Month: July 2014

I’VE BEEN THERE. I’VE WORN THAT DRESS.

Girrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl…..

So my goal is to fall so much in love with life that I dance like this at weddings sober but stop short of destroying the reception.

MY COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH AA

I haven’t been going to in person meetings lately. I hesitate to put this post down on paper. Not because I feel badly or guilty about not going to meetings but because I worry that it will be perceived as advocating against AA or any other group assembly for recovery. That’s not it AT ALL. I know how crucial meetings are for so many people with this disease. And I’m not at all discounting them or insinuating that perhaps I don’t belong in them because I’m some special kind of magical addict that isn’t like YOU. No, no, no no.

I’ve wanted meetings to be crucial to me, too. I love the idea of being in a room with other people like me and feeling connected to them. But try as I may, I just can’t seem to get there. I just don’t feel that connection like I do with the wonderful people I’ve met and chat with online. And if we are going to be together in person and stand in solidarity together off of the computer, I want it to be in a normal situation like sitting in my living room sipping coffee, eating cookies, and talking about sobriety while occasionally yelling at the television which maybe plays in the background on very low volume. Or I want to meet a group of you at a diner and share a plate of fries and laugh hysterically and get SHUSHED for being too loud by Rhoda, the bitchy but charming waitress that has a giant mole on her cheek and a serious 2 pack a day smoking habit. Or maybe we can make a pitcher of something refreshing and non-alcoholic and go to the park with our dogs and lay in the grass and talk about how amazing it is to be sober and free. Finally.

I want to incorporate recovery in my NORMAL LIFE. And I find there to be something very inauthentic about having to congregate in a makeshift room to take in information and stories in an organized and scheduled format. Inauthentic isn’t the right word. Scratch that. I just have a hard time reconciling the clinical nature of the whole thing with my spirit. Going to meetings feels like training for a marathon on a treadmill in a non-descript gym rather than running around outside in the gorgeous open air. I’m sure it progressively works, but I long for a way that is more alive and beautiful and kinetic and engaging. I’m not sure I can listen to HOW IT WORKS read inaudibly and robotically one more time. I’m not sure any of the people around me want to hear it read one more time, either, because it seems that no one is listening but instead are anxiously awaiting their own opportunity to speak. I know the structure is partially in place to help new people but if you really want to help new people, make sure they can hear what you are reading off of the laminated index card. And maybe inject a little positive enthusiasm into your voice so they don’t assume that you are carrying out some god awful chore and would rather be doing something else.

I’ve been told that I just haven’t found the right meetings or the right people. I’ve been told that those things that I want and those connections with people that continue to live and breathe outside of meetings are FOUND in meetings. I can totally see that. You go to some meetings, meet some nice people, and BAM. We’re eating fries at the diner and Rhoda is being an asshole and telling us to shut the fuck up. Heaven. So I kept going to meetings as suggested but felt like I was being somewhat deceitful. I didn’t really WANT to be at the meeting. I wanted to meet cool sober people so we could then go have our OWN meetings with GOOD coffee and BEAUTIFUL ART on the walls instead of crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary crying blood or some shit.

During the first month of recovery, I heard a lot about the people who seemed to resist meetings. Am I one of those unreachable souls? They thought they were different. They thought they didn’t need it. But for me, it isn’t that. I do need what recovery programs offer. It isn’t what is in the cup that bothers me. It’s the cup itself. The cup is, like, plastic. And a weird olive green color. And it has a messed up lip on it so when you take a drink, you dribble down your shirt. And it smells like no one ever washes it. I WANT A CRYSTAL WATER GOBLET THAT SPARKLES IN THE SUN AND TEMPORARILY BLINDS OLD LADIES WHEN I TAKE A SIP FROM IT. Institutionalized anything has always created in me a feeling of being stifled or unable to be who I am. I sort of wonder if the same thing is going on here.

I have also had a very hard time finding my safe place in recovery meetings. I noticed early on that women were slipping away into their own female only meetings and then men were doing the same. I tried an all men’s meeting and felt very uncomfortable. Sure, we were all together with our shared issue BUT as a gay man, it’s very hard for me to feel connected, understood, and embraced in a room of mostly heterosexual men. Minorities will understand. Women will understand.

