Monthly Archives: November 2013

Disease-Doubt (Bear with me)

Day 276

There are two types of insecurities that run me around: self-doubt, and disease-doubt.  What’s disease-doubt?  I just made it up.  It’s the feeling I get when someone questions my alcoholism.

Self-doubt is what makes me feel inept, and fuels the “why even try” attitude; it’s in the same category as low self-esteem.  Fortunately, AA has been teaching me how to counteract insecurities by becoming a better person and finding out what the hokey pokey is all about.

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Disease-doubt stems from a very specific source: an old friend.  Every once in a while, a former partner in crime will waltz back into my life and say/ask in response to my sobriety:

“But you’re not an alcoholic?”

In the beginning, I had the same reasoning as said friends; I was a happy drunk, and for the most part, a party animal.  What they didn’t know was that I hated myself, and what I didn’t know was why I hated myself.

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I want to be sober, but when my decision is disputed by someone I care about, I doubt my disease. (Disease-doubt!)  It makes me feel foolish for being in AA, and throws my program for a loop.

In the right wrong state of mind, (that sounds weird) it’s easy to say:

“I wasn’t a daily drinker!”

(Never mind that I had to ask a friend every morning whether or not I had to be embarrassed of the night before.)

And then I’ll compare my coke habits to George Jung.

“I almost never did coke by myself!”

(Never mind that I’d go home with strangers, meet drug dealers in trailer parks, wait in parking lots for hours on end, and spend money I did not have.)

When I start making stupidly irrational justifications, I go to this quote for clarity:

“Alcoholism is 90% thinking, 10% drinking.”

No matter how bad, or not bad my substance abuse was there’s no refuting the fact that I can walk into an AA meeting, anywhere, and people in the room will understand, 100% of the time; we all speak the same language.

Speaking of language, they might even understand my new awesomely self-explanatory phrase “disease-doubt.”

(I googled group understanding and this is what came up…looks like AA to me.)

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Rainbows and Batman Take Halloween By Storm

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Day 274: 9 MONTHS TODAY!

To lessen the pain of my first sober Halloween in over a decade, I impressed myself by coordinating and purchasing tickets for an event called “The Blaze.”

I proposed the idea to fellow sober-rovers, and some asked if it was a weed convention; why else would “blaze,” in the title? I told them no, it was a pumpkin extravaganza, with over 5,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns.  Despite not knowing any details about the thing, several of us RSVP’d and began planning our Halloween costumes.

My getup consisted of rainbow suspenders, combat boots, a white tutu, and an electric blue wig over two and a half feet long.  In case there was any confusion about what I was supposed to be (a rainbow) I bought 3 boxes of Skittles and shook them vigorously.

Batman aka my partner in crime arrived at my house in a Patagonia jacket and jeans; not exactly the Batman costume I was hoping for.  He said his Bat-suit had turned into more of a sweat suit, but assured me he would change at the event. I would’ve protested longer but there were 150 pieces of candy in the Bat mobile.

Thirty chocolate bars and 45 minutes later we arrived, parked, and within seconds realized we were the only adults dressed up—actually I was the only adult dressed up, because my friend Batman was still a version of “Bruce Wayne” from the suburbs.  He opened the trunk and looked at his bat-armor reluctantly.

“You have to wear it,” I said, as a family not sporting any Halloween-wear walked by.

We struck a deal that made me feel better.  He wore just the Batman head and black rubber gloves with his regular attire, and held a light-sabor that made noise like a broken barcode scanner.  While walking with the rest of the foot traffic, laughing at the sheer ridiculousness, I had a perplexing moment of clarity; I didn’t care what anyone else was thinking…which was good, because of what happened next.

Half-assed Batman and I got in line behind an array of teenagers waiting to enter The Blaze. As the laws of waiting in lines go, we idly moved forward even though no one had advanced.  Our friends hadn’t showed up, but we were anxious to get going since it had started raining. People in line kept glancing at us, probably because we looked like challenged adult-children, who got lost trick-or-treating. Also I figured my wig was probably pretty straggly at that point.

Finally folks started moving, but not forward…everyone was dispersing; suddenly Batman and I were standing on a cleared patch of grass, facing a plastic orange fence between the event and the woods.

We hadn’t been waiting in a line at all, just standing awkwardly close to a group of strangers who were all friends.  No wonder they were looking at us! I bet they went through a round of, “Do you know that guy with the batman head and toy light-sabor? No? Why is that girl shaking a box of Skittles?”

Once the situation dawned on us, we doubled over in laughter. Batboy had to rip off his mask and I just about passed out from laughing so hard; I’m almost certain that any and all bystanders perceived us as wasted or on drugs.

The rest of the night was equally as comical and disastrous.  By the time we met up with our friend (dressed as an astronaut), found the real line, and entered the much anticipated Blaze, half the jack-o-lanterns had been snuffed from the rainstorm and the path was jam packed to a standstill with normal folks who had enough foresight to bring umbrellas.

After a unanimous “let’s come back next year” we retreated in high spirits.

The best part about last night was that our plans totally failed, but Halloween was still a complete success.  Blow and whiskey were my short cuts to feel self-assured, and converse “normally” without my thoughts interjecting doubts every two seconds; last night I stuck out like a sore thumb with complete confidence, and had a blast.

For the first time since God knows when, my mind wasn’t littered with unfounded suspicions about what “everyone” was thinking. I don’t have to point figures in unnecessary self defense.  Who knew wearing a tutu could be so freeing.

This morning I woke up with a raging hangover. Sugar hangover that is.  I’m going to revisit step one and add candy to my list of powerlessness…and The Blaze will go on my list for next year.

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