I find it annoying when a non-alcoholic tries to tell me they know how I feel. “I have done some stupid things while drunk also.” Oh really? Stupid things? Have you woke up in the hospital? Unable to remember how you got there? Woke up behind the wheel with your car in a ditch? In jail? Your few bad decisions are nothing compared to my 20 years of blackouts and depression. Of drinking myself to death because I thought that would bring me happiness. My DUIs will follow me the rest of my life while your one night stands won’t. (Unless it resulted in a child or STD.)
It is not fair for me to judge a person who is only trying to reach out with consoling words. But it fucking irritates me. It is like a person who had the flu comparing their suffering to someone with cancer. I did not only stop drinking. I am struggling with avoiding it in this alcoholphile society. I am struggling with my defects that caused it to be such a problem. I am struggling while you try to patch it with a bandaid of words.
I feel like hibernating. I want to go sleep in a cave where alcohol does not exist. And where there are no people who will toss wishy-washy words of wisdom my way.
I think without counting days, months and looking forward to a coin, my thoughts of drinking again has been increasing. It was only as I started to write this blog that I realized today is one year and 2 months. No chip for 14 months sobriety?
But I sit here watching a beautiful sunrise and realize I am, once again, thankful for my sobriety. I am on a short diving trip to a Caribbean island. It has been so nice here. I experienced a few amazing dives. Yet, I want rum so bad. I want to party like the rest of the divers. I want to “belong”.
Everywhere I go on this island, they advertise rum drinks. Rum happy hour. A free rum cocktail with dinner. Or free tshirt if you do 10 shots of something. And then there is the local beer.
After my dives, everyone on the small boat talked about getting drunk next. “TIME TO PARRRRTTTY!” The fact that my dive guide on my second morning was hungover was a bit disturbing. And then he ran out of air early and shortened everyone else’s dive. It seemed everyone that worked here or was staying here for a few weeks or months did nothing else but dive and drink.
There was a huge beach party going on last night. Everyone on the boats were going. It was free for ladies before 11pm. My dive shop was organizing a pre-party at the shop that included one free rum drink. Then they would go to the party in a large group. I was worried about temptation.
A lot of the females I met were encouraging me to join. But I really wanted to go because of one cute guy I met while diving. He smiled at me a lot and swam close to me on all the dives. He sat next to me at times, asked about my tattoos, and chatted with me about our previous dives. Does he have a crush on me? Would I be able to attend this party and flirt with him sober? If he offered me a drink, would I be able to turn it down? Or would one rum and Coke be okay and loosen me up enough for flirting? Just one and then I will stop.
Asking myself these questions almost made me cry. I kept reminding myself of stories from my past. I remembered sitting on a sailboat on a dive trip, away from the rest of the group, listening to Ani DiFranco on my iPod, and crying because I was ugly. I think I was upset because of a guy I liked or jealous because another girl was getting more attention. But it was one of those times that overthinking while I was drunk led to depression. Someone heard me crying and checked on me. I lied and said I was fine. I was actually thinking of jumping off the boat. I don’t remember why I did not or how I got to my bunk. I was hungover diving the next morning.
There were other stories that came to mind. There were times I missed a flight, bus or ferry due to a hangover. I had a ferry the next day at 7am. Could I go to this party, get some sleep and still make it to my ferry?
I was tired from four dives that day. I decided I would take a nap at my hotel and worry about my decision when I woke up. I was upset that other people do not have this inner debate about enjoying on alcohol.
Instead, I just kept sleeping. When my alarm went off after a two hour nap, I thought it through. I decided I did not want to risk temptation. I did not want to risk missing my ferry. I wanted a good night’s rest before diving today. And I did not want to risk disappointment in case cute, diver guy was not interested in me.
I need to find a group of sober divers.
I have been taking a nutrition class the past few weeks. I have been enjoying it and learning a lot. It really makes me think before I eat something now. I have started counting calories to try to drop a few pounds before the summer.
It has been irritating some coworkers who are criticizing my healthy habits I have developed. One coworker asked me how I have lost weight this past year. I told her “first I cut out alcohol, then soda, then added sugars.” Her response: “I could never cut out alcohol! I don’t care if that makes me sound like an alcoholic!”
