Tainted Love: Director’s Cut

Robot Brain

“I am just a worthless liar
I am just an imbecile
I will only complicate you
Trust in me and fall as well
I will find a center in you
I will chew it up and leave
I will work to elevate you
Just enough to bring you down”

“Sober” Tool

I wrote my last post in a total blackout. Everything I wrote was true. I was sober when I went online. I was sober when she was here. I guess what happened after she left wasn’t integral to the story. It is integral to this story.

All through the afternoon while she was here my maniac brain was feasting upon it’s reward. I was so fucking spun. I remember all of that happening. She wanted to go to the beach and get pizza but I didn’t want to be in public looking all daffed out. I don’t know why, I do it every day. I felt bad but I couldn’t think straight. I walked her down to her car and while she was sitting in there with the door open finding it on gps, it felt like a great idea. I also felt like a loser for saying I didn’t want to go before. I told her, I’ll be your gps, I really want to go now. I don’t think she believed me, saying, that’s okay. I said it again, same thing. I really wanted to go but didn’t push it. Two no’s don’t make a yes.

There were no coping skills to use. I don’t remember making the decision to go buy beer. Obviously it was my decision. I have no recollection. How could I black out being totally straight? She drove off… [something, something] I woke up the next morning, walked to the living room, (why do I feel hungover?) Shook the mouse to activate the screen, Fuck! What did I write? Too much detail. Not too bad; I held back. Can’t delete it, everyone has read it. Oh, I’m going to have some horrible comments. People like it? Did they read it? I guess it’s forever enshrined on the internet now.

What else did I do? From the looks of the tabs I had open I was trying to hook up with the entire world…. Didn’t sign up for anything, okay good. huhhhhhg… my texts? Nothing. Thank Jesus! Why do I need more sex? I just had memory bank sex. She is probably coming back next week. What the fuck?

Maybe I should log on to a meeting. “Friends and Family?” whatever. I got something out of it. Not the place to speak up.

Somehow I’m at Panera again; mind still racing; still thinking sex. How did this happen. Why am I sitting here smiling. I am chugging these iced teas. Dehydrated. This broad walking toward me, she’s hot, she’s smiling, she’s smiling at me…. Why? Oh, I’m smiling but not at her. Maybe she is just nice. I raise my eyebrows a bit. Something happened but she is gone behind me. Whatever. Mindfully eating pizza. Look up. Here she comes again; walking towards me, smiling me dead in the eyes. Smile back idiot. Say something idiot! How are you? Great, thanks, how are you. She is gone. I don’t fucking know. The first time I was already looking in her direction but the next time she was already smiling and staring at me before I looked up. If she’s alone I’m going over to say something. I’m not turning all the way around to look. I do need a refill, get up, coming back. Fuck, she is with the other broad that gave me a dirty look earlier. Oh well… What was I expecting to happen? That’s what I said last night and look what happened. No.. go home.

What the fuck is it? Wednesday? Five o’clock? My phone blings… Different sound. I check it. A notification from Tinder? When the fuck did I download Tinder? And I paid for it? I paid for a free app? I know it’s a scam. I got off it 5 years ago when they changed it. Okay, cancel the recurring subscription and delete it. Delete it? I don’t know? Who is on here? Of course, 3,000 scantily clad super models live in my town and just can’t seem to find a date. And I got a message that says “Hola?” She’s the only one that looks real without a professional photography studio quality pic.

“Hola, como esta?” “Muy bien y’tu?” Gotta be some kind of bot. Weird, I ask a question that can’t be answered by a bot and it’s not a bot. Why does she think I speak Spanish? I use up my conversational skills and say “no habla”, She says, “Si” and asks me another question in Spanish. Okay, I pull up Google translate and start translating. Later she tells me she is learning English but says it in Spanish. I reply in Spanish you know I don’t speak? “Si” I guess I am learning Spanish. She isn’t trying to scam me, I’m just curious. She went to bed I did a meeting about urges but I just want to give in, I’m trying but I really just want to give in. I’m getting really depressed. I give in and by a 6 pack. Walking to the store. Fuck it!Fuck it!Fuck it!

What’s is today? Thursday? I don’t think I slept. Now I’m up again. Mind racing! Moving from place to place doing nothing. Pick up my tablet. Meeting? What time is it 9am? It’s almost over. Fuck it I’ll do the next one. Pick up the tablet, log in. They are talking about the issues I have had all summer. Coincidence but not monumental. That’s why everyone is there. Then they are doing Cost/benefit of your addiction. Someone says euphoria, then another says funnier I don’t know, I’m just listening, then a guy says easier to talk to women, hit it on the head. Exactly what happened Monday but different. Not me. I gotta say something, I’m gonna go crazy all day.

