Archive | September, 2012

What’s it like to be that hung over, you might wonder?

21 Sep

4:44 pm

Well, let me tell you.

When it’s 4 pm and you just got out of the shower, that’s what it’s like. Or, writing is such a Herculean task that you’re afraid you might have permanently damaged your brain. Which thought makes you take a deep breath in order to calm your nerves — you are definitely still drunk and wondering if your body will do its thing and actually get you sober this time. You are not out of panic-attack zone yet, so eating makes you feel like you might slip into one, and walking on the street feels so surreal that it takes most of your focus not to totally crumble into one right there, in traffic.

Your hands are shaking and sweating as you try your best to write something for that deadline you missed, and your panic rises again when you realize that you really can’t find the words. That’s what it’s like.

You try to drink caffeine, but that only makes it worse. And, it’s a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime day outside and you totally missed it. Again.

You’re sad, depressed, and glum. You have no idea why, but the thought of dying keeps coming into your mind and you gulp down the panic that rises again, sharply, like a swift vacuum being applied to your intestines. You’re still drunk, still dizzy, and it’s 4:40 pm now. You wonder if you’ll ever, EVER get sober and if not, what then? You wonder if you’ll ever be able to find the words, if your brain is, actually, permanently fucked and this time, THIS time, you’ve really done yourself in.

That’s what it’s like.

(As a note to self, this post, the next time I try to drink “normally.” It’s over; it has to be. I don’t think I can handle this hangover, let alone another one. EVER again.)

Falling off the wagon..so YOU DON’T HAVE TO

21 Sep

2:31 pm

For real. The only good that can come of falling off (where art thou, sparkle-toothed unicorn?) the wagon A THIRD TIME is so that you, my dear readers and friends, don’t have to.

DON’T GO THERE. DRINKING SOLVES NOTHING. IT IS A TRICK OF THE MIND. IT IS A WASTE OF TIME. YOU DON’T NEED IT AND IT TASTES LIKE MOUTHWASH.

I think I just felt overwhelmed by my cravings, the voice in my head, and the resisting. I felt tired of resisting. So, I hurriedly uncorked a bottle and drank it. All of it. I was barely remembering things (didn’t take much, which is scary — what is wrong with my brain if it only takes three (huge) glasses of red wine to black me out?) when I ran (literally, I’m guessing) to the corner store to buy another. I did not finish that one, mainly because I must have passed out. I don’t remember.

Ahh. LOVELY hangover. Yes, I remember this feeling. Oh, yes. Drinking two Diet Cokes and weeping about my upcoming death. I remember this feeling. Stumbling around, finding a demolished pair of (expensive) glasses on the floor, checking my wallet to make sure that nothing’s missing, seeing wine stains on my floor and table. Yes, I remember this! Crawling to the bathroom only to heave myself back to bed. Yes. Ringing bells? Oh, yes. Crouching over my stove as I make ramen, forcing it down because I know I need something in there but nothing fills the hole and nothing will the entire day. Check. Crying some more and whining and wailing on the phone to my boyfriend who, thankfully, thinks nothing less of me and even thinks I deserve better. Yup. MISSING my fucking deadline because I can barely think, let alone write what I need to write. Done and done.

Do you remember that feeling? Is it coming back? Oh, yes.

I don’t even care about the fact that I missed my second 5 weeks (would have been 35 days today) again. What bothers me most is that my brain is simply depressed — not even sad, just void of feeling or thoughts. And, all I want is for the day — and hangover — to be over with. Waiting it out is all and will be all I’ll be doing today.

Wow, drinking really fucks up my mental landscape. What was a lovely painting with serene (pink) clouds has now become a grey wash of confusion, suicidal ideation, and nonsense. ? WTF, drinking?

(And, why do I have a memory of the corner store owner standing next to me, helping me pick out my wine? Was I standing there, in my druken stupor, unable to do it myself? Or, was he just being friendly and helpful? NO IDEA.)

Key points of this latest round?

I realize now that I don’t need to go it alone, that I DO NEED HELP, and that I need to ask for it.

I realize now that I shouldn’t isolate myself to the point of mental breakdown.

