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?
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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.
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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.

Think It Through

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?

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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.

Oktoberfest

Many years ago,  I met a couple from Munich, Germany. We got a long great and they invited me to stay at their place if I ever visit Germany. A year later, I emailed them to see if they could host me for Oktoberfest. They agreed and we made plans for me to stay on their couch for three nights of the two week celebration.

They told me they usually don’t allow anyone except family to stay during Oktoberfest.  They said the last time they had a friend stay, the guy got so drunk that he tried to urinate in one of their houseplants. They felt I would be a more responsible guest.

I spent my first evening hanging out with them. We met up with some other people, including one of my German friends visiting from another city. It was fun and a lot more than what I expected. It was a large carnival with rides and games. And then there were the packed beer “tents” (actual buildings ) with food, music and beer. Most of the tables inside are reserved and some of the reservations started a year ago. We managed to find a table outside one of the tents. We ordered pretzels and large mugs of beer. I have a photo of me smiling big while holding up my first Oktoberfest beer. Later that night, my host had me try different shots of schnapps. I was loving Munich.

The next day I returned without my hosts because they had to work. I met up with my friend and the group from the previous night. We walked around and drank as much beer as we could. We drank beer all day! I had some food. I think schnitzel or something very German. I have the menu that I stole. I met some people who I am still friends with today. My German friend left early and I stayed late. I was dancing on tables and spilling beer.

I drank so much that the rest of the evening is blurry. I know I got on a very high swing ride by myself cause I made a video of it. It was the kind of ride of swings that goes around and lifts you up so your feet fly below you. But this one was like 30 meters high. You were lifted above the festival.

Mistake 239- That night, I have a photo of me standing in front of one of those house of mirrors. But I am not sure what happened. I sort of have memories of being in there. I think with a guy. I do not know what happened or what we did. I sort of remember pushing him away. I am not sure. I know I lost the jacket that I had on in the photo. I remembering I was crying trying to give the taxi driver directions to my hosts’ place.

I woke up the next morning hungover. I tried to piece together the night but decided not to bother. I was too embarrassed. I had plans to meet up with my German friend at Marienplatz. I thought we would go to the festival together. But when I found her at the meeting point, she said she wanted to explore the sights of the city instead. I was upset. I came to Munich specifically for Oktoberfest. I already visited it years before and did the tourist stuff. She said “you only care about getting drunk.” I felt that was an okay goal during Oktoberfest. So she went off to see the city and I rushed to the festival. Some of the people I met the day before were meeting at noon and I wanted to join them.

When I got to the meeting point late, I did not recognize anyone. The group must have wandered off to a tent. I waited to see if any other stragglers would arrive. I started to get depressed. Could I have fun at Oktoberfest alone? I then thought maybe I should go find my friend. Maybe I should join her. I walked outside the festival trying to decide. As I wandered, I received a text message. A British guy from the previous night had my number and asked if I knew where the group went. I replied no but asked if he wanted to meet up with me. He said sure. Yea I had someone to hang out with! My mood lifted.

I saw a shop selling German festival clothing of dirndls and lederhösen. I decided to buy a dress. I wanted to really get in the Oktoberfest spirit. I bought one that was brown and yellow and match my sweater. It was a very cute outfit. I met up with the British guy and we had a great day drinking Bavarian beers.

We found some people from the group by the evening. I was drunk at this point. The British guy had to leave and I joined the group. We got a table inside a tent. I was standing on the tables dancing again. I had drunk German guys talking to me in German and they didn’t care that I did not understand them. I also met an American guy there with his friend. We joked about the drunk Germans must have assumed I was German because of my dirndl.

There was a woman walking around doing breathalyzer testing. She gave out certificates with your BAC level. I got it done and then had everyone I met sign it. I do not remember what my number was but I remember acting proud. I lost the certificate sometime that night.

Mistake 240- I woke up the next day in a hotel room. I was nude. I looked over and noticed I was in bed with the American. And his friend was in the next bed. The guy was nice and we exchanged emails. He found me on Facebook a few years ago.

Two embarrassing nights and two blackouts. I kept thinking “at least I did not try to pee in my hosts’ houseplants.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

First Sober Trip to Mexico

9am and I am on a plane waiting to fly to Mexico. I am not nervous: neither nervous about flying nor desire to drink. I feel all my “alcohol education” I have been teaching myself the past 8 months has helped. (I will reach my 8 month milestone while on this trip!)

I mentioned the time only because I got upgraded to business class and everyone around me is ordering orange juice and vodka. A screwdriver at 9am. I would have picked Bloody Mary if I was still drinking. But I am happy with my coffee. (Okay,  not really cause it tastes burnt.)

