Percentage rather than days

Hi all. I know I haven’t been posting for months but I think that happens to a lot of people who are trying to get sober but not really bloggers.

Since my last post, I did get drunk once. I was at a small, local Burner regional and I got drunk one night on cheap wine. I wasn’t sure why I did it but I think it was related to 1) feeling lonely 2) had a crush on the guy who offered the wine. I had fun but ended up going to my tent for something and passed out early. I wasted one night of a 3 day festival and regretted it the next morning when I had a hangover.

And I survived another Burning Man year with ALMOST no alcohol. I told several people  in my camp I do not drink but I was still offered booze in some form all week. I did take a few sips of champagne as it was passed around during volunteer shifts. And I had some champagne at a camp that has champagne parties at sunrise everyday, but it is small amount they give and the 2 cups I had were maybe 3/4 of a measuring cup. Then there was one drink I had on the last day as I passed a camp as my sort of farewell toast to Burning Man.

I sit here now a week later and think about what that means for my sobriety. To myself, I remained sober. I had a tiny bit of alcohol but avoided the amount that would cause me to crave. (Last year when I sipped the passing champagne, I gulped it down and realized I was keeping my eye on the bottle as it got passed around to figure when it would get back to me.) No, I do not think this means I can moderate. But I also don’t think I need to start to recount my sobriety. This is one reason I do not subject to the AA club nor the philosophies there. If I went to an AA meeting now, they would consider me newly sober and I would have to wait for 30 days since that last drink to get a new chip. It sort of erases all the things I learned the last 2 and a half years.

So I’ve decided to think of my sobriety in percents. I would estimate I have been sober 95% of the time since January 2014. I plan to sit down and actually calculate the percentage out when I have time. I can remember everyday I had a drink since I first slip in May 2015. The more as time goes on and I do not drink, that percentage will go higher. I think that is more important than chips or resetting my sobriety clock. I will never get a cake at an AA meeting with this belief but it will keep me sober to the best of my ability.

I am in school now so don’t really think I will have time for blogging. But I feel confident I can have that percent up to 99% by January 21, 2017.

Sober Campus and Stories

It is Alcohol Awareness Week. At least according to all the flyers posted all over my school’s campus, with photos and a stories of a victim from boozing too much. When I google the event, I find that April is actually Alcohol Awareness Month. Is my school getting a early start? Or is there a separate week or month to focus on alcohol abuse on college campuses? Either way, it is sobering to read those stories.

There was a different one posted in each bathroom stall and on almost every door to each building. A 20 year old fell off a balcony while intoxicated at one school and died. At another school, a guy passed out in the road walking home from a party and was killed when  a car drove over him. 18 year old girl was found dead in her dorm room from alcohol poisoning on a different campus. All young people who probably thought they were just having fun, just fitting in, just partying, and not realizing the dangers of getting drunk. It took me two decades to learn for myself.

I have to keep reminding myself I was lucky. Even with all the dumbshit I did or horrible things that happened to me when I was actively drinking, I am alive. I survived. I am here to tell my own stories and not have them plastered on a wall for people to contemplate while they are peeing. (Unless you are reading my blog on a laptop on the toilet.)

I have started to read Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. I am only on page 12 and so far I love it. It is me. It is my story. It is about my life! Well, it is Sarah’s story but so far I relate to so much of it. I have to force myself to put it down and finish my school work first. But a quote that sounds as if it came out of my own personal journal is this:

I think I knew I was in trouble. The small, still voice inside me always knew. I didn’t hide the drinking but I hid how much it hurt.

I have been making new friends that seem to accept that I do not drink. It is the old friends that have been irritating me lately. The ones that say they are proud of me, but continue to overindulge in bottles of wine. The ones that parade photos of being plastered online. The ones that perpetuate the glamour of getting shit-faced. The ones bragging about all the green beer they will chug this Thursday, as if that is the more important event in the world. I don’t know if I am jealous, concerned, or lonely. But all three feelings make me annoyed.

I am working Thursday night. I wonder how many years it will be that I volunteer to work St Patrick’s night to avoid the parties and Jamesons.

And the Oscar goes to…

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

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

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

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

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

Heartbroken

Even when you are not sure about a relationship, it still hurts when it ends.

