Archive | September, 2012

Nothing like a trip to the desert to get the juices flowing…

30 Sep

11:08 pm

And to Tire. Me. Out.

Over the past few days, I not only planned a last-minute — and cheap and fun and perfect — three-day, two-night trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree National Park, I went! (What girl who was a teenager in the late 80s/early 90s wasn’t in love with Bono — whatever he wants, I want! — and therefore, Joshua Tree? (Remember the album cover?) Hmm? I dare you to say you weren’t.)

A great “no duh” moment: I realized that planning — and doing — trips like these require that get-up-and-go, that “capable-ness”, that *something* that is so integral to a non-depressed, non-drinking human being, it’s hard to notice it’s even there until it’s gone. It’s like the tarp under your tent, or the roof on your house; integral, foundational. I haven’t taken a trip like this in a long time; I can’t imagine having had that decisiveness, that go-with-the-flow/everything-will-turn-out-fine attitude while drinking. I didn’t even think twice about how much energy or will it would take, I was too busy bouncing off the fucking WALLS when I booked my flights and hotel the DAY BEFORE! I’ve wanted to go to Joshua Tree for as long as I can remember, and Palm Springs (and Desert Hot Springs, for my back) just made sense. Anyway, more on that in another post, to come soon.

(And, man, the trip down was a trip. I was hung over (6th time’s a charm; today is Day 2… AGAIN.) and literally felt it until I dropped into bed at my hotel last night around 10 pm. I had been up since 4, and had gotten only 3 hours sleep. And flew, with a hangover. Flying while hung over should be made illegal; and yet, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve flown NOT with a raging hangover. What sort of masochist am I?)

Long story short, I hiked a lot today — 7 miles — and my back feels great. Not pain-free, but not as bad as even just this morning. I think it’s due to one, the lack of humidity; two, the actual exercise of all those interconnected muscles that seem to be making one another more and more sore with less and less activity; and three, the lack of Hangover From Hell. (I must say, I am committed to getting back on it; that hangover was ridic, and the more I think about what I’ve gained from sobriety, the more I really Want What They’re Having, so to speak. And, the more I know I need it.)

More on all this later, and on some of my thoughts while hiking. I’m beat, and so will leave you with a lone picture of my beloved joshua trees.

And, I’m back…

27 Sep

11:26 pm

I had to take a little break from blogging the past two days, mainly because I’ve been feeling a bit…overexposed. (And busy selling off the rest of my furniture, booking flights, running last-minute errands, working here and there as it goes). Oh, and I also drank. TWICE.

Blarg! IT’S 100% NOT FUN ANYMORE.

I guess I don’t really know how to explain my choice to drink twice this week except for one, I’ve already broken my count so why not, and two, I wanted to “see how it felt.” Usually when I drink, it’s in response to feeling horrible, depressed, and/or desperate! Actually, I can’t remember the last time I drank when I didn’t feel like that. Anyway, I didn’t feel that way Tuesday night or Wednesday night; I felt more or less like I could take it or leave it. (If I’m honest, I think I just WANTED to. BUT, I wasn’t desperate for it.) I haven’t drunk for so long in that mindset that I was like, Well, I wonder how it — drinking — would feel if I actually didn’t go overboard? (I had absolutely no intention of inducing the same kind of hangover I had last week, that I knew.)

Well? It didn’t feel good. In fact, it’s reinforced more my desire to not drink, and to build on what I’ve accomplished both mentally and physically over the past three months. I’m feeling the worst about breaking down, slowly but surely, what I’ve built; I work hard, and I hate to see good work go to waste. KEEP THE FAITH, I keep telling myself. THINK BACK, I say, to all those nights in [cold east coast city], all those days when you were detoxing and feeling shiteous, all those moments you had to fight so hard to not run out and get a bottle. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. However, I can see them returning if I sneak behind my back and drink once, twice, now three, then four times a week… You can see where it’s headed; so can I.

