thoughts while slipping

The day I relapsed, I wrote about it in my journal while I was drinking. I hate the term relapse though. To me, that envisions giving up and drinking a lot more than I did. To me, a relapse lasts days, weeks, months or more. My slip was 1 day and then 1 more day. It was a slip. Here is my journal entries:

22 May 2015

…I walked more but was hungry two hours later. I stopped at a place on the waterfront. Upstairs had a nice view of the bay and a beautiful breeze. The waiter suggested fish or lobster with shrimp. I opted for the fish. And when he suggested “mojito”, I gave in. Today is 1 year and 4 months of no alcohol. I could blame it on seeing bottles and signs of rum everywhere. Or maybe cause I am feeling lonely. I thought “maybe just one drink.” After a few sips, I took a gulp of rum through the straw. It was like kissing an old lover that I never forgot. One that used to abuse me but at that second, I missed his tasty lips. Sparks flew. Our passion was rekindled.

I swore only one. But when I finished it and was still not done lunch, I thought “maybe a beer?” Might as well. I already broke my sobriety. I should have a beer but sip it to last the rest of lunch. Then I will stop. I feel ashamed but also debating if I will tell anyone about this.

So one mojito and half a beer and I feel tipsy. I am glad my high tolerance is gone. I am not sure if I will drink more or not the next few days. I don’t want to get drunk and lose something. And I am worried about what it will do to my brain and body.

“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”- Buddha

Is a sober world an illusion? Is having a few drinks ending my suffering of struggling to stay sober?
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After I left the restaurant, I kept thinking of getting another drink. I wanted to chase the buzz. I figured “why not!” I would start sobriety again tomorrow. I will just drink a little throughout today.
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I stopped at a bar to read my guidebook. I ordered 2 beers. Then I walked, took photos, and got a taxi to the waterfront. I watched the sunset. Then I went to another restaurant for dinner and a beer. I sat outside with the evening breeze and continued to watch the sun setting. I noticed the sunset was prettier once the sun was gone. I am trying to think of a metaphor for that but I am feeling drunk. After the light is gone, beauty arises?
_____________
I went walking along the waterfront. I had my headphones on and was feeling good. Later I regretted having my headphone on cause I missed a bunch of live music. A lot of guys made comments at me. Some looked like teenagers. It was a nice ego boost for a woman about to turn 40. Then I got lost. I finally hailed a taxi and was a good thing because I was walking in the complete wrong direction. But I now sit in a cigar bar, full of smoke, and one waitress for the whole place. I am gonna order one rum and Coke and then bed.
___________

23 May 2015

Back on sober track. After my rum and Coke last night, I had a daiquiri because that bar was famous for them. Then on my way back to my hotel, I wanted one more drink. There were people stopping people on the street to bring up to a bar. It was very small place with 5 tables and a 2-guy band. It was all old men and 2 female waitresses/bartenders. As I was finishing my beer, some pretty, young girls came in. They all had very short dresses on. They approached the old men. It seemed there was one young woman for each old man. They either danced or the girls sat very close to the men. I think they were prostitutes. The men looked to be in their 50s and big while these girls could have been their daughters. What kind of place was I in!

I was only buzzed at the most yesterday but I did not sleep well. I woke up a bit hungover. I kept hitting snooze for one hour. Already having a night of drinking affecting my vacation. My day of slipping was 6 beers and 3 mixed drinks. Evidence of not being a moderate drinker!

25 May 2015

written while drunk:

    Why Do I drink (did drink?!)

I drink to feel loved
I drink to feel wanted
to be accepted
to be popular
I like the fuzz
the buzz
It feels innocent and
takes me back to childhood
before depression
before identity
before self hatred.

But it doens’t keep me there.
It creates an illusion.
Magical
But magic if fake.
It is not real
Sobriety is real.
Truth is real.

I need real.

26 May 2015

So I drank again last night. Then I met a guy. We bar hopped for places that were still open. Then I took him back to my hotel with me. We had sex. I had a tampon still in. I don’t even remember if it was good or not. We tried to have sex again this morning but I was too tired and hungover. Not sure if we will stay in touch or ever see each other again. I am ashamed and feel guilty. I have not had sex for over a year and was hoping to break that when I found someone I cared for. Instead I threw it away on some guy that gave me a compliment in a bar. I feel sick from the hangover and guilt. I wasted my last day sleeping and popping advil. I am still not sure I will tell anyone. Can I go back and pretend it never happened? I will start going to more meetings when I get home, find a sponsor, and work the steps finally.

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Near Beer

I bought some O’Douls last night for the campfire. I was debating it all day. Then I sort of got excited. “Yea I can feel normal”.
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Then right before opening, I got a bit worried. Would this mess me up? Not meaning would it get me drunk, but would it make me want real beer? Or at least make me want it more than I did before? Is this a slippery slope? Will this be my gateway to relapse?