I said I had the opposite happen Monday. Not really having urges, did a couple meetings anyway cause I learn something. 10pm I find myself trying to hook up on a dating site. I’m not worried, I don’t need to be drunk to talk to women but it used to be a drinking activity and I (tried to explain my whole summer in 2 minutes without sounding like a raving lunatic but I sound like a raving lunatic)I meet the woman, have sex, then get drunk… I did the rest of the meeting. I’m getting worked up telling asking them but I already know, I’m not asking them I’m telling them.

My maniac mind got it’s reward and then it wanted more. I know alcohol is a depressant but it fuels my mania. I am lucky the stores were closed when I ran out of beer cause I can go on for days and nights until my mind and body collapse.

They ended the meeting but held it open for me and this the woman is doing a screen capture how to click someone’s name on tthe message board and some dude I’ve seen as a long time member keeps telling me to look in the chat and write down his screen name and his personal email he really wants to help me with this.

I’m depressed now and got another six pack tonight but it was actually quite frantic. I was trying to control myself because it was morning and there are only 15 people in the meeting and they are talking about going to church and I’m dropping F bombs and talking about getting laid online and trying to shut up.

I got a screenshot, they were stressing that I email this guy. I’m thinking yes I should. I did and I remember the message board but his name wasn’t there. I send another email to say that. No answer. Okay, people have lives but he was saying I had to do it right away. Not really worried I feel better until I log into a meeting and see his name in the chat like wtf? I don’t know. I sent him a dm saying I emailed you under this name. No response. waiting, meeting sucks, waiting, meeting sucks, Another six pack. Are these people fucking with me cause I said I’m schizo? They said I was in the right place, they acted like they were trying to help me. then nothing? I’m pissed. I don’t know what is going on. I told them I am trying to cut this off short but I’m drinking a beer right now. WTF? Another group I don’t belong.


Robot Brain

“It’s not enough
I need more
Nothing seems to satisfy
I don’t want it
I just need it
To breathe, to feel, to know I’m alive”

“Stinkfist” Tool

My doctor sent me to a nutritionist because he couldn’t figure out why I was gaining so much weight. (It was my medication) I sat down in her little office and she asked me what I eat on a typical day. I told her exactly. She said, “Wow! You’re hardcore! I don’t think there is anything I can tell you.” She spent four years in college learning how to tell people what to eat.

I changed medications and the weight disappeared. That was 10 years ago but I’m still eating like, “Damn right, I’m a maniac!” Why? I’m no health nut. I’ll eat the ass out of a double cheeseburger and not be like, “Oh no, I went off my diet.” Whatever, I’ve written this a hundred times.

Why am I treating my body like I want to live forever but still trying to kill myself?

Sometime yesterday morning I came down hard. Dying in bed. Had to get up and on YouTube to retrain my brain with the right music because I had it bad going through my head. “And then you’re stuck up, You just lucked up, Next in line to get fucked up.” Ha! Fuckin’ Fred Durst. What’s he like, 5 feet tall?

Straighten that out, back in bed. I still can’t think. Gotta get some sleep! Not happening.

I turned on the television and picked a sleep meditation. I had hard time getting started. My breathing was too shallow. I was starting to get afraid I would stop breathing. Come on, you know that’s not possible. I didn’t care what the meditation was. I chose it because it was the longest. I don’t listen to what they are saying half the time. It’s the process that works for me. I started getting into it and rolled on to my side, hugged the pillow, caught myself falling asleep and couldn’t let go. I had to start over again.

I did that for a few more hours and realized I was doing it to escape from my thoughts. I haven’t had any anxiety for a long time. Comparatively. I still do but it’s not a major daily issue like I’ve had in the past. I have a lot I am stressed about but I am getting good at stopping the circular thinking.

All these therapists I’ve had over the years. They all talked about mindfulness but I had no idea what the word meant. Nobody told me these simple little things to do. Now I have no therapist and I’m doing it myself? It’s probably my fault. I make friends with all my therapists and all we do is talk and laugh for an hour and sometimes more. One of my favorites was this 60 year old broad. I was her last appointment on Fridays. You think she would just want to get the fuck out of there and go home. She has a family. She gets along great with her husband. Every week, 5:30, 6 o’clock rolls around, she keeps saying, No, really, I have to get home.

My last therapist used to piss me off. For 5 years, whatever my issue, she would say, “Just stay in the moment.” What? What if the moment sucks so bad you would do absolutely anything to get out of it? She is the one who got me to try meditating. That was it. No guidance, just me and a million and one YouTube videos and half of them sound like bullshit. I was so desperate I tried it anyway. Is this what she meant? Lie in bed all day, listening to videos and just “staying in the moment?”