The first night I ordered Indian food and had three glasses. I was REALLY drunky drunk after just those three, so much so that I could barely think clearly enough to book flights. It was weird; I felt more or less mentally compromised to the point of having no functioning thought process. Not fun. AND, I felt so gross that night. One of those nights where you don’t drink enough to pass out, but you drink enough to feel totally gross, toss and turn, and feel every single ounce of ethanol pass through every single cell of your liver…for hours and hours. AND, I was hung over before I even went to bed. Bleh!

The next night, same thing (with the spicy Indian food), but I downed a whole bottle. I was hung over today, and it was not fun. Not as bad as the other day, but yeah. What stopped me from overdoing it beyond a bottle was the conditioning after last week’s bender (where I blacked out and broke my glasses) — I am literally AFRAID of having a hangover like that again.

So, no, thanks.

I’m not that disappointed, as it’s just another step forward in further convincing myself — and strengthening my resolve — to not drink. If it doesn’t work anymore, there really is zero point in doing it. It’s almost like caffeinated coffee, which for me has become a distant (albeit sweet) memory: back when I had my first panic attack in 2005, I had to stop drinking coffee altogether. The panic attack seemed to have “rewired” my brain, is all I can say. I used to be a coffee FIEND, but now, it just feels like someone turned a radio station to static in my brain. I haven’t had a cup of coffee since that day in November, going on 7 years ago. I would love to, but it just doesn’t work the way it used to. I’d never go back, though, let me tell you. No more ups and downs; no more sour stomach; no more extreme hunger pangs. Sure, I don’t get to get buzzed, but that’s OK, too, especially when it comes to sounding NOT like a total meth-head when I’m talking, interviewing, and/or writing. 😉

So, moving along. Starting over. Realizing that there are big things that need to be passed over and MUCH bigger things that lie in wait. This little hamster-depression-wheel can only whir for so long before LIFE, in all its actual glory, shines through and makes drinking grape water so…boring. (Although, there IS still a small(ish) pocket of brain cells whining in the background, But, maybe… Maybe it was this one time, or maybe it’s PMS fucking with the way it works, or maybe I just need to drink with people, or, I know, maybe I need to drink in a geographical location where the fog particles aren’t messing with the alcohol content…Huh?)

SHUT UP! 😉

(What am I, Gollum? My PRECIOUS. Jesus, get ahold of yourself, woman!)

Humming along…is the party over?

25 Sep

1:04 am

Nothing huge going on here. Which, in a sense, is good. Day 4, people.

I’m finally over my hangover (took at least two days; Jesus). I worked a little, and got into it (a little) with my editor (which makes me nervous, mainly because I don’t have that much alternate income at the moment). I checked out some new glasses frames (to recover the ones I broke; I do things like, buy the same version of what I lost, broke, or demolished while blacked out to make me feel like it didn’t happen — am I alone in this neurotic behavior?). I went to my final contact lens fitting. I sank into a mini-depression the past 24 hours but pulled myself out. I activated my superpowers. I managed to offload/sell a lot of my remaining SHIT today, including some kitchenware to a nice Jordanian woman and to a shy French boy; now, it’s just the bed (I’ve got a potential buyer tomorrow, after which, I’ll run to REI and get another sleeping mat). I talked with both my mom and dad and made plans to visit each en route to the [beautiful island where I now live] next month. I oven-baked some pretty awesome potatoes. As I was talking to my dad, I overheard the football game in the background and was like, OK, that’s enough football for me for the season. 😉

I’m ready to move, but I’m also feeling…many things that cause me anxiety. (I would usually drink at this point, for sure.) What, pray tell?

1. The [cold west coast city sex street fair]. While it was refreshing to see everyone celebrating sex so openly, that event stirs up some of my past here and makes me feel quite empty. But, more than that, everyone was fucked up. FUCKED UP. Booze, “G,” “E,” you name it. I was like, I can’t even be here, I’m so sober. I want to be cool with this, but I can’t. I felt so uncomfortable, so square. It was all in my head, and had more to do with the fact that I was there alone — again — but…yeah. Minor, but enough to cause me to overthink, and then, want to drink. I didn’t, though. Seeing people stumbling around in their underwear (literally), in the freezing cold 55-degree weather, barely conscious made me go, Hmm, now THAT does not resemble fun, and I’m really glad I’m not you.

