The hauntings of Santa Muerte

26 Oct

3:09 pm

Hmm. Nothing all that profound about today. Just another day in “paradise.” Correction: just another SOBER day in paradise, which begins with me waking up not hung over! I swear, it never fucking gets old. EVER. I am grateful every morning for not having a hangover. EVERY morning. And, the longer I’m sober, the more accessible the memory of my last drunk (or one of my later hangovers) becomes; I seem to be able to remember it more clearly, breathe in every moment of that wretched feeling as if it were yesterday.

Today, though, I want to talk about hauntings. Of things past, things done. I have many, and of all the days of my life, all the events–these drunken shenanigans only make up a very small percent.  A miniscule amount. Yet. YET. Man, do they take up SO MUCH space in my brain.

And, I can’t seem to let them go. Forget about them. Relegate them to the back burner, so that all the awesome memories of amazing things I’ve done in my life can take the front, can actually be remembered and serve as springboards in the present moment. That’s the sad irony of all this navel-gazing, I suppose, or maybe it’s simply the nature of the beast: we ruminate on all the stupid, shitty, god-awful things we did drunk, and they make up our mental landscape, affecting who we are NOW and how we behave HERE. I am, for some reason, focused on the miniscule 1 percent, which obscures just how bright and amazing the other 99 percent is. Hmm.

I have a red boa draped over my desk, as decoration and distraction. Or…is it to remind myself of what I did, to keep it within reach so that I NEVER FORGET JUST HOW BAD I WAS? It was two years ago, the last Halloween I “celebrated,” and let me tell you what happened. I was to fly to LA to meet a long-time friend for the weekend. It was supposed to be relaxed, fun, an escape. Too bad I started off the trip with a HUGE night drinking alone in my apartment–per fucking usual. When dawn came and the wine was gone, I was screaming drunk; and the utter dread and sickness of withdrawal–coming down SUCKS–was threatening to set in. NO, somewhere deep inside said. I am not done yet. I am not ready to stop. And, I didn’t.

To avoid the “night ending”–losing the buzz, dealing with what was surely going to be a suicidal hangover–I drank more. I opened another bottle and proceeded to down the whole thing, both while I was getting ready and en route to the airport in the cab. Once there, my mood picked up, I got my second wind, and though I was THIS close to being drunky-drunk, everything seemed clearer. I got to my terminal and downed a few beers–beer couldn’t hurt, right? It would hydrate me, I lied.

The plane took off and I had an “amazing” seat-mate, some married asshole who was flirting with me and drinking with me (wine for breakfast anyone?). We had the most “marvelous” conversation, and by the time our flight touched down about an hour later, I had definitely gone from drunker to drunkest. Of course, I was STILL hanging on, desperate for the party not to end, so I convinced this guy to have one more drink with me–another bar, another airport.

Then (finally?), I blacked out. DUH. Piecing together the texts and my shoddy memory of how this scenario was resolved, I concluded the following: I must have been stumbling around LAX for at least two hours blacked out; my friend had texted numerous times that he was waiting for me and would be leaving VERY soon if my ass didn’t show itself; I remember my friend heaving me into the passenger seat of his car and driving home; I was slouched next to him, and it was only then that I registered that my jeans were soaked from top to bottom–my entire pants were drenched in urine. I had pissed myself, and I had been walking around LAX like this for two fucking hours, and people must have noticed, including my friend. OH, GOD. Oh god oh god oh god.

Cue the remorse that haunts me to this day, that prods at my soul, begging to come in; that ends up saturating my gut with its daily drip-drip-dripping.

I slept at his place until about 5 that afternoon–the whole day, gone–while he went out and did some errands. What must he have been thinking? Fortunately, he is one of the forgivers. While he was quite upset (for a long time after that weekend, I imagine), we made the best of the night. I will never forget his stare, wary, as we swayed together in our costumes at some bar in LA and I drank again–this time, three small glasses of wine just to take the edge off and make me feel somewhat normal again. That’s where the boa comes in: I went as the Mexican goddess of death, or Santa Muerte, and the boa was to give it a festive, flowery feel.

Now? That fucking boa above my desk HAUNTS me. While I definitely felt like death that night (I was still mightily hung over, shaking even), I was riding on utter gratitude for my friend–and, that “lovey dovey” feeling that you get when you are coming off the booze, grateful to be alive, thankful beyond recognition to have made it through yet another hangover. Now? I look up and see that boa, and it makes my entire inner body shudder slightly every time I do.

So, why not take it down? I can’t. That day still haunts me. And, I’m actually OK with that. I think I actually NEED the constant reminder of both how bad it got–I feel somewhat ill just remembering it again in such detail–and how far I’ve come. I’ve long since made amends with my friend, who never held it against me anyway. I’ve been getting sober for over 16 months, and I’ve been sober for a continuous 221 days. I was sober last Halloween. I was sober last Christmas, and New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day, and Easter, and my birthday, and the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. I will be sober this Halloween, too.