My friend was actually saying more things than I was to make me doubt this decision. “Are you sure you want to do this? It says 0.5% alcohol?” I pointed out it says LESS than 0.5% alcohol. But I got carded when buying it. If I need to legally be 21 to drink it, is that little tiny bit of alcohol enough to do something to me?

I opened it. I asked him to toast me with his real beer. He said it seemed we were toasting my sobriety goodbye. I took a sip. I said “mmmm that tastes good. Uh-oh. Too good. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.”
He laughed. What did I mean?
I started to get worried. The O’Douls tasted good. Better than what I remember Bud or Coors or what I thought of as “crappy” beer to taste like. Is that only because I have not experienced the taste in 4 months? Or was it that tiny percentage of alcohol seeping into my body? Was that “less than 0.5%” running to my brain and announcing to the cells “it is only a small few of us now but we will return!!!” I really started to panic that minuscule bit of booze was going to make me tipsy. Good thing I did not need to drive anywhere.

He told me if I admit drinking near- beer on my blog, I am going to get reamed. I told him my sober bloggers are not like an AA meeting. The people are more supportive. Then I said I did not care if anyone bitched. I didn’t care if they judged me. THIS IS MY BLOG! This is for me to get sober. And I also decided I need to write about it in case anyone that reads it had a similar experience or was considering non-alcoholic beers.

We finished our beers and went to the campground bar. It was finally open. Since it is not really the season yet, they only open on weekends. It was closed our first two nights. He wanted to check it out. It was empty. We ordered some fries from the bar. They didn’t have alcohol-free beer so I got a Coke. He joked “see! First near-beer and now you are going back on your soda-free policy.” I told him I needed the caffeine. This bar didn’t even have coffee or hot chocolate.

I thought we would each get a drink, check out the lame bar, and go back to the campground. He ordered a second beer. I did not understand why pay for a beer at the bar when he had a new 12 pack of cans in the cooler. Then again, I might have done the same in my drinking days. Social drinking, even if no one else was in the bar, was more fun. Maybe he liked having bartenders to validate his drinking than just dry me? The bartender asked if I wanted another Coke. I joked “sure, I am not driving.” She laughed and said I was a cheap date. I finally convinced my friend to go back to the campsite after his second beer. And honestly, I was feeling left out by drinking Coke. I wanted my fake beer.

We had a good night. We grilled hot dogs again. I roasted marshmallows. And I made S’mores. He did not eat any because he is not big on sugar. I told him maybe that is why he drinks weak beer. We tried to grill Jiffy Pop but failed to read that it should not be cooked over an uneven flame like a campfire.
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(Also he did not take off the paper label on top of the container. I don’t think he did that cause he was drunk. I think it was because he is a guy.)

I drank four bottles of O’Douls. He went through a lot of cans of Bud. He got drunk. I made comments how weird it felt to have four bottles and not feel even buzzed. It felt great! I said it felt like I took a superpower pill to keep me from getting drunk. This would be awesome for drinking games in college. “Why does that team keep winning at beer pong?”
“Oh they are chugging O’Douls”.

We have two bottles of near-beer left. I put them in his fridge. His roommate might toss them. “Ew what the hell is this shit in my fridge!” Or they might keep them for next time I visit. Or maybe they will drink them while drunk and desperate. “Hey… yea… think this will help keep us drunk?”

So in conclusion of my near-beer experiment, I am glad I did it. I need to do more research. I am not going to drink this all the time nor make a habit of it. I am glad I did not drink it in the first month or three because I think the association to real beer was still there. Maybe I needed to rid my body of all the traces of alcohol after 20 years of drinking to be able to tolerate O’Douls? I still prefer to drink ice tea now but I think I could handle non-alcoholic beer if I felt the situation suggests it.

Next I might try non-alcoholic wine. But maybe I will wait until I am in Napa or similar wine country.

Mistake 130- My friend was telling me the story of the first time we kissed. I was drunk. There is a photo of us making out on a table. We made out in the taxi the whole ride home. I do not remember any of it.

I had a lot of people staying at my house that weekend. When we got home, he fell asleep on the couch. (Aka passed out.) One of our friends tried waking him up to say I wanted him upstairs. He was too drunk to care. Then I had sex with another friend. I do not remember anything with that other friend at all.

I told him it sounds like we both made drunk mistakes that night.

Sober Language

I have always been interested in other languages. I went to an elementary school that had one hour Spanish lessons each week for all grades. From Kindergarten to 5th grade. I only went to that school for two years but I remember learning colors, numbers, and short sentences. “Soy morena.” “La casa es grande.” Maybe that is what sparked my interest in linguistics?