2. I think I often feel judged and unaccomplished by my family. Why aren’t you with man/with child yet? Why have you never brought a guy home to us? Why have you never invited us over and/or cooked for us? (Well, I have, but in the larger sense: why are you not settled down beyond having roommates and dating the wrong guys/no guys?) These are much more likely questions I ask myself, and when they make me feel too scared or nervous, I drink. Drank.

2. The whole brother’s girlfriend thing, which makes me think of both my brothers. Are they happy? Moreover, should I be helping the one (more financially well off) more with banking away some money for my mom? She is on Social Security now, but up until a few weeks ago, she was working. At 66, she’s that uncomfortable with her retirement nest egg (none) that she still HAS (not wants) to work! She has arthritis in her hip and pretty severe osteoporosis, so it’s highly likely we’ll all have to chip in and buy her a home one day soon. Is my “taking some time off for me” a selfish thing to do, when I am 38 and in the prime of my professional earning capacity? It is. And, it bothers me.

The problem is, I TRIED working a “big bucks” job in “the Valley” AGAIN, and I hated it, AGAIN. And, it caused me so much grief to be doing something so passionless that I drank. All the time. Even at work. Doh.

And, now that I’ve gotten away from that life, and tasted something more relaxed…I can barely stomach a return to the grind, even one that’s “fun.” I worry, fret, worry, fret. Am I too old to go back to [cold east coast city] and work in the publishing industry? Do I want to? Can I fake it if I don’t want to? Can I handle it and the stress sans wine? Plus, I don’t want to sit on my ass all day, every day anymore.

I wish it was easy for me to have faith that I can earn a living doing what I’m passionate about. To that end, I can dream. And so, I’ve proactively come up with a few alternate careers to dream about: professional dog walker, cake baker, rare gem collector, field anthropologist, acupuncturist? 😉

I’m excited about moving (and moving on), and I don’t have to think about being productive, financially and professionally — not yet. I DON’T HAVE TO — right now. But, I will, in December or January or February, or whenever the money starts running out and I look at my grad school student loan debt and think, Oh, FUCKING HELLO. Or, I turn around and there it is again, the need to earn savings for myself, my future, my mother’s future…

It’s SO MUCH EASIER to avoid this fretting and worrying with wine. It makes me sad, in a very vague way. Life isn’t happy-go-lucky. The party IS over.

Or, is it?

Oh, HI, Haagen-Dazs.

23 Sep

1:35 am

OK. Another thing to NOT BUY. I eat ice cream JUST like I drink: in a feeding frenzy. What, am I going to starve sometime between now and when I wake up? Jesus! I finally get rid of my wine gut (well, it was going going gone before this stupid hamstring thing that has turned me into that “ma’am who walks while eating an apple”) only to replace it with a Haagen-Dazs gut?

Le sigh.

Must calm down. Must not eat to the point where I feel ill. But, damn, was it good. There is something called “too good,” though. Too damn good. And, why is Haagen-Dazs so much better than my beloved Ben & Jerry’s? Sorry, Ben. Sorry, Jerry. You lose.

And, it was coffee ice cream, so I’m up. UP! Oh, Sparkle Tooth? Uh, nope, she’s long gone to bed. At least she’s sleeping safely, under her weeping willow, knowing that her owner is not going to wig out because she sucked down eight glasses of wine tonight.

This is the hour, too, when I loved starting a bottle of red. Perfect time to wind down, be alone, day done, sipping a glass of red. Whiiiiiich always, ALWAYS was absolute bullshit, mainly because I knew I’d be finishing the whole thing, wanting a second and then having to either deal with the disappointment or huff to whatever crackhead store was open at 2 am and buy the Worst Wine on the Planet…that I would so totally drink anyway.