Yet, I have ghosts. That incident haunts me, one of a seeming-eternity of nights (and days) blacked out and left for dead. And, the least scary thing about it was my costume. Santa Muerte is a “personification of death…associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife.” Is it not worth noting that it was I who chose to dress up as a goddess of death? Or, that this very same goddess also embodies the afterlife? Maybe Santa Muerte was simply looking out for me that night, and all the others, too, waiting for the old me to finally die so that she could transport the new me to a better place?

14 Responses to “The hauntings of Santa Muerte”

  1. furtheron October 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    The night that ended at Monument tube station. Me down between the train and the platform blood all over me my wife screaming for help and a huge South African rugby player pulling of out just before the train left. Now that night was a winner.

  2. carrythemessage October 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Love that ending, there, DDG. We die to live again. It is in dying (the old us) that we awaken to new life. And that is what happens to us…what has happened to you.

    You know, we all have those stories. You certainly aren’t the first to wet your pants (I have!) and certainly you aren’t the first to think the way you did (keep the party alive) and then feel utter shame and remorse later. I have countless moments like that, and frankly, I remember very few of them. not because I was in blackout (I often did, mind you), but because they just don’t hold much juice for me any more. Getting past shame and guilt was a big step for me, and it took me a lot of time to get there. So in doing that, I relegated that 1% as you mention, to the back. it came organically. I couldn’t force it, but it was just a result of moving through my 12-step work (you just commented on amends – that was one way of moving past that shit too). But one doesn’t have to be in 12-step to do the same. I think shifting perspective can be done otherwise. Focusing on what makes us feel good, and what makes us feel positive about ourselves is ideal, of course. Doesn’t always happen. I get those shudders now and then (I got some this morning at work, thinking about some of the crap I did drunk, and I was crushed for a moment there).

    I guess I look at those kind of stories as useful if I am talking to another alcoholic and trying to make a point about how bad it got, but other than that, they don’t serve me.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing the story. I related to a lot of it, to be honest 🙂

    Love and light,

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

      Thank you, Paul! Yup, getting past the (residual, for the most part) shame and guilt as we speak. What’s the worst, though, is when *other people* haven’t gotten past YOUR shame and guilt. Still figuring out how to deal with that.

      Mostly, though, I remember these incidents in detail just to remind myself of how bad it was. And, to get it all out there for inspection because…I want to let people know that one, it’s kind of funny it’s so pathetic, and two, whatever you’re worrying about that you did, don’t, because it’s done and it’s over with and we, you, they need to move on. I like letting people know that I’m NOT that ashamed–I’m more amused, because I can be–and they shouldn’t be either.

      Make sense? Who knows!


  3. jenisthesoberist October 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Wow, thank you for sharing such a tough memory. I am really sorry that you had to go through that, and that it still haunts you. I have been there myself and it ain’t pretty. Luckily my shame is fading a bit, but like Paul said, it has to happen in its own time. Your writing is wonderful, btw. xx- Jen

  4. Just Some Woman October 28, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Blackout? What’s a blackout? I REMEMBER EVERY SORDID FKN THING I DID. I was never lucky enough to black out.
    I have a wedding to go to in a few weeks. The lady I punched in the face almost 2 years ago (my last drunk) will be there. For some strange reason I haven’t run into her since it happened. This episode haunts me when I least expect it (regularly) and I just can’t shake it. Back in my younger years, fighting was something to be proud of within the crowd I hung with. It’s really not something to be proud of when one is 50 years old and sucker-punching someone just because I decided I didn’t like her for some obscure reason.
    I think I’m haunted by this particular memory so that I can remember had bad I can really be.How much I DON’T want to go back there. Sure, I think about how “great” a beer would be. Then I remember the punch that was heard around the world (my small town) and the total mortification sets in and I know I’ll do something much worse somewhere down the line if I drink that one beer. That one beer that turns into one hundred…..

    Keep the boa. : )

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 6, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      Yup, blackouts suck, but NO, I honestly don’t know if I could live with myself if, in fact, I DID remember everything I said, screamed, did, and tried to do (or not to do) while drunky-drunk. Here’s to healing our memories and spirits and moving on… (And, I hate to say it, but methinks the boa is going in a box soon…)

  5. soberjournalist October 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Wowee. Your description of the whole airport thing made me want to scoop you up and take you home. So glad your friend looked after you and that you’re not in that place anymore!! I agree it’s important not to forget those kind of things but I’m not sure if I could stand to be reminded of such a painful memory every day. I would put the boa in a box so I could be reminded of it if I needed to be, but not have to look at it everyday. But that’s just me.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      Yup, that thing is coming down (sorry for the late comment!). And, unfort, that night was one of “the best” of the bad nights–lots worse has happened. Ugh. Somehow, getting it out there in detail helps…

