Alcoholic Reminiscing

It’s difficult relating to other women about relationships and men because I’ve it’s always been complicated with me. I always had crushes that were never returned or revealed. When I started drinking it was 1990 and we all hung out in groups. I’ve said before the group I hung out with was not filled with your boy next door types. They were all older and the majority had done some kind of prison/jail time but not all of them. There were not many women around on a day to day basis except me.

Everyone gathered at J’s apartment. People were in and out constantly and the music was always loud. So loud that he had his phone rigged to flashing lights so he would know someone was calling. I was there so often that J would tell me to answer the phone and the door after giving me a list of who he didn’t want to see or talk to. He usually had a revolving door of roommates I answered for too.

One was John. I loved John. He was 6′ tall and thin with blond hair that went down almost to his waist. I remember walking to the store with him one day, I fell behind and a group of guys drove by and started whistling at him. They couldn’t tell it was a guy. lol He was warm, funny, and when he hugged me it was always like he would never see me again. He would pick me up too which I thought was impressive considering my size. He didn’t like it when the other guys said stuff about me in front me. He was one of the few that would tell them to stop. We were good friends for years until I messed it up.

He always had girls around him. He was in a band, taught guitar, and sold guitars so he was popular. He also drank too much, liked coke and crack too much too. At first he had a crush on my best friend but I thought of him as a friend so it didn’t matter. A few years later my feelings had changed. Unlike most men I’ve met he actually sat me down in a room and said “You know I love you. I love you so much but not in the way you want me to”. If more people were just honest my life might’ve been a little easier.

Two alcoholics who have been drinking together for years are eventually going to do something stupid. I initiated it and felt incredibly guilty when I remembered the next day. I stayed away from J’s for a little while. There were consequences to our actions that I felt were mostly my fault so I didn’t tell him. J with the big mouth decided to tell him. John was pissed. I didn’t know this and went to the apartment and started drinking with J like I usually did. When John arrived I was already drunk. He wouldn’t talk to me or look at me. The song “Black” by Pearl Jam came on and when I heard “I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s life” I pretty much lost it. I tried not to show emotion in front of them for years. I learned early on they smell weakness and prey on it. This time John lifted me from the table and took me to an empty room where he just held me and rocked me back and forth.

He said he wasn’t really angry he was sad. It wan’t the decision he wanted me to have to make alone. He’s also the only man that has ever told me the only reason he regretted being with me was because we were drunk and I didn’t deserve that I deserved to be treated special because he loved me.

We continued to be friends. A few weeks later he hooked up with a stripper. I had a hard time being around them and drank more. She had me beat. She drank so much she would wet the bed every time she stayed over. But there was always another to take her place. There were a lot of strippers that came and went and I didn’t like any of them. I tried at first but they never looked past the fat girl hanging out with the guys. Some of them didn’t like that I was always around. I was rude to 1 or 2 by saying “you’re not that great I’ve slept with your boyfriend too he’s not that picky”. I know not a great thing to say. Whenever I felt bad about myself or backed into a corner I lashed out and if cheap hard liquor was involved forget it. The cheaper the vodka the meaner I would be.

My story took a turn for the worse didn’t it? John has been with the same woman for years now and doesn’t drink as much. I haven’t seen him in about 17 years. I’ll always remember the good things about him. Even though I was drunk I can still have those memories of things I’ve never had sober.

Advertisements

DRINKING: Why I Miss It And Why I Stay Sober

I like to remember when I was drinking sometimes. Once in awhile I miss it. The important thing is to remember the good times and the bad times. I have a habit of only reflecting on the good times. I also have to remind myself why I stay sober. My reasons won’t be the same as someone else’s reasons and that’s fine as long as it works for me.

I loved the excited feeling I would get inside as I prepared each day to drink. It was a ritual. I had to do my hair and make up and pick an outfit to wear. Even though I was over 200 pounds these things still mattered to me. I make myself sound disgusting but I guess I had a pretty face and there were men who were attracted to me.