I suppose the next step is to try out some of these LGBT meetings which I haven’t done yet. Maybe that will be the thing that makes this all start to click. Because I do want it to click. I do want a place to go and connect and grow and share. But I’m not sure that the right people in the right room will be enough to overcome my distaste for the structure and oftentimes robotic container that the message comes in.

I’ll keep trying, though. Because while my ego is still a little bit out of control, over three months of sobriety has at least brought me to a place where I am willing to accept the fact that maybe I could be totally wrong about the whole thing. NOT LIKELY. But maybe….

RUNNING HALF MARATHONS WHILE HUNGOVER AND OTHER TALES OF DRUNK GLORY

Sometimes it helps me to put the embarrassing things down on paper. By saying (typing) them out loud, they lose a little bit of their edge and that cringe of shame I feel when the memories bubble back up seems to release some of its power over me. As Jean over at UnPickled says in a song she wrote/performed: I DID THAT. NOT PROUD BUT THAT WAS ME. I may not be proud BUT some of this shit is sort of fucking funny in hindsight. Funny in a terrifying Uncle-Charlie-is-shirtless-and-covered-in-baby-oil-at-the-family-barbeque sort of way.

  • That one fine Halloween where I got really drunk at home and decided to go out to a party I was invited to when I was in no shape to be going anywhere. I was so lazy about putting together a costume that I just bought a pair of scrubs from the discount store and threw on a wig and fake balloon boobs and rubbed blood all over my face and then went into Manhattan looking wrecked. I was terrified the entire night that one of my boobs would pop. Not because I was concerned about the cohesiveness of my costume but because of how obscenely terrified I am of popping ANYTHING. If people tried to give me a hug or brush up against me, I’d push them away and slur/scream at them to be careful with my tits. HEYBECARFERSOFZMYTIZZZ! When people asked me what I was dressed up as, I told them I was part of NURSES AGAINST OBAMACARE. The next morning, I was told by friends that I had ended the evening by crying for no reason and throwing my entire body into a giant pile of trash bags piled on a street corner in The West Village. I also apparently yelled a lot at the taxi driver for going too slow on the way home. I woke up with my pillow covered in fake blood and makeup. TRICK OR TREAT.
  • The one time I got really drunk at a friend’s house during Superbowl and talked a woman into giving me a very intense massage (totally non-sexual, I should add). She is sort of my superior at work and even though she was drunk, too, there has always been a wonky vibe between us ever since then. When me and the boyfriend left to go home, he had to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid. Much of the ferry and train ride is totally blacked out from my memory. I do remember trying to go into the street and he had to pull me back. And I remember him getting mad and yelling at me which caused me to take off in a sprint down the street as if I were trying to lose him somehow. I just remember thinking RUN! RUN, GIRL, RUN! THIS WILL SHOW HIM HOW MUCH HE ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT YOU! RUNNNNN! It didn’t work and I have no idea what in the world I thought I was doing.
  • The one time where I was drinking with a friend at my apartment. I went to walk her down the stairs when it came time for her to leave and I ate shit (EDIT: “Ate shit” is slang for falling down. I’m adding this edit because someone was really concerned and asked me why I would have eaten shit) and fell down half the flight and landed on my ankle causing my foot to fold sideways underneath me causing instant and blinding pain. She expressed concern but I did that thing where you laugh a lot and say you are fine. I stood there talking with her for about five minutes until she finally left and I burst into tears. I crawled up the staircase on my hands and knees and went back inside the apartment. I drank a lot more, didn’t bother icing it, and woke up the next morning completely unable to walk. I missed a few days of work because I was immobile and had to crawl everywhere. I never went to the doctor to see if there was serious damage and I still get occasional pain from it.
  • The one time I got drunk at a restaurant and convinced my boyfriend to get on a very shady looking carnival ride at the festival happening up the street. It consisted of two pods independent of one another and both on giant hydraulic poles that flipped upside down and flew about 50 feet into the air. The ride made noises like it was tired and depressed and really angry that it had to be doing its job. I screamed bloody murder and my face smashed up against the ceiling of the pod because my seatbelt wasn’t on very tight (I had loosened it once the operator closed the lid of the pod over my head). I pretended it was soooo fun while I was going around and around with my head smashed like a pancake but inside I knew that this was probably how I was going to get dead. I stumbled off the ride and told everyone it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Then I ate a fried Oreo.
  • Threw an elaborate Christmas party for like 30 friends and started drinking well before they arrived. Woke up the next morning in my bed and was told that I disappeared and passed out about 1 hour into the event. Everyone wondered where I had gone. My boyfriend had to tell them I just wasn’t feeling well. And this has happened at least 2 other times that I can remember.
  • Early in my relapse, when drinking was still working okay for me and I wasn’t yet throwing up on people’s faces, I was in heavy training for a half marathon. The night before the race, I carb loaded by eating two orders of Pad Thai and by drinking several bottles of red wine. It seemed like a good idea because I was really nervous about the race and wasn’t sure if I had trained enough/properly since my drinking had started to escalate. I woke up at 4AM totally hungover and feeling miserable. I still went to the race and ran the 13.1 miles in a little over 2 hours. I CAN DO ANYTHING! SEE! DRINKING ISN’T A PROBLEM FOR ME! I STILL DID IT! On the way home, I stopped at a restaurant for brunch and proceeded to drink a Bloody Mary (five) and then got home and passed out. Forgetting to keep hydrating, I woke up later that night unable to move or walk. I somehow got to the liquor store that night and drank until I loosened up and felt like I could run another 1/2 marathon right then and there if I wanted to.