I thought “yea. It does.”
There is a lot of mention in almost every chapter about alcohol. Each time I learn something negative about it, it reaffirms my sobriety. It might say alcohol is okay in moderation but that means 1 drink a day for women. One drink! I don’t know anyone who has one drink! Everyone I know who says “oh but wine is good for you” usually don’t realize that means a glass and not the whole bottle.
When discussing energy and calories in nutrition, it says:
When consumed in excess of energy needs, alcohol, too, can be converted to body fat and stored. When alcohol contributes a substantial portion of the energy in a person’s diet, the harm it does far exceeds the problems of excess body fat.
Alcohol interferes with the growth, maintenance, and repair of the body. It yields 7 kilocalories of energy per gram in comparison to 4 kilocalories per gram for carbohydrates and protein. And to think all of the times I would avoid bread because of the carbs but drank beer like it was nothing! No wonder I got a beer belly. (And beer ass and thighs.) I had all my excuses such as “I don’t go out dancing as much anymore” and “my work schedule made me gain weight” or “I walked less when I lived in such-and-such place”. But the real reason I gained so much weight was because much of my diet was beer and alcohol. And the more I got tolerant of light beer, the more I had to drink stronger beer to get buzzed. And the stronger beers had more calories. Plus, I did not eat the healthiest when drunk. Pizza at 2am! Greasy burgers were great hangover food.
Anyway, I do not want to sound like a health nut. Looking at the nutritional side of drinking really helps me put my problem in perspective. And not just the wasted calories, but all the diseases alcohol puts a person at risk for like cardiac disease, malnutrition, and cancer. Most of my coworkers now know that I quit drinking alcohol, but I think (hope) they believe I quit due to diet changes. I am just still worried about the judgements of others if they know the real reason.
I just finished a very short book (31 pages) about addictive relationships. I guess it is more of a pamphlet that I ordered on Amazon. It is called “Addictive Relationships: Why Love Goes Wrong in Recovery” by Terence T Gorski. I first heard about Terry Gorski while reading One Breath at a Time by Kevin Griffin. I now feel prepared to try to continue dating. I want to sum up some of the things I learned from Mr Gorski.
Characteristics of Addictive Relationships:
-Magical or Unrealistic thinking: “My life will be better when I have a boyfriend.”
-Instant Gratification: “He must be gorgeous and turn me on as soon as we meet.”
-Dishonesty: “If I am honest, he will leave me.”
-Compulsive and Obsessive Overcontrol: obsessed with the relationship, it is the most important thing in your life
-Lack of Trust: Don’t try to change their nature.
-Alternating Doubts- I complain about him which then turns to self doubt.
-Isolation- Don’t want to share your partner with anyone else
-Repeating cycle of pain
He talked about how addictive relationships are built on risk-taking. I realize that was the start of almost all my relationships. I have always focused on having “interesting meeting stories” to entertain people and make myself seem more glamorous. “Oh we met while traveling in Argentina”. “He offered me a ride home cause I was so drunk and he SAVED ME”. “We met in boot camp.” “I bought furniture from him online and then asked him out.” All my affairs had the adrenaline kick of risk-taking. So many times I started to date someone and thought I could change them “for the better.”
–Do not have sex on the 1st date. He did not give a time frame of how long to wait. But I am thinking I am gonna self-impose at least 3 months.
–Never have sex out of guilt of obligation. I know I have done this from feeling lack of self-worth.
–Never have sex to change someone. I have done this. I have had sex thinking it would get the guy to like me more.
–Don’t share your alcoholic past on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd date. You will scare them away. But you must eventually be honest about it.
–Build the relationship slowly. Yea I need help on this!
-Have realistic expectations.
-Establish and maintain personal growth first!
I need to stop focusing on finding a relationship and worrying about it. I am meeting a guy today for coffee. I will see how that goes but think I need to stop agreeing to squeeze in time to date. I have a lot of other things I can be doing. Dating should not be stressful.
