Day 526

creep

I caught myself watching this video of a legendary night in 2008 thinking how much I would have enjoyed being there, drunk. I’m getting better at noticing thoughts like that, recognizing them, and allowing them to pass, like a leaf floating downstream.

I saw Bob Dylan, and I don’t remember any of it. So while I’m sure I enjoyed being there, drunk….you know? If a tree falls in the woods.

I eloped last month, by the way. I’m a murried woman. I’m happy, and aware, and here.

huh.

For the first time since I got sober, I had a dream in which I came very close to drinking, in fact, made the decision that I would drink, and then stopped myself at the last minute. Huh.

484 days

Hello my blog. I’m still here! I’ve actually experienced some of my most difficult urges in the last couple of months, and I’m happy to say I’ve overcome them without relapsing. House sitting is the fucking hardest, man. I’ve done it twice now, and the second time was harder than the first. I just went to a bunch of SMART meetings, and went home when it was too bad. I ate a lot of Oreos. I watched a lot of Call the Midwife. I did a lot of homework, which is kind of my life now. Yeah, yeah yeah. We know. 18 units.

I decided to utilize a tool for disarming my urges discussed in SMART recovery. Taking the voice in my head that says shit like, “You should just drink. No one would know. You wouldn’t be hurting anyone.” and actually personifying it. Giving it a voice and a face and a name. I took a character from Call the Midwife who is a really heavy drinker, and making her the monster addict in my brain saying stupid shit. She has the perfect name, too.

So now when I get that little voice chirping in my brain, telling me that I’m going to fall off the wagon sometime, might as well be now, or that I will only feel okay if I’m drinking, I can now respond, out loud, if necessary, with a resounding, “Shut the fuck up, Trixie.”

Engagement party.

I’m blogging before we go out. I think everyone is going to get really drunk, and I’m feeling really jealous. I was talking to my future sis-in-law and telling her that I can’t just have one cigarette. She asked why. And I told her that it was because of the same reason I can’t just have one drink. My amygdala is busted. Wish me luck guys. I know I’m not going to drink, but I don’t know that I’m going to have fun.

Dream

I went to bed shortly after blogging last night and had another super realistic dream. In the dream I was realizing that I had relapsed. Now, I haven’t actually relapsed, but in the dream, I somehow remembered that I had, and was keeping it a secret. I spent the entirety of the dream trying to decide if “day 420” still counted. I woke up and forgot about it until this afternoon when I remembered, and had an actual moment of panic. I relapsed! I thought. I relapsed and forgot about it and no body knows about it. It took me a minute to return to reality.

The benefit of this reoccurring experience is that when I regain a sense of reality, I almost feel like I’ve traveled through time. All of a sudden, I’m 421 days sober.

I’m traveling to Los Angeles–big reveal, I live in California–this weekend for my future brother in-law’s engagement party. I’m carefully planning and implementing a strategy to finish all of my schoolwork before we leave. In my internal dialogue, I sort of whisper to myself, “Gonna blast through school so I can party this weekend.” I felt a twinge at my use of the word, almost like I was walking on eggshells with myself. Partying is what drinkers do. You don’t party anymore.

I’m officially reclaiming that word for myself.

I have had several nights since I quit drinking in which I can feel like I still “partied”. I’ve been up all night with my friends, sometimes while they are drinking, sometimes not, playing shuffleboard, laughing hysterically. I enjoy them more because they aren’t wrought with regret at what I just blurted out, what I felt like the next day, the pangs of nausea and the whirl of the room spinning as I finally lay down to bed. I was at a homie’s birthday party a few weeks ago, and it was a huge party. German-themed, and almost errybody got pretty crunk. I wore an authentic Bavarian dress I had lying around from a Halloween costume five years ago, and acted the way that I do when I’m having fun. I acted like a complete nutcase. At one point, someone asked my friend how much I had had to drink. The person who asked didn’t know me very well, but the friend she asked did. My friend laughed and said, “Not a single one. She doesn’t drink.”