I’m not trying to dwell on the past but as the days continue to roll on by and sobriety gets better and better, flashes of these less than lovely memories keep popping up. I do that thing where I cringe and try to change the subject with myself in my head. DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT! Maybe this little post will do the trick and set these stupid memories free.

Ok. Now. If you care to share, what are some of yours? Hmm??

THAT TIME KRISTEN JOHNSTON TWEETED MY COMING OUT POST!

I love Kristen Johnston. Aside from her obviously amazingly hilarious performance in 3rd Rock, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her on stage before. I read her book GUTS a little while back and it really got me thinking about the privation of addiction and the stigma that surrounds it. I knew that I would come out to every single person I knew and her book really planted the seed in me that silence equals death.

Well how amazing that she would not only stop on by and read this blog but also tweet about it! Fucking fantastic. You really should check out her book!

In case you missed it, I told you my real name yesterday and put up a few pictures. It’s the post before this one. Have a lovely day, all! Hope you do a lot of humping.

I’M COMING OUT

I woke up yesterday morning with a fire burning in my belly. The night before, I had spent the evening occasionally having to make excuses about why I wasn’t having a cocktail or why I wasn’t headed to the bar with everyone after my friend’s performance. Why? Why am I doing this? I already know that I’m no longer ashamed of this disease. Alcoholism afflicts so many people and I just happen to be one of them. So if I’m not ashamed, why does my behavior still say that I am? By remaining silent, I am telling everyone around me that having this disease is something to be embarrassed by and ashamed of. Also, it just makes daily life extremely difficult to navigate. I got sober to STOP the hiding. It just seems entirely incongruous with what I’m trying to do. I’m ready to have fun, go places, and be a part of things without having to explain myself. If everyone just knew that I don’t drink anymore, it would alleviate so much stress and planning… and plotting… and scheming. Sound familiar, fellow addicts? While I know everyone has to do this on their own terms and in their own time, I felt as if I was continuing to engage in addict behavior by keeping this secret any longer. And the secret was no longer being kept to protect my sobriety. It was being kept to avoid the temporary discomfort of being suddenly exposed. I decided I was ready to face that discomfort head on.

SO. In a blinding and glorious light, I penned a letter to EVERYONE I know. I posted it on Facebook, I sent it by email. And it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I feel like I am flying. And the outpouring of support has been incredible. I never realized how much the pressures of secrecy weighed until I shook it all off.

I have to be honest. I was initially terrified. I felt as if I had taken off all of my clothes and went running through The Olive Garden naked. I expected people might throw endless breadsticks and salad pieces but instead, they all paused, gave me the once over, and said, “DAAAMMMMN, SON. YOUR ASS IS LOOKING TIGHT!” And I realized that I am surrounded by love and people who care and are willing to help. But the funny thing about help is that you have to ASK for it. And be willing to be truthful.

