“But these day I sit at home, known to shout at my TV
And Punk Rock didn’t live up to what I hoped that it could be
And all the things that I believed with all my heart when I was young
Are just coasters for beers and clean surfaces for drugs
And I packed all my pamphlets with my bibles at the back of the shelf”
“Love, Ire and Song” Frank Turner
Ostensibly I walked to Walmart today to see it they had any fruit. I imagined they did. I wanted to see if it was fit for human consumption. I ran out of bananas. Not really an emergency. They aren’t my favorite and I have plenty to eat. It was just another perfect day and I wasn’t going to sit here and watch it through the window. I really want to take my bike to the beach again but my back is still too fucked up to ride.
I’m relegated to places in town within walking distance. The grocery store is doable but pushing the limit. I didn’t really have to go to either place. I just have trouble walking without a destination. I don’t know why. I would walk nowhere for hours when I was younger.
I made it to the store. Walked in the door, looked to the left at the produce section as I continued past it without a thought, took a right an walked to the pet section. No, I don’t need anything here. Toward the back of the store, oh, the restocked the bikes. Maybe I’ll… No, I don’t really need anything. Finished the circuit, walked by the produce section, now on my right and directly outside. I got halfway home before I thought, What the fuck did I just do?
Walking the rest of the way I started to think about how I’ve been trying to counter my negative self talk. “I’m fucked up, dude” is one I hear a lot. I never thought to change it. It’s just an expression, a saying. Something I do when I notice I’m doing something fucked up. Maybe I should stop saying it. I’ve been catching it when I trash myself but I do it so much. I never noticed until I started paying attention. But I am fucked up. I was thinking about it last week while I reading people on here. Everyone is fucked up. Not only the people who blog about their mental illness or addictions. I follow a couple people who have recipe blogs and they post instructions on how to make what they had for dinner last night. They’re pretty fucked up. There is nothing wrong with it.
I got home and started thinking about how I am still having trouble with the approach to not drinking. Commit to zero tolerance no drinking ever for the rest of my life? That doesn’t seem realistic because with my thinking, if I drink once, then I failed and a loser and beat myself up forever and make myself want to drink more. But if I don’t commit and I drink again, it’s okay because I didn’t really fail. (If you never try, you can never fail) The “everyone makes mistakes, just learn from it” thing sounds more reasonable but am I just giving myself an out? How many fucking “mistakes” can I make? Am I giving myself permission to drink more often because it’s no big deal? Just try again.
I got tired of thinking about it and I didn’t sleep last night so I went to bed. Surprisingly I fell asleep quickly. I have a hard time napping during the day. The phone ringing woke me up and when I saw, “Landlord” on the screen my heart skipped. “What did I do wrong?” After my scare Sunday I was already thinking I should check to make sure they have my paperwork in the system. It was good news. My lease is printed and all I have to do is pick it up. Still, I had anxiety after hanging up. Coupled with the usual anxiety I have that lasts about ten minutes after a nap. Drinking popped into my head for a second but not like I was going to run out the door to the store.
It made me wonder. Is that a craving? What would I do if it did make me want to get drunk. I never googled that before. It turns out I’ve been doing most of the things already. One is, distract myself. I’m doing that right now. Sitting at the computer typing and the Red Sox are on next to me. The problem is both of these are also triggers. Not that I don’t have plenty of other triggers. But sitting at the computer and typing and drinking all night is something I’ve had fun with for a long time. I started writing about an hour ago because this time of night is a time I like to start drinking. I did it on purpose tonight. I wasn’t having any urges, I was just planning ahead. It’s just on my mind because I thought so much about it today. I already knew about meditation. But deep breathing? Again? Nobody thought I might need to hear about that? I’m reminded of the saying, “Don’t confuse your google search with my medical degree.” or something like that. Makes sense but why the fuck am I finding all this shit out on google by myself years later?
Another one I had never heard of was “surf the urge.” They normally last 15-20 minutes and you just ride it out. I think I knew that but a problem I used to have was the part of my brain causing the urge really didn’t want to ride it out. I would make it worse and last longer by convincing myself it wouldn’t go away.