And I am not even sure it was a relationship.

I met a guy back in August. We had a date for coffee the night before I left for Burning Man. He was cute. Nice. We had a great time talking. When the coffee shop closed, we went across the street to a park to keep talking. I actually did most of the talking. I apologized for monopolizing the conversation and he waved me off. He said that I was the first date he has been on in a long time that was interesting and he was enjoying my stories. I told him about my struggle with sobriety. He told me he was never much of a drinker, but he does smoke pot. I thought I could be okay with that because pot never tempted me. We talked about our families. He talked about his ex-wife and said they split up two years ago. He talked about his two boys and I talked about my job.

He offered me a ride to the airport the next day. I told him that was crazy. I was not giving him my home address after just meeting him. But an hour later, I changed my mind. He gave me a ride home. We had our first kiss. He was back 8 hours later to give me a ride to the airport. I joked that it was our 2nd date.

I spent that afternoon and the next morning in Reno getting ready for Burning Man. Both days were full of a lot of text messages with this guy. We both kept responding back and forth with sarcasm. Then he said he really liked me, was worried how much he liked me, and was willing to let us go as slow as I wanted. I responded that I really liked him too. He said these feeling scared him. He wanted to make sure we were on the same page. It all sounded very promising.

I did not text with him the 11 days I was at Burning Man. When I got back to the real world, we started the sarcastic banter again. He offered to pick me up at the airport when I got home. But I missed my flight and he was not available the time I did arrive. Then I was busy working every night. I asked if he wanted to come up to my job for my dinner break one night. He agreed but canceled a few hours before because he forgot he had to watch his sons. I wasn’t sure if that was made up or not. I decided I would not pursue him much. Let him make the next move. And he did a few days later by asking if I needed another ride to the airport. He knew I was taking a trip to Florida.

So we had another date as a 20 minute ride to the airport. This time we had a passionate kiss after he helped me with my bags. We spent the next few days texting again. More jokes and some “getting to know you” messages. I thought we were back on track to something developing. He offered to pick me up at the airport when I returned from Florida. We had plans for dinner that night and made plans for a movie the next night. Then the morning I was flying back, I got an invite from some of my Burning Man friends for a costumed pub crawl the next night. I asked the guy if he would rather do that instead going to the movie. His response was “it was not really his thing” but I should go. I told him I would rather spend time with him to get to know him. He told me I should go spend time with my Burner friends. I got upset and asked “so it went from us having a date, to me suggesting an alternative, to you canceling the date?” He said we can discuss it at dinner after the airport.

The dinner went great. Again, we had great conversations. I told him that I would rather go to the movies with him if he was not into a pub crawl or costumes. Besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in pubs with Burner friends after relapsing at Burning Man. He drove me home and we ended the evening with a lovely kiss. I texted him later to thank him for the night.

The next morning, he told me he didn’t think things would work out between us. He is too much of a introvert for this to go very far. He could keep pretending to be interesting until we had sex but he doesn’t think anything besides a great sex life would be achieved. I was hurt and confused. Everything seemed to be back on track the previous night. Now the pages were all mixed up. What did I do to make him change his mind? Was inviting him to a pub crawl with friends too soon? Or the idea of costumed Burners too much? I started to doubt myself and get upset.

I did not respond to his message. I went to the pub crawl. I told my friends about it and they assured me I was better off without him. We joked that I should dress up in costume for all my first dates now. And I got drunk. I decided I would just continue my Burning Man relapse since I could still smell playa dust on my costume. I made out with some Irish bartender that I barely remember. I remember giving him my number. He never called.

Next day, I jumped back onto sobriety. I swore up and down that I “am serious” now. I am avoiding the Burning Man parties until I get more sobriety under my belt. But I did something lower than drinking. I texted the guy saying maybe we could just start to get together for sex. I have not had good sober sex since I first quit drinking January 2014. I had bad sober sex and some good drunk sex when I relapsed. (Or I think it was good?) But kissing this guy turned me on so I threw away my dignity and offered to have sex with this guy, who basically just told me he didn’t think we should see each other. We set up a sex date for a week later on my next night off work.

