Tag Archives: travel

Do I see 90 days coming up? Why, yes I do!

5 Jun

11:27 am

It’s hard to know where to begin, but I guess I’ll start with, I’m still sober and it was beyond easy to not drink on my trip. And, sure I feel proud, and relieved–in that order–but above all, I’m surprised. I didn’t really want to drink! It was like, I had no time, and found every reason NOT to. I can’t drink now, but maybe tomorrow, I kept telling myself. Today’s not going to work, but maybe tomorrow I can fit in wasting a few hours sucking down expensive red poison water and planning the next 12 hours of feeling like ass? Sure, OK, maybe wolfie-boy, we’ll see.

In fact, I was so busy, and so head-exploding hot, and so…scared of what I might do, out and about alone, with no safety net and even less tolerant people of a drunken fool stumbling around yelling and throwing fists and nearly falling off the subway tracks…that it was quite easy to see disaster waiting in the wings if I took that first drink. So, I didn’t take that first drink. (Though, there was a moment on Saturday night, when I felt so weird and awkward trying to dance in front of people sober, that I was like, Give me a fucking beer; and my good friend, the one who bailed me out of many a hapless situation, both physically and emotinally, was like, Um, I don’t want to see you go down. And I was like, You’re right, fuck that.)

It was a busy trip, which helped. I do well when I’m busy, and working on my proverbial to-do list. I need to do things, I need to accomplish stuff. Which is a double-edged sword at times, especially in that town. But, I used the exhaustion factor to my advantage and simply didn’t allot any time to drink or be hung over.

It was also hot as a bitch (I mean, hotter than down here, if you can believe it), so that was a turn-off, too. Who wants to be hung over in a stanky apartment when you’ve got less than 72 hours in the Big Apple? A no-brainer…now, at least. Three years ago, I think I would’ve been busting open bottles at 11 pm, drinking until 2 (or however long it took me to pass out); and then getting up, hung over, at 8 or 9, just because I was that hardcore and had that much resilience. Not any more, and thank God(dess).

I also wanted to prove to my friends that I had changed, that things WERE different. No stumblings-home at 4 am. No silly arguments. No perilous shenanigans. Or WORSE. I wanted to be who I claimed I was and am, and I think I succeeded.

It was also, well, something freaky to walk by the hundreds of bars and restaurants, corners and crannies, old apartments, former school buildings–all places where DRAMA WENT DOWN. Drinking drama. Oy. The lack of self-care, self-respect, self-love I showed myself back then. It wasn’t about having fun, it was about fear, and self-sabotage: the blackouts, so very many of them, which hid from plain sight the horrible things I said and did and were done to me. Ugh. Anyway, these memories helped me to know that, NO, ONE DRINK WOULD NOT BE OK. One drink would likely mean at the worst, endangering my life, at the least, pissing off my host. It was like standing at the edge of a frozen lake, not wanting to step onto the thin ice and watch it crack. No, I simply could not do it.

So, lots of stuff got done, is all I can say. I got up early and went running on Thursday morning (which felt so…normal, considering that I NEVER did this in the five years I lived there); made it to my dentist appointment; went for a quick dress shop (unsuccessful); and then, hopped up to Harlem to attend what turned out to be more of an informal meet-and-greet than a new student orientation. Lots and lots to think about there, but that’s for another post.

On Friday, I renewed my drivers license; shopped and walked and sweat; went back to my friend’s to change and take her out to dinner for hosting me. She drank, and by God(dess), I had ZERO PANGS. I mean, it was interesting to see HER reaction to my not drinking, which was to ask me if it was OK if she drank. And, to see just how little I actually know about hanging with drunk people. Like, I kept having to remind myself that she was getting drunk, which would explain her rising voice, her increasing talkativeness. It was weird. I mean, I have so little experience being on the receiving end of a drunk person’s inebriated behavior that it was, well, enlightening to watch it unfold.

