Reunion… Success!

I went to my reunion last night that I was nervous about two months ago. It is amazing how I feel different since writing that post. Back in April, I was so worried about my desire to drink. Now, I was more worried I would be late. Or bored that I had nothing in common with my old classmates. Or my skin was too broken out or I looked too fat.

I was not worry I would ruin my sobriety.

I arrived and walked around to try to recognize anyone. I spotted one familiar face talking to a group of people. I went to the bar and ordered an unsweetened ice tea.  I wanted to walk up to the group armed.

I had a good time. No one asked me if I wanted a beer. No one asked me why I wasn’t drinking. We all shared stories of where our lives had gone the past twenty years. We shared stories from back in school. We shared travel stories and destinations we would like to go. I was there for three hours. There were a few moments when I thought I would like to just sip someone’s beer. But the desire was not strong.

As far as my unsupportive friends I am staying with, they continue to make ignorant comments. At lunch today, they made a big deal out of finding a place with good cocktails. Then they tasted each others and offered me a sip. “Oh, so you can’t even sip it?” We went to a farmers market where they wanted to stop at a booth to taste beer cupcakes. I kept walking. We bought some sausages and the guy selling them suggested boiling them in water or beer before grilling. They both said “and we got plenty of beer for that!”

I was trying not to make a big deal out of it. But once in a while, I would share one of my drunk stories. They kept quiet. I felt I wanted to stress reasons why I am not drinking, but I guess they just don’t understand that I can not even handle a little bit.

It seems they enjoyed my drunk mistakes. They enjoyed me being the embarassment. They enjoyed me falling over and stories of my one night stands. I remember once I commented about wondering if anyone I slept with would be at an event and he said with a laugh “well who HAVEN’T you slept with”.

Then tonight, I invited a friend over to join us for dinner. She asked if she could bring anything. I told her I quit drinking but P and C might like beer or wine. She said she wouldn’t be drinking alcohol because she had a long drive.  When she got here, my friends didn’t seem to understand why she did not want even one drink. “Not even one?” They drank. They drank lots. I could tell that C was drunk soon. She even decided to bake some dessert that she almost burnt because she forgot about it. I sat there thinking  “I am really enjoying being sober. I am glad I am not acting drunk.” I still enjoyed the night because of the conversations. My friend had a lot of great stories to share about her travels. When P and C were out of the room, I overheard them discussing going out or not. C said “well if they just want to sit and talk, let them.” I felt they thought we were boring for not wanting to go to a bar or club.

When my friend was leaving, I offered to walk her to her car which was parked in another parking lot. C offered to drive us there because she needed to move her car. I offered to move her car. I did not feel she should be driving. I even asked her and got the response of “yea, no problem!” I then realized all the times I was drunk and said I was fine, I was too nervous to admit I wasn’t. There were times I should not have been driving but I was embarrassed I was so drunk. “Yea I am okay” was a denial of how much I drank and my problem.

We had her drive us down to the other lot. She did drive okay. But I am almost sure that she would have received a DUI if she was pulled over. Thankfully it was a quick drive there, drop off my friend, and then back to our lot. I did not want to insist of driving or refusing her ride because I did not want to come off as the sober preacher. I risked my life by getting in the car with her driving to avoid offending her.

Once again, being around drunk people helped reinforce my desire to stay sober. And I might mourn this relationship if it end. But I know I love myself enough to put my sobriety before anyone and anything else.

Mistake 137- I met my friend that came for dinner last night many years in a chat room. I once was a moderator of the chat room. I was supposed to warn people who were acting wrong or misbehaving “in” the room and then block them if they did not behave.

I woke up one morning hungover and signed into the chat room. A cyber friend started to tell me how I was so funny the night before in the chat room. I did not remember what I said. As a moderator, I had access to previous conversations and private IMs. So I went back to check what I said.

I told my friend I was surprised he could comprehend my typing. But it basically was typos in capital letters stating how I needed to get laid, I wanted to be fucked, and I wanted pussy. Over and over. I was so embarrassed. It was an international chatroom. Did I offend anyone? He said I was entertaining.

I demoted myself from being moderator. I told my friend that gave me the position that I was not qualify to tell others how to behave when I could not control myself when drunk.

Sorry if anyone reading this is offended by my curse words. I feel I need to use them at times to fully express my story, situations, and feelings.

Brew Blues

I booked a flight to go to a reunion in June. Everyone just voted to have it at a brewery. And at one of my favorite breweries.

