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.

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Give It Time

Just like recovery can not be rushed,  I can not rush my friends into accepting my sobriety. It seems I expect everyone to jump on board this big change and say “good for you” without considering how this affects them. Of course, staying sober for myself is the most important thing in my life. But I am being selfish if I refuse to understand it might take some people time to adjust.

I wrote about my two friends, P and C, back in the beginning of June. They made many comments that were not supportive. Their behavior when I was leaving their place was strange. They did not walk me to the door, hug me, nor say anything about hoping to see me again soon. It felt they did not want me there if I was going to be sober. I was upset and went to an AA meeting to vent. I felt they were going to be the first friends I lost in recovery.

Now I am staying to think maybe they just needed to grieve. Maybe the needed to overcome their loss of a party friend. Maybe they needed to see I really was planning to stick with sobriety and witness me benefiting.  Maybe I have not lost them.

P emailed me today. It was the first time I spoke to him since I left there six weeks ago. He told me about a dream he had with him, his wife C, and me at a festival and then somehow at a tropical beach. It was a long description of this dream. He ended it saying he hopes I have a good time at the festival I am going in a few weeks. I have spent the last three years partying with them at this festival but they are skipping it this year.

I did not know how to respond at first. I couldn’t help but wonder why he had a dream with me in it. Was it because I posted on FB they other day saying I wish more people would support my decision to quit drinking? I kept trying to decipher the meaning and read between the lines. Did he mean he wishes I could drink margaritas on a tropical beach with them? Or they are glad they aren’t going to the festival if I am planning to stay sober?

I finally responded saying I was excited to experience the festival without hangovers and wasting so much time drunk. I told him of some of my plans and I feel this will be a great year there. Then I kept checking to see if he read my response and wondered if he would reply. He finally did:

“Hope you find exactly want you want out there this year!!!”

Maybe I am over-analyzing it, but I felt that this was his olive branch. It was his step towards tolerating my change. It was his way of saying “I still wish you could drink but I am willing to accept your sobriety.” It is not really support, but maybe I do not have to lose them after all. Maybe I just need to give them time.
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Mistake 186- I was spending a day home alone and drinking. I must have been watching movies or wasting time online. There was a farmers market that afternoon a mile from my home. I decided I wanted to go down to there and people watch. I was drunk and was worried if I walked, I would miss the market. So I drove. I drove down around a busy market full of people. I remember having trouble parking but also avoiding certain parking lots that I knew usually had cops. I walked around for a bit and once the stalls started to close up, I went into a bar. I ordered an IPA and read my book. I did not want to lose my “buzz”. After several drinks, I drove home again.

When I moved into that place, one reason I picked the address was because it was walking distance to the bars. But I still was irresponsible enough to drive to them a lot. I put myself and other lives at risk. I am so fortunate I never hurt anyone with my drunk driving.

Stronger with Support.

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I have another friend tell me he supports my sobriety.  I started to cry. I was so happy and relieved.  He is a huge part of a group of party friends. But I also think he knows of many of my drunk mistakes. He is a very healthy guy so maybe he is looking at it from that point of view. Either way, I feel my hometeam is gaining support. I feel stronger.

It also helps to think that there will be a lot of very disappointed people if I do relapse.  I feel I now need to stay sober for others. Of course, staying sober for myself if most important. But having stands of supporters shouting “you can do it” will help me in this race. I just need to remember that there is no finish line.

Mistake 183- I met this friend a few years ago at a New Year’s party. I was in a long distance relationship at the time. A few weeks later, this friend asked me out for margarita happy hour. I had a crush on him when I first met him so going out for drinks when I had a boyfriend was a bad idea. But my relationship was starting to go downhill. I spent most of the evening complaining about my boyfriend. I drank a lot at the two-for-one happy hour. I kept drinking until the trains were no longer running.  This friend offered to give me a ride home. 

I am not sure if we kissed in the bar first or not. But I do remember making out in his truck outside of my apartment complex.  I tried to invite him up to my place. He said “I think we both know what will happen if I come up.” I thought “D’uh!” Of course that is what I want to happen. He said that would be a bad idea. I felt rejected.

This next morning he called to make sure I got up for work.  I might have slept through my alarm. I thanked him for calling. He asked how was my hangover. I said I would survive. Then I thanked him for not taking advantage of drunk me. He said he was very tempted but didn’t want to ruin our friendship.

For some reason, that evening makes his support all the more meaningful.

Travel for Tokens

If you have been following my blog, you would know that my local meetings do not give out many sobriety chips. At first I was very frustrated by this. I had to drive to a city two hours away to get my 30 day chip. I got my 90 day chip while on vacation in another city. I found it nice and convenient that I was to be traveling again for my 180th day.

I made plans to have dinner with an old friend. He and I have bickered about a lot of things in the past. When I first got sober, I stopped talking to him because of his comments about alcoholism.  He does not believe it is a disease. It is a choice.  I couldn’t handle that in my first 30 or even 60 days. I think it was near 90 days sober before I unblocked him and started to talk to him again.