I realize now that what I wanted last night was escape — from the obsession to drink, I think, more than the overwhelming thoughts and feelings about life and people, in general.

I realize now that I USE WINE to escape and that one, I need new coping mechanisms, two, wine is my vehicle/tool, and three, there really shouldn’t be anything to “escape from,” if I’m doing it right.

I need help. But first, I need to get through this hangover.

Readers, if you’re thinking of falling off, just come here and read this. I have done it for you so that you don’t have to! It’s like riding a bike — no, it’s like falling off. It hurts every time and the feeling is never different! FUCK THAT BIKE! STAY ON THE WAGON.

Who knew what GREAT, AMAZING people I would meet in the soberverse?

20 Sep

7:52 pm

Hi, friends! I just wanted to say, thanks to all my men and women out there who have been supporting me on my sober “journey.” Yes, YOU GUYS ROCK.

I entered this “soberverse” feeling pretty scared, and alone, and completely overwhelmed by my desire to both quit drinking and keep sucking it down. I had so many conflicting thoughts and feelings surrounding the process. Now that I’m well into it (well, save for two nights, I’ve been sober since June 12th — I know, I know, but, it does count for me!)…I feel…friend-full. Befriended. Supported. And it’s because of all of YOU — people I never would have met if I hadn’t started this blog and people who I’m SO GLAD to have on my side.

Whenever I check my Reader, I see posts by all y’all, and you know what? YOU GUYS ROCK. I see so many of you making progress, falling down (or tripping) but getting back on that horse. And, that’s what it’s all about! I see so much strength, and it gives me inspiration. So, thank you all. (And, thank God(dess) for my Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth, who is pulling my water wagon tonight. I’m sure she’ll get tired soon, at which point I’ll be wanting to drink wanting to drink wanting to drink, but at least for now, she’s flashing a tooth at me.)

(Is this gratitude talking, or my third Diet Coke of the day (must stop)? Who cares…)

On that note, I’m going to go back to posting shit for sale on Craigslist. I think I’ve finally decided to END MY TENURE here as of September 30th. What’s up after that? Probably a trip “home home” to see my dad [Corn Belt state], then back to the [beautiful island where I now live]. Stoked!

Coming in a later post tonight (hopefully): another “wow” moment on the acupuncture table. (Not to worry, nothing as tiring or melodramatic as the last few posts, but still worth sharing…as it pertains to drinking.)

Shamanic journeying through acupuncture? Yes, yes, YES!

18 Sep

11:43 am

Wow. Another KUH-RAZY experience during my acupuncture session yesterday!

(Warning: Psychobabble ahead.)

So, I’ve been to acupuncture three times now (with a new, and highly trained, it seems, therapist). Each time, I noticed an near-instantaneous buzzing feeling all over my body, and an immediate “delving” into self — the physiologic calm that acupuncture provides turns on my brain and makes me able to think deeper, more profound thoughts. Thoughts I’ve been putting off — or dreading, and therefore, TURNING OFF.

Yesterday, I realized that I’m a trauma survivor. I know, I know. WHATchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis? Come ON, DDG, give me a buh-reak! Seriously. I grew up within a very volatile, ugly marriage. My parents would yell and scream and sometimes even wield knives (true story). Everyone knew. They’d often tell us to go outside and “play,” which was code for, We’re going to shut the windows and scream at each other now. It was usually my mom screaming at my dad, and it usually happened when we were in bed, “sleeping.” It usually ended with her thrusting our living room doors closed with a loud BANG, and going to bed alone while my dad slept on the couch.

This went on for as long as I can remember (from about 5 to when they finally separated at 14). It was ugly. I would often and regularly hear things like, “Go fuck yourself if you even know how.” When they’d fight at night, I would weep in my bed. Silently. I learned how to cry really hard without making a sound. I was afraid, and I was also ashamed — my brothers slept in the same room (we had no doors on our two-bedroom upstairs), and I never heard them make a sound, so how horrible would it be if I did? Repression was the name of the game.