By Saturday, I knew I wouldn’t drink (even though I still wanted to). I went to brunch and the park with another friend, who drank with our meal and who also asked me if it was OK. (Yes, I do feel blessed to have friends that are so supportive, but I’ve been pretty open about everything.) The big test came that night, when I–wait for it–WENT OUT sober. Not a drop! I’ve been worrying about this for a long time: sure, I can go out here, sober, but can I go out, like really Go Out, in a big city, where everyone, it seems, is drinking and talking and partying all around…and not only stay sober, but have fun doing so? Yes, it sucked at first. It felt hard (reawwy reawwy hard), but once I got over the awkwardness and realized that no one really fucking cares about me or what I’m doing–all was fine. Great, actually. I had just as much fun, if not more, than if I had been drinking.

The biggest revelation I had was this: I think and care WAY too much about what others think about me. In fact, I am about 99.5 percent more conscious of myself than anyone else. And, a sad point: I looked around and realized that I, too, had no idea about what was going on with anyone else. I am so limited in perceiving others’ realities, and vice versa. In fact, the only reality there really is is how we react to our thoughts and feelings. Anyway, I digress.

There could have been the full spectrum of drunkenness at the bar, and I wouldn’t have known by just looking at people. Were some peeps a little drunk, a lot drunk, blacked out? Were some dealing with the inner hell that is alcoholism? It’s likely. What was especially poignant was realizing that I was probably the only person there even wondering about who was dealing with a personal inferno, let alone CARING about it. People don’t care about your drinking problem. And, that’s what makes it so very difficult and distressing when you’re out, as an alcoholic: you’re in a hell, whether you’re being a “good drunk” or a blacked out asshole; yet, no one knows, no one CAN know, and therefore, you’re alone.

I felt sorry for people like me at that moment, and felt again that same indignation over peeps who have not forgiven me for some of my blackout shenanigans. It’s called empathy, people; get some.

Sure, I might have drunk a beer, but there was no way in HELL I was caving–and, one beer might have been all it would’ve taken. After that night, walking home feeling so alive and empowered, I realized something: getting and staying sober is the key to actually owning your life. It might be pedantic (people who drink only once in a while to escape or loosen up, let’s say, would categorize drinking as a small detail in their lives, for instance), but it fans out. It’s about facing your thoughts and feelings and learning how to own them. And, with that ownership comes true freedom–the ability to make choices and move forward, typically. Instead of stagnating, you get to choose how things go. It really is liberation. And not from simply being addicted to ethanol.

Sunday was tiring, as I walked, and went shopping, and got my hair cut, and finally, came home and packed and got ready to go. I overslept the next morning, but hey, no worries, I’m fucking SOBER getting to the airport and nothing could be better. HOW EASY is it to travel not hung over? Jesus, I can’t believe how hard I made it for myself, always drinking the night before flying? Even though I only got about four hours sleep that night and every other night, I’d pick sleep-deprived a thousand million times over hung over.

All in all, a very surprising trip. So, like I said, I’m the Grand Marshall and this sober parade is COMIN’ through, bitches!

I’m the Grand Marshall

5 Jun

1:31 am

I just wanted to check in and say howdy. I just spent about five days in New York, and I’m still sober. And, I’m damn proud of it. Who’s directing traffic? I am. Who’s on the master float in this sober parade? C’est moi! I’m the fucking Grand Marshall, people!

While I’m surely relieved that I didn’t cave, I’m mostly surprised at my utter lack of pangs and/or desire to drink. Even while out, dancing my ass off and observing everyone else getting drunk, or drunker. Then again, I think I’ve got it a bit easier than some: around every turn, there was a reminder of some truly soul-sucking, horrifying incident that happened or that I made happen. It was easy to see the disaster waiting in the wings if I took that first drink. And so, I didn’t take that first drink. (My friends know what a drunk I was, and they were supportive, so that really helped as well.)

Anyway, I’ve got lots to share, but I just wanted to say that all is well in my little sober world. 90 days coming up on June 16th!

