Archive | July, 2012

It’s official: I’m a drunk! ;)

27 Jul

9:12 pm

Dude. I’m taking a break from the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, thinking a few things: one, damn, that Voldemort was huge; two, Kenneth Branagh…again?; and, three, the last opening ceremonies I watched was Beijing 2008 at a bar in [cold east coast city] with an ex-friend, mainly “ex” due to a combination of her ruthlessness when it comes to using people and my drinking problem. Think much?

So, I’ve taken some time off work/”real life” recently (well, for the past 7 months now — doh!) to, I’m realizing, get sober and rediscover myself. Recently I applied to a month-long retreat program at an ashram (think yoga, meditation, and ashram-y things like chanting) on the east coast. I thought I’d be a shoo-in, but I included on my app that I was 6 weeks sober and really wanted to use the program as a step toward healing and, dare I say, inner peace. Well, I finally heard back from them today, and the scoop is that yes, I’d be a great candidate cuz their integral yoga program is all about finding inner peace and the tools to maintain and flourish in that peace in the “outside” world; but no, I can’t come cuz they’re not a “facility” and their policy is at least 6 months sober and/or clean.

Bummer. I guess I had been wondering how I would manage, if my cravings somehow came back and/or if my mood fluctuated and I started to feel trapped, which seems to happen a lot these days.

However, I had a great chat with the “sister” who helps run the place. AND, I thought it very cool that she was 25 years clean, she told me. She offered me her two cents after I told her that my cravings were still quite strong: find a larger purpose outside yourself, in addition to a regular yoga practice; AND, don’t give in/stay sober. It’s a beautiful thing (sobriety), she said, adding that she wouldn’t even think twice about giving in and drinking now. I believed her, for some reason; maybe it was her honesty and earnestness, over the phone, to a stranger.

In any case, it made me think about AA again, and what a 12-step program could offer now that I’m well into resisting the desire to drink. Maybe a sense of community is really, actually, what I need? I never believed that AA could be psychologically beneficial in the long run; to me, it’s just an excuse for lonely people to come together and practice a pretend religion. Or to whine about how hard it was for them to quit spending MONEY THAT THEY ACTUALLY HAVE TO SPEND on BOOZE THAT IS ACTUALLY WIDELY AVAILABLE TO BUY (I’m thinking Haiti here, where there is no money, little booze (and infrastructure to move it around) and therefore, no drinking…unless you do cheap beer, strong rum, or moonshine, which I won’t even get into)! Irritating! Now, well, I guess I can see otherwise. It was just nice to talk to someone who’s been there; I actually thought about believing her when she said, You should resist your cravings because there is a lot of beauty awaiting you.

One more reason to stay sober…for good. Gulp. It’s real. It’s official. I’m a drunk, and now I’m sober. And sticking to it…for the long run. Yikes/Ugh. 😦

Funny, I had a hard time calling myself an alcoholic when she asked me about drinking and my newfound weeks of sobriety. I think I mumbled something about drinking wine a lot, it hurting my professional and personal lives and relationships… BUT, I wasn’t a “raging alcoholic,” you see… I sounded like the drunk-in-denial cliche. Worse, it made me feel confused: am I a drunk, or am I just putting myself through this sobriety nonsense cuz I’m melodramatizing a part of my life so that I feel like I have a goal, or a reason to live, or something higher than myself that happens to be nothing at all, really? Ugh.

Anyway, I SO HEART the Olympics! Such festivities! Such athletes! I wonder how awesome it must be to cover the Games as a sports journalist? Not to mention, how cool would it be to somehow be involved in them?

Advertisements

Island life, part 2

24 Jul

11:01 am

Well, another gorgeous day in the islands. Yup, I could move down here. It’s 10 am (I slept late), my boyfriend’s off to work, and it’s just me — and at LEAST six open, unfinished bottles of red. Sigh. We’re house-sitting at this amazing pad that overlooks several cays over the north side of the island. There are palm trees, all sorts of plants and flowers filling the space around; a hot, humid stank to the air that I love; boats passing on the blue-green water down below; a pool, a hot tub, all sorts of “adult” toys like, cable tv; three cute dogs to keep me company if I go out for walks or do some yoga inside the house (they love getting on the floor with me, they think it’s roll-around-on-the-floor time). It’s a paradise and I can only say, fuck yes, I get to see it at 6 weeks sober!

