Sober Dating

I have gone out on a few dates the past few weeks.  Nothing too exciting. Nothing too serious. I have already made a promise to myself I do not want anything sexual until after I am sober a year.  Also,  I want to date a person for a few weeks or maybe even a few months before having sex. I want to find something meaningful. I want to do things correctly. I want a real relationship and not one based on the lies of alcohol.

I am being picky but think I deserve to be. It might be difficult to find a good, single partner at my age and even harder the older I get. But I am not settling. I would rather be single than with someone I only half-heartedly want. I would like to find someone who likes to travel as much as I do and that is tough to find. Yet I would rather marry my passport than someone who will restrict my adventure abilities.

My first date was nice. The guy was cute and had a great smile. I made him laugh a lot and we talked for hours. He had a few beers while I drank ice tea. He walked me to my car and we had a lovely kiss. I left with butterflies in my belly. I was thrilled! I was able to enjoy a date and be attracted to a guy without alcohol! Sober Dating is possible as long as I like the person. He texted me after I left with his house address and asked me to come over for coffee. I declined the invitation.  I know that coming over for coffee at 10pm is code for wanting to serve me coffee for breakfast instead. I was so glad I was not tipsy because I might have agreed and especially would have went if he offered wine.

I asked him if he wanted to join me for a play in the city the next week. He replied that sounds like a good idea. We made plans for Thursday. This was Monday. On Wednesday two days later, I text him that my job interview went well because we talked about it Monday night. (I will address the job stuff in another post.) He said congratulations. 

Then Sunday, I texted him asking if we were still on for that Thursday. He replied hours later apologizing for late answer but he was busy at work and yes, he would like to see me again Thursday but did not feel like going into the city. He knew 5 days in advance he did not want to go into the city? But I said that was okay, what else did he have in mind.

No response until Thursday at 5pm. He asked me if I wanted to see a movie. I was irritated.  I was supposed to keep my calendar empty just waiting for his reply? I replied honestly that I was up since 5am and would fall asleep during a film. I asked if we could get together another night. He said yes.

The next week, I texted to ask him if he was busy that evening. He said he was going out for a friend’s birthday, but he would call me later to meet up. A late night meet up after he is out drinking for a friend’s party? I told him to text me and we’ll see what to do. He never did. Now it is a few weeks later and I deleted him from my phone.

There have been a few other dates. One guy seemed like a liar that couldn’t keep a story straight. He also commented abstaining from alcohol is no big deal and he doesn’t understand why people get falling – down drunk. I thought he would not understand my addiction or he would harshly judge all my mistakes. Another guy was very nice but very young. I have a few dates planned next week.

Maybe I should just start going back to AA meetings and inquire about skipping to the 13th step.

Mistake: I was young and still experimenting with women. I met a woman online who was a lot older than me. I think she was 12 or 14 years older. She had a teenage daughter and I was 24. She was married to a man but looking for a female fun partner. I met her out for drinks. I was not attracted to her. I thought she looked like she spent too much time in a tanning bed and bleached her hair too much. But I wanted to test my bisexuals feelings. So I invited her back to my place after getting drunk. I continued to do shots to get drunk enough to kiss her. I don’t remember much of the experience. Blacking out is not the greatest way to test sexual orientation. I regretted it the next morning.  She kept paging me afterwards to meet up again. I either would call her back with excuses or ignore the pages.

Stronger but not invincible

Tonight I went out to dinner alone. It was a nice Indian restaurant.  I ordered my food and continued reading my book Get Sober Stay Sober by Cynthia Perkins. The restaurant was pretty empty on this cold night. There were only two other tables occupied with a couple each. The table closest to me interrupted my reading. They wanted to know if I wanted to finish off their bottle of wine. It looked like a full glass-worth. For free. I told them no thank you. They assured me it was good. I told them I don’t drink alcohol. The man said “neither do I” and they both laughed.

