“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”
Okay okay, I’m glad my body isn’t being poisoned anymore…
“Genetic variation also influences how well you can hold your liquor. Ethanol is poisonous in larger doses, so our bodies have evolved ways to break it down before it has a chance to build up. While your brain is enjoying its temporary loss of inhibition, your liver is doing its best to clear the alcohol out of your system before it kills you.”
I heard the other day that men think about sex every 11 minutes. It occurred to me last night at the rock climbing gym, as I reached into my chalk bag and saw cocaine, that I think about drugs and alcohol just about as frequently. It’s not that I’m triggered every 600+ seconds, but I smell, and taste, and see coke and booze everywhere:
1. When I reach into my chalk bag
2. When I eat hotwings
3. When I see football
4. When it’s 5:00
5. When it’s any-o’clock
6. When I see Metro-North
7. When I smell coca cola I smell rum
8. When I smell red bull I taste jager
9. When I hear country music I want whiskey
10. When hear the word “ski” I think of coke benders
11. When I hear the word “happy” I think hour
12. When I hear MacDre
13. When I eat celery I think bloody mary
14. When it snows I think Baileys
15. When I smell BBQ I think keg
16. When I hear cucumber I think about how I’m a pickle
The list goes on, and on, and on…….and on…..
The best part about today was receiving this text:
January 27, 2014 8:35pm
“Today in awkward moments in sobriety…walking around A&P I found it cathartic to flip the bird to different bad things for me (donuts, beer, etc) somewhat discretely. This inevitably led to a very confused woman, who came out of no where, seeing me giving a less than discrete bird and saying “not today” to a wall or haribo gummy bears. Her face was priceless and I have no regrets.”
Looking back on my active days of alcoholism and addiction, the pure apathy is what scares me the most. The idea of ever going back to that place of self-destruction keeps me white knuckling it in the rooms when “just one beer” sounds good.
The pot farm was where my body learned to function on nothing but poison; toxic thoughts kept me from caring about others and toxins in my body kept me from caring about myself.
Drinking 7 days a week was what kept me going. When I’d wake up with a hangover threatening my sanity and my nose full of dry blow, the only panacea was more substance. Sometimes I’d start at 8am. Sometimes I’d wait til 12. There was never more than 2 days without getting drunk…. and I simply didn’t care.
Every once in a while I’d look in a mirror and see lines on my face that were way too defined for a 25 year old. I didn’t know at the time that my skin was drastically dehydrated from alcohol consumption.
During the months I had to wake up at 4am to pull tarps over light deps in the green house, it was often after going to bed at 2am. Generally I was still drunk or almost hung-over. It struck me as normal, and actually responsible, to do a couple lines beforehand to get the job done efficiently. I ran on apathy.
The other day I asked someone, “is it bad to eat 3 clementines in one day?” I had to pause and laugh at myself. After everything I’ve done to my body, vitamin C should be the least of my worries.
I base someone’s trustworthiness within the first 30 seconds of interaction. My immediate reactions are either a) you don’t like me so I don’t like you, or b) I trust you with my life let’s be friends forever. Lots of room for let down in there.
This past week I’ve been lost in my mind in regards to whom I should trust, who I shouldn’t, and how to decipher the code of human conduct. Last night my mom called me “guarded.” This got me thinking…am I guarded or smart? Am I my own worst enemy? Am I being rational or are most people shit heads?
My thoughts can spin in circles faster than a neurotic hamsters on wheels, so I turned to my friends for help. As usual, getting outside my head was the best place to find clarity. I asked them what trust means to them; its basic definition, if it comes naturally, if it’s easy to come by or hard to come by, how you know you can trust someone, etc…The responses have helped immensely. Here they are, and I’ll keep them coming:
1) “Hmmm…Never had to put it into words. I guess it involves a bit of surrender, some blind faith, some experience.” -Anon 1, sober 3 years
2) “I threw trust in the garbage disposal a while ago.” -Anon 2, sober 30 days
3) “Going on a bender…knowing there is someone who will always pick up your call if you’re in trouble.” -Anon 3, not in the program
4) “When you’re willing to let go…just because someone tells you it’s okay…that’s trust.” -Anon 4, not in the program
5) “Trust is the outcome and peace of mind of a relationship completely fear-free.” -Anon 5, 1 year
6) “Woof. I may not be the most intuitive when it comes to that.” -Anon 6, not in the program
7) “I boil trust down into faith overcoming fear. And my struggle comes down to internal/external fear/trust. External trust is believing that others can know who I am and accept me for me. That if I admit that I am struggling that they can and will help. That if I expose where I am weak I won’t be betrayed. Internal trust is what eludes me the most because I have lied to myself more than I have ever lied to other people. I struggle in trusting my thinking, my emotions, and my motives. That’s the shit that blocks me from opportunity to put in my trust in others. I do not trust myself.” -Anon 7, newcomer
8) “I read somewhere ‘trust no man, fear no bitch.’ I think that’s my motto from now on.” -Anon 8, 41 days
1) When you run into someone you used to party with, and he/she assumes that you moved/died.
2) When you go on a date with someone who doesn’t know you’re in the program, they order a beer, and you immediately hate them for life.
3) Kicking over a happy hour sign and then pretending it tripped you.
4) Pretending in conversation that you still drink to seem “normal.”
5) Letting it slip that you pray and then trying to take it back.
6) Being caught smelling an empty wine glass.
7) Dropping your step work in Starbucks.
8) Being spotted in the self-help section of Barnes and Noble.
9) Being asked why you don’t drink.
10) Going to CVS at midnight on a Saturday to pick up Cadbury eggs and Valentines candy for yourself and being spotted by your old boss. Yep that happened last night.
Yes, I’m back on the AA bandwagon, albeit somewhat reluctantly. The slow truth is: life is better without poison. The relationships I have now have blossomed and/or been created because of sober living. Prior to Alcoholics Anonymous the most important and dedicated alliance I had was with drugs and alcohol—bottom line.
You know…actually…. as I write this reluctance lessens; my will is turning back over a little more with each sentence.
Yesterday alone: The girl I nanny taught me how to play a Coldplay song on the piano, and taught me about patience as she placed my fingers on the keys. We shared the Steinway bench after waffles for breakfast and before I took her to school for the day.
Afterwards I went to the cold sunny beach with my dog, and took pictures of the frozen broken ice that looked like shards of glass on the sand. I had conversations with strangers…real conversation! My dog ran up and down the shoreline with other pups, and naturally my Mommy heart swelled at the sight of my “child” so happy. (I’m a firm believer that dogs are people, too.)
My Dad came over with some food since I have not yet mastered the culinary arts, and began teaching me the basics of cooking. I didn’t truly know my Dad before I got sober.
Later in the afternoon I went to my office, which feels like family. My boss gave me a promotion, and he and my coworker offered loving life advice because they care.
At 6:00 I went to the rock climbing gym where I took a three-hour course for certification to become an instructor. For a couple nights of the week I’ll be working at the facility to support my newest healthy hobby.
Throughout the day I was in contact with 4 or 5 amazing alcoholics (not an oxymoron) from my home group, and when I got home at 9:30 after acing my course in climbing, I got to have a 30 minute conversation with my other half. Ate dinner, did a crossword, went to bed, woke up fresh, and drank tea infused with antioxidants as I blogged a turnaround thought process.
FINE…. life is awesome.