I did distract myself around 5 by making dinner. When I used to try to control my drinking I had a fucked up system of how much beer I could buy at a certain time so I wouldn’t run out before the store closed. Makes sense, right? Like if I bought a six pack at 9 by the time I finished the store closed. How is that controlling my drinking? Isn’t 6 beers a lot? Stupid anyway, half the time I would look at the clock, notice I had 2 beers left and walk the store for another rack. That’s not the funniest part. Some nights I would say I can just buy a 12 pack at 6 and the store would be closed when I finished. Yeah, that’s really controlling my drinking. Alcohol fucks up your thought processes.
What else? Overconfidence in staying sober. I remember earlier this summer when my daughter got her license I was so happy for her and she has a good boyfriend and she got the job she wanted right away. I just can’t believe how great her life is going. I started telling myself I was doing pretty well also. I was taking care of all my responsibilities and doing more than necessary to help my physical and mental health. I was feeling pretty great. (and manic) I don’t think that was it though. I didn’t think, this would be a great time to start drinking. I kept doing all the same things. My intention at the beginning of the summer was to be outside as much as possible because I wanted to meet people in the real world after being tired of meeting people online. But not drinking buddies.
I’m pretty sure how it turned. For years I’ve been seeing my daughter almost every weekend, usually at her house. I wasn’t only seeing her. I was seeing her family and I get along with all of them. They usually have company and a lot of times it is people I’ve known for years. After my daughter got her license and job, she wanted to pick me up and drive places. I was seeing her less often and much shorter length of time. Plus, I’m still not sure do I stop over and visit without the reason of visiting my daughter there? In the same month the two women I’ve been seeing semi-regularly for the past two years disappeared. I have no explanation for that. I pretty much lost all face to face contact.
The first week of August I realized how quickly summer would end and also even though I was out in public everyday, I wasn’t giving myself a chance to meet anyone. I was just walking or biking right past them. My plan was to not waste the summer and I just wasted the summer. I kept going out during the day and I started making point of stopping in public at least a little and I was still trying to find sober people. But my brain was really revving up at that point and I panicked thinking I had a deadline of end of summer. That’s when I started trying to figure a way to meet people online. It is also when I started planning on drinking. I knew it but I didn’t know it. But every place to find people was a drinking activity. I know it’s not a good idea but I guess I was thinking it was a really good idea. Luckily I kept cancelling before I followed through until I exploded on Labor Day weekend.
I guess this post is an, “everyone makes ‘mistakes’, learn from it and try again” post. My original plan for tonight was to listen to the audiobook, “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It was not what I expected. I think it is a fantastic audiobook. She narrates her own words and has a great voice and even though it’s not poetry at all it sounds like one long spoken word poem. The problem is it is 18 hours! I’ve only listened to two 40 minute sessions. I almost did but “Sober Curious” by Ruby Warrington popped up somewhere on the internet. I’ve been seeing it everywhere but never thought anything about it. I almost went to my room but on impulse I checked and it was available on my app. I said, come on, this is what’s on my mind. If I don’t like it I don’t have to listen.
I listened to a few chapters. At first I thought she’s too young, she did drink a lot but not extreme or long enough to have a problem and she hasn’t been sober that long. But she is well researched and it’s a book about addiction and I don’t have an argument with anything she says so far. I almost did quit when she said she does still drink but she won’t tell how much or how often because we will compare and not make our own decision on how much we should drink or if we should drink at all. First I WTF’d? but it makes sense. I know there is no, ummm… “Safe” quantity or frequency I can drink. I could say to myself, I’m fine if I have 2 beers on Friday night. I could say it but there is no fucking way it would work. I’m still going to listen because I agree with everything so far. Maybe not everything but there is nothing else sticking out that I remember bugging me.
I keep thinking back to the few times I’ve told professionals alcohol makes me manic. They all said the same thing. “Alcohol is a depressant, you know.” No shit. I know that but before I get depressed I drink for 4 straight days and nights without sleeping until my brain and body finally give out. When I was a kid I used to get pissed when my friends would pass out and I would be the only one awake still wanting to party.
My favorite thing the guy I saw on YouTube said was about “compound interest.” I’ve always liked it when it came to money but he meant, don’t try to do everything right now. Just try to get a tiny bit better each day and it adds up.
“Leave the morning for morning, yes pain can be killed, with aspirin tablets and vitamin pills, but memories of hope and glorious defeat, are a little bit harder to beat.”
“Love Ire and Song” Frank Turner