Travel: not what it used to be

I used to fly to Europe at least once a month many years ago. I would work a night shift, stay up afterwards, then fly to London. It would be morning by the time I arrived in London and my new day would start. From there, I would take a train or inexpensive flight elsewhere.  I almost always slept well on those flights.

This time, I barely slept. Is it due to the seats not reclining as much as before? Or because I do not fly with wine anymore? No more pre-flight Bloody Marys. Now I order water or orange juice with my meal. Or it could be because I am used to the window seat and this flight I had aisle seat. I envied the girl with the bulkhead to lean against.  I even got a little pissed that she was not taking advantage of it and she watched movies most of the flight. 

Yet arriving tired is better than arriving hungover! I am excited to start my day and a new country.

Mistake 191- My first time in London, I went to meet up with a group of friends I met online.  We had a good amount of people that showed up at this pub. I was excited that such a large group of Brits came out to meet me. Three of the guys that were there were three of the guys I spent a lot of time flirting with online. By the end of the night, I made out with all three plus another guy I did not know. One guy never spoke to me again and told some of the others in our cyber community I was a “slag”. Another guy is known for being a player so no one was surprised.  The guy I did not know was married. And I went home with the fourth. Actually, we did not go home but went to his car. Then after sex, we slept in his car in front of his mate’s house.  The positive thing out of that was when we went into his mate’s house for breakfast, I met his mate’s housemate who I began dating. But for the 10 months we dated, I could never understand what he saw in a slag like me.

Drunk Disney 2

Mistake 173- I only went to Drunk Disney one more time. Usually I was working or away when my friends organized the nights. The second party was the movie Aladdin. I wore a belly dancer costume. I made homemade hummus. I also brought 2 large bottles of red wine. I was a little late so started chugging my glasses to catch up to the party. I don’t remember the rules of the drinking game. I don’t think I even watched the movie much. Everyone was talking over it. I drank and mingled.

Then I woke up on the couch the next morning. I had on a t-shirt cause my belly dancing top got uncomfortable. Not sure if I changed into the shirt in front of everyone. The skirt was hiked up and my panties were showing as I was passed out. The wine bottles were empty. The host got me some ibuprofen and Diet Coke. My head was pounding.

I am glad I don’t live there anymore with the temptation of going back to those parties and making more mistakes.

Drunk Disney 1

Mistake 172- I had a group of friends that used to organize a night called “Drunk Disney”. They would pick a Disney movie,  ask people to dress like characters or to a them from the movie,  and make up a drinking game.  For example, if Toy Story was the movie, they would ask people to dress up like a character or some toy. Then they would pick 5 words or sayings that everyone must drink when heard during the film. Like drink every time Buzz says “to infinity and beyond.”

We used to joke that we were bad at the game cause we constantly drank inbetween the words.

The first time I went,  I brought a date. I remember he spent most of the evening on his phone.  Texting or on the internet.  I was chugging wine. The movie was “Beauty and the Beast” and while I don’t remember all the rules, I know we had to drink for anything said in French. I was drunk pretty quick.

After the movie ended and the party continued, my date kept saying “time to leave.” I acted like a little kid. “I don’t want to leave yet.  One more drink?” He finally gave me a curfew of midnight. (It was a weeknight.) I was acting like a defiant brat. I said okay but I need to say my goodbyes. I went to the kitchen, don’t remember how long I was there or what happened, but my date was gone when I returned to the living room. I was mad. I told the party he was such an asshole to leave me. I texted him bitching at him for leaving.

He walked in through the front door. He went out to his car to make a phone call. He asked if I was finally ready to leave. I said yes. Then I bitched at him the whole way home. I said it was embarrassing to be left alone in the party like that. I accused him of calling whomever he was texting all night. I was a drunk lunatic.

We never had another date.

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.

Pings of Saddness

I am still enjoying my camping trip. We did some hiking yesterday. We went searching for beavers. We didn’t find any but we found beaver dams and houses.  I kept trying to make “beaver calls” which sounded like rabbit sounds with my teeth. It was still a nice day and the beaver pond was pretty.

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We went to lunch afterwards. It was at a bar with a deck. I wanted sun. He wanted beer. I told him I am so glad he drinks Budweiser cause I have no desire to sip it.

We walked around a nearby village. They had wine tasting. I felt a ping of sadness. I really loved wine tasting. I loved winery tours. I loved wine. I wondered if they had any good Shiraz. I made some comment about it sucking that I couldn’t go in there. He said his roommate suggested we check out the wine tastings. My friend told him “she doesn’t drink and I hate wine.” Eh so even if I drank, would it have been fun with someone who doesn’t like wine?

The town was closing down as we walked around. The only things still open were restaurants and bars. And happy hours were starting. It was a beautiful day. I could not help but regret I could not sit on one of the decks, watching the lake, and sipping a beer. I kept saying we should stop somewhere and he could have a beer while I get coffee.  I pointed out a few places but he didn’t seem too eager. We finally found a place only to be told they just stopped serving food and drinks.

