my drinking problem. Sometimes it was my low self-esteem.  Sometimes it was the charisma of another person. Sometimes it was a mix.

My friend the other day mentioned a guy as one of my drunk mistakes. I thought for a minute. I am not sure I would put him as a mistake. I said I always thought he was charming. She always thought he was creepy.  I do not know what it was I liked about him. Maybe it was because I was always drunk around him. She asked if I would have had sex with him if I was sober. I said maybe.

Then I thought of how he could be creepy at times. He would put his hand on my back in a bar and start rubbing it while I am talking to someone. He would catch my eye across the room and wink, even though he probably did that to 5 other girls the same night. Maybe he was fishing for a wink back and figure out who his catch of the night would be.

He tried to get with me one night when I was drunk but not single. He even knew my boyfriend. I was trashed and fading in and out of blacking out when I realized I was making out with him on his couch. I stopped and told him  “I can’t do this!”He was fine with it. We still slept in the same bed but did not have sex. I was woken up early when my boyfriend was Skype calling my phone. “Where are you?” Oh… I passed out on a friend’s couch.

He has an apartment with a great location. It has great views. Great party atmosphere. He is smart. Makes good money. Was semi-good looking. I have another friend who, without knowing I had sex with the guy, asked “how does he get so many girls? What is his secret?” I do not know. All I can think is it must be his charisma. I was drunk the few times we had and almost had sex. But I knew I was interested in him even before having the first drink of the night.

And that is when the low self-esteem comes in the mix. I knew he was a player. I knew he slept with probably half of my friends in the city. (Except the ones that thought he was creepy.)  I did not think I deserved better. It made me feel better that I was one of his many chosen. It is like I did not want to be left out on the cheering sex squad. And many years later, I can not even decide if sex with him was a mistake.

Maybe it was a mistake. But it was not a drunk mistake. And there were many other drunks occasions at his parties, some  involving other guys, but not always mistakes.

I am invited to a party at Mr Charisma’s place this weekend. I have been debating it. I think I could handle being around the alcohol. But I do not think I want to try to handle being around him.
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Mistake 148- I think it was the same weekend I first had sex with Mr Charisma. He tends to act like nothing happened the next day when we are around friends. We were at a bar crawl. And I met a gorgeous Scandinavian man there. This guy paid me a lot of attention. He was not hiding his attraction towards me. But I got trashed! (That is the point of bar crawls, right?)

Somehow after the party, me and Mr Scandinavian ended up back on Mr Charisma’s couch. Maybe there was an after party on the patio? I remember making out with the gorgeous guy on the couch, clothes starting to come off, and Mr Charisma walked through the living room. He just looked at me and shook his head. I doubt he was jealous. But it made me feel like a cheap slut. Mr Scandinavian and I stopped what we were doing out of embarrassment and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Doctor DUI

I was watching the news this morning and there was a story of a doctor that got a DUI. I did not catch the whole story but I think he crashed and injured another person. Again, I am so glad I never hit another car or person with my DUIs.

I tried to Google the story to find out more information but I could not find it. Instead I came up with many other stories of doctors that got DUIs. I found this story about a doctor that got 3 DUIs before she finally admitted to being an alcoholic. The 3rd was just four days after her conviction for the 2nd.

Alcoholism is everywhere. Anyone could be a victim to this disease. It is still such a dirty word. Alcoholic.  So shameful. Only the weak have problems with alcohol. I wish it was not viewed this way.

Even though I feel I have more ups than downs now, I had this ache today when I thought “this is a forever thing. FOR-EV-ER!” I am not gonna be cured. I am not gonna graduate. I have to fight this disease every damn day. No matter how much easier it gets, it will never go away. Like an invisible birthmark. You know it is there always even if know one else sees it.

Maybe once I get done my 365 mistakes, I will have to daily find another DUI story to remind me to stay sober. Unfortunately,  there will be one every morning.

Mistake 145- I do not remember much about this night. I know I was 18. I met a guy in a bar. We started making out in the bar. Then we left. We walked to a baseball field. I think we had sex in the dugout. I think some of his friends followed us and took photos. I never saw nor talked to the guy again but a girl I was friends with heard about it. She was so mad and ashamed that she stopped talking to me. I remember she told me I need a babysitter. I just ignored the whole thing and prayed (still pray) that those photos never resurface.