Often, unhappiness can come because of fear of the unknown, fear of the future. Sometimes we just need to face down that fear to understand that even though we have a right to be concerned, our fear is out of proportion to reality. For instance, we are often terrified of taking risks because if we fail, we feel the consequences will be dire. Or we are unhappy in the course our lives have taken us, but the fear of the unknown is more frightening than living an unhappy life. In reality, there are few things worse than living an unhappy life.
–To Hold The Sun by Chas Watkins
I picked up this book cause I thought it was about diving in Roatan, Hondurus. It seems to actually be about a man’s philosophy and how to enjoy this journey of life. It is a short book and I hope to finish it tonight. And a lot of it sticks out to me regarding sobriety and my struggles.
The quote reminds me of how scared I was last year. I feared getting sober even though drinking was not making me happy. I was frightened of life without beer and wine. Sobriety was unknown. AA meetings had foreign language. What would happen to my social life? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? Will sobriety be worth it?
And now that I took the “risk” of going sober, I can say it is worth it. I am happier. I don’t have to fear discovering what I did in a blackout. I don’t have to drive home worrying if I will get pulled over and a DUI. I have less fear of the future. I am proud of myself more than almost any other achievement. (Except bungy jumping. That might have been more harder to do than quitting alcohol.)
If you are trying to go sober, take the risk of this new way of life. Don’t let fear hold you back. The active alcoholic life is a lot scarier.
Yesterday after being upset about a hopeful relationship ending before it even began, I read a great chapter in my book One Breath at a Time by Kevin Griffin. The chapter is about step seven but he brings up relationships failing in sobriety. He was given a tape of a psychotherapist Terry Gorsky, whom I googled and found his name is actually spelt Gorski. I then ordered a book by Mr Gorski which should arrive in a few days.
The advice my book gives from Mr Gorski is that “the place to start building a good relationship was the beginning. Specifically, he suggested no sex for the initial stages.”
See, I have been happy that I have been able to date sober. And I have been wondering what it would be like to finally have satifying, sober sex. I think I have been focusing on that achievement more than actually wanting a relationship. I mean, I do want a real relationship. I want to find someone to make me laugh and happy. I want someone that will accentuate me. But I think I have been concentrating more on the physical attraction with these men. I was not establishing the foundation of a long term relationship; I was fixating on wanting someone that turned me on instantly.
The guy who told me “it would not work” between us was very sexy. I am sure I would have had sex with him if we had another date because I told myself I deserved it. I thought a year of sobriety would make finding love easier. I thought if I had sex sober, I would not regret it like I regretted most of my blacked-out encounters . I blamed my alcoholism for all my relationship problems. But rushing into relationships was another fault I had. I did not know how to take things slow. I did not know how to wait. I did not have patience.
Another suggestion Gorsk[i] made was to avoid people who triggered intense sexual longing because such partners wound up setting off an addictive pattern of craving, bingeing, and eventual revulsion. Instead, he suggested that you date people who you liked to spend time with on a friendly basis…
Reading this helped me a lot yesterday! I was telling myself I did not want to follow those dating “rules” that everyone has been suggesting: make a man wait for sex. I thought those rules sounded like games. Why would I make him wait if I wanted sex?
Reading this section made me wonder if that was why all my relationships have failed? (Well, that and the drinking!) I slept with all my boyfriends and girlfriends almost right after meeting them. And when the sexual excitement fizzled, I got bored. I filled that boredom with drinking and cheating. And lying. But lying usually follows the cycle of drinking.
So no sex. No sober sex. No drunk sex. I wonder what Gorski says about self-sex?
I am sure I will blog about what I read in his book when it arrives. And I will keep my blogged updated how this sober, chaste dating thing goes.
This is a quick post.
Thanks everyone for the comments and likes the past year. Thanks for the emails (that I am horrible with checking) and the words of encouragement. Thanks for the cyber support. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing. I did not even notice I have made it to my first year of sobriety!
No balloons. No fireworks. But I did treat myself to an amazing vacation which could explain that I have not been noticing the dates. I do think there has been an error in my dates on my blog though: I have been using January 21 as my sobriety date but it is actually the 22nd. My last drink was on a Tuesday last year. Not sure if I drank still after midnight. But I woke up on the 22nd with a hangover, chugging water, and contemplating trying a life without alcohol.