When I drank there was a physical change in me. I stood up straight and held my head up looking people in the eye with a confidence only alcohol could give me. At times this did cause trouble. Other times it worked to my advantage. I never would’ve met as many bands as I have if I hadn’t been drinking. I never had to pay for a meet and greet, my best friend and I would somehow end up meeting them. I was the charming one and she was the beautiful one.

I regret the fact I don’t remember some of the people I’ve met. How could I forget an entire car ride and conversation that lasted over an hour? I didn’t blackout often but we had been in the pit during the concert so it’s possible I hit my head. Guys hated it when we went in the pit so I would make W. go in with me just to piss them off. Drinking with me was like a box of chocolates, you never knew who you were going to get.

Alcohol almost always acted like a stimulant with me until I reached a certain point. I just never knew when that point would be so I would drink until I got there. I wanted to feel normal inside, I wanted the pain I couldn’t name to go away, I wanted to be able to talk to people and not feel like I didn’t belong all the time. And alcohol did that for me.

Alcohol also made me say things I wouldn’t normally say, do things I wouldn’t normally do, spend time with people I wouldn’t normally spend time with. Did I love meeting Lars Ulrich, Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach, Stephen Pearcy, Pantera and being at The Rainbow? Yup. But some meetings didn’t go so well and all I can say is I’m glad they were as drunk as I was.

Never being in a relationship wasn’t exactly fun either. The police knowing my name in three towns was bad too. Pepper spray is never fun, twice is just cruel (both by accident I was caught in the crossfire). A DUI is something to be ashamed of not to mention what I put my family through.

I’m sober now because I know why I drank. It became clear when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It didn’t take me long to stop drinking after that. As I learned more about why I drank it made things a little easier. Treating addiction has to go hand in hand with mental health treatment or you are not going to get far. I know this firsthand.

If I drank now my body couldn’t handle it. My brain would think I could drink like I used to but I only have one kidney now. I have thought about it recently because my medications are not being absorbed and I feel like I did when I was younger. I have my dad to think about. If he wasn’t here I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have some kind of light fruity drink. Which I never ever would’ve had years ago but now it’s the only thing that sounds appealing. Kind of strange.

I’m tired, alone, trapped, isolated, filled with grief but for who? Maybe everyone and myself the life I could’ve had and now never will. The 20 years I wasted or my mom who I still miss ever single day or my best friend who I never see or my twin who would rather commit me than have a conversation with me.

I always told W. if things got bad I was going to Vegas and pulling a Nicolas Cage. She always laughed and said “No you won’t”. This last time I said it and she started crying. She said she wouldn’t blame me and she knew how bad it’s been for me but she loved me. First time ever someone said the right thing.

So I’ll stay sober and try to help my Dad celebrate his 74th Birthday tomorrow. Do they sell cakes shaped like pigeons?

ALCOHOLISM IS GREAT!

I took my first drink because I was afraid to talk to people. I wanted to be sociable. I wanted people to like me. I soon became argumentative and obnoxious. Slurring my speech didn’t help either.

I drank because it made me feel happy and numb. Until it didn’t anymore and I found myself on top of someone’s roof, bleeding from my arms, taking bottles of pills.

I drank to keep the friends I had. They wound up as enemies and one almost killed me.

I drank to make the butterflies in my stomach go away and would end up with the shakes by 5:00 p.m. the next day.

I drank for liquid courage and was scared when I started to vomit blood and couldn’t remember large portions of the night before.

I drank and I drank because drinking is great.

You lose your money, dignity, self worth, job, friends, family, health, but who needs those things?

Turns out I did. More than I could ever know.

If stopping were easy we wouldn’t have movies and books about it. You might mess up a few times along the way. It’s a journey not a destination. It’s also a disease that can come back at anytime. It’s why I think of myself as in Remission so IF I HAPPEN TO FALL I CAN GET BACK UP.