Here is what I said:

Hi friends, family, and colleagues! I felt a certain responsibility to make sure you knew what was going on with me because I care about you, appreciate you, and value your opinion of me.

This is a very weird way to do this but I thought logistically it makes the most sense and I’ll supplement this with personal messages and calls where necessary. Let me preface this by saying that THIS IS GOOD NEWS. As far as I am concerned, it is. And I know these kinds of posts can make people uncomfortable. That’s not my goal! This is my ripping off the band aid. 

So guess what!? I’m sober! Again. I’ve recommitted myself to recovery and am in a program doing work to abstain from alcohol and reclaim my life. I have been 100% sober for a little over 3 months now.

I know this is going to cause some confusion for quite a few of you, some relief for a handful of you, and a lot of you will just be like, “Ok, cool. Whatever.” But I need to do this because my world has sort of fractured and compartmentalized itself over the past 5-6 years and while I am generally in a good place now, I just need to make sure everyone is on the same page who cares to know.

After being in long term recovery, I started drinking again to varying degrees of excess. There have been dry spells, heavy drinking spells, and many attempts at moderation. I’m telling you because accountability is something that’s very important to me. And if I care about you, I feel it’s disrespectful for me to keep it from you. Also, I wanted you to know why I’m drinking so much seltzer and lime when I’m out with you somewhere. While saying, “I’m trying to be healthy!” is not a lie, it’s a little more intense than that.

Some of you knew about my past problem and maybe assumed I was still not drinking. Some of you knew that I relapsed and will be relieved by this message. And some of you had no idea because you met me when I was already back in the thick of it. But maybe you raised an eyebrow or two at how things were going down.

You guys, look. I was never private about getting sober before. And that really helped me remain accountable. I thought maybe the work I did before was enough to keep me clean but it wasn’t. I stopped doing the work I needed to do. But I got back. And like last time, I am once again making myself accountable. This is a disease. I believe that with my whole being. And remaining silent is basically telling myself and everyone else that this is something to be ashamed of. And it’s not.

Also, I know addiction is very hard for people to wrap their brains around if they’ve never been addicted to a substance. No one willingly goes back to the darkness of this disease. It’s too miserable of a place to go voluntarily and oftentimes ends in death. It has nothing to do with willpower, smart choices, or strength of character. I hope you all know that. I thought I could control it. I couldn’t. Now I’m ready to get better.

That all being said, I’m in a program, have lots of support through various in person and online groups, and am actually so thrilled to be incorporating my continued recovery back into my life once more. I forgot how good this feels.

I won’t bore you any longer. Time to be happy, get more theatre made, and be a big boy. I’m open to questions one on one if you have them. More than happy to chat. Thanks for listening!

XO

So. That’s that. I’m no longer hiding from anyone at all. And it feels fucking amazing. That being said, I’d like to introduce myself to you. You all have blown me away with your support and I never expected that this blog would become such an integral part of my recovery. I love you all and wish you nothing but years of peace and joy!

Hi! My name is John. And I’m a fucking alcoholic! Now you can stop emailing me and calling me 6 Year Hangover. Because that shit was starting to get really creeeeepy.

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SCHMOOZING AND NETWORKING WITHOUT ALCOHOL

I’ve been working with an actor friend of mine over the past month or so. He had asked me to offer a directorial eye to his new solo rock show and I quickly said yes without giving it much thought. He has been endlessly helpful to me in the past and has given up his immense talent to projects of mine without asking for much in return so it was the very least I could do to try and help him shape his performance into something that does his talent justice.

Last night, all of his hard work finally culminated into a sold out show at a fancy local cabaret venue of note. As the director and his friend, I obviously was expected to attend and I absolutely wanted to. In the past, I would have become increasingly apprehensive about the event as the date approached. I would have played out the entire situation in my head with the most terrible potential outcome continuously looping in my mind’s eye, haunting me and making me unnecessarily anxious and terrified. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO TRY TO TALK TO ME! ME CAN’T TALK WHEN ME NO DRINKY! EVERYONE THINK I’M STUPID FAT MAN!! CAN’T GO TO PARTY! NO! I JUST STAY HOME AND EAT PIE, OKAY? LOVE YOU OK BYE!