I am sort of excited to test my willpower but also worried I will fail. I will be four and half months sober by then. It will be nice to be able to handle being around alcohol one day. I just have to keep remembering that I CAN NOT DRINK! Not even one. No matter how tempting a glass of beer might be, some IPA could lead to DUI or STD or DEATH (eventually.)

And I really, really want a huge treat for one year sober. Since it will be next January,  I was starting to think of rewarding myself with a trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights.

My brain has been having those inner battles again:

“Just one won’t hurt.”… “Who are you kidding? You won’t stop at one.”

“I can drink and not get drunk.”… “Really? You think you believe that? Why drink if that fuzzy buzz wasn’t the goal?”

“I can drink responsibly.”… “Well your arrest record would disagree with that.”

I know a lot of sober bloggers will refer to that bitch voice as Wolfie. I joined the 100 Day Challenge but have not actually read the story or meaning to Wolfie. I hope whoever that voice is, she is not joining me on my trip in June. Can I report her to TSA to keep her off the plane?

I took this photo for SoberLearning’s 120 days but did not get around to posting it. So here is a treat for you:

 

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Mistake # 71- I went to Tijuana, Mexico with a few friends. I was living in San Diego. I was 18 years old. Got drunk on tequila and Sex on the Beach. I met a guy who went to school with my friends. He was cute. We started making out.

The rest I was told next day: the guy and I were getting hot and heavy in the bar. I don’t remember. Cops came in and took us out. They said they were going to arrest us for indecent behaviour. I started crying and begging them not to arrest us. The guy gave the cop his watch. The cop said we were free to go but had to leave Mexico right away. The guy and I left and walked to the border. Our friends found us at the bus stop on the American side waiting for them. I was passed out on the bench. They had to drag me on the bus.

Waking up the next day in my bed with a hangover was better than waking up in Mexican jail.

50 Day Cake

I have been dreaming about this cake all night at work. My Coconut Cake to celebrate 50 days of sobriety!  It still feels like such a small amount of time.  I am still so far away from 6 months. Even thinking of 90 day chip is far. But I am still gonna celebrate this little milestone with cake! And I love coconut! I am half-way to completing Belle’s 100 day challenge!

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When I had this (and only this) at the check-out counter, I said to the cashier “breakfast.”
She laughed. “Well sure. It has coconut. And flour.”
I said “just as good as cereal! Oh and look. There is a cup of coffee in the photo on the box.”
She laughed even louder. She said maybe she will pick some up too.

I left the store smiling. I thought I can still be funny and friendly without booze.

Mistake #44- Last year, my favorite bar was a tavern next to my apartment building.  I knew all the bartenders by name and they let me stay pass closing. The one female bartender was getting married in a couple months and we would chat about wedding plans most nights I was there. She was Indian and we chatted about my travels to the subcontinent. She always had a new bottle of beer opened before I finished one. I loved going in there when she was working.

I woke up one morning with a strange guy in my bed. Apparently, we met at the tavern. He knew a lot about me and I didn’t even know his name. Turns out, he was gonna be best man in the Indian bartender’s wedding. He asked for my number. Then he actually grabbed my phone to call his phone to make sure he got my number. I just wanted this guy out of my place.

He started texting me asking me out. I always had work as an excuse. Then I went away the whole month of April. I lied and said I would get in touch with him when I got back.

I avoided the bar when I got back for a few months.

One night in July, I went at the bar alone. The grocery store was closed and I was out of beer at home. I was drinking a few IPAs and switching from reading my book to reading my phone. Then while staring at my phone, I got a text: “your phone must be very interesting.”

I replied “yes it is.” I guessed who the mystery texter must be. I also refused to look up or around the bar to try to avoid eye contact. I went back to reading my book.

Next text: “don’t you even want to know who this is?” I was able to glance and read it while leaving my phone sitting on the bar in front of me. I acted too interested in my book and did not pick up my phone.

Then he sat down next to me and started to ask something about why I am not concerned who is texting me. I still did not look up from my book and told him I figured who it was.

I still could not remember his name. I didn’t want to know it. I was not interested in this guy but how can I tell him that after already having had sex with him. Should I say “Sorry but drunk blacked-out me makes bad mistakes and you were one.” I was trying to politely blow this guy off. Then the Indian bartender came in and started to praise him. I immediately wondered if she was the reason I took him home in the first place.

I used to pride myself on at least still having good taste when wasted and my one night stands were usually hot ones. This guy was not attractive and not interesting. Sitting there that night,  I found him so boring. I was so ashamed.