There’s no place for GUILT or SHAME. These feelings that other’s will put on you will be your downfall. They are not the ones going through this, you are. Do what’s best for you!

If you’re being forced into not drinking it will never work. Ask the 3 Judges that forced me. I did my time and went right back to drinking. Never gave it a second thought.

Until you’re ready, you won’t. alcoholism_quote_2

 

THE STRUGGLE OVER TREATING ALCOHOLISM (We’re Failing)

My feelings on Alcoholism and the treatment of Alcoholism is very different from most people. I realize that everyone has to do what works for them. I don’t pass judgement on anyone for their choice in how they maintain sobriety.

Recently I read a quick article about a 35 year old woman who died from liver failure due to alcohol related issues. She had made herself into somewhat of a Celebrity by gaining the most followers on Myspace when it was popular. Vanity Fair did an article on her, she started her own clothing line, rock stars followed her account, and she was the first Kim Kardashian.

I couldn’t find anything about her past or family. I do think it says something that a person would post such a large amount of selfies to draw followers and attention. I think even though she had 800,000 followers she was probably still lonely.

No one wakes up one day and says “I think I’ll start drinking and continue until I ruin everyone and everything around me”. I know I didn’t. I just wanted the overload of pain and feeling like I never belonged to go away even if it was only for a short time.

When some people do realize they have a problem and want to get help many programs are focused on the wrong things. I get it, I made mistakes, I hurt people, I should make amends and take responsibility. But I should also think back to that first drink and what was going on at the time that I felt like I needed to keep drinking. What feeling did alcohol provide that I couldn’t provide myself?

That was the biggest issue. Yes, it’s great to know that you’re not the only one who’s done stupid things and hearing other people’s stories works for a short time. You can only share your stories so many times. If I had to hear “I was a piss your pants barroom broad” one more time I was going to piss my pants out of boredom. Every time I achieved some sobriety with a program I would slip, feel ashamed, and give up.

This last time was different. I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and given some insight about self-medicating.

I took that first drink to “fit in”. I continued to drink to make everything I didn’t want to feel or experience go away. It worked for years but created more things I wanted to forget, traumatic experiences and affected my health.

Several years before I stopped drinking I was told that my Liver was enlarged. I ignored it and kept drinking. I also lost a significant amount white and grey matter. No one knows for sure how much is due to alcohol abuse. Some of the alcohol I consumed daily was rotgut. I wouldn’t be surprised. I also have some issues with my Pancreas. I think Alcoholism needs to be looked at differently when being treated. I believe you’re not just treating an Alcohol Addiction you’re also treating other underlying issues.

STATISTICS

  • Alcohol is the 4th leading preventable cause of death
  • An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes a year
  • Around 5.1 million Adults 18+ have a problem with alcohol
  • Around 623,000 adolescents 12-17 have a problem with alcohol
  • 45.8% of Liver Disease deaths involve alcohol

 

 

 

FROM THE BEGINNING (Alcohol to Mental Illness. From The Cradle to Junior High)

I have decided to start my story from when it all began. I need everything to make sense to me. None of it is lately. I’ve had a lot of confusion and memory gaps. I have to keep a dictionary and thesaurus next to me at all times. I have trouble remembering peoples names that at one time I had no problem spitting out. I don’t like it.

THE CRADLE

My parents had known each other in grade school. My mother had a crush on my dad. Sadly they both had to quit school and wouldn’t see each other until years later in a bar. Both of my parents are alcoholics. My father has been sober 35 years. My mom passed away several years ago but had been sober 28 years at the time of her death.