(I often wonder why kids blame themselves, or at least, internalize their parents’ anger and guilt and sadness when it comes to divorce? Here’s what I now think (thanks to my acupuncture “meditation”): kids KNOW that they represent the connection between their biological (and perhaps even nonbiological) parents. They know that they somehow make up each, and are (or were, LOL) the union between them. Thus, if there is a schism between the two, it’s somehow their fault. Somehow, it comes back to them, and they feel/take on the responsibility to “fix it.” It’s hard to explain, but I definitely KNOW that this is true, on an emotional level, even though intellectually — even as a kid, when we were told again and again that it wasn’t our fault — I might not believe it.)

As you can imagine, this kind of environment came with a lot of not-talking-about-the-elephant-in-the-room, tiptoeing around landmines, and (guessed at) battle lines not being crossed. I spent a good part of my teens feeling VERY ashamed and full of self-loathing (I had entire notebooks of hate poems to myself), and I wonder if that isn’t related to other, deeper trauma, but anyway… The trauma was never properly dealt with, I now believe. It was never confronted, handled, resolved, on the level that I needed it to be. So, I think I’ve spent my entire life putting up that early-learned stance, the one of me crouched, gut clenched, breath held, arms covering my face — ready for the punch. I was never physically abused, but I think emotional and psychological abuse — however inadvertant — can be just as bad. I know it was for me.

As I lay on the table, I realized that perhaps I have been hiding from this trauma my whole life, as a way to “make it” or “live my life,” never realizing that I hadn’t fully embraced it. And, without having fully accepted what happened to me, I was never able to let it go. Like, it now seems that ALL of my jobs, ALL of my romantic relationships have been situations that have helped SERVE my denial, my hiding from the trauma. (Hiding from being overly sensitive? Find a partner who doesn’t seem to notice anything! Not wanting to deal with feeling unloved? Become an overachiever and work yourself to the bone!) And, drinking has not only been a way of hiding from it when it bubbled up too close to the surface, but also a way to *experience* it. Too bad I was digging in the wrong hole.

Digging in the wrong hole? There came a point toward the end (last two or three years) of my blackouts where I was wanting the release, the unguarded expression of what I thought were authentic feelings. I wanted to express my trauma, but I was using booze to do it and that only served to hide myself from it further. On the table, I saw how traumatized I was as little girl. I saw myself on the table, and I saw the little girl (almost as a dream, but more real). I wanted to go and hug her and tell her she had nothing to be afraid of, that she was protected. I felt sorry for her. Which made me see clearly that, for some reason, as a little girl I think I just never felt protected. And I never realized this could have trickled down into every corner of the rest of my life. Yet, it has. Hence, the panic stance that I’ve been carrying myself in my entire life.

It was then that I realized that the “soul retrieval” aspect to shamanic journeying is not such the load of bullshit that I thought it was! Like, I honestly felt that I had been living in two “pieces” my whole life, one being myself, the person who works and lives and loves and tries to make it through life; and the other, the little girl self, the one who has been stuck back there, living in that trauma day in and day out for the past 33 years! In journeying, they say that soul retrieval is about picking up a part of your lost self and fusing/fixing the splintered whole, or schism, within. I need to subsume that girl and make us whole again, I thought. (Have you ever seen “Insidious?” Astral travel? Along those lines.) By doing so, I realized that yes, my trauma can be ended, that it IS over, that I don’t have to keep trying to find it OR hide from it via booze and blacking out.

I felt really sad, very emotional (cried all afternoon), and well, tired. I went to bed at 9 pm and finally dragged myself out 12 hours later. I woke up with a huge headache (that may be a caffeine headache, though). In essence, I felt hung over. BUT, I felt like I really did have a powerful experience of healing that has MADE ME WANT TO DRINK TO BLACKOUT LESS.

This is profound, to me. It makes me see that rehabilitation surrounding booze IS real and CAN work. It flies in the face of “rational recovery,” which basically says that there is nothing behind your drinking besides your selfish, overindulgent hand. NOT THE CASE. I honestly believe, at this moment, that drinking to excess would NOT be preferable to me now, mainly because I no longer need to dig deep to bring out that trauma; I’ve recognized it, and now, I can let it go. Wishful thinking?