And I am so glad I did!
When I get back from my trip (and WiFi at home), I will put my thoughts together and write what I learned in this year. I still feel odd when I tell people I do not drink alcohol but I am less worried about what they think. I feel I definitely think clearer and look better.
For all of you just starting, IT WORTH IT! There are bumps in the road and times you want to just give up, but find what you need to keep strong and use it! Whether it be an AA meeting, reading blogs, writing your own blog, finding a sponsor, praying, carrying sobriety coins around, or listing your drunk mistakes (almost) daily; develop a sobriety kit for yourself.
If you started sobriety and then had a drink, or few weeks of drinks, you are not alone! It took me 7 years after my last attempt of sobriety to try again. The difference this time is: I wanted it. I was serious. I decided the problems alcohol caused were not worth the high it gave me. I was scared of what my life would become without it but am now scared of what my life would become if I pick up even one drink. Even if I used all my strength to be a moderate drinker, I know that would eventually fail. And I have honestly started to view alcohol as poison.
Haha I guess so much for a quick post.
Stay strong everyone!
I made a big box full of my drinking memorabilia. When I have guests that are drinkers, I will offer them a gift to take home from this box rather than a drink. That should make it up to them that I do not have booze in my house.
I kept debating keeping the pot holder/wash towel combo that says “wine a little, you’ll feel better.” It is funny. But I am worried one day I will think that wine will make me feel better.
I am unpacking and then packing again. I am off on a trip next week to celebrate my 1 year soberversary! I am going with an friend, who is more of a friend of a friend, and he is stressing me out with the planning. He wants to spend everyday together and travel “comfortably” while I know I like days alone and I travel cheaply. I do not want to be with him on the 22nd. I want to enjoy some tea and reflect on my past year. I actually might use my soberversary as my excuse for alone time rather than he is annoying me.
I am not gonna make my goal os listing 365 mistakes by my 1 year date. I apologize to those that were waiting for them. But I do plan to come back and add to old entries mistakes related to the topic or add on inbetween. I think I have about 120 to come up with? I won’t be ending my year with stories about my “top 3 mistakes” like I thouht. That just gives me more time to write them out and maybe with more detail. I do not have internet in my new home yet. Once that is up and running, I will work on the mistake stories.
Oh and some good news: I have lost 25 pounds since I quit alcohol! Finally! The big push was to cut out sodas and then sugar. I have stopped adding sugar to my coffee and tea. It took a bit to get used to and made me cut down my coffee intake, but I am now liking the taste of sugar-free java. Getting on the scale everyday helps motivate my taste buds. I have limited my complex carbs and meat. I have been eating a LOT of veggies and fruits. When I return from my trip, I plan to add yoga and spinning. I want to drop 10-15 more before I turn 40. I feel great. Sobriety has been amazing. Much more so than I expected.
As I was unpacking my things and moving into my new place, I found a box of old mementos. Ticket stubs. Tour brochures. Matchbooks. And I found these three tokens.
They were from my first time trying AA and sobriety 7 1/2 years ago after my second DUI. I have mentioned before in this blog how my journal entries at that time proved to me I wasn’t serious about sobriety. I wanted to still be able to drink without the negative outcomes. Getting serious about it has finally allowed me to come this far. I am 10 days away from a year of sobriety.
I also have blogged about my frustration with finding the milestone tokens. I never picked up a white chip because my first AA meeting, about 4 days after my drink, I was still not sure I wanted to go on this road. Then by 30 days, I almost broke down and had a drink because I was upset I couldn’t find a meeting to give me a red chip. I also said how I never got a 60 day chip and when I finally got my 90 chip, I considered lying to get a 60 day one at another meeting.
But now I have from this round of sobriety a 30 day, 90 day, 6 month, 9 months, and 1st Sober Burning Man token. I can add from my last round this 1 day, a second 30 day, and a 60 day chip. Maybe I will make jewelry. Maybe I will make a wind chime. Whatever I do with them, I am so thankful to have made it this far on the sobriety journey.