That gnarly motherfucker of a hangover is still fresh in my mind, so I’m going to say, honestly, that I’m SO glad to not be pouring wine down my throat. And, tomorrow I will start again, trying to revise my diet (I have become somewhat addicted/dependent on Diet Coke, and this is NO good; I crave sweets, and my eating is…off, no other way to explain it), hopefully going for a run if the back and leg feel up to it (btw, they feel SO MUCH BETTER, verging on a manageable pain, all thanks to acupuncture), and finishing my final move stuff. I am losing steam; this summer was a trip, having packed up ONCE back in June, moved and shipped to [cold east coast city] for 6 weeks, went to the [beautiful island where I now live], and now…back here. I have two boxes I’m going to ship to said island, and the rest I’m either selling for way cheap or giving away on Craigslist. So, yes, that’s my day.

Oof, feeling ill. See? When I eat a whole pint of ice cream, I feel ill. So, I don’t do it often. It registers in my brain. The way I eat it, when I’m feeling all “grasp-y,” is the problem. But, with wine, it seems (seemed?) that no matter how many mind-bending hangovers I have, no matter how many times I black out and do stupid shit like, ruin a pair of favorite (and expensive: I checked today and the same frame is going to cost me $244 — I managed to snap them in half across the bridge and tear off one of the sides, but the lenses don’t have a scratch) glasses, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Well, maybe a little. Well, maybe a lot.

I like being sober. I am going to bed sober, and it feels like…a relief. I can predict, I can rely on, I can take solace in tomorrow, and in those nights and days of practice this summer that have led me to KNOW that drinking does not fill time, it empties it.

And, outside my window, I hear a party going on, people talking a lot of bullshit against the backdrop of sirens and a dark early morning hour. (Also, the smell of long overdone charcoal, which is just…eww.) And you know what? It’s the last place I want to be. The very, absolute last.

Good night, beautiful Sparkle Tooth (my unicorn, with sparkly teeth, who is pulling my water wagon and sometimes lets me ride on her back…in case you’re wondering).

Post-it note in my “wolf” voice

22 Sep

10:24 pm

Good. Enuf.
Drank 9/20
on Day 34
FUCK. THIS. ABSTINENCE. BULLSHIT.

I wrote this on a post-it note (what, was I going to read it the next morning alongside my list of what to get at the hardware store?) to myself during the peak of my craving and right before I caved and downed a bottle and a half of wine.

HAHAHA. Oh, my. I’m SUCH a ‘tard.

Wolf, shut the fuck up! Craving, witch, demon, master of none, be gone!

AA found me last night…

22 Sep

9:22 pm

Literally. As you know, I was HUNG ovah, so decided, at 7 pm, to take a walk. And, I don’t know why, I just walked up Market to the “gay” Safeway on Church. I guess it’s got a familiarity, that ‘hood, that draws me to it; I used to live right around the corner for most of 2011. Anyway, for some reason (maybe I subconsciously thought, I wonder if there’s a meeting going on in that church? — I went to one there last year, but it SUCKED), I wandered across the street and stopped in front of the gate. A guy was smoking outside, and before I knew it or could stop myself, I walked right up to him.

“Is there a meeting going on?” I whispered. He said yes, and that I should go in. “They’re sharing now. COME ON, just go in.” So, I did.

The meeting found me, I must say. And, I really don’t believe that the speakers and people who shared could have said anything MORE that pertained to me. It was like, they were literally talking to ME, replying to the thoughts that have been raging through my head the past few days: I want to not obsess anymore, I want this craving to be gone, I want it all just out of my head, forever, for good.

I sat my arse down in one of those chairs and told myself, I am not fucking leaving this meeting without talking to people and getting numbers. So, like a good journalist, I went straight up to the front of the room after people started shuffling out and/or hugging (I HATE this, I feel like a newcomer, an outsiderget OVER it, I scolded myself) and waited my turn.

I selected the two “people I want to be like.” They were both men, but very outgoing and gracious. Long story short, I got a sponsor, got three numbers, and made a date to meet up with my sponsor on Monday. I didn’t tell her that I’ll likely be leaving the area soon, but I figured that wasn’t the important thing. What was important is that I finally felt READY to say yes, I am an alcoholic and yes, I am, I think, ready and willing to try anything.