I was standing right next to them, so I heard the whole thing. I turned around, looked the person who asked straight in the eye and said, “Can you imagine what I was like before I quit drinking?” It feels good to own it.

The less glamorous truth is, I was not nearly as fun when I drank. I was so secretive about how much I drank, and I coveted that secret when I drank in public. It kept me withdrawn. That’s why I preferred to drink alone.

Here’s to partying this weekend.

day 420

I was flossing my teeth just now and reflected on the chipped molar on the bottom left side of my mouth. I chipped it trying to open a bottle of beer in the car so I could drink it on the way home. I told people that there must have been a rock in my food. I always forget about it, as I have avoided going to the dentist. I don’t particularly feel like explaining it. I know that I don’t have to.

As time goes on and I continue in my sobriety, I find some things are easier and some things maintain its difficulty. It is easier to discuss my past. It is easier to surf an urge that comes on, as I know it will release over seconds, minutes, hours. I do, however, continue to struggle with utilizing the tools in my toolbox to remain active in my recovery. For instance, I must exercise. I must go to therapy. I must feel the feelings that I would rather not feel. Anxiety, irritability, anger, frustration. All things that I would have dampened with drink in the past. The cravings still occur. They will always occur.

I am in the middle of an accelerated semester of 18 units, in which I am planning a wedding, and working full time. I am training for a marathon. This is very difficult. I’m not a religious person, I don’t go to church, I don’t go to AA. But I will say that I love God, and I believe that I can do this. I think that God knows that?

Thank you God, for the following:

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  2. My family, including my best friends, and the family that has adopted me, the family into which I am marrying.
  3. My dog, and my cat, and all animals, because I believe that they are better than us.
  4. My house
  5. My job. I believe that I was meant to work where I work, because it connected me with more members of my adopted family. T
  6. My university
  7. My health, and able-bodiness.
  8. My sense of humor
  9. My desire to better myself.
  10. My e-cigarette, aka “mouth fedora”, which as prevented me from revisiting the turmoil of real cigarette use. It has been very tempting lately.
  11. The recovery community on this site, and in SMART recovery. Seriously, I read your posts a lot, and the wisdom that you guys take the time to share is invaluable to me.
  12. This.
  13. The movie, The Fall.

garbage

School started this week, forcing me to pick one foot up after the next, to trudge on. The one year anniversary of the day I quit drinking alcohol was fucking awful. I worked a really long shift at work, and fully expected it to at least be tolerable, because of the accomplishment. Instead of feeling accomplished, I spent all day feeling guilt, shame, and remorse at the events that occurred the year to the day. That is what began that spectacular shame spiral voice, saying, “You are a garbage person. This is a garbage world. You are a garbage person.” I had to pick up prescriptions at the store, and sat there in the cleaning products aisle, fantasizing about leaving my cell phone on a shelf, driving to an isolated place, parking, putting in my favorite piece by Dvorak on repeat, and poisoning myself. It completely blindsided me. I never came close, I just sat there in the store, fantasizing about it. I had to run it through in my head, and figure it out that those actions would be far more selfish and unkind than anything I have done in the past. I will say it again, I never came close to hurting myself. I just let myself do down a really dark road, picked up my antidepressants, drove home, and crumpled up into bed. I told my Dude that I was in a lot of pain, and he of course wanted to hear about it, so I shared with him to the best of my ability, and also that I was worried that he was going to get sick of all my “bad brain days” as we refer to them.

“Did you drink?” He asked me.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Did you smoke?” He questioned me further.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Then you don’t have to worry about me.”

He was really clear a year ago. No more drinking. If I drank or smoked, he would leave me. Something I need to discuss with my therapist, J, is my feelings regarding this. I have this thought that he loves me a lot, but not unconditionally. Is that a healthy thought process? Can I blame him? I was awful, disgusting.