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to drink — or even want to — but it does mean that I’ve finally begun feeling the real, authentic shit behind my desire to black out, which in essence, means that I won’t be striving — secretly wanting to simultaneously fill AND empty the void — to black out when I drink. Which means, this desire may have nothing to do with the substance itself. Which may mean that in a few months, or years, from now, I WILL be able to pick up a glass of wine and put it down. Wishful thinking? Maybe. Maybe not.

The science (and art…lessness) of the Blackout

16 Sep

6:29 pm

I was in H&M the other day and overheard this early 20s kid say he’d never had a blackout. His friend saved my day by quickly snapping back, Well, your time is coming.

What are blackouts? And, why are they generally speaking so horrible for everyone? It’s like, almost everyone I’ve known or read about who’s had a blackout has experienced some kind of insane, irrational anger. Rage, is more like it. Coupled with confusion, paranoia, anxiety, and fear, in no particular order. I get that all these latter things come with deep-seated parts of the brain literally being put to bed with extreme amounts of ethanol. BUT, why does the anger come out? Why do normally happy people not only let down their guard and get pissy, they typically become raging, sometimes violent, while blacked out?

Ahem. I’m one of those ragers. I literally turn into one big angry cunt. Who has no rational brain cells working. Why is this? And, am I the angry bird, or is it the booze making me angry? Or, does the booze simply open up the spout that’s always turned off, in a way that makes it rush too much and distorts it? Or, does the booze exacerbate the anger, and make it irrational? Is my fear and anger over many big and small things being amplified by the booze? Or, is that level of anger inside me all the time, just waiting to come out?

I think the booze exacerbates and makes irrational what resides within. Sometimes. Other times, I really don’t know where that level of vitriol, that extreme hatred even, comes from.

I need to find some clinical readings on this topic. It’s been driving me insane for years. Is it me, am I that fucked up? Or, is it the booze? And, WHY does booze do this? Where did that illustrious “all-knowing” being who created humans go wrong? How could he/she/it NOT make sure to put in some fail-safe to avoid me becoming a wino (or depressed and obsessive in the first place, for that matter)? And, once that was breached, how could it possibly have created beings who are capable of such horrific, and irrational, emotions — anger being one — when overloaded on booze? One BIG hit against the god theory and in favor of evolution (which, in case you haven’t noticed, I am) — we were NOT “created” without flaws. Maybe, over time, once the human race has gotten used to consuming alcohol, we’ll become immune to blackouts. But, what about the anger? Why will the “angry drunk” just not die?

And, most interesting to me, WHY IS IT ALWAYS ANGER that is stimulated to come out when we’re blacked out? Is that our primal shutting-down state of mind: confusion, fear, anxiety, and anger? Why is this?

Unfinished business…

16 Sep

5: 26 pm

It’s always going to be unfinished business with certain people.

I have to call my brother tonight; we’ve had very little contact since “the incident” over New Year’s. I totally let out my rage on and against his girlfriend (gf) — unfortunately, it was mostly true. They hold grudges and are in, what I would call, an emotionally co-dependent and (on her part) psychologically abusive relationship. Getting her to forgive and forget is not an option. The last time I called him — or, did he call me? Yes, he called me back — he called me from OUTSIDE a store, in the parking lot. Once his gf got back into the truck and closed the door (yes, he told me that she was sitting in the truck with the door closed), he had to go.

I have to keep calling him, but I honestly don’t want to. Tonight, I will get up the courage to confront him and say, What do you want me to do? I can send a card. I have no idea what to say, how to keep saying, I’m sorry for calling your gf all those things, and I’m doubly sorry I did because both you and I know they’re the truth. I HAVE said I’m sorry, egregiously, to him; I was afraid to make direct contact with her because the way we left it. She refused to see me the morning I left, so it was just my brother and I who talked. THAT was a hard, horrible talk. The whole nightmarish weekend will go down as probably my worst, most insane, most confusing — do I really hate his gf that much? I didn’t think so — blackout on record.

