Tag Archives: Halloween

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?

What to do on a sober Halloween? Try Al-Anon and a TON of sugar!

27 Oct

5:34 pm

NOT. Today, I totally crashed after my very first Al-Anon meeting. I really have got to do something about the amount of Diet Coke I’m drinking these days. I probably down at least a liter (4 cups, for those of you on THIS side of the pond) a day, if not more. Boo. I mean, it’s a different kind of craving, but I can describe it in one word: irritating. It’s distracting and absolutely irritating to feel the almost uncontrollable, and purely physical, sensation of *needing* sugar (or fake sugar, or whatever). Surmounting that soon. I don’t have enough energy to both consume sugar and then root around for extra-large-sized candy bars, too.

Anyhoo, I had a lovely morning at least. Woke up to another amazing day on the ocean — sapphire blue waters, a sheet of blue sky punctuated by big clumps of white clouds, a gusting wind cooling down the approaching mid-morning heat. Around 10, I went to a large Al-Anon meeting sponsored by Promises in Paradise, that sober conference which, btw, is also putting on an ICE CREAM SOCIAL tonight. I am literally starting to tremble just thinking about how much of my body weight I could eat in ice cream…

So, Al-Anon. It was kind of like an AA meeting in that most of the roster of speakers were also alcoholics and/or addicts. I got the gist of it, which is that these Al-Anon meetings help family members (and friends?) figure out what to do, how to cope, and importantly, how to just let go in the face of someone they’re related to or care about drinking and drugging.

(I can relate, I think. When it comes to my brother and his girlfriend, I’ve “given up” on fixing their co-dependent relationship. And, I can say, I really don’t care that much. It’s not my problem, for real.)

It made me see the toll that my drinking and blackouts and belligerence must have had and is still having on my family and friends. Like, it never occurred to me that anyone COULD be that affected. Why? Because they just didn’t care enough. At least that’s what I thought. It’s MY problem, so why should I have to worry about myself AND other people?, was what I’d always tell myself. Well, this meeting helped me to see — for some reason for the very first time in a way that sunk in — that other people need help recovering, if not actually coping, from the fallout of a drunk’s behavior while drunk. (Actually, I have been thinking about it ever since my boyfriend mentioned possibly wanting to go to one — What’s wrong with YOU? Why would YOU need help? Oh, right, because I’ve harassed you in a raging blackout about a million times.)

Sooooo, who’s dressing up for Halloween?

Oh, God. Last Halloween? Let me erase any ideas of drinking being entertained, my friends. Last Halloween, I decided to fly down to LA to visit an old college friend. Needless to say, I drank the night before flying down. AND, didn’t stop until I passed out (for probably a few hours, maybe not at all, I can’t remember). AND, woke up and continued drinking en route to the airport, AT the airport (beer in the morning, so tasty, right?), during the flight, and then AFTER landing at LAX. This was all before 2 pm. I was sitting next to some guy who was, for some reason (did he not see how drunky drunk I was?) flirting with me and encouraging me to drink more, and then I, flirting back in a drunken stupor, thought it a brilliant idea to ask him to have “one last drink” with me at a bar in LAX near our gate.

Fast forward two hours later, and I come to from my blackout. Apparently, I was wandering around LAX, lost, and my friend was trying to find me, texting me and calling me, to no avail. Somehow we linked up, and I barely remember exiting the airport, sitting in my wet (yes, I pissed my pants) jeans in the passenger seat of his car, and getting back to his place in West Hollywood so that he could leave me to “sleep it off,” which I did. What’s worse than all this happening between the hours of 2 and 5 pm in the afternoon? Pissing my pants in public. A new low. More shameful than shitting my pants (yes, that happened once), seeing how everyone could see my wet jeans, and if they couldn’t, I’m sure they could smell them. TMI, but hey, it’s kind of at least a little bit funny, right?

Oh, yes. Rock on, sobriety and bladder control.

We had a fairly decent weekend, dressed up and went out, all that. I was drinking by the next evening, much to my friend’s chagrin. It took almost a full year for this friend to forget — I knew he forgave me almost immediately, but his irritation, disappointment, and frustration would not allow him to forget. Thank God(dess) for these friends, who are few and far between; I have others who have not been so gracious and empathetic.

Anyway, think before you drink (or, dry drink, I guess!). Happy SOBER Halloween! 🙂

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