But none of that apprehension occurred this time around. I felt completely comfortable in the lead up to the event and thought everything would be just fine. Little did I know that the anxiety and social terror I sometimes unduly anticipate would actually HAPPEN THIS TIME even though I showed up to the event entirely calm and collected.

We were meeting a group of four other friends, none of which I should have any reason to feel any pressure from to perform in a socially stellar way. In fact, I could just sit there and sip my soda and not say much and no one would really bother me about it. They are those type of friends. But still, as we sat around the table chatting and waiting for the show to begin, I felt extremely awkward and kept saying things and thinking, “DID THAT SOUND FUCKING STUPID?!” I think I did an okay job playing it off as if I were fine but internally there was quite a bit of shaky discomfort.

To my pleasant surprise, no one drank except for one of the four friends who ordered the SMALLEST eight dollar beer I have ever seen in my life. This beer was so fucking small that he looked like a goddamned giant drinking it. The mere sight of it stressed me out. HOW THE FUCK IS THAT GOING TO GET ANY SORT OF BUZZ GOING IN HIM?! HE NEEDS TO ORDER A SHOT OF WHISKEY RIGHT AWAY BEFORE THE SHOW STARTS!

“What kind of beer is that?” I asked.

“Blue Moon,” he said.

“Oh,” I replied, secretly ready to explode at his completely asinine and fatal error.

BLUE FUCKING MOON?! If you are going to order a beer that looks like it belongs inside of a Barbie Dream House, at least order the 90 Minute IPA or something with an alcohol content of 7% or higher. And then when he finally finished the beer, HE DIDN’T EVEN ORDER ANOTHER ONE. What a waste of time.

Everyone else had Diet Cokes or seltzers. One friend said she hasn’t had a drink in over a year and feels fantastic. This was new information to me. She apparently had developed an allergy to alcohol and it makes her sick. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was code for alcoholism as I’ve heard that excuse is a good one to use if you aren’t quite ready to out yourself. But it honestly isn’t any of my business. I’m just glad she’s doing what makes her feel good and healthy. Her boyfriend also didn’t drink. Perhaps in solidarity like my boyfriend was doing? Who knows. But it was refreshing that there wasn’t a preoccupation with alcohol at the table. Instead, we all focused on ordering and scarfing down copious amounts of fries and burgers and eggplant tortas.

The show began and I was relieved that I could settle into the dark for a bit and not have to talk for the 70 minutes he would be performing. WHY DO I STILL DO THIS? Why do I crave solitude? Why do I find myself completely yearning for human connection one moment and then entirely terrified of it the next? Why am I able to be articulate, funny, and charismatic on Saturday and then become a blithering buffoon on Sunday? While I am very happy that I am seeing a general and overall improvement in my social skills, it’s very disconcerting to never quite know if a situation will turn me into a rock star or an ape.

The show ended and we paid our tab. We began to move through the crowd of the venue to head outside to meet the man of the hour and wish him our congratulations when something awful started happening. PEOPLE STARTED STOPPING ME. Friends, acquaintances, strangers. It had never even occurred to me that as the director, those in attendance would want to compliment me on a good job done, etc. I began to sweat like a hippo in Hell and each handshake and awkward exchange seemed to shrivel me more and more until I finally had nothing left to give. I noticed that people would be talking to me and then 10 seconds would go by and I’d realize that I hadn’t listened to a fucking word they had said. I would respond with a nod or a smile and I have no idea if any of my reactions were appropriate responses to what they had just said. At one point, someone asked me how my job was going and I said, “Yes.” WTF? I managed to correct that weird error and then tell a funny story and they roared with laughter. THANK GOD. Then I just started telling that story to everyone I had to talk to.

We finally gave hugs and accolades to the star of the show. Friends urged us to join them at a bar slightly more uptown and we declined. There were a few deflated and disappointed reactions from closer friends who couldn’t understand why on earth we wouldn’t want to join them for a drink. If I were in a different state of mind and wasn’t experiencing a social anxiety meltdown, I think I could have mustered the energy to stop by briefly to make an appearance. As the director, it would have been appropriate. But I knew my limits. Even this was beginning to become too much. And the truth is, it was already almost 10PM and the idea of getting home after midnight was not at all appealing. Part of the invite decline was sobriety based. The other part was because I’m getting old. It was SUNDAY NIGHT! It’s the Lord’s day! And my puppy needs me! I know I absolutely made the right choice.