My friend said we could go to McDonald’s if I really wanted coffee. But I didn’t.  I just wanted the ambiance.  I just wanted to sit at a table with a gorgeous view of nature and have a drink. I am used to doing that with a beer or wine or rum&coke. I wanted to have that relaxing feeling without alcohol or soda. We headed back to the campsite instead.

We did stop at a store for more supplies. I looked at the beers. Again, a ping of saddness. Local beers. Some IPAs and blonde ales. Why do they have to make the bottles so pretty? I joked around I am gonna start a lawsuit that the pretty labeling encourages underage drinking. “Mommy, can I have this bear soda? It has a picture of a bear on the bottle!” Not until you are 21 sweetie. “Aw schucks.”

Sitting at the camp that night with the fire going, more wishful thinking of drinking. I really wanted a bottle in my hands.  He drank his crappy Buds and I sipped my water. I was too lazy to boil water for tea or hot chocolate.  We made hot dogs and S’mores but I could not shake the desire for beer. I told a lot of my drinking stories to ingrain in my head why I can’t drink.

My friend is wonderful and supportive of my sobriety. We are having a great time and keep making each other laugh. We both try to top each other with bad jokes. Sarcasm just oozes from our mouths. But I wish I could just kick back with a few beers with him. Not even get drunk. Just wish I did not have to keep in my head “NO ALCOHOL! YOU ARE A FUCKING ALCOHOLIC! IT WILL KILL YOU.” That voice can be a bit of a killjoy.

I want to be normal in the sense I want to not DESIRE a drink. It is not always I want to be ABLE to drink. I just wish I hated it. Like I want booze to taste like lobster. I don’t like lobster. I wish there was this pill to make me associate the taste of alcohol with food I do not like. “Eww this wine is like mushrooms.” I know there is medicine that makes you nauseous if you smell alcohol. But I don’t want to make myself feel sick.

Maybe I will pick up near-beer for the campfire tonight.

Mistake 129- I was visiting a friend. I met him once years before and we stayed in touch online.  He lived with his girlfriend. The day I arrived, he won a contest. The prize was a flight and concert tickets for his favorite band in the whole world. Time to celebrate!

The three of us went to a local pub. It was small. A few people at the bar. We played pool and darts. We got trashed! We took over the bar. His girlfriend drove us home.

I told him about a movie in which his favorite band sang the theme song. He never heard of it. So I went to show him clips of it on YouTube. His girlfriend went to bed. He and I stayed up, drinking more, celebrating, and watching clips of the movie and videos of the band.

Somehow, in our drunk excitement, we started to kiss. Then it turned to oral sex. Then we heard some noise of his girlfriend opening the bedroom door. We jumped away from each other and covered up.  I remember her poking her head in the living room and we pretended to be occupied with the videos. I do not remember if she said anything. She went back to bed. I remember him jumping up and repeating “oh my god! I can’t believe what I just did! Oh my god!”

I felt guilty too but I remember feeling shocked. I was blacked out during it. I remember the commotion of stopping because she was walking out, I remember her looking in the room, and I remember the guilt. But I do not remember the actual actions of what we did. I think he even whispered “stop” when we heard her and that was when I realized what was going on. I think I sat there trying to comprehend the scene when he went to bed. I cried myself to sleep.

He drove me to the train early the next day. I tried to ask if she knew without actually talking about the incident. He never told me but he just told me not to worry. We hugged. I grabbed my bag and got on the train.

I have not seen him since. It has been more than 5 years. They have an adorable baby together now. I am glad I did not fuck up their relationship. Blackouts are no excuse for ruining lives.

Selfish

Last year, I met up with two of my friends at my favorite bar. It was my favorite because it 1) had a lot of good IPAs,  2) was next to my apartment building so no worry of driving, and 3) the bartenders would let me keep drinking after they locked up and cleaned. They would even let me buy a bottle to go (which I think was illegal in that state?)

My friends lived down the street so no worries of driving for them either. They are an awesome couple. I never feel like a third wheel with them. We could have interesting conversations whether sober or drunk. Our group of friends were a fun, party crowd. I had discussions prior to this night with our group of “what if” this couple got married. This night I decided to share the group’s feelings (as if I was the spokesperson?)

The female of this couple was busy in a discussion with the gentleman in the stool to her left. The male, I will call him Bob, was on her right and to my left. In between us. Somehow I blurted out “you know none of us want you guys to get married.”
He asked why not.
I said “couples change when they get married. And we all love you guys the way you are.”
He said if, or when, they do get married, it won’t change them. But she wants babies one day so they most likely will take that step.
I cringed. Babies? That will really ruin them as the fun couple.

Bob doesn’t drink much. In the two years I have known him, I have never seen him drunk. The girlfriend, on the other hand, seems to compete with me as to who will pass out first at parties.