The weather was perfect and I told myself just because calendar summer is over, the plan is not over. It’s a nice day, leave the house. I fought it. Where am I gonna go? Nowhere. Just go. Go to Panera again. That place sucks. I don’t have the money. Put it on the credit card, it’s only 20. That’s only for emergency. Really? Was Labor Day an emergency when you blew 300 on booze? Today is an emergency. It’s a 20 dollar emergency.

I made it. I’m glad I found out about the pizza or I was going to stop going. It’s not great but at least it resembles what it is called. I know why I keep going there. There are people. Not many. Yesterday it was packed. I think there were 8 people. I go there because it is the only place withing walking distance that doesn’t serve alcohol. I remember last month wondering about that chain restaurant in the next plaza. Some kind of Japanese steak house. I bet they have better food. Probably better people? Yeah, I bet they serve Mai Tai’s too, my favorite. What kind of emergency would that turn into.

I made myself go to Walmart for no reason. Just sticking with the plan. Stay out in public for as long as possible. I started home and thought to myself, “I tried today.” Halfway home, I started gasping for breath and just wishing I home. I was having a freaking panic attack! Where did that come from?

I have been doing pretty well with my gratitude list. I don’t do it every day. I only add believable items to it. It helps to read it over and remember why I wrote something. Last week I remembered what got me started was wondering about so much negative self talk. Then I went off the rails and forgot about it. I always made fun of positive affirmations. It made me think of the Saturday Night Live character talking to himself in the mirror.

When I did the first SMART meeting and spoke up and the guy said, sounds like you are having a problem with self acceptance. I read it on their website. Yep, that’s me. And there is that perfectionism thing again, Nothing is ever good enough. What the fuck is going on here? I’ve seen that word a 1,000 times this summer. I didn’t think I was ready to accept all the negative, I didn’t really understand it. I figured I should start small with the positive self talk.

I started a list of 5 basics but when I read them I immediately came up with a disqualifying counter statement. It was fucking bugging me. I narrowed it down to the first one. “I am a good person.” (except I do some really evil shit sometimes) Where the fuck did that come from? I don’t do evil. I don’t cheat, steal, hurt people intentionally. I shut that shit down and started coming up with evidence for why I am a good person. I came up with things I could believe. It wasn’t that hard. It didn’t turn my life around but I felt a little better.

Then it happened again. I was thinking I should do another online meeting but yesterday’s schedule excluded me. One was first responders, another was women’s, then LGBTQ. I suppose I would wait til 10pm. I almost went to bed but remembered.

The guy had a document on the screen and started doing topics and asking people their own little ways of dealing with them. It was all the shit I’ve been thinking about this summer! No big cosmic coincidence. All of them were common problems people have whether they do drugs or not. His third topic was self acceptance. (here we go) Still basic ideas. Then he started typing positive affirmations. He added like 20 of them. I’m thinking now it’s getting silly again. I wouldn’t say half that shit to myself and it’s just too many. Then a woman spoke up and said she does it the same way she cleans her house. She can’t clean the whole house at the same time, she wouldn’t get anything done. She starts with a bedroom and maybe moves on to a closet. Then like 3 other people said the same thing. Where were these people 4 months ago? I just figured that out earlier in the day. The funniest part was that is how I finally got the motivation to clean my place a while ago. I woke up and said, the bedroom. I’m cleaning the bedroom today and that is it. I kicked the bedroom’s ass and a few days later my whole place was clean.

I was on my computer and decided I would add one thing to my gratitude list. I wrote:

“I did my best today”, and immediately thought, It still wasn’t good enough. I just can’t cut myself any slack.

So What’cha Want?

“But if you’re hot to trot, you think you’re slicker than grease
I’ve got news for you crews, you’ll be sucking like a leech”

“So What’cha Want?” Beastie Boys

I was going to write a post about why I bother leaving the house every day. Do you really think I love bananas so much I just had to take another 2 mile walk to Walmart to buy them? No. I do it because none of this fucked up, crazy shit would ever happen to me if I just sat home every day waiting for someone to come knocking at my door. I was outside for an hour and a half today and before I got back here I had a 2,000 word post written in my head, I couldn’t wait to sit down and type. Plus two more stories worth an honorable mention. It’s fucking Wednesday afternoon.

I’m not going to type it out because I want to stick to reminding myself. I gave up on that audiobook, “Sober Curious” because I was listening to the Chapter called (FOMA) Fear of missing alcohol. She gives example after example of things that are much better when you aren’t drinking. I’m onboard with that. She keeps going on in detail explaining all the activities in her life she never thought she would enjoy when she stopped drinking but now she actually has more fun. Then reiterates even more examples explaining why there is absolutely no reason you would need to drink. I’m like, what the fuck? Why does she still drink? The whole point of the book is she figured she had a problem and how much better life is without alcohol, so… I gave up.