He wanted to invite his roommate and roommate’s girlfriend to dinner with us. The problem is his roommate is my ex-boyfriend.  I told him I did not want them to join.  He said they might get upset if they are left out and I said “I don’t fucking care.” This guy was horrible with returning phone calls and text messages. He did not care when that hurt me. And the way we ended things was he called me about some papers and then said “you know that whatever happens, we will always be friends.” We never talked about it. We never had closure. And the last time I was in town, he canceled dinner plans with me to go see this girl. So I really did not want him and his new love joining my evening. I did not want closure with his arms wrapped around her. I could not handle that sober.

Thankfully my friend did not invite them. He and I had a great dinner. We talked and caught up. Afterwards, I felt bad that I seemed to monopolize the conversation with my recovery. He said a few times that he does not think I need to quit forever. I told him I know I do. He kept saying he thinks I can control it. If we had this talk a few months ago, I would have got angry. Instead, I just explained to him that I do not want to drink. I do not need to drink. He came up with his excuses for drinking and I told him that is fine.  I have no problem with other people drinking. I have a problem with my drinking.

After dinner, I started to drive him home. I was planning to go to a meeting. He even looked up meetings for me near his home. I was about to turn towards his street and he asked where was I going. The meeting is straight. “You want to go to the meeting with me?” He said sure. This was the first time I had someone go to a meeting with me.

It was a beginners meeting. The topic was higher power and God. I thought he would enjoy this because we discuss/debate religion and religious issues a lot. I got called on and felt like I was in school and had to write an answer on the chalkboard.  I have never been to a meeting before where they randomly call on people. But I spoke about my feelings of spirituality and using energy and the universe as my higher power. (Maybe one day I will get around to make a blog about my spirituality.) After the meeting, my friend thanked me for what I said. He thought it helped balance out all the God and Jesus talk. I think he might have enjoyed the meeting even if he does not believe everyone in that room has a disease.

There was a few minutes left and I did not see anyone with a box. I whispered to him “I guess no chip.” But then the chairperson asked for a volunteer to pass out chips. A huge smile crept across my face. They started out with 18 months. Then 12. Then 6. I jumped up like it was the lottery. I was the only person in the room accepting a chip. My friend kept clapping after everyone else was finished. It felt so wonderful.

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And then I thought I really hate my local meetings. Why do they deprive people of this awesome feeling of accepting a chip? Only 90 days and yearly chips? That does not seem like enough reinforcement.  Maybe I am just Pavlovian dog.

Mistake 182- Many years ago, I was at a party at the house of my friend that joined me at this meeting. I do not remember much (as usual). But I cheated on my girlfriend with some guy at the party. In most lesbian relationships, that is the worst betrayal. I do not remember much of the incident. The images of it are fuzzy like it didn’t really happen. Another guy witnessed it which is how I discovered what I did. Our group of friends made a joke out of it. I felt such shame because of the betrayal and the fact I had to be told by someone else what I did with my own body. Drinking controlled me. I finally gave up the losing battle of trying to control it.

Real Me

I was telling a friend how some friends have not been supportive. Some friends seem to avoid me now that I quit drinking. He said maybe they just miss the old me. They had fun partying with me. I was a fun person and that should be seen a good thing. His excuses were pissing me off.

So I am not fun now? Just because I am not falling over drunk, not remembering the night, or waking up with a stranger in my bed, that means I am not fun? I feel that they miss me being the entertainment.  The jackass. The drunk fool. They don’t miss the “real” me. The real me would get suicidal from being so depressed from drunk mishaps. The regret I would feel the next day made me hate who I was and wish for death!  That is what they miss?

But of course, they didn’t know about that side of me. Not many know about my many suicide attempts. Nor all the times I drove drunk. Some know I have 2 DUIs and they share with me their DUI stories or drunk-driving-but-not-caught stories. I put on a great show of being happy most of the time. If I got drunk and depressed, they just ignored it and figured I would be okay once I sobered up.

Yes. I am finally okay. But it is not from sobering after after a night of drinking. It is six months of sobriety after twenty years of drinking.

Now I have to figure how to get people to know the real me. I have to get them to understand how sobriety is the best thing that has happened to me. I want them to see the benefits without shoving it down their throats. The real me is actually pretty awesome.

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Mistake 179- I drove to a club for a costume party.  It was a 45 minute drive. I got super drunk. I was not planning the night out well. I had no backup plan for getting home. Maybe I thought I would sleep in the car before driving (in a sketchy neighborhood.) It was a few months before my second DUI.

I met a guy. I don’t know how or anything about the meeting. But somehow I took him home. He drove my car and his friend followed in his. I woke up with this guy in my bed and his friend on the couch. He even asked how was I planning to get home with as trashed as I was and I told him I did not know.

I had a second date with that guy another time. I got trashed on that date. He asked if I was an alcoholic. I said “no, I just like to have fun.” We never had another date.

Maybe if I did not meet him in that club and have him drive me home, I would have gotten my second DUI sooner. Or might have been dead.

Helping

I went to dinner with a friend who quit drinking a few weeks ago. He warned me he thought it would be weird to go out without a drink. He has avoided being sociable. We ordered ice tea with dinner. I did not notice if he was aching for a beer and he never said anything.