Loosening the reins (not caring), committing fully, or both?

28 May

12:11 pm

I know, the past two posts have been about not caring, and I apologize for that.

It’s not exactly “not caring,” it’s more not having the energy to care THAT MUCH about the “whole mess,” as I’ve been referring to my drinking life/getting sober. Life moves on, and well, I have to let some things go in order to make room for others, right? (My brother called me the other day, but I just can’t be bothered; there will be no call back, mainly to preserve my momentum and because, well, I don’t feel like engaging anyone, including my own family, in a passive aggressive relationship. In a nutshell, I just can’t care. I feel bad, sure, but I can’t care about that either.)

(And, this will be a very lame paragraph in an effort to preserve my anonymity, so bear with me:)

I’m going [out of town] tomorrow to check out a graduate program I’m interested in, to check in on my storage unit, to see some friends, to go to the DMV, and to hit the dentist and hair salon (there are salons down here, of course, but you know, creature of habit). I’m thinking (we’ll see tonight, after my Skype chat) of volunteering for about six weeks teaching English on [a neighboring island] this summer. We’re going to [another neighboring island] for my birthday. I’m running, making (some) money, and trying to begin the thought process involved in re-inserting myself back into the “real world” workforce without having a panic attack…

Panic attack? Nah. I know that I’m beyond that kind of thinking. But, drinking? Well, I do have butterflies, mainly because I wonder if I can do this sober? This real life thing? Or, is it just that this all scares me NOW, at this moment, because I basically “hid” on an island for about 18 months (in order to get sober) and now…? Maybe it’s that I KNOW it’ll all unfold smoothly…if and only if I don’t drink? Is it that wolfie’s simply looking for an in here, and I have to put my foot down (on its skull) and close that door?

I admit, I have thought about drinking once I get on the plane. You know? Like, I made it to 70 days again, and damn it, what else is there to do in my old big city but drink?! Drink drank drunk! Sigh. That was my OLD life, I have to keep reminding myself. I have to have the foresight (check; shit would be so disappointing if I wound up back to square one within a day) and courage (um, check?) to believe that I can do it. I just have to take the first step, then the second, then the third…

Almost subconsciously, I alerted the friend who I’ll be crashing with that I was sober. She already knows, but I guess I figured, I better remind her…so that I don’t have an out, you see. Which, the next day, a part of me (wolfie-boy) was like, Aww, damn it, now I really can’t drink if I’ve promised her not to let me! Boo.

Then, it quickly crept up on me, like a fast blush, that I really don’t want to drink. Why? For all the same God damned, motherfucking (yes, I need that ;)) reasons I haven’t been drinkin’ since last June (thick skull): don’t want to get too drunk on the flight and get lost at the airport (or worse); don’t want to show up at my friend’s place drunk and/or angry (or worse); don’t want to sleep until 10 or 11 (uh, 2?), hung over, and mess up my schedule, which has my days packed with activity; don’t want to be THAT girl, who has not only offended and let down her big city peeps, but who wants to prove to them that she really IS changed.

Things are different. I believe it. They are, aren’t they?

I think I just have to take some deep breaths, rely on my well-trained sober muscles, and go forth. Like a track star. Which I am, right? There will be scared-y cat moments, there will be awkward and weird encounters; but, if I commit to being sober, all will go well. There will be no events, no crises, no hangovers, no ruinous bullshit. And, I can come home and be on my way to 90 days (again)…making Belle’s 100 Day Challenge a success…and building toward 180, where I’ve never been.

(The truth is, I could probably drink on the flight, but not more than two. And, I could probably drink on my own, but not with my friends (I will never go there again, mainly because I have NO idea what might transpire)–but, what fun is that? And, it’s like, duh, this all feels so familiar, limiting and rationing and blah blah blah. In fact, this leads me to remember an incident I read about and one of my own, about some kid who died because he tried some stupid stunt on the subway tracks while shitfaced… There is no other option but to not drink. For now. And I know it.)