Thoughts from Last Attempt at Sobriety

I started a “sober journal” in 2007. This was after my second DUI. I was so serious about it. But I can read doubt in between the lines. It seems I was trying to rush sobriety.  Went to daily AA meetings where I rushed the steps and talked about “God” but did not really believe it. It seems I was practicing to be sober.

My first entry April 7, 2007:

Sometimes I feel like a loser going sober. I feel like I lost the war. I lost the battle with alcohol. At least I am being taken as a prisoner instead of as a corpse.

This will test who my friends are. For awhile I have been depressed by the fact I felt all I have is drinking aquaintances instead of friends. [Name 3 friends] have proven themselves to be real friends.

Then I complained about a “friend” who texted me “I wish you could still party.” I stopped talking to him a few months later for being so unsupportive.  Will I lose friends this round of sobriety?

Then I started a list of mistakes I made from drinking up to that point. If I stayed sober that time, I don’t think I would have been able to create a list of 365 mistakes. That is one thing I would have been okay not accomplishing. But if I relapse this round, how much more will this list increase? Will this list be read at my funeral?

Found a page of my concerns about sobriety back then which I now feel I can answer:

1) will it be hard to make friends now that I don’t drink?
– Nope. Just different type of friends. Ones that like me for me. Not for drunk me.

2) will I find happiness?
– Yep. Even though I still get bouts of sadness and depression, I really feel I am overall happier. And I think more happiness is in my future. Just not suffering hangovers anymore makes me happier!

3) can I find a successful relationship?
– not sure yet since I plan to wait until I am sober for a year, but I am starting to have confidence that I will find someone. For now, I have my friend with benefits. And he has been fun.

4) will my current friends be supportive?
– all the people I knew when I wrote that and I am still in touch with have been wonderful and super supportive.  They have been around long enough to understand why I had to finally quit drinking. Only a few people are acting unsupportive.

5) will I be weak?
– well, I did get weak back then. I stayed sober a little more than 2 months. I did not try going sober again until 7 years later (except for “drinking breaks,” but those were never meant to be permanent.) Back then, I kept thinking I could learn to moderate eventually. Now, I know that is impossible.

Also, now I have a great sober blogging community to keep me strong.

Mistake 144 – I met a girl in Cairns, Australia with whom I became temporarily friends. We were sharing a dorm room. We had things in common. We talked about getting together again when we returned to America. But I got drunk and ruined the friendship.

I started an open water diving course in Cairns. It was a week long with the last 3 days out on a boat. But our last two certification dives were canceled due to cyclones. The boat went back to the docks. Most of the class returned to the boat the next day to continue the course. I declined. I was scared. I would finish my certification elsewhere.

I stayed in Cairns and partied with my new friend. We got along well. We went to see sites together. It was typical of how quick friendships can form when traveling. And the night my diving class came back from the boat, I invited her to come join my class at a bar. We were going to celebrate everyone’s new diving certification. And I confessed to her, I wanted to join because I had a crush on the boat captain.

It started out fun. When the captain started to flirt with her, I got jealous. Then she flirted back. And the answer to my jealousy was “get drunk!” I started badmouthing her to the other divers. How dare that slut go for the guy I liked! I talked my classmates into leaving that bar and sneaking over to another. We didn’t tell her where we were going. We just sort of ditched out and went elsewhere. I thought I was so clever.

But she arrived at the new bar with the Captain. She found me and said “wow you guys left quick? Why didn’t you tell me where you were going?” Oh I thought someone told you.  Then she asked if I was mad. I lied and said no. I kept drinking and doing a lot of shots. She then left with the Captain.  My response was to find first, cute random guy and take him back to the dorm room.

Then next day she told me how she went home with the Captain.  She found lipstick and tampons in his bathroom. She asked and turns out he had a girlfriend out of town. I laughed. That is what she deserved. I was a mean bitch. We stopped hanging out together even though we kept sharing a room. I booked a bus to leave Cairns soon. We did not bother to stay in touch.

Even if I lose friends in sobriety, what about the friends I lost from my drinking?