Yes, today marks 6 weeks. I’m not sure if it feels all that much different, to me anyway. I have lost a few “wine gut” pounds, which is a welcome side effect. However, that could also be due to having been sick — or maybe just in “mini-detox” — for the past, well, 6 weeks, and not being able to keep much food down (TMI, but it’s true; this drinking thing really affected my GI tract, I think). Maybe my insulin mechanics and metabolism are changed, for the better, since stopping drinking. I don’t know, but I like it. Plus, I’ve had a few people tell me that I’m “glowing;” honestly, though, I wonder if that’s (was) just the hot yoga doing the trick.

Overall, I feel calmer. Or, calm. Ha! That’s just…weird, for me. I’m sleeping better, feeling better when I wake, and generally speaking, glad to not be sick and hung in the mornings, able to read and write and get some work done in the afternoons, and up for running and/or walking in the evenings. It’s all rather…spectacularly normal! I guess.

Yet…

I’d love a cocktail right now. A glass of chilled red or white. I’d love to finish off the one or two bottles that look young enough to drink, and then uncork another. When I think about it, it’s not that my body wants it so much as my mind. I could even do without the drunk feeling, you know? I could do without the drunk feeling but would love to like, dunk my entire brain in the booze and activate all those circuits that made me feel, well, BETTER — excited, happy, alive — when I was drunk. The burning feeling in my belly, the drunk part, the blackout part (duh), I could do without. But the essence of wine…ahh…I could definitely pour it all over my body, every pore…

Gah, the cravings never go away, do they? Time to watch me some Intervention, or simply, turn on the news…

Sometimes I think, what wouldn’t I be capable of blacked out? Like, could the Aurora (CO) killer have been simply blacked out drunk? Can you imagine waking up from having done that, and realizing that you DID THAT? Killed a bunch of people in a theater? I’m sort of looking forward to hearing him talk; to finding out exactly what set him off, if he’s messed up in the head, or if, really, he was simply on something. Like booze. He sounds messed up, but still, the shit you are capable of doing while drunk is astounding. Scary as fuck.

How do I continue to resist my cravings, after the sun and sand and ridiculously nice life I get to lead, at least for the next few weeks? I think about — remember very clearly, actually — all the shit I’ve done blacked out.

Which begins my next series of posts: shit I’ve done while blacked out that one, I never ever want to repeat, and two, could actually be harbingers of worse to come, if I drink again. And I shudder to think about this, in a melodramatic sort of way, cuz really, worse COULD happen — my blackouts just kept getting more classic and much worse. Nothing seemed to get me to stop drinking. And what’s worse than sitting in a jail cell, breaking your arm, crashing a car while driving blacked out, getting fired from your job for going batshit on your CEO at your Christmas party? Nearly breaking your face after falling headfirst onto something REALLY hard in an outhouse? Sometimes I wonder, what is my “bottom?” Dying? Killing someone else? At 6 weeks sober, it’s thoughts like these, that while dark and the opposite of the hot, sunny day outside, I NEED to keep up close, in focus, right behind my eyes. It sucks, and sounds slightly ridiculous to dwell so hardcore on what many people have experienced (to some degree), but for me, there really is a fine line between “oh, just one” and a nightmare to relive the next day…

Island life

21 Jul

5:55 pm

Hmm. For some reason, I feel at a loss for words. That never happens! I guess I’m doing well, going on 40 days sober tomorrow, and there’s nothing really that dramatic to complain or comment about. OR, maybe I’m at the point where I need to start moving onto step 2, since step 1 — quitting drinking — is complete. Step 2, you say? Well, what do I want to do/should do/can do with my time, my creativity, and my partnerships now that I’m free? Man, I want a drink just thinking about it sometimes. 😉

In a word, though, things are good. Shit’s coming together. And not just because I’m not drinking, but maybe in a larger sense, that’s the main reason things are working out “as planned,” whatever that means.

