DAY 88, 2020

I cannot believe I am almost at 90 days. I do not miss drinking. Each time I have a craving, I flash to the headache feeling or the sloppy, mortifying person I become when I drink. I am more quiet and thoughtful. I am becoming more secure in who I am – the creative parts, the deep thinking parts, the analytical parts, the woo woo parts. I am becoming who I have been meant to be.

I don’t think this is all alcohol related. I think this is part of growing into oneself. I am sure that everyone, whether the realize it or not, is slowly changing over a 90 day period for better or worse. The good news is, you get to start a new 90 day period every day if you want.

I don’t mean to sound high and mighty about this. It’s been hard work. It’s been strange navigating my relationships as a non-drinking person. Drunk Me had few boundaries and went with the flow for the good of the fucking party. Just saying that is gross. I put up with words and behavior and situations that would now qualify as wildly unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable.

I feel more powerful now. I feel power in the word “alcoholic” because it indicates that I am willing to look honestly at that part of myself and not run away.

TRIGGER WARNING – depression, self-harm, suicidal behavior

I have been thinking about my twenties a lot lately. My soul was so lost. I was a ghost. I barely existed where I stood. I’ve spoken here about how I drank to fit in and to make it more comfortable to interact with people.

When I wasn’t drinking though, I was severely depressed. I tried dozens of combinations of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. At 24, I drove my car into a pile of rocks and then drove the clunking car straight to the emergency room. I was fine from the small collision. But I wanted to die. My senses were heightened. Everything in my eyesight was sharp, yet I felt like I was just a pilot in my body. That last little shred of reason left in my brain knew I needed to get help.

As I drove, I sliced into my arms and legs with a broken CD case. It was all I could find. I felt possessed. I was conflicted. I didn’t know how I would pay for this but that small pilot directed me in. I answered so many questions. The room was tan. The furniture was vinyl.

The next step is fuzzy. I did not stay overnight. I must have gone home? But looking back, I’m not sure how I escaped the mandatory 72 hour hold. The next thing I remember is going to intensive outpatient. I did that for a couple of months.

My face bloated from all of the medication. Also, you’re not supposed to drink on that shit but clearly I didn’t adhere to that. I remember being at a music festival and my friend was taking pictures (with a real camera lol) and he said to me… I don’t know if I have ever seen you smile.

I was in this perpetual heavy conversation with myself in my head. I always felt like I should be doing more and should have amounted to more and should should should all over myself. I didn’t measure up. I didn’t finish college. I stopped singing. I kept painting though. That always got me through.

I don’t remember a lot of specifics from my twenties. All of the vignettes I recall are standing in a kitchen and drinking and smoking cigarettes and not feeling comfortable. I had a boyfriend through this period of time. We had gotten engaged actually. He was a nice guy. Smart. Also liked to party. We were toxic to one another.

I remember his mom asking me why I was so sad. I couldn’t answer. Partially because she terrified me (I was not alone in this) and partially because I simply did not know. I remember one day she held my face and said I just wish you could be happy. She meant it. It was kind… and intense. But she meant it. I guess I just exuded sadness.

I think our 50th breakup might have been the last. We still talk on occasion. He’s a good guy. I know why I loved him. And I know why we didn’t last.

That was a lot. That can count as a chapter. There’s another one but I don’t have the energy for it right now.

The good news is that we all know the ending, or at least the chapter we’re in now, is fine.

I didn’t even talk about this quarantinsanity. Next post.

Day 74, 2020

I am doing well. I mean there is a global pandemic and all but as well as one can do in this situation. We are embarking on having my son home from school for the next two weeks at minimum. I have a very ambitious schedule printed out during which I will have to find blocks of time to work. I have a feeling I will be pulling nights. I don’t mind. It all evens out.

I had a dream the other night that I drank. In the dream, I hadn’t realized it. I just drank a glass that was handed to me and continued to drink without thinking. Then, in a panic, realized that I had ruined everything. I was very upset.