One of the most outstanding things I learned last night was that, no, I am not alone. If I am truly ready to quit drinking, the only thing that stands between me and that is my craving and my obsessing. AND, one of the speakers said something that made total sense to me: you don’t have to be alone in this, and it will go away. If I’ve got more than myself on my side, fighting the cravings, then maybe possibly it WILL GET EASIER to not have them. Or, at the very least, live through them and come out winning (not losing and drinking up a storm again).

It felt a lot like my childhood days going to mass. I was a good little believer, and really, earnestly believed in Jesus, God, the Biblical stories, etc. It felt sort of like that, religious, but in a good way. I felt earnest, and that mattered. I wasn’t cynical (though, I’m still not sure it’ll “work” for me), and I did actually think, Man, if that guy can sit up there and tell me that his craving to drink went away…maybe it isn’t so unrealistic after all?

I also realized that I have been wrong so many times, have made so many erroneous assumptions in my life that it’s hard to imagine that everything I think I know about this disease/obsession/problem is true. Scientists thrive — the world thrives — on proving their assumptions wrong. I mean, the basic building blocks of life are quantum entities? The universe is based on string theory? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Who would have imagined this reality, let alone didn’t discredit it based on the simple idea that everything is as it appears. As one of the speakers said, “You know, you guys’ll smoke ANYTHING, right? Why not smoke this?” He thrust the Big Book into the air. I was like, uh, yeah, that’s true! Why not give sobriety (and AA) and what may come a chance?

The meeting was one step forward, which felt good. Another was the letter — two pages — I hurriedly wrote this morning and mailed off to my brother’s girlfriend. I don’t care if some of my somewhat overblown compliments in said letter are sort of white lies — if I want access to my brother, I have to go through her. I’m not fixing them, they seem to think they’re fine, and well, so be it. Anyway, it was I who offended her, bigtime, and never apologized. Sure, I wrote to my brother, but I felt weird and awkward contacting her directly. Anyway, that was another step forward, a necessary step. I don’t know why I’m only now seeing the necessary steps forward, but they are part of getting sober, in a more meaningful way than just blogging in my bedroom and not drinking myself into a coma anymore. I’m relieved, I said exactly what I wanted in that letter; I hope she takes it the right way. If she doesn’t, I feel OK with her one, telling my family about the whole ordeal, and two, not forgiving and/or forgetting. At least I have taken the first step, a mature and necessary one. But, man, that was NINE months ago. I’m one stubborn bitch. 😉

I”m pretty tired and still feeling the hangover, so I’ll sign off. No, I didn’t go to a meeting tonight, but once I get back to the [beautiful island where I now live], I’m actually thinking of doing the steps. Yes, there ya have it. A convert in the making. 😉

Why, hello, Sparkle Tooth…I see you peaking from around that bush!

21 Sep

6:36 pm

Aaaaaaand, I’m starting to feel better. As in, not drunk anymore and not on the verge of having a panic attack. Still shaking and feeling like throwing up (I don’t think I’ve thrown up the day after drinking for like, two centuries, so I’m pretty sure my body is giving me a huge middle finger after putting it through that after 5 whole weeks of no booze), but I can tell the “hang” part of the hangover is almost over! AND, I somehow managed to write the introduction to this “e-book” I’m working on — I have never had to work so hard at 500 words about a science-y thing. Jesus. I can’t believe I used to do this regularly; how did I manage to function, let alone highly function? Chalk it up to age, or simple exhaustion. Whatever, I’m not doing this to my body ever again.

(I feel lonely; I should go to a meeting, but honestly, I think I’m too shaky and shaken up. Better to just lick my wounds, maybe try sweating it out, and go to bed early. Killing this day softly, as it were.)

That is all.

Oh, and yes, my sparkle-toothed unicorn is there. I see her. She’s shy, and embarrassed — maybe I harassed her last night in my blackout; I definitely scared her — but she’s smiling. A little. It’s going to be great to see her running across the sandy beach tomorrow, mane flapping in the breeze, horn piercing the bright blue sky! 😉

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