It was very easy for me to turn down that bottle. I felt so proud. I thought of how much stronger I have gotten with saying no to alcohol over the past 10 months.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t mourn my move. I think I will always wish I could drink. Just like a prisoner sentenced to life in jail wishes for freedom.

At least I have my freedom. And my life.

Accidents still happen

I knew that my life would not be perfect in soberland. But I really did not expect to still have driving issues once I did not worry about drinking and driving anymore. Two months ago I had the unfortunate deer walk in front of my car. This past Friday, I rear-ended a car. This accident was totally my fault. I was paying too much attention to the highway sign and glancing at my GPS to see if that was my exit and I did not notice the lane of traffic stopping in front of me. I tried to break but I smashed my bumper and radiator again. The new headlamp is hanging off along with half of the front. I was an emotional mess. The other car had a small dent and, thankfully, the driver seemed okay. She got to drive away after the police came. I had to have my car towed.

The next morning, my back started to hurt. I was not sure if it was menstrual cramps or from the impact. I took some Aleve and melatonin and slept. Sunday morning, I could tell it was not menstrual cramps. I decided to go get checked by a doctor. But I had a thought that “normal” people must not experience: I was worried about getting prescribed anything that would cause an addiction.

He said he thinks it is muscle spasms. No bone damage on x-ray. He prescribed some stronger anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. I am so glad nothing with opioids. After finding out about my ex getting addicted to heroin, I am terrified of them. Heating pads and relaxation are in store the next few days. Maybe I can finally catch up on my blog and adding my mistakes.

It did feel very good when asked about my alcohol intake to honestly say “none!”rather than lying “oh maybe 5 or 6 beers on a weekend.”

The accident could have been worse. My insurance is gonna jump up after this I guess. Especially after two accidents in two months. But I am alive. And I am happy to be alive. Oh and I got the doctor to write me a prescription for another month of Prozac. I am too scared to go off that right now so close to my one year sober anniversary. It will give me time to find a therapist in this area.

10 months. Accidents still happen but I am happy to still be sober.

I can still cry on Prozac

One reason I hated Prozac when I was on it 13 years ago is because it numbed me so much, I couldn’t cry. I remember a coworker died and I did not feel sad. Now I think it is because I just did not like her. But today I can not stop crying. I found out my last boyfriend, who I am still in love with, has started a heroin addiction.

I feel helpless. I feel guilty. I feel useless. I want to do something. I wish I knew what I could do. Or that there was something I could do. I know it is not my fault and most likely I would not have been able to prevent this. But I still feel if he and I stayed together, he would not have picked up the needle. If I did not get so drunk and jealous last time we were together, maybe we would have kept talking. I am physically and now emotional distant from him. I can not help but worry now. His new girlfriend is the reason he started using. I hate this woman now and that has nothing to do with jealousy.

I did leave a card telling my feelings for him and how I want him to get cleaned. I want him to get help. I gave it to a mutual friend to pass on. I doubt he will call me. But I needed to get the message to him.

I am glad I am on Prozac now. Not sure what this news would do to me. I might have spiraled down into deep depression. I am also glad to be sober to deal with these feelings.
image

Mistake 251- When I first met my friend that introduced me to this last boyfriend, we were drunk at a club. We danced and made out. I drove him home with me. I drove drunk 20 miles while he kissed and played with me. He said he was impressed I kept the car from swerving. I am impressed we survived the drive. He laughs about it now but I think about it and it makes me grateful to be sober.

Eye Spy Me

I was looking in the mirror earlier and admiring my eyes. The more I looked at them, the more I felt blessed to have pretty, green eyes. Wrinkles and all, I love my eyes.

image

Okay I do not love my dark circles. Can’t be perfect.

I am happy I am finally finding things about myself to like.  Things to appreciate. I spent so much of my life with bloodshot eyes from hangovers. Tired eyes from partying. Wet eyes from crying.