I have some books to teach myself other languages. I took four years of high school Spanish and a semester in college, but I am nowhere near fluent. I have many phrase books in different languages. French. German. Mandarin. Portuguese. Swedish. Thai. I had one for Bahasa Indonesian and was very upset when I lent it to someone who lost it.

Now I am trying to learn the language of sobriety.

I read a wonderful blog about surrendering to sobriety. I can not predict that I will never drink again. But I feel I won’t. I feel I relinquished alcohol. I feel I have more reasons not to drink than to drink. I keep reminding myself of drunk mistakes daily. I translate those mistakes into reasons to stay sober.

I feel I am learning new uses for words. I am now associating abstinence with something other than sex. Relapse is not about only about a returning cancer. I am learning to say “no thanks” when offered a drink. Phrases such as “I can not drink anymore” and “I like myself sober” scroll through my head everyday.

The thing is, if I don’t have sobriety, I don’t have anything.

-Matthew Perry

I was fluent in the drunk language. I spoke in excuses. I verbalized expertise in hangover treatments. I once had someone give me a travel bottle of Advil for my purse for mornings I woke up in a stranger’s apartment. I walked the walk and talked the talk of an alcoholic. No phrase book needed.

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Mistake #65- I was living in a city abroad taking a four-week language course. There were 10 students from all over the world and only two of us from English-speaking countries. Myself and an Aussie guy. The teacher was a young, native speaker.

The weekend after our last class, the teacher invited us all to come out for celebration drinks. The party ended up being only me, my boyfriend, and the Aussie. We all met at a bar. Two female friends of  the teacher joined us. I think he was interested in one and trying to hook the other up with the Aussie. The six of us were having fun. My boyfriend wanted to leave. I did not. I never wanted the party to end. So he left and I stayed at the bar.

We all kept drinking and having fun. I was trying to be wing-woman and get the girls to hook up with the teacher and Aussie. But they both eventually left. The Aussie invited the teacher and I back to his flat. More drinking. I remember the three of us sitting in the kitchen, drinking beers, and sharing music we liked. We were on the Aussie’s laptop and searching YouTube with “oh you will love this band!” or song.

Don’t remember much else but waking up in the Aussie’s bed. Nude. I have no idea what happened. I never asked. My dress was laying on a chair like I placed it there. It did not feel like I had sex. Some people have told me before that during blackouts, I would undress and go to bed like I was at home. I never asked the Aussie. I preferred to believe the “at home” theory. If you say the excuse enough, like repeating words in a new language, it starts to become real.

Glum

Yesterday I was feeling glum. My original plans were to grocery shop in the morning after work, sleep all day, wake up and go to gym, and then stay up late reading or watching movies. I am keep my body on my night shift schedule because I will most likely be called in for overtime tonight.

I got to the Whole Foods, started shopping, and dropped my phone. A cute man picked up and handed it back to me and said “at least it didn’t crack.” I smiled and made some joke about dropping it is why I have insurance. But when I got to the check out line, my screen was not turning on. Oh crap. It didn’t crack but it did break. I made the joke about the insurance but the truth is, my insurance on my phone ran out. I was allowed two replacements a year and I used them both up by ruining two phones when drunk.

I am new to this area so I was worried about trying to find my way home. I got mad at myself for relying on technology and GPS. I have an old Tom-Tom GPS thingie but it was not in my car. I did have my iPod Touch on me for listening to sober books (listening to Drinking Diaries currently.) I went back inside Whole Foods to use their WiFi and search maps on the iPod to figure my way to the highway.

Instead of sleeping in all day, I set my alarm for 4 hours sleep. I needed to wake up earlier so I could get my phone fixed. But all the Yelp reviews for phone fixers close to me were bad. I decided a quick 40 minute drive into the city would work since there were great reviews for phone repair companies there. I calculated it would take 40 minutes to drive to the city and but did not realize another 50 minutes to get INTO the city thanks to bridge traffic. I managed to get to the repair shop as the guy was walking out the door. He fixed it in fifteen minutes.

“Let’s grab some dinner in the city since I came all this way” I thought. I walked around wanting to find a place with good lighting so I could read while I ate. This will also, hopefully, avoid a place that was primarily a bar with food. I was thinking of just grabbing pizza when a woman was handing out flyers for free fries at a burger joint. It looked bright inside. But since I was eating alone, they sat me at the bar. I asked for the end seat near the sink so the booze would not be in my direct eyesight. The meal was good and I did not really feel any temptations.

The glum began to start when I picked my car up from the parking garage. When I paid, I started to calculate how much it was costing me to get this phone fixed. The price of the phone, the gas money, the bridge toll, the parking… it was all at least $200. A new phone would cost $500. But I started to think if I didn’t fuck up my phone while drunk twice, I would still have insurance. (I better get that overtime tonight!)