I moved away from that city a month later. I moved away for many reasons but felt relief to be away from most of those bars. I was having so many one night stands, it felt dangerous to go to my regular pubs.

Allergies

Early sobriety has the quality of vigorous exercise, as though each repetition of a painful moment, gone through without a drink, serves to build up emotional muscle. -Caroline Knapp “Drinking: A Love Story”

I read some more of my journals last night. I had to have a tissue box next to me because I kept crying. There are so many stupid things I did. I hurt my mom and others I love so much. But my love for alcohol prevented me from stopping the cycle. I know a lot of people who try to go through life without any regrets. For me, most of my regrets were subdued stupidity. I chucked my regrets off as drunk mishaps. Misfortunes. Mistakes.

I was eating some chocolates and read the allergy warning label on the side of the box.  “This product manufactured on equipment also used in the production of products containing Peanuts and Tree Nuts.” I was glad I do not have nut allergies. The candies were clusters of chocolate and coconut. I thought of the people who are allergic to coconut and felt sorry them. I could not imagine being allergic to strawberries or bananas because I love those also. There have been incidences when I was traveling in  a foreign country and ate whatever mysterious food was offered to me. It made me grateful that I did not have any allergies or dietary restrictions.

Maybe I should start considering alcohol as my allergy. Blackouts are my reaction instead of rash or anaphylactic shock.

Mistake # 18- It was autumn 2003. I went out with some friends on a Friday or Saturday to a late night gay club. It was the kind of place that stays open until 3 or 4am. We usually got there a little before 11pm to pay reduced cover charge. I drank a lot. Most likely I drank rum and cokes. My friends said they lost me at some point on the dance floor.

I woke up in the emergency room. I was freezing laying there on a stretcher. I had a hospital sheet on top of me  to try to keep me warm. I was wearing a skimpy tank top and short skirt. It was the kind of top that one does not wear a bra. I had on pantyhose but they were all ripped. The male nurse asked me if I knew where I was. I recognized the logo on his badge. He told me I passed out in the club and was unresponsive. I was alone. The club called 911. My purse was missing so I had no identity on me. They did a drug screen and it was negative. I am not sure if they ever told me if they did a BAC level (I would assume they did) but if they told me the results, I have forgotten it.

He asked me if I knew how to get home. I told him I could get the subway but I did not have any money. He gave me a subway token and let me take the sheet to keep warm. I must have looked like a top prize sitting on that subway seat with smudge mascara, tossed hair, and a white sheet draped around me at 8am. I lost a thin jacket at the club in addition to my purse with cell phone, wallet and house keys.

I had to go to my sister’s house to get my spare set of keys. Then I had to have my locks changed to be safe. My dad was at her house watching TV. He said nothing about my messy appearance. I assume he did not want details.

When my dad had cancer, he went to that same hospital for his treatments. He lived with me his last few months of life. After he died, I found a sheet with the hospital logo. I was not sure if my dad brought it home after one of his admissions or if it was from my ER visit. I kept it and just told myself it was from him. I refused to be reminded of my embarrassing trip to that hospital.

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.

Dignity

Even though I feel I am hidden from most temptations to drink while at my mom’s house, I do not feel this is a supportive environment. She is supportive of me not drinking, but I think she still believes it only a bad habit. She used to say that my dad could have stopped drinking if he loved his family enough. I told her about my recent argument with my friend about alcoholism being a disease. She asked if I actually believe it is a disease. I use delirium tremens as evidence that it is a medical problem.

Her boyfriend makes me feel uncomfortable. I am in my late 30s but I feel like a teenager here. He scolds me for leaving a glass on the table or my box of spices on the counter. Before my mom arrived Saturday, he told me to clean up my mess. I had a few bottles of sauces next to the stove to make her dinner that night. He criticized me for drinking too much coffee the other day and then makes fun of me for eating organic “crap.” I know he looks down on me for my drinking problem. It is my defect. He does not like me on “his” computer but does not want WiFi in the house. I was typing my blog yesterday and he stood behind me. I had to close the page.

There is a news story now about a drunk woman that tried to make sexual advances on a plane. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Minneapolis. I have a few friends joking that it sounds like me on the video. I know they are only teasing and not trying to be mean, but I am hurt. I guess they view me as the fun, party girl that always drinks too much and sometimes out of control. Sometimes when I admit I had DUIs, people start to share their close-calls and admit how often they drove home drunk but did not get caught. Then they want to toast with a alcoholic beverage to “not getting caught.”