Mental Illness and Alcoholism is prominent on my mom’s side of the family. 2 Alcoholic Uncles, 1 Schizophrenic, IV Drug addicted Uncle. 1 Alcoholic Aunt, My mom and 1 other sister suffered from Depression, my mom an Alcoholic, 1 more Aunt an Alcoholic and the last Aunt Schizophrenic. My Grandmother was something but the words I would use wouldn’t be polite. She did drink and personally I thought she was more than Mentally Ill. How my mom survived that woman I’ll never know. Almost all of her siblings fled at an early age. My mom was the oldest and stayed in the State. As years went by she felt responsible for her mother. If I could go back in time, grow a spine and speak up for my mom maybe things would’ve been different. But I know my dad didn’t sit back and watch so it must have fell on deaf ears. My mom could be stubborn when it came to family. I was lucky she was.

So my parents met again in a bar. It wasn’t love at first sight it more like Fatal Attraction. My mom chased my dad until he gave up. He says it was the best decision of his life. He was petrified when he learned she was pregnant and went away for awhile. He came back just in time for our delivery. My mother didn’t know she was having twins. It was January 1973. We were one right behind the other so the Doctor was only hearing one heartbeat. It was actually 2 that were in sync with one another. I wish my sister thought about that now.

When I was a baby/toddler I moved around a lot in my crib. I also had bloody noses frequently. My crib was one of those extra safe ones with wheels that didn’t quite lock in place. At some point I had begun to bang my head on the mattress of the crib as a soothing mechanism. When my parents would wake up in the morning they would come in to find my crib across the room.

They went out on a much needed date one night leaving me, my twin sister, and my seven year old brother with a babysitter. They forgot to tell the babysitter about my bloody noses or head banging crib moving. The babysitter walked into what looked like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. My crib across the room, blood all over the walls, and blood all over me. She did the logical thing and called the police. My poor parents came home to a swarm of police cars thinking the worse had happened. Nope. Just me and my “quirky” behavior.

I continued to bang or bounce my head for years. I also continued to get nose bleeds. I had my nose cauterized 3 or 4 times. If you don’t know what that is it’s like in movies when they would amputate then use fire to stop the bleeding. In my circumstance it was a chemical equivalent that burned the vessels in my sinus cavity to stop the bleeding. I would say it was uncomfortable. They took out my Adenoids and Tonsils thinking it would help. I was the oldest one having their tonsils out and of course something went wrong. I spiked a fever and started vomiting. This caused my stitches to tear so I had to stay longer.

My twin always looked at me with contempt or disgust when I had a nosebleed. I had no control over them. Sometimes all it took was the hot water hitting my head in the shower. I never knew when it was going to happen. The bouncing I could understand. I also would rock side to side while standing. I never felt comfortable no matter where I was. I had many soothing mechanisms. While sitting one leg was going up and down like a jackhammer. Hardly anyone noticed through the years what a big bundle of crazy nerves and self hate I was.

I really don’t know how so many people could’ve missed it. Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Parents, Relatives and even my own twin never could see me slowly dying day by day. A six hour school day was like thirteen hours to me. There was no place where I found joy or relief. I couldn’t even look to my sister for help. She had made it clear by the time we were in Junior High that I was on my own.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and my own Birthday I would sneak away to my room to read. If I was reading I was in another world and not in mine. If anyone asked why I wasn’t joining in I said I “didn’t feel well”. I was the sickest kid in family history. As I became a little older things started to change. Around 12/13 I became irritable, spiteful, I would talk too much and read all night not sleeping. My parents always let us drink soda. But they started to ask me how much of it I had been drinking and if I was drinking coffee too. Someone suggested to my mom that it was “hormones”. Nope. I was an early bloomer making things more difficult. I had my period by age 10. I was a size 36 C by age 11. ( I apologize to the men reading. ) So in my expert opinion hormones were not it.

Someone recently asked if I felt resentful because I hadn’t been diagnosed earlier. What’s the point? It doesn’t change anything. Would I like to speak to some of the so called experts and tell them what it’s cost me? Sometimes. There isn’t a Psychiatrist, Doctor, Nurse, Therapist, who knows what I’ve been through unless they have been through the exact same thing. It’s impossible. I don’t understand what War is like and would never presume to. I don’t understand Religious Belief and wouldn’t pretend to because I’ve studied Religion. It doesn’t work that way.