I chatted with an ex last night. It made me think of all the relationships I ruined with my drinking and low self-esteem. When they say you need to love yourself before another can love you, it is very true. I told her it is a shame because at my age, it seems harder to find someone not damaged. I know I come with enough baggage I could fill a train car. A few train cars. I am finally learning to love myself but it feels most people worth loving are taken by now. My ex told me she is planning to propose to her girlfriend.

Mistake 250- I went to a party and got super drunk off beer and shots of Jaeger.  I passed out as soon as I got home. I did not take my contacts out. When I tried to take them out the next day, I scratched my cornea. It was extremely painful. I had to go to the emergency room. They put morphine drops in my eye to stop the pain. Then they prescribed antibiotics and an eye patch until the scratch healed. I still went out with the patch on and got drunk again.

Happy Sober Halloween!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love the creativity and elaborate costumes people create. Maybe I also loved the chance to become someone else. Someone not the everyday me. Sort of like the reason I used to drink.

I am excited for my first sober Halloween. I am going as Gizmo from the Gremlins. I am going to a parade and party where I don’t know anyone. Normally, this would have made me nervous and I would get drunk to loosen up and fit in. But I like that I get to introduce myself as a sober person. These people do not know the drunk, party girl I used to be. For this Halloween, I get to be a new me for new friends.

Previous Halloweens, I would put a lot of work into a costume. Then I would get trashed and not remember how the night ended. Tonight I will get to fully enjoy the holiday. I look forward to seeing the talented creations tonight.

image

I will post some mistakes from past Halloweens later. Need to start getting my costume ready!

Mistake 246-
Mistake 247-
Mistake 248-
Mistake 249-

Busy but Sober and Sober Readings

Once again I am sorry for my lack of updates. But I am still here and still sober. Actually I am almost 9 months sober! I once heard a man in a meeting saying 90 days and 9 months sobreity are some of the most “dangerous” times because we get too confident and let our defenses down. I guess he suggests we stop being vigilant against these disease. I have felt a surge of pride that I have come this far and I am keeping aware of any lows or bouts of temptation. Not sure how much thanks of this confidence goes to Prozac.

I finished listening to Ann book The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol. It was a long “read” but I enjoyed it. It was very informational. She talked a lot about statistics,  society’s relationship with alcohol, the problems drinking causes, growing up with an alcoholic mom, and her struggles to stay sober. One word I learned from it that I loved is alcogenic.
I might try to find a cheap one online to order to keep as a reference.  There were a lot of quotes I liked in the book. Here is one:

Liquor soothes. It calms anxiety. It numbs depression. Ask any serious drinker. If you want to find your off button, alcohol can seem like an excellent choice .

Yes, alcohol was my off button switch. And sometimes it is a struggle to not want to flip that switch again, but I would rather deal with the struggle than deal with the consequences once that switch is turned back on.

I have been keeping busy. I still have not finished my book One Breath at a Time about Buddhism and the 12 steps. I have been working a lot (about 50 hours a week) and busy with my Substance Abuse Prevention class. I did go out with my mom one night and ordered her a beer at the bar. I did not crave it at all. And it was a beer I used to like!

I just received a book from Amazon that I am really liking and think I will learn from much. It is Get Sober, Stay Sober: The Truth about Alcoholism by Cynthia Perkin. The first chapter talks about AA and the pros and cons of it. I really like that she points out going to meetings is not enough. People need to work on their psychological issues behind their addiction. I have been saying that since I got sober. I have been working on my issues with reading and writing but I do think I should still seek a professional therapist. (At least to get a prescription for the Prozac so I do not have to fly to Mexico for more when I run out.) I might be settling in one place after December so that should help me stable and find a good counselor.

I was thinking about my “mistakes” the other day. A lot of people thank me for telling them. I am glad if they help others realize they have a problem and go sober. Also, I am glad I have the list to go back one day to remind me of how bad my drinking got. I still feel I am in the freshmen phase of sobriety but I hope I pass this school with honors.

Mistake 243: I spent the morning hungover. I met up with a friend for a very late brunch. I still felt slightly drunk that early afternoon but started drinking again. Mimosas were a necessity for brunch! 