I went to see the movie “The Monuments Men” today. Three thoughts floated through my head most of the movie. 1) I should not have drank all that tea because I had to pee. 2) I wish I brought Advil because my knee was aching from an injury I sustained while drunk last October. And 3), every time they drink in the movie, I wanted booze. They had champagne and wine and toasted with some mystery beverage in cups that I imagined was a good lager. They mentioned whiskey and cognac throughout the movie. I mourned that I will never be able to taste any of that again.

But there was one character in the movie, Donald Jeffries, who was the drunk of the group. There were a few lines joking about it. He was sober. How long? Since this morning. But then he redeemed his drunken reputation by helping save great masterpieces. There was a letter in the movie that said something about going on the mission to save art helped restored his dignity.

That word stuck in my head. That is one more thing I lost. Dignity. My friends laugh at my mishaps. My mom’s boyfriend doesn’t seem to trust or like me in their house. If I go back to drinking, my mom will just see me as weak. I imagine my exes describing me as a crazy drunk. Dictionary.com defines dignity as “bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect…” I do not have self-respect. I struggle for self-love at times. I loved alcohol more than I love myself.

I know that this path to sobriety will not be easy and will come with it’s own problems. But maybe I can find dignity again.

Mistake # 14- Halloween parade: It is my favorite holiday of the year. I made an awesome costume that year. I spent a week creating a bird costume. Then at the beginning of the parade, I poured a bottle of “oil” all over me. The “oil” was pancake syrup with black food coloring. I was an oil spill victim. It was amazing but I was very drunk. I carried a water bottle full of rum and Diet Coke. I had a 2 liter bottle and a small bottle of rum in my bag for refills. My friends were wearing costumes with white bottoms so they ordered me to march in the parade far from them so the “oil” would not drip on them. I was stopped at one point by a news crew for an interview that never aired. I don’t remember being stopped but my friends said it happened. I must have been too trashed to be shown on TV. I do not remember the end of the night. Maybe my friend I was staying with came to meet me? Maybe I took a taxi to his place? I am lucky I was not driving that night. My favorite holiday but I was blacked out for most of it. In fact, I think the only Halloweens I fully remember are ones when I work.

Been a Long Time Coming….

March 24, 2002 Journal entry:

When I think about all the problems alcohol has caused in my life, I seriously wonder why do I continue to drink. It has brought me some good memories, but many blackouts. It has brought me some friends, but ruined many relationships. It has made me feel good, but it is bad for my body. It has caused me to bruise my body and ego at times. It has caused one night stands or the desire to be with someone caused me to drink. I put myself at risk. I have put others at risk. I ruined my driving record and insurance. I’ve hurt others by the things I’ve said while drunk. I’ve wasted many hours being unproductive because of being drunk or recuperating from being drunk. I have missed work or been late to work. I’ve missed class and been late to class. I’ve spend money I couldn’t afford to spend to get drunk. Then I spent more money to get out a towed car, buy new tires I blew out while drunk, and to cover up other mistakes. Alcohol has brought so much misery to my life. I might have drank to have fun, but how much fun it is if I can’t remember most of the night or what I might have done drunk? I think it exacerbates my depression. It’s addicting. It is destroying my life.

And I continued drinking for another twelve years with a few drinking breaks to “prove” I could control it. It is not as if I woke up January 22, 2014 and said “Wow I never knew I had a drinking problem before. Maybe I should quit.” I mentioned in my first blog that I have been considering for the past year of collecting 365 regretful, drunk episodes. Sometimes I wonder if I can write 730 mistakes. Then throw in an extra for leap year.

Mistake #13- The mention of my tires in that journal entry has me confused but I think it happened years before I wrote that. It think I was referring to a time when I was married. Maybe in 1999? I went out clubbing with friends. My husband was either at work or home playing video games. He found me passed out on the couch the next morning. He woke me up and asked me what happened to the car. I didn’t know what he was talking about. He took me outside and the trunk was open. The lock was broken. The bike rack was missing. There were two flat tires. We concluded that I left the parking lot through one of the exits that had the chain hanging across it and the spikes up on the ground to pop tires. I must have drove under the chain! There were scratches along the top of the car. The chain must have pulled the bike rack off and broke the trunk in the process. Not sure how I did not get four flat tires. I was glad my husband was mechanically inclined to fix the trunk and get us new tires for a good price.