I tried to give him advice without sounding pushy. I asked if he wanted me to go with him to an AA meeting. He said he doesn’t want to do the AA thing.  I wasn’t really sure what to tell him.  I am not really active in AA. I felt suggesting it was sort of a cop-out to actually helping him.  Then again,  I think everyone should at least try it.  Go to a meeting.  For me,  there is always at least one thing I hear in that whole hour that helps me. Maybe I just don’t want to feel the responsibility of being the only person with whom he can share his sobriety feelings.

My sister has been battling a lot emotional problems the last few years.  We stopped speaking three years ago because she had some mental breakdowns. She started leaving me nasty voicemails and texting me a lot of mean things while she was drunk. A lot has happened since then. But that is her story.

She is now trying to get help and go sober. Yet because of all the problems she has caused and the horrible things she has done,  no one in our family is talking to her. Her kids do not even want to talk to her.

She has started to message me recently. This has caused some strife in my family in a sort of “with her/against us” mentality.  But I know how important it is to have support when trying to get sober. I have sent her a few links to try to help.  She is getting professional help. I plan to check in and try to support her from afar. I am also worried about getting too involved in her problems and it hindering my recovery.

Mistake 178- When she started her nasty messages to me,  they started with accusations of an incident from the early 1990s.

I was drunk and ran into her old, high school boyfriend. We were in a military bar in another country. It was his birthday. A bunch of us were drinking pitchers of beer. With straws. We had long straws stuck in the large pitchers! Everyone was drinking and getting drunk like young military people tend to do. And somewhere in the night, he and I started to kiss. We left the bar and went somewhere else. We started to kiss heavily. He dropped to his knees and started some oral pleasantries.  Then when he tried to go to the next step, I stopped him. I said I couldn’t do this. He dated my sister. This was wrong. He seemed disappointed but was fine. We returned to the bar and acted like nothing happened.

I wrote about it in my journal. My sister later read my whole journal. Since in the journal it said he and I “hooked up”, she thought it meant intercourse. When she confronted me, I told her it meant just making out. I am not sure if I ever told her about the oral. But to this day, she swears I fucked him.  I am not sure if “only oral” is any less worse. What is actually worse is that I stopped from going further because of his past relationship with my sister but the fact that I was married at the time was not a reason to stop.

One drink for you… 3 drinks for me…

I went out for dinner last night with a friend. I have known DG for 7 years. When I first met her, it was right after I gave up my post-DUI sobriety. It was about two weeks after a pool party where I got trashed. I was still thinking I was able to moderate.The first weekend I met her, I got trashed two nights in a row. I don’t know why I was lying to myself that I did not have a problem.

When I got into the City, I felt very good. I thought “wow I have come a long way in sobriety. I no longer feel temptations to drink here.” The Happy Hour signs on the sidewalks were not trying to trip me anymore. The cheerful people on the patios drinking did tantalize me with their drunk laughter. I felt strong.

When DG arrived, we got a nice table outside. We had a great view for people watching. We chatted and caught up. Service was very slow at this place but we finally got our drink orders placed.

When her Cabernet arrived, I felt a little weak. I could smell her wine as much as I could smell my own breath. It smelled so lovely. It must have been a good bottle. I really wanted a sip. And I found this desire sad. I was just feeling satisfied at not wanting alcohol. One whiff later and I was craving the poison. Maybe I need to start drawing my Sobriety chips on my hands when I go out to remind myself not to reach out for it.

I am not sure what she would have said if I asked for sip. She knows I quit drinking but she did not know the whole story until tonight. And she did not say much about the story yet seemed to understand. Or at least understood I drank way more than normal people. She might not understand why I need to abstain but she does not have an issue if I do not drink.

She was never a big drinker. I would seriously have about 5 glasses per her one when we would party. We have meet up about once or twice a year since I moved away and that usually involves meeting for dinner. I usually would have 2 or 3 cocktails for her one. She took a long time to finish that Cabernet. What a weird and normal drinker she is!

I made one comment that I made too many mistakes when drunk. She started to list some of my mistakes. *sigh* I wonder if I have any friends that DO NOT have drunk stories I do not remember.

Mistake 147- The first time I met DG, it was at a picnic. Nothing bad happen the first day. We were in a public park and alcohol was illegal. No one was drinking until later in the evening. I had a good time and met people. DG and I connected and got along well. I did not get trashed. But the next night, I did.

We went to a late afternoon BBQ. I started drinking then. Then we went to a party to watch the Tonys and kept drinking. Then we went dancing. The last thing I remember is the dance club. Then I woke up in DG’s living room the next morning. She let me come stay at her place because I was too drunk to get home. She said on the walk to her place, I kept yelling I needed sex. She said I was quite funny. “I HAVEN’T HAD SEX IN A LONG TIME! I NEED SEX!!!” She had a guy staying with her, who I apparently almost molested.  She really thought the guy was scared. He was foreign. He had a girlfriend back home. She said I tried to kiss him several times and he pulled away.

I guess I am lucky she has a sense of humor and put up with my crazy, drunk behavior. I am glad she likes me for whatever reason we connected that first day and not for my drunk antics.