Regrettably even other people with Bipolar Disorder and Addiction think they have or know the answers. They don’t. We can only take educated guesses at the similarities in certain groups. Human brains are like snow flakes. There are no two alike.tumblr_mmzqwg1lc71s7j5pho1_500

 

Trouble

I responded to a post about the A.A. organization. The person writing the post went over the regulations for A.A. The problem is it contradicted itself. The writer’s response to A.A. being a religious organization was that it might have been that particular meeting. If you didn’t like it you can “start your own meeting down the street”.

It was also pointed out that A.A. does not make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses. There’s no leader or religious affiliation. Then there was a list of what A.A. DOES DO.

A.A. has helped many people and I realize meetings are different across the country. The problem is the naivete that everyone will follow these dos and don’ts on their own without regulation. It just doesn’t happen.

In my State, and yes I went to many different meetings across my State, almost all meetings are held in a church or on church property. At the end of the meeting they say a prayer. I received many a dirty look for not holding hands and reciting along.

I was strongly encouraged to go off of my Depression medication because it was a “crutch” and my Anxiety wasn’t Anxiety it was probably my gallbladder.

When I first tried A.A. I was young and damaged. I have a hard time thinking I could have started my own meeting when I couldn’t even write my name.

So who makes sure A.A. does what it was set up to do and not what it isn’t suppose to do? Are you just suppose to go from meeting to meeting until you find one that fits? Most people attending meetings were getting rides from other people or walking due to D.U.I charges or financial situations. It’s absurd. It’s offensive for me to see someone write “If you don’t like the meeting you can go down the street and start your own”. It’s flippant.

Hard To Watch

I was watching a favorite Netflix show, Happy Valley, when a horrible feeling started in the pit of my stomach.

In the show the main character’s sis is a recovering alcoholic, 12 years sober. On the day of a friend’s funeral the older sister leaves her younger, vulnerable sister, alone at the funeral. She said she would be right back. She wasn’t. She leaves her sister there with mostly strangers for 5 hours.

When the older sister finally comes back you can imagine what she finds. A very drunk, irate, sister. Of course the sister doesn’t want to go home. She wants the night to last. Even as her sister begs her to stop on her hands and knees, she doesn’t. She goes to a dive bar she used to go to for years. The older sister follows and they argue for hours even while the younger sister continues to drink.

Watching all of this felt so familiar it made me uncomfortable. I started thinking of the past and when people in my family had begged ME to stop drinking. I didn’t.

I understood all too well why the younger sister drank. She felt out of place, she thought the other people there were better than her, she didn’t know how to talk to people in a fancy house at a wake. She felt invisible.

All of these feelings I’ve felt and thought I was fixing them by drinking. When I drank I didn’t care who the people were around me, I could find the courage to start a conversation, I was even cocky or arrogant at times.

As the alcohol left my system I would start to feel anxious and guilty. I would go crazy trying to remember who I pissed off or who I was too friendly with.

The only way to fix the shame and guilt was to drink again. A never ending cycle.

I did decide this last time that I was taking guilt and shame out of the equation. I wasn’t going to set myself up for failure before I even began. I put all of the what ifs out of my head. I decided if I slipped I wasn’t going to spend a week dry heaving with anxiety attacks and then decide it was too difficult and everyone was already disappointed so I might as well give up.

When I gave myself a break and took all that pressure off of myself I found it easier to stay sober. And I have for 7 years. I won’t bullshit you, the thought crosses my mind from time to time. The first few beautiful days of summer are the hardest.

But that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach reminds me of how I act when drunk. That alone stops me. Will it always stop me? I don’t know. I can only hope and continue to try.