Still. THEY have to learn to forgive, forget, stop holding grudges, and move on, too. They also have a long way to go in terms of HER getting help for her mental problems and personality disorder and HIM learning how to say no, stand up for himself and those he cares about, think for himself, and stop the abuse. I can’t do that, and I definitely don’t want to. BUT, even still, I feel like it’s my fault that she triggered me so horribly, and she’s definitely put the full weight of the blame on me. That is unfair, but that’s why she’s the psychologically abusive partner in that relationship. She acts like a 14-year-old girl, and while yes, I get that she’s the victim of years of abuse and trama on her end, there comes a point — 42 years old, is she? — where one has to say, OK, I choose to engage on a mature, rational level with others and acknowledge what’s going on WITH ME, and not what the world is DOING TO ME. Hard to explain this woman, but let’s just say, no one in my family can really deal with her without booze, let alone with.

It all just makes for sucky Sunday, which is the day I usually reserve for calling family. Ugh. And no, I don’t want to drink. I just want to be able to go along with my days, staying sober, feeling good about that, and not have to feel guilty every single time — still guilty, guilty forever — I think about calling my brother.

I wonder, how much does unfinished business affect us on a subconscious level?

Day 29: Oh, how I do not long to be that drunk kid who fell onto his face

15 Sep

1:30 am

Ode to Day 29: Oh, how I do not long to be that drunk kid who fell onto his face in the subway. DUDE. Thank God(dess) he wasn’t near the tracks. He was at the bottom of the escalator and literally tripped and went SPLAT onto his chest and face. Ouch. Of course, I laughed after I got past him (two other people helped his drunk ass up), mainly because it was one of those falls so utterly lacking in grace that you can’t perform it unless you’re totally shitfaced and your limbs are approximately 95% out of your conscious control.

How often have I done — and not remembered doing — something like that? I cringed and immediately took a reality check: I could have been him and could have done that, and something really bad (breaking my neck comes to mind — I know someone who did) could have happened. I suck in my breath a little at the thought of the absolute possibility.

I remember walking around [cold east coast city] a few years ago, pretty soon before I left (man, that sounds so sad; must get back). I was still drinking and blacking out, but it was taking its toll and I was moving into my serious-problem phase. (That makes me smile — which was what, pray tell? Rage-dialing a recent ex AND banging your laptop to death in the same night?). Anyway, it was dark and as I was crossing the street with the hoards of mainly 20s kids, I saw this 20s kid stumbling, lit as fuck. He could barely stand up, and kept weaving in and out of this wide swath of land that he considered his “dotted line.” He looked like he was in a trance and had no idea where he was or what he was doing. He’d move toward people, nearly fall on them, and they’d back away. Or, just pretend not to notice him at all.

It stands out because I remember wanting to go over to him and like, HELP HIM. I was worried that he might walk into traffic or trip over an open manhole. Or worse, fall into one of those storefront openings in the sidewalk that lead to the shop’s basement level. That could have been/probably was at some point ME. Did anyone help me? Did anyone care? Would strangers just let ME stumble about through the streets of [cold east coast city]? What makes him different than me?

I guess I must never have stumbled THAT badly around strangers in the bar, or outside on my own after my friends took off, or trying to find a cab… I doubt it, though, as I have more than one memory of “coming to” somewhere totally foreign and not in my ‘hood (sometimes not even in my borough). I know it’s happened here…when I got arrested and spent the night in a sobering cell in [cold west coast city], or when I blacked out for hours and ended up getting mugged and losing my glasses somewhere that felt like the Mission but to this day I have no idea where I was in the city, or when…the list goes on.

The point is, it gets worse. Kind of like the opposite of the Dan Savage anti-bullying campaign. It Gets Worse. Hopefully, though, that kid in [cold east coast city] didn’t turn up dead or seriously injured, and hopefully he’s not relying on the “kindness” of strangers anymore after he’s had too much to drink. If you think about it, HOW MANY times have we gone home shitfaced after a night out drinkin’? How many times have I walked, taken the subway, hailed a cab, climbed up seven flights of stairs or taken the elevator to my apartment COMPLETELY blacked out, or at least in severe brownout? Innumerable. Literally. I might as well count backward from 365. Now? Today? Today I don’t even think I’d trust myself in the shower drunk. IT GETS WORSE.

This post is all just to say, I’m consciously glad — finally — that I’m not falling onto my face at the bottom of a subway station’s escalator (which wasn’t even turned ON). Dude is going to hurt tomorrow.

Wake up!

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