But who am I to tell them not to advance their relationship?  Who am I to want to prevent the possibility of losing a drinking buddy? Just because I do not want babies doesn’t mean all my friends should choose the same lifestyle. And just because my marriage failed doesn’t mean my friends can’t find happiness in it.

I was being selfish. Just like I feel selfish wanting all my friends to stop obsessing over alcohol. So many memes on Facebook glorify drinking. A lot of articles are being shared about the benefits of wine and whiskey. And there is a popular post going around on my news feed on how to open a wine cork without a screw.

I posted a link to making healthy water with lemons and limes. A friend commented “what about rum and lemon.” I said not for me. I have been sober 3 weeks. His comment got a like. Mine didn’t.

What about posts of the benefits of being not drinking? What about the damage alcohol does to the small percentage of people who can not handle it? If I start posting articles about sobriety,  I think I will be blocked by more people than my drunk posts did. My drunk posts were “entertaining”. I really had a lot of friends tell me that. Some joked that trying to decipher my drunk typing was like a game.

I need to not get on a  pedestal.  I need to not be selfish.
But I am still keeping my sobriety a secret from most people.

Mistake # 31- I had a birthday party that included hanging out in my apartment complex’s rooftop jacuzzi. I made it an “international theme”. The party started in my apartment with lots of exotic food I made representing different countries. And a lot of drinks like Australian wine, Russian vodka, Italian Amaretto, Mexican tequila, Caribbean rum, Irish whiskey and all kinds of beer. We moved the drinking up to the rooftop after the food was finished. I had a bottle of red wine for me. A whole bottle that I wouldn’t share cause it was expensive. I don’t remember a thing after I got in the jacuzzi.

I woke up in my bed the next morning. I had a friend staying at my place for a few days. She said everyone left and I refused to get out of the jacuzzi. She and another guy cleaned up the rooftop. They then found me floating facedown in the water and had to pull me out. I also confessed a lot of embarrassing secrets that night. I had more embarrassing drunk times in that jacuzzi and always blamed the heat.

Training

Today I had a meeting with a trainer at the gym.  He asked me questions to figure out who to pair me up with and gave me some advice to meet my fitness goals. A lot of what he said made me think of my sobriety goals.

-gonna take awhile
-little bit at a time
-even when I am not at the gym (AA meeting), I have to focus on my goals

I was very happy when he asked me if I drink alcohol and I replied “I quit.” He said “good for you!” He asked if I had anyone supporting me in my fitness goals. I said no. I am alone. That is also how I feel with going sober. Maybe I should start a fitness blog also?

As he went on about long term goals, I did not tell him I most likely will be moving from the area in May. It makes me feel deceitful. I hope I can continue my goals to work out wherever I do move just like I hope I keep going to AA there.

I feel the next few months of my life will be work, sleep, blog, read, AA meetings,  and the gym.  Oh, and Walking Dead every Sunday night. I have a few plans for friends to visit and to visit friends while I am living in this area.  I will wait until just prior to the visitation to tell them I quit drinking. Lucky for me, most of the plans are with friends with whom I have a real relationship. Meaning, there is more to the friendship than partying. I know what they do for a living! I have or will meet their children!

I am in training to get fit and sober!

Mistake # 26- Five years ago, I took off 5 weeks inbetween jobs to travel Europe. I had my flights booked. I had a Eurorail pass for the train. First stop was a few nights in London to visit a friend. It was her 30th birthday party. We drank a lot of wine and mojitos, her favorite drink. The ones I made were crap but very strong. I passed out in her spare room. Good thing I was staying with her for my visit.

I did not see any sites of London the next day because I was hungover.

The next night, I went out with one of her friends. The birthday girl stayed home because she needed a night off from drinking. Wuss. We went to a pub to meet up with a large group of travelers. Pints were about £2 each which is very cheap for London. I drank a lot until the place closed at 11pm. One of the guys was a member at an after hours club. He was able to get us all in. I do not remember much once there. I was glad I had her friend with me to get me back to where I was staying. I can not imagine trying to navigate London’s bus system drunk.

I woke up the next day to get ready for a flight to Amsterdam. Then I realized my travel purse was missing. My travel purse with my money, credit cards, and passport. I felt like an idiot. I felt lost. I was scared. I missed my flight but was glad it was with a discount airline. I maybe lost only $40.  I used my friend’s computer to try to look up getting a new passport from the US Embassy. It was Sunday so I would have to wait until the next day and it would still take a few days.  Did I just ruin my whole trip?

I called and left a message with the club. I felt it was useless. I did not know when they would open. I sat around my friend’s house crying and regretting the night. I should have stayed in with her. She tried to cheer me up. She offered me some of her good wine. Finally around 5pm, she received a phone call from the club. They had my purse! Everything was in it.

I booked a new flight for early the next day. I only missed out on 1 day of the trip! I was still able to see the few things I wanted to see in Amsterdam and visit friends in other Dutch cities. I did not lose my passport again the rest of the trip.

But I did make more drunk mistakes.