Some lovely comments on my blog lately!

8 Mar

10:03 pm

I just wanted to say, thanks, friends! I know I haven’t replied to some of them, but I definitely have read them all through and through–and I’m sure you do have some idea, but it’s hard to imagine that you have any idea HOW MUCH they mean to me and support me. I still need it; I think about drinking every day. Doesn’t mean I really want to, or even sort of want to. The support helps.

I’ll update in the next day or so, as I made it to Miami for my “girl” (it would be “girls’,” but there’s just one of me) weekend. I had thought that I might drink–I’m on my own, who would know? BUT, after breezing in and out of two stores–and past many a shelf of good, cheap wine–NAH. It’s just not something I do, am doing. It’s just not my habit.

And, it was EASY to say that to myself, and move on with nary a twinge. Well, maybe one or two, way, deep down.

Yay, me! The practice of refusing to drink, day in and day out, DOES MAKE IT EASIER. It gets easier, and keeps getting easier. For all of you out there who commented and are just starting, it gets better. It really does.

I’ll be charging around on my unicorn this weekend, so if you don’t hear from me until next week, you know why! Much gratitude and love, friends. Go, us! We are superstars. 🙂

Back from vacation and, I can fly! Er, zipline!

9 Jan

9:56 am

Yes, fly! Well, strapped to a harness overlooking almost 4,500 feet of air! Thanks to Bucket List Publications blog, I’ve been totally inspired to make this year the year of “Don’t Ask Why, Ask Why Not” and “Just Do It” (when it comes to adventure sports-type things like being, falling, or diving through the air). Thanks, Lesley! 🙂

I just got back from three days in Puerto Rico, and this time, we crashed a luxury hotel, ate hamburgers, walked around Old San Juan, sat in the hot tub, swam in the pool, ate cold cuts, and went ziplining, in a nutshell! Oh, and shopped. Of course. Man, I have to say, Puerto Ricans really take their shopping seriously. (I got a dog collar for my new girl, complete with laser-engraved name tag; we got a Roku to watch well, tons of shit on. Aww/Yay.)

I’m also at 90 DAYS SOBER today, and man, I cannot tell you how GLAD I am that I wasn’t hung over when I woke up after three hours’ sleep to hit the nature park where we ziplined! I don’t think you need me to remind you. I mean, I would’ve pushed through (barely), but, it’s still so fresh in my mind, that sickening pain and agony…

Anyway, I was thinking this morning as I was making my (decaf iced) coffee, Well, Drunky Drunky Girl, you can go and get your 90-day chip tonight and then, it’s up to you, to drink or not to drink. That was the deal I made with myself.

But…why? Why should I start on The Grape again?

The most pressing concerns really stand out:

1. I still don’t feel that well. I mean, I feel more tired than usual, a lot of the time. I feel like my digestive system, which acupuncturist after acupuncturist has complained is “weak” is well, still weak. Frankly, I don’t think I can afford to drink wine again…yet. My body still feels sort of worn out.

2. I have a bucket list a mile long for this year, which includes freelancing more and planning more adventures. How can I spend money on booze AND save for these things?

3. 8 Tuff Miles, the 8-mile road race I signed up for, is coming up end of February. I, um, really need to start training for that (knees hurt, body feels tired)–drinking won’t help!

Anyway, happy first week of January, y’all, and I’ll check back in later to tell you all about flying through the sky in Orocovis hooked to some cables, and, well, further thoughts on 90 days. It’s here. It’s really, really here!

Home *from* the holidays: tired, but still sober!

24 Nov

11:57 am

My boyfriend and I spent three nights in Puerto Rico for Thanksgiving, which is why I’ve been offline for the past few days.