In the morning, it took a bit for me to realize that I had not in fact had a drink. A good friend’s Dad who has been in the program for a long time reached out to me today and we went back and forth with stories. He was also a musician and acknowledged the very specific obstacle we have to endure being that alcohol is ever present in our industry. Aside from being exposed to it almost every time we play, it’s not only accepted, but expected to partake while we are playing. I digress. I told him about the dream and about how upsetting it was and he imparted that the longer you make it, the more precious it becomes. And that made a lot of sense.

We also talked about narcissism and alcoholism and how they tend to go hand in hand. It was a funny, honest, and much needed conversation. I am luck to have such people in my life.

Not sure if I mentioned that my neighbors are also program veterans and have been checking in with me. It’s nice to know that other people have gone through this and are living productive, peaceful, and fun lives. That normal changes.

Day 64, 2020

I past the two month mark and am feeling really good. Well, in terms of the drinking. The bigger picture is a little more complicated. I’m feeling really disjointed and tired from worrying about my cousin. I’ve started a GoFundMe for her and we have gotten a good response. I’m so concerned for what her life is going to look like going forward. The septic shock has caused irreversible damage to her lungs, kidney, and extremities.

Once she is released which is likely a long way from now, my aunt is going to take her home to care for her. My aunt was a nurse for many years but is in poor health herself. My cousin’s kids are good kids but they are young adults without much direction. I’m worried for all of them. This worry is taking up a lot of brain space.

I am all over the place with most of my commitments. At work, I’m managing to stay on top of things, but it’s a big task to gear up and actually get things done. As for mu music stuff, we’re on a relatively critical timeline and I’m finding that my energy and focus on it is practically nonexistent. My business opportunity and idea has fallen to the wayside as well.

I’ve kind of dived into art. It’s a sanctuary for me to escape to. I have been listening to a lot of Mari Boine and painting. It’s grounding and helpful.

I have many angel friends who have checked in on me. I’ve been taking time each day to think about how thankful I am for the flexibility of my job, the strength of my friendships, and the oasis of art.

I did not think I’d go this deep today.

3 gigs this week. Yesterday was a wedding showcase that I was DREADING. I felt aloof and unprepared. Lo and behold, it went well and I actually felt some joy in my heart afterwards. I really love that crew. Tomorrow, a group of NY/ NJ musicians band together at the legendary Bitter End for Hemopalooza, benefiting the NYC Hemophilia chapter, which is near and dear to my heart. Hi Max! Also, get it? Saturday, we are back at our “home bar” for a 3 sets. I’m a bit worried about this one since I’m usually in bed by 11 lately… and we start at 10. So that should be interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing my people but a little worried about my first 3 set gig at my favorite bar.

Also, I just got a call. I have to appear for jury duty tomorrow.

WHAT A FUCKING TIME. Bye.

Day 40, 2020

I had my first gig without alcohol on Friday. Also, it was a Battle of the Bands which I swore UP and DOWN that I would NEVER do again but playing in front of new faces and ears is good for us and it’s what we need to be doing right now. The venue had my favorite seltzers which was good but I did feel a bit out of sorts.

I was anxious. Now, we were in a completely new place and playing under pressure so I’m sure I’d have been anxious anyway but doing this without my band-aid was a little rough. BUT I did it. I felt the things. I sequestered myself. I feel like I just walked around in circles for a while. But I got through it and didn’t drink any alcohol. Afterward, we were all freaking exhausted. One of the guys brought beer to bring back but only one was opened and everyone was asleep by 12:30. Rock star life, man.

Bunch of grandmas.

It was nice to not be hungover in another city. We enjoyed a brunch and MAN I wanted a Bloody Mary. I considered asking for a virgin one but that would probably be disgusting. So, I enjoyed my tea and a great egg sandwich. Both places we ate were really on point and I am a little snobby. Way to go, Baltimore. Thank you for being a friend.

Day 28, 2020

It’s been a few minutes but I’m still here. Still not drinking. 28 days. I cannot believe it. As I say almost every time… I’ve never even come close to this.

I went out to a bar last week. Cabin Fever has been setting in and some friends were playing a show about a half hour away. This was my first trip to a bar since being alcohol free and it was weird. This particular bar is weird to begin with so that may have added to my vibe. In any case, I survived and am not itching to do it again any time soon.