I got a text message from a guy I had a crush on. He asked me to be his last minute date to a small wedding reception at a restaurant . I agreed. I was excited. I was just telling my friend how I thought this guy was cute and then I got the message. I drove home to get ready. (Already, I should not have been driving.)

I picked him up and we proceeded to the restaurant. It was a Middle Eastern themed place. It was a very nice evening full of lots of specialty drinks and wine. I was very drunk when we left. I basically started my day with drinks and did not stop. I do not remember if he was very drunk but he did not have a drivers license. He never said why but I suspected it was from a DUI. So I drove us back to his place. The next day, he told me how scary the drive was cause I swerved a lot. He said he did not realize how trashed I was. That seemed to be a common occurrence. I rarely realized how trashed I was.

Ego

I am better than you.
I might not have what you have, but I am a better person.
I might not be as pretty or thin or rich, but my heart is better.
I might not be as happy as you, but I am more important.

These are some thoughts I seem to have at times to make myself feel better. I look at happy couples and tell myself I am better because their happiness will not last. I tell myself I am better off alone than settling. I do not even know these people but I convince myself that I am better. I will try to mask my jealousy by mentally degrading others.

I have traveled.
I have done volunteer work.
And now… I am sober. I do not poison my body with alcohol like you do. I do not drink that venomous juice which you THINK brings you happiness. I have REAL happiness because my mind is clearer.

How does someone with such low self-esteem develop such an ego? Is it a real ego or am I trying to believe I am better to cope with my feelings of inadequacy?  of course I do not think or react like this towards everyone. Only when I feel threatened.

This is another characteristic flaw I need to overcome. It stems from anger. Anger at myself.  Anger at my life.  Anger at my past. And it is because of fear that I really am worthless. I judge them to hide how harshly I judge myself.

Buddha describes anger this way: It is like you pick up a hot coal to throw at your enemy. The hot coal is your anger.  You are gonna be more hurt by the coal than your enemy. We need to feel the suffering the anger causes and then drop it. Let it go.

I need to learn to let go of my anger, fear, jealousy,  and judgements. I need to focus on compassion and that includes compassion for my past and problems. I need to stop desiring so much. Desiring a relationship and acceptance has cause me so much suffering.

I really need to start meditating.

image

Drunkcations

I am enjoying my few days of “paradise”. I am doing some things I love: scuba diving, snorkeling,  and reading. I am relaxing and reflecting. I am thinking back to all the travels and vacations I have done where my relaxing meant recovering from a hangover.

image

I am reading Kevin Griffin’s One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps. I have been reading this for awhile but keep getting distracted by school and travels. I am enjoying it and only up to step 3. I would recommend it for anyone who considers themselves Buddhist to read this before reading the Big Book. Or at least that is how I am going about it. One line just really bite me:

I’d always been afraid to get a sponsor because I didn’t want someone to tell me what to do.

Has that been my problem? Is that why I hesitate to commit to AA or get a sponsor? I still feel like I am in a phase of sobriety where I want to research all my options before “committing”. I already researched the “trying to control my drinking” and failed so I know I am committed to a life without alcohol. But will I divorce this idea one day? Commitments don’t always last.

image

It is hard to believe I will never had another tropical cocktail or local beer. Sobriety is so much better than the drunken vacations I have done. But it is not easier. It is especially hard when I think of the good times I had when drinking while traveling. I need to stop romancizing the alcohol.

Mistake 237- I was visiting friends on a beach in Thailand. We all met a woman that was a yoga instructor and there on vacation. She’s offered to do a yoga class for us the next morning at 8am on the beach for free.

I stayed up drinking until sunrise. When my friends knocked on my door and I told them I wasn’t going, they laughed “she is hungover again.” I regret missing out on that. In fact, I stayed up drinking until almost sunrise my 3 nights there. My friends usually went to bed at a reasonable hour. I made friends with the locals.