I read a few blogs while waiting for my car. Then I pulled over and read some more before leaving the city. A few bloggers wrote about relapsing. It started to get me scared. I worried about if I relapsed, would I try sobriety again? Would I be brave enough to blog about it? I keep thinking I have this sobriety thing easy since I have been mostly avoiding places with booze and I do not have kids or a partner that might make me want to grab a bottle. I have been volunteering to sign up for extra shifts at work to keep away from temptations (and fatten my paycheck.)

I started to think about one of the Drinking Diaries stories. I think it was called “First Sober Kiss” but I can not find it on the website. The author got sober by the age of 23. She talked about being drunk and promiscuous. I thought of some of the regretful, intoxicated intercourse I have had. I do not want to go back to that life. (Even though sometimes I am so scared I am not gonna know how to have a sober relationship if it ever happens.) These thoughts inflamed my glumness.

I left the city and started to drive towards the gym. I was still hoping for some exercise. Maybe it would clear my head. But thinking intensifies when I am driving. It leads to more thinking and overthinking. Add in tiredness and it creates a disheartened, crybaby. I started bawling and drove right pass the gym. I decided to go home to bed and just sleep for as long as my body wanted.

I  made a daily post last night before falling asleep. I was thankful that I wrote some already and saved as drafts. I just need to edit a bit and hit “publish post.” I fell asleep for eight hours.  It is now 5am and I am going to go the gym this morning. I feel better. Fatigue gone. And tomorrow I get my coconut cake for 50 days of sober.

Mistake #42 &43- I was living in Philadelphia but going to New York City every chance I got. It was summer and I was usually tan. But I was still pale by August because I rarely was awake in the daytime. I worked nightshifts and was up partying to sunrise if I was not working. Even if I only had one night off inbetween shifts, I would take the two-three hour Chinatown bus up to NYC, party for a night, and take a bus back in the morning.

I partied a lot with my Brazilian friend. She was a lot of fun. She had this cute, small apartment not far from Union Square. It was my crashpad for most of that summer. We would go to bars, go dancing, and have a few beers while watching the sunrise from her fire escape. It was a fun time for the most part.

On one visit on a weekend, I lost my phone. I think I lost it in a taxi or in a bar. I don’t remember. It was some cheap, Nokia. I got a free placement with insurance.

I went back up to visit the following Thursday because I had a friend visiting from the south. I originally met him when I lived in San Francisco and we got along right away. I remember loving his energy. He seemed so positive and upbeat. When I met him, he did not drink alcohol. But he started drinking again on this visit to New York. He told me about his issues with drinking and why he quit. I remember being glad he started again. We could have fun now! (And secretly I thought maybe I would have a chance to hook up with him finally.)

Drinking eventually killed him. I will have to save that for another blog because thinking about it is bringing back the glum.

He and I stopped in a bodega to pick up juice and wine in the late afternoon. The idea was to chug the juice and then fill the bottles with red wine. He also picked up some beer. We stashed the beer in his backpack. We alternated between our Jesus juice bottles and brown-bagged beer. We went to see the Brooklyn Bridge’s 125th birthday celebration. I remember there was a huge cake and fireworks. We were getting drunk and yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to a bridge.

We met up with friends in a bar afterwards. I remember almost getting in trouble for my bottles of “juice.” I tried to claim it was really just juice. A friend, who was a regular at the bar, asked me to please not drink my juice there. I started to buy rum and diet Cokes from the bar.

After the party at the bar was dying down, I took my friend to one more place. They played old 90s and rock music here. I wanted to dance. I remember rocking it out to Nine Inch Nails while my friend sat in a chair. He was looking glum. I did not realize, since we never drank together before, that he turned into a nasty drunk. He insisted on leaving. Okay okay… after a few more drinks.

I woke up the next day on my Brazilian friend’s couch. There was a note laying next to me “Did you lose your phone again!!!!!!”

huh?

Yep, I checked my stuff and my phone was missing. I went into her bedroom and found her sleeping. She woke up, saw me holding the note and looking confused, and started to laugh. She received a phone call from a taxi driver saying he found a phone in his car and her number was the first in it. That was such luck. Her name begins with a “C” but was one of the few I added to my new phone. I called the taxi driver back and he brought my phone to me. I lost two phones within one week! (Two mistakes.)

I have him a $20 reward. As he was taking the money, he said “Your boyfriend was not very nice. He said a lot of nasty things to me.” Huh? My boyfriend? “Oh him. Sorry. He is just a friend.”

“But he was not a nice friend.”

I do not know if the driver was trying to get me to give more money to make up for my nasty friend. I do not know what he did or said that was so nasty. But I do know I wish I would have recognized the danger my friend was in and I would have tried to help.

I don’t want to end up like him. I want to stay sober.