I’ve been here a week and I haven’t drunk. I’ve wanted to, but like I’ve said, the cravings have subsided and well, whatever remaining urges I have I’ve grown used to resisting. I’ve grown accustomed to being sober — going to bed sober and waking up sober. And, I like it. I like getting shit done. This morning, I got up at 8 am — 8 fucking am on a Saturday! — and a friend took me to a yoga class. I think back to my 5years in [cold east coast city] and wonder, the shit I could’ve gotten done, the life I could’ve led on the weekends if I hadn’t gone out, gotten drunky drunk, and then spent a good portion of the weekends remorseful and hungover. But, past is past and I’m really learning that to dwell, more than ever, is to waste.

I’ve been a lot more productive, too. Like, I’ve finally nailed down some writing work and am, dare I say, on my way to making one of my goals/dreams happen: a freelance science writing career that allows me to read and write, creatively, in my free time. I’ve decided that while I have a huge bucket list of shit I’d like to do at the moment, I need to pick one and go. So, I’ve picked the writing, cuz I figure, if I have a few more years to live, let’s say, what is the one thing I would regret not having given my all at, or at least explored satisfactorily, and that’s writing. Journalistic, creative, whatever. I’m still young enough, I guess, to bounce around, so why not simply up and move to a cheaper place and live, explore, learn — and write. I’ve spent a good many years investing way too much energy on WHERE I’m living (and the “kind” of life I’m leading). Now, I just want to focus on my goals, my dreams, WHAT I’m doing instead of where I’m doing them. Y’know?

Which leads me to my point, if I even had one, related to not drinking anymore: drinking enables procrastination of life. It lets you avoid dealing not only with your past and your present feelings, but also your future. You don’t have to plan; you don’t GET to plan. Every day somehow revolves around drinking and then getting sober. Today, my day is revolving around getting up, doing yoga, enjoying the sun, and hopefully, getting some good writing and reading time in. How strange, I know. It’s not that I’ve NEVER been sober or have spent every day shitfaced, but…it’s a new concept. It’s scary, in a way. You have all this time, all this possibility to embrace. What to do first?

The James Dean complex

17 Jul

3:02 pm

(And no, I don’t mean a closet case who died before he had the chance to come out!)

I’m pretty sure all addicts, regardless of substance of choice, have a James Dean complex. I’m going to discuss it, of course, as it pertains to the seemingly socially unacceptable habits of smoking, drinking, and/or doing hard drugs.

It’s not something you haven’t thought of: What happens to your persona when you quit drinking, stop smoking, or flush your hard drugs? You’re no longer “hip.” You’ve lost your “cool.” You can no longer identify with what our society has outwardly shunned but inwardly normalized to be “exciting,” (i.e., daring/rebellious). So, who the hell are you now?

James Dean (or, the characters he played, at least) represented the misunderstood outcast. Smoking was a form of self-expression, a persona. And he was a BADASS mothafucka for it! Every man wanted to be him and every woman wanted to fuck him. Why? Cuz he threw caution to the wind, did what he wanted against everyone’s better judgment. While smoking was made to seem cool and sexy in order to sell the smokes back then, though, public health mandates and general common sense have evolved (along with medical studies). Yet, we still seem to idolize or desire to emulate (or become, in our fantasies) the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle — despite our “evolved” best judgments! We still think, on some level, that overdosing rock stars and hard-boozing journalists are living more exciting lives than us. Addicts are as much addicted to the drug as to the persona. They cultivate their personas and then they become them. In my case and I know others, we become not only identified with our habit but also emotionally attached to it.

I had a friend from grad school who nearly killed himself the year of our studies. He drank so much booze and did so much coke that he ended up triggering a latent autoimmune disease inside his body. The last time I saw him was a few days before graduation; he looked white as chalk and about to fall over. Next thing I know, he’s in the hospital within a few hours of death. He missed graduation and was ordered to strictly avoid booze and drugs for like, the rest of his life if he wanted to keep it.

I went out for “drinks” with him a few days after graduation. It was in a word, weird. I’d only known this guy as a chain-smoking, beer-guzzling, damn-fine journalist. He may even have been Hunter S. Thompson’s actual reincarnate. How would he live and who would he be without his smokes and booze? Would he even be able to be a good journalist? (Turns out, yes, but I’ve lost touch with him to even know if he’s drinking and/or smoking again.) I know he must have struggled with these questions. (A life-threatening disease probably helped him reach some smart conclusions pretty fast, though.)