I have a few days of diving and reading planned. It is rainy season so not expecting too much sun. Excited that I won’t be wasting money and calories on margaritas. I am more worried about my willpower with chips and salsa. Trying to limit my complex carbs for the next month to see if it helps me drop a few pounds.

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Found my section on drink menu

Mistake 227- I spent New Year’s Eve in Cancun once with a boyfriend. We took a bottle of champagne to the beach for midnight after pre-drinking all night. I think we had “two-for-one” deals that night. After finishing off the bottle and feeling very drunk, we had sex on the beach. That would not be a big deal except I swear I caught flashes from a camera. I was too drunk to care. So might be photos out there somewhere of me and my boyfriend doing the nasty on a beach in Mexico.

Mistake 228- Last time I was in Mexico, I spent an afternoon getting drunk on the beach of Tulum alone. I then drank a few drinks after the sun went down. I started to walk back to my hotel. A truck pulled up as I was walking and the stranger offered me a ride. I got in. The man was an American living there. He said he watched me sitting on the beach that day He asked if I wanted to go on an adventure. I asked what did he mean. He said “you know what I mean.” My response was a loud, drunk laugh and I said no thanks. He dropped me off at my hotel and it wasn’t until I told some friends that I really realized the risky situation I put myself in.

Mistake 229- I kept drinking once I got back to my hotel. I overslept the next morning and almost missed my bus to the airport. I was hungover on my flight home.

Mistake 230- My first time to Mexico was when I was 18. I was new to drinking but already experiencing blackouts. (Wrote about a few mistakes already from my younger years.) I went to Tijuana and got very drunk with some friends. We never got passed the first bar because I was doing so many shots of tequila, I could barely walk. My friends had to almost drag me to the bus back to San Diego. I remember kissing one of my friends that night who had a girlfriend. I almost got in trouble for underage drinking when I got back to my school.

Mistake 231- I took another trip to Tijuana a few weeks later. Again, got super drunk but at least we made it to the main street of bars. I was so drunk I either dropped my wallet or was pickpocketed. I had no ID to return across the border. (This was before they required passports.) I started crying. Thankfully I was with a friend who had two ID’s: her drivers license and military ID. Since the photo on the military ID was black and white, she crossed the border with her drivers license and I flashed her military ID while hanging onto a male friend. Thankfully, I did not get busted for impersonating a military person.

Mistake 232- I took a trip further south from Tijuana with a guy I was “dating” (it was only sexual), our friend and his girlfriend. We all got a room to share. We spent the afternoon drinking so much that we all needed to nap before sunset. My guy and I were so drunk that we started to have sex as soon as we got in the bed. We did not seem to notice our friends were in the room. I do not talk to either of the guys anymore but I am still friends with the girl. She said it was the most awkward moment of her life.

Quiet but dry

I have not posted in a few days but still sober. I am on a roadtrip with a friend. I have not had time to blog or read blogs. My mood has been better. We have been having a good time. We’ve been listening to music and comedy. We listened to two Robin Williams cd’s. I really enjoyed his jokes about alcoholism. Not sure if they made my friend uncomfortable.

I have never known my friend to have a drinking problem. But I found it irritating he had to buy a 6-pack of beer last night. We are doing a lot of driving. We stop in hotels around 10 at night with plans to leave by 9am. Why does he need beer? I also do not want to become judgemental. He drank 3 of them while I went to bed. Now I need to make room in my cooler for his beers? Hell no. He will have to deal with skunk beer tonight. My yogurt gets priority.

Mistake 206- I was in Taiwan for a few days. I wanted to make an overnight trip from Taipei somewhere. I picked Sun Moon Lake. I planned to take a train there in the afternoon and hike the next day.

I spent my one night there drinking in my hotel room. Everything in the town closed by 9pm. I found one place still open for dinner and ordered a large beer. Then I stopped at 7-11 on my way to my hotel to pick up 2 more large beers. They also sold little shooters of alcohol at the counter. I bought a few.

I sat in my room, watching some lame movie that I have seen hundreds of times, and drank alone. I also messaged with an ex-boyfriend while drinking. I got a little tipsy. I woke up to see the sunrise from my hotel room. Took a photo. Went back to bed. I was too dehydrated/tired/hungover. I slept until checkout at 11pm.

I had a train to return to Taipei that afternoon. I had to cancel my plans to hike around the lake. Instead, I did a boat cruise. And drank a lot of water, green tea, and ibuprofen.