It was a packed, fun-filled trip, which included a visit to the Arecibo Observatory; a tour of the Rio Camuy Cave Park (underground limestone cave system); a night in Ponce; a visit to the Ponce Museum of Art, which, to my gleeful surprise, is the home of one of my favorite paintings, Flaming June; and a puertorican-style turkey dinner at a hotel on the Ponce town square. Among other awesome, vacation-y things. 😉

All in all, a great time. And, no drinky drink!

I have to admit, I did have a few mood swings; I’m not sure if it’s the 6 weeks sober affecting me, or if I really did want to drink and was just having mental tantrums, but man. All of the sudden, a negative thought would hit me, it would roll into a ball of thoughts, and before I knew it, I was a grump! Then, it would pass. At one point, I got Way Too Hungry and nearly had a meltdown, like a child. I used to always be able to manage my hunger (to a ridiculous extent, actually — I could go all day, hiking around a foreign city, without food), so this was weird.

I also really, really, really wanted to drink while we were eating our TG dinner at the hotel (Holidays = wine, right?) and then again while watching Flight, the new Denzel Washington flick, at a local cinema. Oh, well, is all I can think of to say. It comes, it goes. It’s not easy. There is no magic bullet “protecting” me against my urge to drink, and all the temporary emotions that come with it. However, the key word here is *temporary.* (Btw, I found it more than a tad offensive how proselytizing the film was re: drinking and AA. JESUS, we get it. Bad shit happens to drunks and addicts. I don’t know, maybe it pissed me off more than I’d like to admit to see everyone and their uncle “beat up” on Denzel’s character; I mean, YES, he made egregious mistakes, but the film made it obvious that alcoholism is a disease, and not a choice, so what the hell?).

Instead of a 30-minute flight back, it turned into over two hours flight time: our plane couldn’t land due to weather and wind (Ugh! Talk about channeling the movie!), so we had to fly back to San Juan after circling over [beautiful island] for about 20 minutes — in a lot of turb — and then deplane, and then re-board and fly back to [beautiful island]!

I’m here now, and feeling more tired than I think I should! Like, I just want to retreat, re-collect myself, and avoid AA and people and anything (holidays, films like Flight) that tempt me into thinking, Oh, come on, Just One Glass wouldn’t hurt

Though, on the very bright side: on Thanksgiving morning I woke up at 9, worked out in the hotel’s gym by 10, took a dip in the pool and then the hot tub, had my coffee, packed, and got on the road to Ponce all by 1! I ONLY could have done that because I was/am sober — and it felt amazing beyond words. Really. Despite the moodiness and fleeting desire to imbibe, waking up sober and knowing that there is nothing that is worth drinking over is wonderful. It sets a long road ahead, rather than cutting it off at the corner in a dusty cul-de-sac.

Depression, purging at AA meetings, and cosmic consciousness — oh, my!

20 Nov

12:51 pm

That’s pretty much all I have to say!

NOT!

Things are still drama-free (in my head), and life (and death) are still presenting themselves at face value, with no hidden meanings and/or tricks up their sleeves. Which is nice. For once in a long time, I feel…a monotony to this sense of peace and calm about being alive and being human. Kind of like I used to feel. Secure in my choices, personal and professional.

Which makes me think, maybe booze DID have a serious effect on my state of mind? Duh. It made me depressed, and what a strange feeling to come out of that, look back, and notice it. It’s subtle, but at the same time, it’s everything. It’s hard to articulate, and it makes me think of my dad, who is struggling with a serious bout of depression — going on 5 years or something. I wish he’d take meds again. Oh, well, not mine to worry about.

Many a thing I’ve been learning in AA, just from listening and identifying:

1. I don’t have to believe — internalize — other people’s anger and/or accusations. I don’t even have to acknowledge them besides letting them go in one ear and out the other. I know me, and I know what I’ve done wrong. I’ve tried making amends with certain crazy-bitch “sister-in-law”-type people, and well, I don’t need to worry anymore about it. Does it/she still piss me off when I think about it? Yup. Do I need to hold onto that? No.