  6. carrieonsober October 30, 2013 at 3:18 am #

    I have tried to comment on this twice and lost it, here goes again..
    How well written this was. I was right there with you, back in that awful place we used to call ‘having a good time’
    I could feel the excitement and adrenaline of the wine flowing and the feeling of never wanting the party to stop. What party? Sad old party for one? And to think that was my favourite way to drink, don’t need anyone else. I am that much fun! I always started the holiday the night before. Was that just an excuse to hair of the dog? Why travel with a hangover when you can just get pissed again! What a nightmare, how did we ever think we might NOT have a problem.
    You are not that girl anymore, you don’t need to remind yourself of what happened in the past when you were a different person, addicted to a drug. If you thought someone else was hanging on to something just so they could use it to transport them back to a time of guilt and shame that they have worked hard to put in the past. Would you encourage them to go on beating themselves up with that stick (insert boa!)?
    You have got to forgive yourself. Your journaling here is a permanent reminder of why you are where you are today, should you need to revisit it. But you blog also has comments of encouragement, support and forgiveness, which we don’t always feel when we are home along with our thoughts and the boa!
    C xx

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      Thank you for this–a few weeks later! Yeah, based on your comment, I think I’m going to get a new decoration to put above my desk and burn that stupid boa! No need to torture myself anymore… Hugs!

      • carrieonsober November 7, 2013 at 10:49 am #

        Oh that you are not going to torture yourself with that ever again has absolutely made my day!! I am so happy when my recovery friends inch forward 🙂
        C xx

  7. AuntieLex October 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Why am I just seeing this, and holy flashbacks for me DDG…. I spent my last day visiting my sister in NYC bar hopping (I was told by numerous people (ok my husband and bro in law)) to not drink.. I was so hammered in the cab on the way to LGA he hit the breaks, and I slid with everything I owned off the seat, dumped purse.. Omg.. When we arrived I had no cash just a credit card and his machine thingy was not working., he stole my cell phone whilst talking to my husband I had no PIN number for debit card was crying uncontrollably.. Omg they were not going to let me on the plane… Proud mommy moment..

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      Ugh! Believe me, my Halloween experience is one of *the best* of the bad times–there have been much worse, and much more consequential. But, I appreciate that you KNOW what this shit is like, and how…well, going back and remembering it really reinforces why I’m not drinking anymore. Here’s to healing those scars… xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


One family's journey to longterm recovery from alcoholism


Trying to ace sober living

absorbing peace

my walk away from alcohol


recovery from booze, a shitty father and an eating disorder

Violet Tempest

Dark Urban Fantasy & Gothic Horror

Walking in Sober Boots

Footfalls on a Path of Recovery

Sober Mormon

Navigating life after Mormonism

Ditching the Wine

Getting myself sober; the ups and downs

The Sober Experiment

Start your journey of self discovery

Sober and Well

Live your best life free from alcohol

The Phoenix Files

The Outspoken Opinions of S.M. Phoenix


Filling my Cup with What Matters

winesoakedramblings - the blog of Vickie van Dyke

because the drunken pen writes the sober heart ...

I love my new life!

Changing my life to be the best me. My midlife journey into sobriety, passions and simple living/downshifting.

Sunbeam Sobriety

Just a normal lass from Yorkshire and her journey into happy sobriety


Welcome to my journey to end my addiction to wine!

Without the whine

Exploring the heart of what matters most

Find Your Sober Glow!

5 and a half years sober - inspiring and supporting women to live their best sober life!

New Beginnings

My Journey to Staying Sober.

Sober Yogi

My journey to wholeness


A sobriety blog started in 2019

A Spiritual Evolution

Alcoholism recovery in light of a Near Death Experience

No Wine I'm Fine

An alcoholfree journey in New Zealand with a twist


I am a retired teacher who quit drinking and found happiness! After going deaf, I now have two cochlear implants!

Life Beyond Booze

The joys, benefits and challenges of living alcohol free


In reality I was barely functioning at all - life begins with sobriety.

Mental Health @ Home

A safe place to talk openly about mental health & illness

Faded Jeans Living

By Dwight Hyde

Moderately Sober

Finding my contented self the sober way

Sober Courage

from liquid courage to sober courage

Musings Of A Crazy Cat Lady

The personal and professional ramblings of a supposedly middle aged crazy cat lady

Life in the Hot Lane

The Bumpy Road of Life as a Woman 45+

Wake up!

Operation Get A Life


A psychiatrist blogging about her own demons and trying to deal with them sober

Storm in a Wine Glass

I used to drink and now I don't


I got sober. Life got big.

Laura Parrott Perry

We've all got a story to tell.

Finding a Sober Miracle

A woman's quest for one year of sobriety

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

MA., NCC, RYT, Somatic Witch

Drunky Drunk Girl

A blog about getting sober

The Soberist Blog

a life in progress ... sans alcohol


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


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


-Postcards from The Cauldron

Guitars and Life

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

%d bloggers like this: