First, I think I waited too long to eat at work and hunger and perhaps low blood sugar really made everything seem infinitely worse than it was. Second, I didn’t do what I normally do at work when feeling stressed which is to pause and take a few minutes to touch base online with some people on the blogs and forums. That always grounds me and brings me back. Third, I still haven’t found meetings to attend so all of my support is virtual and I KNOW this isn’t going to fly long term. If I had finally bitten the bullet and found some places to go, I could have stopped on the way home from work which probably would have made my night less chaotic.
So while I made a lot of mistakes, I did two huge things that were right. 1.) I recognized the insanity as insanity and am learning from it and 2.) I didn’t get drunk.
I can always do better but even my worst day sober is better than my best day drunk.
I have stumbled down the street totally wasted before to receive a 60 minute Chinese Gongfu Tui-na massage. I have had Chinese women walking on my back while I was totally drunk. I’m not sure this is necessarily a bad thing but I list it here because it is fucking WEIRD. Who gets a deep tissue massage while drunk at 10PM at night?? I do. I am SO RELIEVED that I don’t have to do those crazy things anymore.
Oddly, even though my main fear was being drunk in front of my Oprah Mother, my first instinct was to scour the Oprah Mom’s house for more alcohol. I found a bottle of peach vodka and picked it up and Momprah started to come back into the house and I quickly hid the bottle and told her that the dog needed a longer walk than that. Duh.
Wow, I poop at the same time every single day now! It’s amazing!
Oh, how I envy normal drinkers. You know which assholes I’m talking about. They stand at the bars channeling the Dowager Countess of Grantham and savor their drink like it’s made of diamonds and is the last one in the entire world. They look fabulously put together and laugh politely and with such sophistication making sure to never show too much teeth and certainly never lose their balance while doing so. They don’t tell the bartender all about their former boyfriend’s crooked penis and their terrible bout of constipation that just won’t let up no matter how much fiber they eat.
Hey, girl. How the fuck are you? Still chilling with those cool cats Cranberry and Soda? Yeah, I bet you are. I’ve been thinking a lot about you over the past 26 days. I won’t take up too much of your time because I know you are super busy getting all dirty with olives in martinis and growing hair on the chests of teenage Russian men worldwide.
About an hour later, I was sitting half naked in a dressing room crying. Nothing fit. I felt very insecure and disgusted with myself physically. I put my headphones in and listened to music. I sat in that dressing room doing nothing for about twenty minutes. I figured if the store had a problem with it, they’d knock. No one did. This four hour process yielded ONE FUCKING PAIR OF PANTS. And one more day sober. And that’s okay. That’s enough.
I went to bed last night after learning that People Magazine had just named me the world’s most gloomy and self-deprecating asshole. As a very serendipitously planned treat for my 30 days, I am attending a Lady Gaga concert tonight at Madison Square Garden! Us gay guys have to do a certain number of stereotypically gay things each year if we want to keep our homosexual card. I’m already getting a lot of flack from the gay mafia about my beard and masculine sounding voice so I felt the need to comply and go do some queer dancing tonight. I am scared shitless because I’ll be sober.
I feel inspired and victorious. I feel like celebrating. And because a flute of sparkling wine is the first thing that popped into my head when I just typed the word ‘celebrating’, I know that there is more work to be done.
I’m terrified of another relapse. Because it can happen to anyone caught off guard. I don’t intend for it to and I plan on doing everything in my power to prevent it. But there is always the possibility and no one is immune to it and that thought has to be one of the most frightening things imaginable.
I’m terrified that after I hit ‘publish’ on this post and immortalize my thoughts forever on the internet, years could go by and someone like you might find this blog and read these words and wonder why the posts just stopped again on another typical day in October.
So let me get this straight. You want me to sit here, take bites of food and chew it up and swallow it all while doing absolutely nothing else but looking at those people on the screen? Are you insane? You want me to pay attention to what they are doing and saying? That’s it?! That’s all we are doing with our night?! Don’t you want to talk about stupid shit every 10 seconds until the credits are rolling and we realize that we have no idea what Matt Damon was trying to do this entire time and why The White House blew up? Don’t you want to accidentally rent that movie with Kate Winslet FIVE TIMES because we can’t remember what we have and haven’t seen? Don’t you want to put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and then find it still sitting in there the next day untouched because in the span of 3.5 minutes we completely forgot about it? Don’t you want to do all of that fun stuff instead of just sitting here chewing and watching???
Here’s a secret: If you chew and watch movies like normal people several times, it starts to feel normal again.
Okay, what exactly the FUCK is wrong with this boiled egg?! It seems like a perfectly normal egg from the outside. You know the type of egg I’m talking about: White, shaped like an egg, acting all egg-like. That kind. So it should be peeling like a normal mother fucking egg. But it isn’t peeling like a normal mother fucking egg and this minor inconvenience is somehow completely destroying my life right now.
Sometimes you’re forced to think about the future. A friend’s birthday party is coming up. The holidays are about to arrive. There are circumstances that bring us out of the now and into the tomorrow. We can either panic… or we can plan. We can either recoil in fear… or reassess. But there is absolutely no sense in imagining situations that have not and may not even happen.
MUST DRINK MORE VODKA! TWO NOT ENOUGH VODKA FOR ME, STUPID!!! NEED FOUR VODKA OR FIVE VODKA. SIX VODKA IS GOOD FOR ME BUT NOT TWO VODKA!!!!!!!!! I DIE IF ONLY HAVE TWO VODKA!!!!!!!!
I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THINGS. Not around. Not over. Not under. THROUGH.
So here’s the thing: I may feel awful today and I may want to crawl into a hole and fall asleep and never come out, but it is this very feeling that should be my motivation to stay sober. Drinking for so long made me feel like THIS. It was alcoholism that brought me to a point physically where normal human existence is HARD. And that’s really fucked up.
This is evidence that even though it might feel like it, it’s not always the end of the world and I have to make a lot of effort to remind myself of that. I might wake up with a migraine and drag myself around all day crying but IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. I might find myself forgetting how to do my job or get overwhelmed by things that were once simple but IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. I might look up at the sky and see a giant asteroid heading towards me on fire just moments away from impacting the Earth and IT’S NOT. Well… Shit, girl. That’s probably the end of the world so go on and panic about that one right there.
I’m proud of the work I’ve done so far. I feel good about it. So good in fact that I almost tell friends things like, “No PAWS symptoms all week, Linda! HIGH FIVE, SUGARMAMA!” Then I bite my tongue. Linda doesn’t even know about me and my problem yet. Also, I don’t actually have a friend named Linda so everyone stop picturing Linda in your head. It’s a waste of time.
Because being sober IS sexy and amazing. You know what’s not sexy? Hitting on someone at the bar and instead of saying, “HI MY NAME IS CRYSTAL,” you say, “HIZNAMEZRISTOL.” Being YOU is sexy. And when I say sexy, I’m not just talking about the GET IN MY BEDROOM NOW AND PUT ON THIS PONY SADDLE kind of sexy. I’m talking about being enigmatic, present, and there to live and love life with your fellow human beings.
So what was I really saying by trying to get sober in secret? FOR ME, I was saying, “I don’t want to drink anymore. And I’m not going to. But I might want to and I need to protect myself from that person in case I do want to pick up again.”
YOU ARE 32 YEARS OLD. YOU ARE TALENTED. YOU ARE NOT ON ANYONE ELSE’S CLOCK. THERE IS NO RULE BOOK THAT SAYS YOU MUST HAVE ACCOMPLISHED X, Y, Z BY A CERTAIN AGE. YOU ARE GETTING STRONGER BY THE HOUR. BY THE DAY. IF YOU STAY SOBER, ALL OF YOUR WILDEST DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.
THEN THE BITCH STARTED OPENING ANOTHER GODDAMNED DELI SANDWICH.
Q: How will I ever walk onto an airplane again without having a cocktail first?
A: With your feet, bitch. Shoot.
Q: How will I ever talk to people at an event without being drunk?
A: Use the hole where you put the food, okay? It also makes noises.
Q: What about when I go to Paris? How will I go to Paris and not drink?
A: Girl, please. You can’t afford Paris.
Sick in bed with the flu but thought I’d post this to mark the progress. The old me would probably have poured a drink by now. Instead, I’ve opted to just be normal people miserable. It feels 1000 times better. XO
AND THIS JUST IN FROM QUEENS. A SLIGHTLY CHUBBY BUT DEVASTATINGLY HANDSOME MAN, PICTURED HERE, JUST FINISHED GOING TWO MONTHS WITHOUT PUTTING A SINGLE DROP OF VODKA INTO HIS MOUTH. AMAZINGLY, HE ONLY DRANK WATER, SELTZER, AND THE OCCASIONAL CUP OF COFFEE. EYE WITNESSES SAY IT WAS SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE AND THAT HE HASN’T PUKED ON ANY OF HIS FRIEND’S HAIR IN A FULL TWO MONTHS!
At least 2-3 times a day, I’ll be doing something rather mundane like reading a book or watching TV or ballroom dancing with my Chihuahua… and I’ll suddenly stop and think OH, WOW. I’M NOT DRUNK. I DON’T DRINK.
That’s an amazing thing to be able to say.
I don’t drink.
I don’t drink.
I don’t drink.
YOU GUYS I’M MAKING LASAGNA AND I’M NOT GOING TO THROW UP ON IT! DO YOU LIKE MY APRON? *spin around* -or- GUESS WHAT?! I WATCHED A MOVIE LAST NIGHT AND I CAN ACTUALLY REMEMBER WHAT WAS EATING GILBERT GRAPE! BE PROUD OF ME! -or- I’M AT A GROCERY STORE SHOPPING AND I’M TALKING TO STRANGERS ABOUT HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, HUMIDITY, AND WENDY WILLIAMS! -or- I JUST POOPED NORMAL PEOPLE POOP! COME LOOK! IT’S SO CUTE!
I wanted to grab the old woman shuffling slowly down the street, put her on my shoulders, scream GLADYS, GUESS WHAT? I JUST FUCKING LAUGHED AND DRANK BLENDED FRUIT! I’M NOT DRUNK! I’M NOT DRUNK! and then drop her off at home and run off so fast that she would violently spin around like a cartoon from the high velocity of my departure. I wanted to run inside my house, grab my little puppy, spin him around and sing him a song about the joys of smoothies and good company. Okay, well THAT I actually did.
We got to the restaurant and of course our fucking table wasn’t ready. They suggested that we would have a lovely time waiting in the bar area. I really wanted to put my arms up and run out the door screaming ME GIANT ALCOHOLIC! ME CAN’T GO IN BAR! ME WILL DRINK ALL VODKA AND THEN STEAL POLICE OFFICER CAR AND DRIVE TO ATLANTIC CITY AND THROW UP ON PEOPLE’S SHOES! But I kept the sudden panic inside.
I can’t imagine ever going back to the continuous and nonstop nightmare I was trapped in before. I get panicked and teary eyed just thinking about the pain and suffering. The flowers and love and beauty are so much better. And even if this weekend sucked and slurped total ass, it still wouldn’t be as bad as where I was before.
Everything. Just. Got. BETTER. And no matter how bad I feel on any given morning, a brief OR elaborate rundown of what I am grateful for never fails to make me feel better. And because I am so very conscious of the amazing things that I have in my life, I find myself not at all wanting to drink. Because I know I will lose those things. And because I am constantly marveling at the new direction my life is taking, drinking just doesn’t seem like anything that I have any desire to do. I’m already having a great time! Insert a few poopy days here and there but for the most part, life is good. HARD. But good. Good BECAUSE it’s hard. And because I’m feeling it. And I’m taking it on.
The more I nurture and give to everything around me, the more beautiful it becomes and the more joy I receive. And I’m starting to realize that joy begets joy. It’s contagious in our own lives. Making one positive choice that results in a glimmer of happiness makes me want to do something else that’s positive.