I’ve always worried about being too shy and socially awkward — AGAIN — once I quit drinking. So far, that hasn’t really been the case. And, I’m drifting steadily away from actually wanting to be *that person,* wine glass dangling precariously from one hand, the other holding me up on the bar while I laugh too loudly at some stupid, unattractive man’s “jokes.” However, while I may no longer define myself by it, I still feel an emotional attachment to the act of drinking wine. I miss it. I miss drinking at night. I miss drinking while watching movies. I miss drinking and having sex. I wonder if the sex is less exciting…and then I feel a sense of being deflated, of having lost something. I equate wine with feeling and being exciting (because I never thought I was?), and so I suppose that is the persona I used drinking to acquire, hold/wear, live out. What if I’m no longer that “badass?” What if I’m no longer fun, sexy, or sexually attractive? What if people were attracted to that kind of crazy, and now that I can’t and won’t go there, they don’t want to come along for ANY ride with me? Drinking is my island; and, you’re telling me I can never escape to that island again?

It’s confusing, and the only advice I can give myself after a few weeks of being sober is, You just have to wait and see. Live out your days, confront life and being and friendships and sex SOBER, and then get back to me and tell me that it’s either better or worse than when you were doing it drunk. With perspective comes better choices; maybe I will decide that yep, all those things ARE actually better while drinking/drunk. Or, maybe I won’t…

Hello, islands! Too bad I can’t drink any of your booze…

17 Jul

1:38 pm

And, let me tell you (though, I probably don’t need to), there’s a shit-ton of it here! 😦

Again: 😦

Mental tantrum, deep breath, moving on. That’s all I can do. I’m here visiting a friend and fortunately, the hard part is over: I’ve already spent a few months down here before, drinking and not drinking; the point is, I know what the culture is like and I’m neither expecting to drink nor expecting it to be easy not to. AND, I’ve had FIVE WEEKS as of today to practice not drinking when I feel like I want to, with more than once hanging out at bars and not drinking. Sure, it sucks, and it takes focus, but it can be as much or more fun. Plus, you don’t get drunk and stupid, you don’t get drunk and sick, and you don’t have to deal with a hangover the next day.

Is it hard to not drink at bars, or on [beautiful island where I now live] (which, in essence, can feel like one island-sized bar)? Sure. I’ve wanted to drink since I got here two days ago. I mean, I feel the pull, the association of “vacation” with drinking, and then of “relaxation” or “break” (from daily grind) with drinking. However, I’m constantly rationalizing myself out of a drink anyway, so add a bar or an island-sized bar, and eh, it’s not that much different, is it? I’m always thinking about it, so here, it’s just a next-level challenge to which I have to apply that practice. Or rather, to which I have the opportunity to apply that practice. :/

Do I want a chilled glass of red wine right now? Hells yeah. Will the short-lived “buzz” (and now, I’m wondering, will the buzz be pleasurable or irritating? I’ve quit before, but not for this long, and even then, the buzz was sort of weird, I guess, after having not drunk for a few weeks…) be worth it? Nah. Not before, not during, not after. Sigh.

Still, it’s easy to get caught up focusing on the craving and not on the life around me, the astounding beauty of the island, the relative seclusion, the amazing view from my deck. The craving is so temporary, so fleeting, so…uninteresting, really, compared to the reality around me. And, quite frankly, the calm of being able to watch it stone-cold sober, remember it, and process the experience without it being tainted by booze or a hangover is seeming somewhat…the opposite of temporary. Timeless?

What if they can’t forgive and forget?

15 Jul

1:31 am

I’ve been wondering this for a long time, really, but it’s hit home over the past month-plus of my sobriety. What if the people you’ve hurt and/or offended either by the act of your drinking or the result of your drinking CAN’T or WON’T forgive and forget?