The morning of July 1st, 2014, after previous nights’ events wherein I admitted that I was an alcoholic who drank almost every day alone and in secret, then proceeded to physically attack him when he wanted to leave the house to go for a walk to think, then he slept in the living room for the first and only time, I woke up with a four inch wound on my face. He does not know when or how this injury occurred, and neither do I. It was bloody and weeping, and I still have a scar. I suspect that I went out and fell somewhere. I love that wound. In the weeks that followed, it was a representation of how I felt in the infancy of my sobriety. Like a big, gaping, weeping wound. I was not able to cover it up with make up, and at the time I worked as a bank teller in a very small town full of really rude, nosy people. “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE?”

Back to that morning. I woke up, feeling as Withnail put it, “like a pig shat in my head,” then, saw my face, then looked over at my beautiful cat. She also happened to have a giant fucking wound on her head. An abscess popped or something by her ear, and there was green pus and then rich red feline blood everywhere. I turned around, completely overwhelmed, looked at my boyfriend, who had come back to bed at some point and was sleeping soundly, and said, “Lovie, I’m going to faint.” And then I woke up on the ground, after fainting and hitting my head on his toolbox. I called in sick to work, called my mom and asked her if she would come and get my cat and me and take care of us for the day, because I needed help. We went to my wonderful vet, treated my cat, brought her home, and when I realized that my boyfriend didn’t want to have anything to do with me still, I asked her to take me with her. She and my dad bought me a sandwich, and I told them everything. That I drank at least a half pint of cheap vodka almost every night for at least two years, that I drove drunk, that I kept it a secret, that I tried to moderate and was successful up until I wasn’t, and that what I had dreaded all along was happening: that if my boyfriend found out that he would leave me.

Wow, this was a pretty yucky blog post to write. I will leave with this: it has gotten easier to maintain my sobriety as time goes on, and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. But as time bears on, it releases wondrous new gases that I’ve managed to keep to a slow fizzle this first year, just learning how to deal with the joys of adulthood without drowning in Popov.

I feel a lot of guilt and shame about being an alcoholic.

One year

I made it through the first year. Yesterday was the anniversary, and a surprisingly far day. I reflected a lot on the day a year ago, when I woke up with a four inch bloody wound on my face, fainted and hit my head on my boyfriend’s toolbox. I went to pick up my prescriptions after work yesterday, and had an unstoppable thought cycle that I was a garbage person, this was a garbage world, and that I didn’t want to be here anymore. The funny thing about it was that none of it felt triggering. I knew it wouldn’t go away if I drank, I knew that I wasn’t going to drink, but I just kept allowing/making myself continue with those painful thoughts.

You can laugh at any point

The place mats for the wedding came today. Man am I excited for that day. It’s not ’til Halloween of next year, but the things were on sale and I couldn’t resist. I don’t have a lot of anxiety about feeling triggered to drink at the wedding for some reason. That will come later I’m sure. I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the drought causing a dystopian society in which our wedding is ruined and cannibalistic tribes will try and eat my family, however. 

Our house cut down our water usage by 50% in a month. That is pretty fucking good. But I still sit here, in bed, spinning my wheels about it.

I’m going to the local water park on Sunday, oddly enough, because I want to celebrate my upcoming one year.

I made a joke to a friend that I was going to celebrate by getting hammered and he looked horrified. He didn’t even know me when I drank. I told him I’m sorry, I would never do that. Later that night, I told my betrothed the story of the failed joke. It was embarrassing but mostly I’m just not used to someone not laughing at my jokes. My guy responded by saying, “Well, maybe you gotta wait a bit longer. I guess those kind of jokes aren’t funny for everybody yet.”

I was drinking some water out of a mason jar a minute later, and he promptly asked, “what cha drinking?” My mouth was full so he just continued.

“I know, Straight vodka!” And then we laughed, because we aren’t goddamned robots.