We did not even text each other that week. I am not gonna go into much details, but we did have sex the night as planned. It was okay. I returned to my old way of thinking: the thoughts of “he will like me more after we have sex.” It was like my pussy was some man-trap. “Once he gets some of this, he will want to be my boyfriend.” I even had sex with him in my brand-new bed that I was keeping “virginal” until I was in a relationship.  We discussed getting STD tested. I went to Planned Parenthood and got myself tested. He said he would too. I took that promise as a sign and stopped using condoms. (It helped the sex go from okay to great.) I started thinking of vacations together and when I would meet his kids. I started to mentally build this into something serious when I was the one that agreed to having him come over for just sex.

A few days later, I asked him to come over to help me move some furniture. I bought a desk from Ikea but the box was too heavy to get up to my apartment. He helped one morning and as soon as we got it inside my place, we started pawing at each other. We had sex again. Afterwards, he offered to build the desk for me. I made him lunch to thank him. I remember sitting in my kitchen with this guy, in an after-sex glow, feeling lucky. I felt I found a real relationship finally. Then he had to go help someone else move furniture that evening. I did not pry or ask. I did not want to be a nag. We had a great kiss as he left.

I did not hear from him for 4 days. (And that was a response to something funny I texted him.) Then tonight, I texted him after meeting an author at a book signing. I wanted to share my excitement because I was reading her book when I first met him.  Two hours later he responded “i love you too. hard to keep my hands off of you.”

First, I thought he was moving too fast. We don’t know each other enough to be in love. Then I realized he meant that text for someone else. I asked if he was seeing someone else. No response. I asked if he even had his boys tonight or was that  lie. He responded asking me to come over.

I did not know where he lived at this point. I wasn’t sure if I should or not. Was that “i love you” actually meant for me? Does he want me to come over to say that to my face? How would I respond? I asked if he was sure he wanted me over. He said yes, his boys were in bed. OHMYGOD he is having me over while his boys are there? What if they wake up and see me? I thought that was a good sign. He texted me his address.

He answered the door in a t-shirt and underwear. He looked good. We talked in the kitchen for thirty minutes about the author and my meeting her. Then we moved to the bedroom to keep our conversation from waking the boys in the next room. After more small talk, I finally asked him about the text message. He and the boys were out earlier and ran into someone and yes, that text message was meant for her. I asked if he was seeing someone else. He said he isn’t really seeing anyone. I felt sick and stupid. Why did I push for this to be something? I told him when we talked about getting STD testing, I thought it meant something. Then I even took the blame saying “I guess I should have asked you then if you were seeing someone else.” I told him I felt dumb for not using a condom the last few times. He said he knows he is safe and the “others” are safe. I did not want to fight with him that there is no way to know if others are safe unless you are committed. I asked him if there are a lot others and his response was “not a handful.” So at least 2 or 3 other women is what I guess. And I wonder if one is his “ex-wife”. Perhaps she is the one he meant to send that text. I asked about her and what happened. They are still married but separated. He was miserable when they were together but they get along fine now that he moved out. Maybe he is just taking a break from the marriage and I was one of the pawns he wanted to play with.

I keep thinking back to those texts messages when I was in Reno. All that talk about how much he liked me and wanted to know if we were on the same page. I should have let it all go after he told me it wasn’t going to work. I can not force someone to feel something for me. I was fantasizing about this turning into something but I let sexual desire drive me to make mistakes. I still want to insist that he get HIV tested. But as soon as I left his house, I deleted his number and texts. He doesn’t seem ready for the same thing I am wanting. And we are not on the same page. Not even the same chapter.

Since this is a blog about my sobriety, I guess I need to add that none of this makes me want to drink. I just feel sad and stupid. I also think I need to start going to meetings more and really try to meet people. I need to dedicate myself to meditation. On that note, I bought a tranquility fountain of a Buddha tonight after I got his text message but before going to his house.

Metta.

The Buddha and Bill W. | The Fix

https://www.thefix.com/content/buddha-and-bill-w

I am sharing this to read later. But Buddhism has helped me with sobriety more than AA. And it has also been helping with ny depression. I quit taking Prozac more than a month ago and doing okay so far. I have read most of the Kevin Griffin  books. I think this is a good perspective for people uncomfortable with the Bible and Christian roots of AA.