2. AA meetings are place to vent! To purge, as it were. I think I’m beginning to understand the group therapy aspect to it: if you vent your anger, frustrations, difficulties with drinking, remorse, etc. to others who care and identify, you don’t need to bottle it up; which inevitably will lead to drinking, exploding on someone in a drunken tirade, or any other self-destructive behavior. Here’s a spot-on excerpt from a post at October O Nine, with credit to Running On Sober for featuring it in reference to purging at meetings, holidays, and staying sober during them:

We now celebrate everyday and we purge our fears, anger and sadness daily to our sober sisters and live happy, joyous and free. Most Earth People don’t; they swallow their anger, bury their fears and suppress their sadness, telling themselves that soon it will be the holiday, they will have their food, family and drinks around them for the day and everything will be alright in the world. But today’s expectations are tomorrow’s resentments and they will be into the drinks and that anger, fear and sadness will start to bubble to the surface and whoever is present is going to bear the brunt.

3. I can’t overreact to, control, or fix other people’s problems. I don’t have to care. The last part I wonder about, but I’m feeling like, no, it is NOT my responsibility to care. I WANT to care, most of the time, and I do. I’ve made an effort to be more in touch with my family, to call more, to simply make myself available. However, I don’t have to care if they don’t respond or reciprocate.

4. Meditate. It doesn’t matter if you sit and don’t think, or sit and think; just try. I don’t even like trying to “not think” anymore; I just like to Sit and Be, thoughtlessness be damned. Try anything that takes you out of your head. For me, that’s physical activity; or, working (researching and writing).

5. I think there are a LOT of people in AA who have serious difficulty conceptualizing “God” and “how to meditate,” just like me! After almost 20 meetings in a row (I will miss one tonight; too bad), I’ve realized: there is no one way. There is no one way to understand it. Maybe I’m totally close-minded for NOT believing that a benevolent god oversees our daily activities, but that matters less to me now. I do believe in something — cosmic consciousness is as close to it as I can explain. That is acceptable, as far as I can tell, by AA! What a relief! The thought that everyone in the room simply accepts “God” as a being or some sort of benevolent force — a Biblical God — is now a bit absurd to me. Of course everyone in the room has struggled like I have. It is a process, a seeking, an increasing understanding — present tense, not past. And, totally changing all the time, for everyone.

My boyfriend and I are heading to Puerto Rico today for the holiday. After last year’s major fiascos (Thanksgiving at my brother’s, being sober and feeling VERY self-conscious about it — they asked me not to drink, yet they drank throughout the entire four or five days I was there; Christmas Eve in [cold west coast sity] — another shameful story for another post; New Year’s at my older brother’s, getting shitfaced, blacking out, and screaming bloody murder at my brother and his girlfriend, who is still hating me for it), I SWORE I was NOT doing holidays with the family this year. It’s my gift to myself. And, you know what? I deserve it. I don’t need to put myself through it again.

So…there ya have it! 😉

As for drinking? Eh, I don’t really feel like it, and it’s a consistent lack of desire. WHEW. I never EVER thought I’d feel a reprieve, and here it is. I don’t know if I don’t want to (75%) or I’ve convinced myself that the effects of drinking are shite (25%), but it’s enough to keep me away. I have noticed that the time lapse between romanticizing a drink and thinking about the nonsense that will ensue if I choose to have it has definitely decreased. I don’t have to endure the craving for long, if I apply my mental trick of “avoidance therapy” (my version of shock therapy, I guess). I really hope/pray (ha!) that it’s a mental trick that I can consistently rely on going forward. I also have begun to mentally associate feeling drunk with feeling hung over; my mind is putting a negative spin even on the “high” of the first drink or two. I never believed that my thought patterns could change like this; maybe a re-wiring is happening, but it doesn’t seem to be a conscious effort on my part. AWESOME, big old brain! You ain’t so bad after all. 😉

Coming up on 6 weeks sober this Thursday! Woot woot!

Wake up!

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