Mistake 238- I went to a party in Singapore.  Even though the beers were $10 USD each, I drank a lot. I do not remember the end of the party and spent the next day hungover. I spent a lot of money that night. I started to nickname the city “Drink til poor”.

I am sure I can come up with plenty of other drunk mistakes from travels but I am going to enjoy my last day in “paradise.”

“Then what do you do for fun?”

I am in Belize for a couple days on the island Caye Caulker. The island life is so beautiful and relaxing. I have been diving and snorkeling. It is also Belize’s Independence Day so there are a lot of celebrations. It is very tempting to grab the local beer Belkin and join in the fun.

But I am resisting. On my diving trip, we were supposed to have rum punch on the way back. I asked for a juice instead. I went to a restaurant La Cubana for dinner and the special included 3 rum drinks. “Can I get watermelon juice with no alcohol instead?” And the snorkeling trip was supposed to end with rum punch. They love their rum here! (I think it is cheaper than the Belkin beer.)

I went to bed very early my first two nights because I was exhausted from traveling and then diving. I missed the fireworks but heard them from my bed. I was worried how I would handle the late night celebration alone and sober. The daytime parades and parties are easier for me even though a lot of people are drinking alcohol at breakfast time. One local told me some men put stout in coffee mugs to hide that they are drinking beer in the morning. This is a huge vacation spot so I can understand people wanting to be in the party mood but even the locals seems to have party brains.

image

Then again it is a holiday weekend. Maybe they are not always like this. But I still am surprised that so many women are walking around drinking beer on the streets.

Tonight I went to eat at one of the bars near my guesthouse. I spent some time talking to the owner/bartender and another patron. They drank beer and shots of whiskey and I drank a Sprite and Fanta. Part of me really, really wanted a beer. There were a lot of other travelers around me, mostly young, laughing and drinking. I wanted to be able to do that again. Even though alcohol is a depressant and not something I need when traveling alone. Too many times I got drunk and then got sad (or sadder) when I felt not included. Or I would have got drunk and made a fool of myself hitting on the guy sitting next to me. Or the bartender. I actually wished they had ice tea. The soda was disgustingly sweet.

A local guy came in with a flyer. He is a DJ and playing at a new club on the island. For $10, you get in and 3 free drinks. He started to list all the drinks for me. I cut him off and said “I don’t drink alcohol.”

“Do you smoke?” (and I can only guess what he meant.) No.

He looked stunned. “Then what do you do for fun?” I felt defensive and not sure how to answer. I thought of the diving and snorkeling I’ve done the past two days. I thought of the books I have read and the traveling I have done. I have fun but I do not think this guy would understand those activities as fun. I told him I dance. He said “good then you can come dance. When people say they don’t drink and don’t smoke, I picture those boring people sitting in the club doing nothing”. He demonstrated by sitting down and imitating a tree stump. I said I dance when the music is good. A woman sitting next to me said “so if she isn’t dancing and having fun, that is the DJ’s fault.”

I laughed. I did not think of it that way. It was his turn to be defensive. “No not my fault someone can’t have a good time.” It made me wonder if artists are really any good if people need to be drunk or drugged to enjoy them. And I thought if I were really drunk, I could be listening to crap music and having a good time. I told him I would rather have a good time without alcohol and that I do not need alcohol to enjoy life. He seemed bothered but that could because he might have a problem. (He admitted he has been drinking whiskey since he woke up that day.)

My idea of fun might be different from others but I don’t think anyone considers hangovers fun. And I left that bar without making any drunk mistakes.

Mistake 236- I was in Mexico waiting for my bus to the airport. I was drinking all day and it was now evening. I sat on the beach with a cocktail hidden in my water bottle. I was trying to read my book by headlamp. I decided to take a nap instead. I set the alarm on my phone. When I woke up, I was still a bit drunk. I grabbed my bags and rushed to catch my bus. Once on the bus I realized I dropped my $40 headlamp in my drunken rush.

I know that sobriety is not a guarantee that I will never lose things again, but I do seem to be more organized without my brain clouded by booze.