My brother is a case of having forgotten (I guess) but not forgiven. And as with some of my friends who have said (or implied) that they’re over what I did while shitfaced, the lack of forgiveness is shown by a passive aggressive refusal to engage; it’s maddening (and saddening). History: I went batshit KUH-RAZY on his girlfriend over New Year’s this year. I mean, I blacked the fuck out and went OFF. Calling her names, yelling at her to get back in the house, saying things like she and my brother don’t belong together, he never does this or that, he’s ruined his life being with her, he doesn’t care about me. I wound down, according to him, several hours later with his help, and at one point collapsed on the floor of their living room and passed out. The next morning was hell on earth, and his girlfriend didn’t even talk to me before I left. (It’s well known in my family, however, that most of what I said about her is true, to be fair. However, no one deserves what I gave her.) Anyway, six months later, and we’re still tiptoeing around each other when we talk, me and my brother, that is. He does have a passive aggressive streak — and is influenced heavily by his domineering girlfriend — so I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t forgiven me. I mentioned I was on my 30th day of sobriety in a recent email, and in his reply, he didn’t comment AT ALL on this. It was a long email, and he made a point of addressing everything in it except that. All I have to say at the moment is that I’m hurt and confused and sort of pissed: after that LONG talk on New Year’s Day (while I was about as hung over as I’ve ever fucking been, EVER) about how I needed to get sober for my health and my family’s sake, he doesn’t so much as bat a digital eye when I tell him I finally have?

I try to put myself in his shoes, though, before allowing myself to start judging what may or may not be an intentional snub on his part. Like, if I was there, being screamed at by my belligerent self, being called all sorts of names by someone who LOOKED PERFECTLY FINE — even though I’m blacked out, I look and act like I’m totally conscious; I’ve done so many things while blacked out that seem the actions of a fully aware, sober person, it’s incredible. If that was ME on the receiving end, I think it’d be REAL hard to find the will to forget, let alone forgive. I was a monster that night, and I know it. I still haven’t forgiven myself, so maybe I should cut my bro some slack.

On that note, I fly to the [beautiful island where I now live] tomorrow for a few weeks, so must get to sleep! My first vacation sober. Wow, it really is like getting a new set of wings — firsts every single day.

(Hmm. Maybe these types of conflicting feelings and interpersonal dilemmas that you face newly sober are, actually, best dealt with in AA? Maybe there is some rhyme and/or reason to the 12-step program? Eh…still not convinced!)

Drunky drunk girl says, I made it 30 days, what?!

12 Jul

5:46 pm

Yup, 30 days as of today. And no intention of going back to drinkin’ or letting up my vigilance.

I am, however, getting REAL tired of being tired. WTF? I think I’m ill, but I’m not sure if it’s general fatigue (am I officially getting “old?”), a flu, or long-range detox. I just want to feel better, and not have to crash out for several hours after a 90-minute yoga class or a 60-minute jog in the park. Jesus. Good thing I’m not working; in fact, I can’t imagine having the energy to work at the moment. Durr.

Speaking of which, I’ve worked my ass off for almost the past 25 years of my life, 15+ of which were, like, grueling. I helped start one, two, three, four companies; I worked in Silicon Valley for a total of, let’s see, six or something years, making anywhere from a 75-minute to three-fucking-hour commute ONE WAY every day by car or train; I went back to grad school at Columbia for journalism. Shit, no wonder I’m tired, no wonder I don’t want to work, and you know what, fuck that, I HAVE DONE SOME SHIT in my life so why am I beating myself up? Why am I making it seem, in my head and on my blog, that I haven’t?

I realized, for the umpteenth time today during my bikram yoga class, that I am WAY too hard on myself. I judge myself to a ridiculous degree, getting down on this and that, comparing myself to others all too often. We all do, but instead of droplets of comparing-self-judgment-type-thoughts, or a stream, mine can basically be represented by an ocean: my brain is literally submerged in a bath of self-criticism. For instance, I have slightly hunched shoulders. I have had this ever since I was in high school due to, what the fuck else, hunching over all the time studying! I’m not joking. My mother would watch me, day in and day out, study from about 9 at night after I got home from school (yes, I was THAT student who also had to be in the band, the play, all the sports, etc. etc. etc.) until 2 in the morning; often, she’d come over and peel my shoulders and chest back, up off my books and papers, straightening them out with effort as if they had been compressed by one of those machines that flatten junkyard cars. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later on, I saw the effects: permanently hunched shoulders that have taken years to start to correct (one of the reasons I do things like bikram yoga and other spine-strengthening activities). Still, they’re not like most people’s, so when I look around the room at others doing this one particular asana where we have to reach our arms up and clasp hands, pointing them toward the ceiling as we hold our hands in prayer, I am constantly demoralized. Why? Because it feels and looks so much harder for me. Yet, must I beat myself up? No. But I do.