Google myself

I tried to Google my blog. I typed “365reasons” and the first 4 things that popped are were “365 reasons i love you”, “365 reasons i love my boyfriend”, “365 reasons i love her”, and “365 reasons to drink.”

Love, love, love and alcohol. It is what is on everyone wants.

I went and clicked on the 4th option. I found it depressing. The top story was 365 Excuses to Get Drunk. As if people need an excuse? It was depressing that there is a whole magazine and website dedicated to, not just drinking, but “standing up for your right to get falling down drunk since 1996.” I actually might have read the magazine? I think I found a copy of it in a bar and that was where I discovered the term alcoheimers. Man, I was not just an alcoholic. I was a DEDICATED alcoholic. I am surprised I did not get a subscription to the magazine. I guess the closest I ever came to a drunk subscription was a wine club. They sent me cases every few months. The magazine would have been cheaper.

A bit further down, I found a link to an app on a Smartphone for drinking: 365 Reasons to Drink. I wonder if I can get someone to create an app after I complete my year of daily blogs. But my app would be a personal one with my mistakes. Everyday it will beep with my sobriety count and instead of some daily reflection, it will say “remember the time you passed out on the street in Brooklyn” or another drunk mistake.

Crazy that when I went back and added “not” to the front of the word “drink” in the Google search, my blog came up. I guess that is a good thing!

I am not beating myself up over my past and my drunk mistakes. I am realizing how far I have come. I watched Rum Diary tonight. And even though Johnny Depp’s character is an alcoholic and there is a lot of my old favorite liquor in the movie, I did not desire any rum. Instead I thought about booking a flight to Puerto Rico where the movie takes place. I even started to look up volunteer opportunities there. (Let me know of any volunteer jobs or companies you would recommend.)

A friend that I had dinner with a couple weeks ago emailed me and said he plans to quit drinking. He has a sobriety date set up for his birthday in a few weeks from now. He said he plans to pick up as much overtime at work to avoid the temptation. He said that helped when he quit smoking. He wants more tips from me. I need to plan a night next week to have dinner with him again.

(I have been very bad with reading other sober blogs lately. I am not being selfish. It has been time consuming to write my daily blog on top of work, school work, and my travels. But I was just reading through some and found this post about Sober and Awkward. Her rock bottom was a car wreck. She hit another car head on. She just got sentenced to 6 months in jail. I cried. I cried for her and for thinking “that could have been me!” I now feel selfish.)

Mistake 142- Many years ago, when I was still new to drinking but already blacking out and making mistakes, I went to a party at my friend’s house. Her housemates were away for the weekend. I remember she regretted the party because of lot of stuff got ruined. Drunk guys threw furniture into the pool and over into a canyon. People were having sex in her roommates bed that was off limits.

I had sex in the bathroom. I barely remember someone trying to open the door on us. I remember she was so mad at me. Our friends were mad at me also. I can’t remember now, but I think either the guy had a girlfriend or one of my friends liked him.

I helped her clean up the next day. I kept apologizing. 20 years later, she laughs it off as “we were dumb and in college!” When college kids do crazy things like that, it is seen as normal.

Sober First Class

First my flight was delayed. Then they changed the airlines. But it was changed to a direct flight rather than having a connection. I would actually arrive an hour earlier. I thought that sounded too good.

Then, as boarding, they tell me my seat had to be changed to balance out the plane. I walked onto the flight with a pissed off attitude. When checking in, I picked a seat in the back of the plane, in a row of three, and I was supposed to be the only passenger in it. I better not have been moved to a full row!

Nope. I was moved to Economy Plus for free. I got upgraded to the seats with more legroom. I had one person in my row, but I guess I shouldn’t complain since I could stretch more. Awww the perks of having a frequent flyer membership! I got settled. Took off my shoes. Started reading. Then a flight attendant brings me a new ticket. “Seat 2f” she says. I thank her and stare at it confused. Is this for my return flight?

“Go to First Class please.”

Woot! Yea! First class baby! I grabbed my stuff, shoved my feet into my shoes, and shuffled to the front without even tying my laces. This should be an awesome flight!
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Then why do I keep feeling dread? Like too many good things just happened. Like I am at the top of the roller coaster and I know the scary, downhill part is next. It is not even like I won the lottery or received some amazing life news. I got a better flight and a better seat on a plane. Am I just used to disappointment? Like I feel it is expected.

Since I got to my seat late, the attendant asked if I wanted a cup of water. She did not have time to get me anything else. THANK YOU! No way to tempt me with free booze. “Yes water would be lovely.” Now let’s see how I handle the next 6 hours. “Do you have O’Douls?”

… (an hour later) The woman next to me had white wine.  I could smell it.  It smelled like cheap wine.  Chardonnay?  Then the attendant asked if I wanted wine with my meal.  No thanks.  I really have no desire. And it feels awesome to not have that desire.

… (two hours later) She has had 4 glasses.  They are small.  She is now asleep. I keep smelling the unfinished wine that is sitting on our shared console. I am reading but I keep getting distracted by the scent.  It smells good now.  Cheap or not. But… I can’t remember what it tastes like.  I am enjoying the scent and I don’t REALLY want to sip it. No. Does one want to sip poison even if you enjoy the smell?  I do not want to taste the wine nor taste the guilt that would follow.

We got dessert. A nice ice cream sundae. That is better than cheap wine!

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Then I napped. I woke up to a beautiful sunset out my window.
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I checked my phone after landing. Had a few messages from bloggers. A few wanted advice to quit drinking. It reaffirmed my decision to not have free cheap wine!

*This blog was actually written at the beginning of my trip and before dealing with my unsupportive friends.

Mistake 140- After my first DUI and I had to stay on a friend of a friend’s couch, I mentioned that I made many mistakes. Let me try to remember them all because I did not write them in my journal from back then. (All my journal entries from back then were just very depressing thoughts.)

The friend I was staying with was a gay guy in the Navy and he had a lot of other gay friends stay over a bunch. I think there was one couch and if someone was staying on it, I got the floor. I was not really a friend anyways. He was doing our mutual friend a favor by letting me stay. Maybe there were two couches?

I remember one night, I brought a guy back to the house. I knew this guy already. So he wasn’t some stranger I picked up in the club that night. But I was very trashed and we had sex on the living room on the floor. With a gay guy on the couch! He started to stop me and say we shouldn’t cause someone else was there but he says I said “it’s okay. He is gay.”

Drunk logic?

The guy that owned the house was very angry. I spent the next week trying to avoid him and the other guys that always stayed over. I kept apologizing via emails. Finally, he cooled down enough just to promise me I would never do that again. I promised. But alcoholics do not always keep their promises.

Unsupportive Friends

I am staying with my good friends P and C this weekend. They just happen to be the last people with whom I got drunk. I was nervous about being sober around them. I was worried about their reaction. And I am now starting to wonder if these are two friends I might have to let slip away.

The first hour or two, there was no mention of my sobriety. I started asking them about their house hunting. Then we talked about my living situation and job. We talked about some events in our lives the past few months.  We talked about my family. I was happy that they did not offer me any of the wine they were drinking. But they didn’t offer me anything to drink. I couldn’t help but feel everything seemed awkward.

After a while of offers of nothing, I got up to get myself some water. Then I sat down to continue the conversation. When my glass was empty, he jumped up to offer to refill it. He kept asking if I wanted lemon or grapefruit squeezed in it. They have a soda water machine if I wanted bubbles. I said no thanks but he insisted on lemon. I guess plain water was too strange.

We talked a few more hours and avoided the talk of my sobriety. Then I mentioned that my reunion is at a brewery. I said that is gonna suck. “Oh yea, cause you aren’t drinking?” Yep. I quit. He squirmed and changed the subject.

Later, after she went to bed, it came up again. This time I mentioned I have been sober more than 4 months. He didn’t seem impressed. I said “actually my last drink was with you guys.” I did not hear a “way to go.” No “congratulations”. It seemed like he was mourning. Like that uncomfortable feeling you get when someone says their grandmom died and you do not know what their relationship to their grandmom was like. How should you react?

I tried to tell him how great I felt. How happy I am. I said I was sad that I haven’t lost weight.

“Booze doesn’t affect your weight. Diet and exercise do.” Really? Booze is not included in diet? He told me how he lost weight by cutting out carbs. Isn’t alcohol liquid carbs? He said their diet is 60% veggies and it helps keep them thin. They also eat a lot of fruit. But they also drink a lot. I guess he is thinking of hops and barley as veggies and grape wine as fruit.

I told him my thoughts of going for a degree in psychology. He asked what would I do with that. I said “maybe become a therapists for alcoholics”.
“That is a lost cause.”
I could not believe he said that. He started to say that alcoholics will never change. I said “I DID!” He responded “but that is you. You are different. You have the strength.”
I was fuming. Then I said I have thought of specializing in pregnant women with addictions.  He laughed. “Oh that is really a lost cause!” He said those people don’t want help. I wanted to punch him.

That was when I realized he is not gonna be a supportive friend. This might be my last time I go out of my way to visit them.

It made me want to crawl back in a shell. This is what a lot of society thinks of alcoholics. Do my friends think I am different cause I wasn’t on skid row?

He told me he has been trying to get his wife to cut back. And maybe he will cut back too. Just for his liver. The way he talked about it, I realized he thinks I cut back. He thinks I am moderating now. I can’t think of exactly what he said but it hinted that he thinks I will start drinking again. This is one of my “drinking breaks” with which they are so familiar.

I showed him the photo of my sundae from my first class flight. He said “that would go better with a glass of free champagne.”

Maybe I don’t have as much in common with them as I thought? Maybe boozing was our common thread? I was their maid-of-honor! Maybe in 10 years when they talk about their wedding, they will mention they lost touch with their maid-of-honor because she stopped drinking.

Now I am sitting here in their living room drinking coffee. She went to work. I woke up at 7:30 when she was getting ready. I think she was shocked. Usually I am hungover when I stay here. She told me to wake up P if he is not out of bed in an hour. I kept putting off taking a shower to avoid making him late for work. It is now 2 hours later. The alarm has been going off forever. He keeps hitting snooze. I took a shower. I have to go through their bedroom to get to the bathroom. I purposefully made noise. It didn’t wake him. Maybe if he wasn’t drinking wine until 2am, he would have no problem waking up. I feel waking him up is a lost cause.

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Mistake 136- When they asked me to be maid-of-honor, they also smiled and said “guess who is the best man!” I guess correctly. He is a good-looking guy that P has been forever hinting he wants me to get with. I once asked him “that guy is a playboy! Why do you want us together? He is not the relationship type.” P agreed but said he thinks we could have fun together. So when they giggled about making me and Playboy their witnesses, I felt they were hoping we would hook up.

And during the wedding rehearsal, Playboy started the charm. “You smell nice.” “You look great.” “Your legs look amazing in that skirt.” I accepted the compliments but thought to myself “No way! I am not falling for your lines.” A year before this, he bragged to me about all the young European girls he banged. Now he is trying to seduce me? He opened doors for me the rest of the evening and held the small of my back as I walked past him.

We had a great rehearsal dinner. The couple showed a video they had made of their relationship. When a photo popped up that had me and the best man with them, P nudged me.

I drank a lot of wine at the dinner. Then I took a few of the bridesmaids to get our nails done. I should not have been driving. One of them even made a comment. I even hit a small curb with my rental car.

I was staying in the same hotel as Playboy and a few of the groomsmen. We all decided to take the groom out for drinks while the bride did a few last-minute things with her family. I was not driving this time. So I drank a lot more.

Back at the hotel, the guys he was sharing a room with wanted to go to sleep early. We had a wedding the next day! Playboy asked about continuing drinking in my room. A wife of a groomsman joined us. We had fun. My mini-fridge was stocked with beer.  I kept saying I need to get to bed. I was meeting the bride early the next day for our hair.

Soon it was just me and Playboy in the room. And his charms worked on drunk me. We had sex. But I remember I was at least coherent enough to insist he use a condom. He tried to tell me he is “good” and doesn’t need one. I busted out laughing and reminding him he once confessed to me how he “bangs” a lot of girls.

I was late for the hair appointment. I was hungover. But I drank mimosas to clear that up. I told the bride what happened and she laughed. When I told her he tried to not use a condom, she said “ew!” When the groom found out, he seemed please.

I felt a little uncomfortable around Playboy the next day. We acted like nothing happened. I remember hoarding some anger at myself for sleeping with him. I let myself down.