First of all I felt REALLY self conscious. I just wanted to hide. I have a CVS receipt of physical hangups and I cannot drown them in Pinot Grigio anymore. So I’m feeling really awkward. I found it difficult to hold conversations because my self-consciousness was taking up a lot of space in my brain and I find that I simply don’t have much to say sometimes.

Other peoples’ conversations became more erratic and intense and I wasn’t riding that wave. I went outside to smoke a couple times. And I Irish Goodbyed which is something I was NEVER able to do when drinking because I had to say goodbye to EVERYONE individually. Unless I was in blackout mode. Then I would disappear. Ugh. Is having to say goodbye to everyone another shard of narcissism? Like everyone cares deeply whether you’re there or not. Hahahha.

I’ve learned a bit in the AA meetings I’ve attended and that is that alcholics are fucking selfish. I can’t disagree. This kind of self-centered and self-important behavior is not natural. I mean, I am also a recovering Catholic so there’s probably some residual guilt in ever considering oneself in any situation. Maybe I’m somewhere in the middle. Maybe it doesn’t fucking matter.

I’ve got a lot of shit to do at work this week and I’m trying to focus on that. I’m now being asked whether this “dry January” thing will end on February 1. For me, no. My response is, “I am doing this indefinitely. I need to figure out how to exist without it before I would ever consider doing it again.” I really feel like I’m fine without it. Seriously. If you asked me 3 months ago, I would not have agreed with that statement.

Day 18, 2020

I’ve only been to one meeting this week. I went on Monday and the rest of the week have been exhausted from work. I’ve been very very tired this week. I blame hormones. I have still not had a drink though. I did have a little weed on the past couple of nights to help me sleep. I have a card. It’s legal. And I’ve never been much of a pothead. Alcohol was always my problem.

That being said, I wanted to come clean about it and to be completely honest. So, here are some thoughts I have about it. My goal was to become free from alcohol. Alcohol turns me into a selfish beast who cannot stop until she literally passes out. Alcohol is the demon who convinces me that I am better with it than without it. Alcohol is the thing that says it is fine to drive home even if you have to close one eye to not see double. It tells me it’s fine to puke in a bag on my lap. Alcohol always thinks I should have just one more. Alcohol has seen me sleep on floors. Alcohol makes me flirt when I look like the trash heap.

Weed was something I’ve dabbled in throughout my adulthood. Usually I would pass it up. It was never a big deal to me. I got a card because I figured it would help me sleep and it has been helpful. I also have a little in the evening to help me relax. Weed helps me concentrate on whatever I’m working on. It does, however, make me want to eat all of the things. I’m going to keep my eye on it though to see if it becomes a replacement.

One other thing is that I have been smoking less. I haven’t been sitting outside all night and chain smoking. I go out about 2 times and have one or two cigarettes. I mean. That’s an improvement, right?

Anyway…

Day 16, 2020

I’ve been really nice to myself since quitting drinking. For instance, I’ve gone through several bags (bagS) of potato chips in two weeks. The big bags. And several containers of sour cream. And my favorite cookies. Two boxes. And some donuts at work. And a little ice cream. And I made popcorn a few times. I even went to Burger King the other day for the first time in a long time to try the impossible burger. It was good.

As it turns out, I chose to start at a very hunger-inducing half of the month. Talk about picking the wrong week to stop drinking. From what I understand, sugar cravings get a little crazy from the lack of alcohol. In any case, a recipe for overindulgence.

Today, I’m wearing a favorite lounge outfit and it’s cutting off circulation in my fat middle. I’ve logged back in to Weight Watchers, who I’ve been donating to for several months, and so far have had a salad with chicken and several cups of tea. Tonight, I will have a chicken burger with some vegetables for dinner. I’ll probably have a snack too – as long as it stays within my “points”. I’m actually terrified to weigh myself. And I really want another box of cookies.

Part of quitting drinking was to get a handle on my weight. Drinking like 600+ calories a night has not helped my physique or skin. Filling those 600 missing calories out with junk food is not going to make things better.

So fingers crossed that I can get this nonsense under control.