We all do this, but I realize that part of my “issue” with drinking is that I am very hard on myself when it comes to anything and everything involving goals — quitting drinking ABSOLUTELY has not been easy to accept, as I know myself and how I react to goals. BUT, at the same time, I don’t see any other way to get sober at the moment, and that is the overriding goal. So, today, on my 30th day of sobriety, I am content. Not happy, since HELLS YES, I’d love to be drinking to my sobriety with a chilled glass of red instead of ruminating on all this shit; but, CONTENT. And that feels better than the up (and eventual down) of “happy.” Cheers (I’m lifting my seltzer with a twist of lime) to me!

Finding a Sober Miracle

A woman's quest for one year of sobriety

parking lot pushups

Because I will be stronger.

Dorothy Recovers

An evolving tale of a new life in recovery

Lose 'da Booze

MY Journey towards Losing 'da Booze Voice within and regaining self-control

Life Out of the Box

Buy a product, help a person in need + see your impact.

Laurie Works

Intuitive Tarot Guidance

Drunky Drunk Girl

A blog about getting sober

New Adventures of the Old Me...

A Woman,Mother, and Wife, makeing sense of life...

The Soberist Blog

a life in progress ... sans alcohol

soberjessie

Getting sober to be a better mother, wife, and friend

mentalrollercoaster

the musings and reflections of one person's mental amusement park

TRUDGING THROUGH THE FIRE

-Postcards from The Cauldron

Guitars and Life

Blog about life by a music obsessed middle aged recovering alcoholic from South East England

changingcoursenow

A woman's journey to happiness and health

Sober Identity

Sober Identity #Life Coach #The 50+ Years #Striving #Thriving #38-Empowering Affirmations #"Emerge: Growing From Addiction-Starter's Guide" #AfterRehabCoaching #Motivate

WELL CALL ME CRAZY

This WordPress.com site is about hope, trauma, hypocrisy, and transformation.

A Canvas Of The Minds

A unique collaboration of different perspectives on mental health and life

married to an alcoholic

life with an alcoholic husband

Life Unbuzzed

Rowing my sober boat gently down the stream

ChardonNo!

Original Goal: 100 Days of Sobriety - New Goal: 200 Days

Sober Grace

Finding and practicing grace in recovery

IRETA

Institute for Research, Education & Training in the Addictions

Mended Musings

Healing, Feeling, Thriving

Brandy Shock Treatment

Therapy for an alcoholic

Stinkin' Thinkin'

muckraking the 12-step industry

Sober Politico

Young and Sober, Surrounded by Egos and Alcohol

Carrie On Sober

A blog to help keep me on the right track...

My Healing Recovery

Healing from the inside

The Sober Journalist

A blog about quietly getting sober

mysterygirlunknown

My Desire for a New and Better Life

Arash Recovery

My journey to get back on my feet

Mished-up

Mixed-up, Mashed-up, Mished-up.

The Party Doesn't Leave the Girl

a memoir of sobriety...today.

Good2begone

I'm not really here.

Below Her Means

a little of everything.

themiracleisaroundthecorner

There are no coincidences.

The Red Sox Saved My Life

A peek into the recovery of another drunk.

1800ukillme

Just another WordPress.com site

The Existential Addict

One choice at a time...

Al K Hall-ic Anonymous

Get With The Program.

thinkingaboutgratitude

How gratitude has helped me stay sober, "one day at a time."

Living Life In Control

A journey into taking control of life and seeing what's on the other side of the mountain

A Life Less Scripted

Adventure Travel

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

UnPickled Blog

How I Secretly Quit My Secret Habit of Secretly Drinking

%d bloggers like this: