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How to put this so that it doesn’t sound as bad as it is? I drank.

20 Mar

12:50 am

There, I said it. I did it. I would’ve had six months in a few weeks, too. Why? I guess I just felt…overwhelmed. Depressed. Frustrated. Physical symptoms of maybe a depressive mood swing that just weren’t going away–static brain, sinkhole feeling in my stomach. I had been planning it for weeks, though, so maybe the above, while real, were just excuses.

To be honest, it wasn’t fun–the drunk was boring and mechanical, I never actually felt buzzed, and what little buzz I did feel was abruptly taken away by my blacking out within, oh, about an hour of when I started drinking. Zero to 60 in like, an hour. How lame.

However, I learned a lot. And, while I still have to process some of it (I’ll do that when I’m not hung over) this, in essence, is the gist of it:

1. It still sucks to be hung over. Like, way sucks. I’ve spent today feeling alternately sluggish and anxious. I threw up a little last night (of *course* I don’t remember doing so, just like I don’t remember MOST of the conversation I had with my mom on the phone or passing out on the couch) so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. There’s just a lethargy within, a damp feeling of confusion, uncertainty, sadness–it’s the hangover, and there is simply nothing GOOD here, in this state of mind/being.
2. I can’t drink normally. It doesn’t change. In fact, I went right back to where I left off.
3. Wine takes me to a dark place, a place of the past. I’ve grown used to being in the present, where there is light, where there is looking forward. Last night, I drank and went back, and got upset by events that have happened and aren’t happening anymore, that I haven’t let go. I think I simply NEED to let some things go. Let them be in the past, with no more dwelling.

And, I had SO many “God shots” yesterday, too, it was hilarious in a not-ha-ha kind of way that I drank anyway. From seeing two people I know, driving in their cars to the 5:30 AA meeting downtown as I drove by, en route to the store to buy wine; to having to go BACK to the store a second time to buy a corkscrew; to in between all of this, receiving a long email from one of my friends, complaining about the out-of-control, mean drinkers in her social circle and how proud she is of me for having almost six months sober!

Eh, I’m not really upset about having to start the count over. In fact, counting days is OK for a while, but… I realized today that counting days makes this into too much of a game. This is not a game, this is my life. In ways big but mostly small and subtle, stopping using alcohol as a coping mechanism has changed my life, my lifestyle, my way of viewing my life. And, all I know tonight is, I don’t want to–I can’t–go back to the other way.

Here’s to the 12-to-20-weeks window closing!

21 Feb

1:09 am

Almost, that is. I’m at 19 weeks today, and it keeps hitting me how FAST weeks go. Even though I’m still counting days, weeks are flying by! UGH! I have so much to do, but as I’ve moaned before, I just can’t seem to do things with as much speed, efficiency, and/or oomph as I used to. I still do as much as I can, but…it takes longer. I feel like my brain AND body are going in slow motion. S…L…O…W. M…O…T…I…O…N.

Weeks are going faster than ever before, yet… I still have cravings. I’d say they’re there, all day, every day. I’m still wondering, OK, so when can I drink again? Not loud, barely a whisper, but there. All the time.

Today, though, I felt a shift. Very slight, but I felt it. Like, a breath released. A giving in. Or maybe, a newfound perseverance to keep going. I mean, I’ve had major pangs since I hit 90 days. Yet, I know I HAVE to stay sober through the weekend, which puts me at likely standing my ground through the end of the month. Which will put me at 20 weeks… And, I see that 20 weeks is 140 days, which is ONLY about a month from the next big goal, 6 months. And really, I quit drinkin’ on June 13th last year (with, of course, a few times falling off the water wagon, but if I count them, less than 10-15 days of actual drinking during those weeks), so…only 2 more months after that until my “year” anniversary.

I can do this, sure. I know I can. But today, I kind of felt a shift, a giving in–like, resting my head on the shoulder instead of pushing it away, craning my neck in fear that I might get cooties or worse, like it.

I WANT to do this. Say what?

What I know now is that I want to not have hangovers more than I want to drink. Period. Hangovers, for me at 38, equal a bad, bad time. BAAAAD. They are unbearable, mentally and physically. AND, most importantly to my point here, I get fuck all done on those days. Right now, and since last summer, I haven’t had time to be hung over. Literally. I haven’t had the time as I can’t afford to jeopardize my goals. Like, I can’t afford to not get my shit done. So, the choice isn’t actually there anymore for me. Or, rather, it is: drink and jeopardize everything you have going for you now, and everything you want to have going for you; or, don’t. The difference now is, it’s MUCH easier to resist the “wolf voice” with rational thought than it was even last week, let alone months ago. Thank God(dess).

Made it to my mom’s! Let the “No, thanks, I’m not drinking” begin!

4 Oct

2:00 pm

Sorry, this post is going to be a little all over the place, but I only have a few minutes to cover yet a lot more ground, another learning experience, and some new insights. I have to say, this ride is, at the very least, an interesting one!

So, “No, thanks, I’m not drinking”. Well, I don’t think I’ll have to be apologizing (why do I feel like that?) for not drinking around my brother and mom. They are extremely supportive of my quitting drinking, but still. Lots of chatting, eating, and general lounging makes for, well, lots of liquids being consumed. Oh, well, I really, REALLY do not want to be hung over here. Oof. NOT fun at this altitude.

Whew, what a frightfully busy past few days, which I’ll blog more about in detail later. In short:

After my trip to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park (heart), I drove back to LAX on Monday and flew home that night. The next day — my last in [cold west coast city], thankfully — I rented a pickup and hauled some boxes to be shipped to the PO, cleaned, sorted, packed, re-sorted, dumped, left shit in my closet, DRANK, and in general, ended my “tenure” in that town on a very familiar — and depressing — note. I can go into it later, but the most important things are: I survived yet another hefty consumption of wine (two bottles = oof); and then, a VERY long next day packing my luggage, dropping lost/left items off (I passed out on my friend, ended up locking him out, and then had to repair the “damage” done by dropping of his left backpack at his offices downtown before heading to the airport yesterday morning = FUCK), giving up keys, catching cabs, flying, and shuttling in vans before I was able to put my head down on a soft pillow and forget about the night before and the early morning hours of dry heaving over my bathroom sink. (That’s happened a handful of times, and usually only after a LOT of alcohol. The worst part, though? Crying about it, because I felt so helpless. It was quite pitiful. BUT, I felt much better afterward and somehow (read: will of steel) made my way through the day.)

I am at my mom’s, and she’s great. I forgot how NICE it is to talk to her; and really, I must say, I feel relatively comfortable talking about my alcohol addiction. The last time I was here — a year ago? — it was obvious I had one, but I was very jumpy and still in denial. I have learned SO much over the past three months; over the course of my (attempts at) quitting, my acceptance of my addiction, my at least hitting a few AA meetings, my re-evaluation of my life and person and choices — my self-imprisonment, as it were. THE BEST THING ONE CAN DO IS ADMIT SHE/HE HAS A PROBLEM. What a positive thing. For some reason, I’m seeing it much differently; as in, if there is a problem, the first step toward solving it (success!) is finding it, defining it, and putting it into terms that can be worked out. When I look at addiction like that, I see nothing wrong or shameful about admitting you have a problem. The opposite, actually. It’s horrible that our society emphasizes the negative aspects of addiction and other “invisible” psychological illness when it’s recognized, rather than the opposite.

Much more to share, but we’ll be doing some stuff together today and then going over to my brother’s for dinner. While I’m still feeling open and revealing about the drinking thing, I’m not sure how much I’ll want to share again and again — my family, ironically, is a big fan of talking about things, in great and honest detail. (Except for me, who hides and keeps secrets. KEPT secrets.) BUT, I’m going to go in and y’know, tell it with pride and with decision: This is what I’ve done and what I’m aiming for the next few months, and I’m really glad about that and well, if you have your doubts, then have them, but I know I can DO THIS.

Thank you all for being there and listening. You are great friends to have on this journey. 🙂

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.

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).

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! 😉

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.)

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