I think if I were to have experienced the exact same evening of events sans the title of director, everything would have gone much more smoothly. It was the first time that I’ve gone someplace where there was any other expectation of me other than just being present. And I love what I do as a writer and creative. But maybe I need to put my feet in for a while and watch others swim before jumping back in.

SHIT I’VE SAID OVER THE PAST 90 DAYS

With 90 days of sobriety under my belt, I thought a “best of” was in order here mainly as an exercise for myself to see how things have progressed. Did you know that my sense of humor didn’t start coming back until around Day 20?! I was a depressing goon at the beginning. 
 
DAY 7-
 
It has been one week since my last drink. I haven’t sought help other than opening up to my thus far supportive partner. I haven’t gone to meetings. I’ve only been able to find the courage to read blogs, articles, and message boards online. I’m hanging on by a thread and know that I need to start doing the work again. Did I mention I’ve done this before? I don’t have the energy to tell you about last time because I’m too busy dealing with this time. Maybe later. I hope there are some readers to be had out there. I could use the encouragement.
 
DAY 8-
 
I had a brief anxiety attack when I thought about my wedding day and not being able to drink to celebrate. I’m not even engaged and there is no wedding coming anytime soon.
 
DAY 9-
 
Lastly, I really wish I felt rested. I went to bed at 10:30PM last night and woke up at 7AM. That’s more than 8 hours of sleep but still it was a major struggle to get out of bed. I don’t feel rested at all, ever. This past weekend, I had to force myself to get up by 10AM so as not to miss my day. If I allowed it, I’m certain I could have slept for several hours more and still would not have felt rejuvenated. Hoping the B vitamin supplements, healthy diet, and exercise will slowly correct this. I honestly felt less sleepy in the morning when I was drinking. Granted, I felt AWFUL in every single other way imaginable, but I don’t recall feeling like I was going to fall asleep at my desk.
 
DAY 10
 
10 days in and here is where I’m at: I don’t want to drink. At all. Which is great. But I don’t want to do the things that need doing unless I can have a drink. But I don’t want a drink. So either I a.) don’t do the things that need doing or I b.) do the things that need doing anyway or I c.) drink and then do the things that need doing. None of these seem like options I’d like to choose and there is no d.) None of the above, to pick instead.
 
DAY 15
 
So far, the moments of being UP are short lived and are typically followed by extended periods of lethargy, boredom, and strange discombobulation. I was walking to laundry yesterday and I could logically acknowledge the fact that it was a nice day. It was as if I was registering the fact that the weather was good as some strange robot who is programmed to know that something is pretty but doesn’t have an emotional response to it. It felt as if I was looking at the lovely day through some lens that made it also appear fake. I often have the sensation that I am dreaming or not actively participating in my life. And then moments later I can find myself suddenly extremely present and happy for no reason. Thankfully, my moods alternate between joy and indifference but I have yet to become sad or depressed. I can deal with even keel and happy just fine. I’ll take it. Indifference is better than the despair and angst I was feeling before.
 
DAY 18
 

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.

DAY 22

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.

DAY 23

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.

DAY 24

Wow, I poop at the same time every single day now! It’s amazing!

DAY 25

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.

DAY 26

Dear Vodka-

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.

DAY 29

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. 

DAY 30

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.

DAY 31

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.  

DAY 32

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.

DAY 33

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.

DAY 37

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

DAY 38

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.

DAY 39

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!!!!!!!!

DAY 40

I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THINGS. Not around. Not over. Not under. THROUGH.

DAY 44

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. 

DAY 45

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.

DAY 47

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.

DAY 50

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.

DAY 52

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.”

DAY 54

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.

DAY 57

THEN THE BITCH STARTED OPENING ANOTHER GODDAMNED DELI SANDWICH. 

DAY 59

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.

60 DAYS

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

DAY 64 

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!

DAY 67

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.

Today.

DAY 71

DONKEYFART.

DAY 73

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!

DAY 74

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.

DAY 75

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.

DAY 78

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.

DAY 86

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.

DAY 88

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.

DAY 91
 
That’s today. I love you all. This is just the beginning.