But, not before she mentioned something called, “euphoric recall.” I had never heard of it but I knew exactly what it was. It is a major factor in my addiction. Your brain remembers how much fun you had and actually starts feeling that way. Then your brain wants to feel like that again and you go out and use again. Only now, it’s not so much fun anymore. I proved that again to myself a couple weeks ago.

I never thought I had a problem because I was never a daily drinker. 90% of the time I was stone cold sober. I didn’t find out until years later, binge drinking is as bad if not worse. I knew I drank more than most people but I kept it to the weekends. It wasn’t a struggle not to drink on weeknights. Typically I would be home alone reading a book. I didn’t think I was missing out on anything. I really like to read. I got into trouble because I was having too much fun and your brain forgets the negative actions. That’s not the story.

I was thinking about euphoric recall and remembered a part of my life I hardly think about anymore. The Electric Wave. I could probably start another blog only telling stories that started there and I only went there on weekends for maybe a few years. It was a club at the beach that was pretty large. It had two levels. Downstairs had live bands and a bar and upstairs was a dance floor and bar. I know what you are thinking. Sounds pretty lame. No, I’m telling you. Women would drive hundreds of miles on a Friday specifically to go there hoping to party and hook up and then drive hundreds of miles back home the next morning. How do I know? Because we were locals and we knew where all the good after parties were. We were the ones partying and hooking up. What? There is absolutely nothing to do in Connecticut? You have to drive for hours to small town New Hampshire just to dance? That’s not the story either. The story is part of my problem. I think telling these stories is part of my problem.

Back in the day, when I started working during the week and partying on weekends, I had a pretty good job. Sometimes we had to travel far but it was fine, I still got paid for the ride. One Friday my boss screwed me. He sent me to Rhode Island to finish a job. He said he wanted it finished that weekend so he could get paid. It wasn’t chump change. It was a small family business but they did multi million yearly.

Are you kidding me? Friday? It’s two and a half hours away. I’ll never get home. Then to make it worse he said to take Elwood with me. I liked him but he did not like to work. We drove down there and climbed up the ladder and there was a shitload of work to do! WTF? I was absolutely not coming back here tomorrow on Saturday. Elwood,”We really gotta get this done today?”, “Yup.” Elwood’s thing was to pretend he didn’t know how to do anything so nobody would ask him to do it. I worked with him before. I know he’s not an idiot.

The only thing we had going in our favor was all the work and all the materials were in the same spot. That was unusual. I took all the measurements and threw a circular saw at Elwood and sent him to chop the lumber. I kicked out a 100 foot roll of rubber and snapped a million chalk lines and started slicing and dicing. All that was left now was to Henry Ford assembly line this motherfucker.

Elwood was getting into it. He was busting ass. He never asked me one question about how to do anything. We were a unit working in tandem. All day long he kept saying, “Don’t tell anyone I know how to do this.” He was serious. I said, “Don’t worry, Elwood, your secret is safe with me.” Next thing you know, 2pm, Done! Let’s get the fuck outta here! That was a 2 day job no matter how you looked at it. We kicked the shit out of that place.

I know, I know, I’m getting to the story…

Not long after we got back on the highway headed north, Elwood is still saying, don’t tell anyone I know how to to that. A couple young girls came flying up even with us, smiled, pulled ahead and cut in front. We were the only 2 cars on the road. What the fuck did they want with a couple guys in a work van from NH? I don’t know, it was fun. They were bouncing up and down to the music and we played car tag for a while. One of them really seemed to like Elwood, holding her hands apart like she’s talking about the BBC and they both bent over laughing. Eventually they left us behind.

I said to Elwood, “I’m going to meet those girls tonight.”, “What you talkin’ about?” I said, “They are going to Hampton Beach. The Electric Wave.”, “How the hell you know?”

How did I know? We were still in Rhode Island. Their car had Rhode Island plates. Hampton is 2 hours away. They could be going anywhere. How did I know? I just told him, ” I know where they are going.”

We got back to the shop early and my boss absolutely did not believe we finished the job. He kept asking me, “Are you sure?” I told him if he didn’t believe me he could send someone else down there tomorrow but there ain’t gonna be shit left to do.

I went home and started my Friday night routine. Ordered some delivery, sat on the couch and watched the Simpsons. They had 3 episodes back to back. It was my favorite show at the time. Click around for a while.

8pm. Time to get ready, I put on my Friday night playlist, took a shower, shaved, smiled at my pretty face in the mirror and sat back down to wait for my cousin to call.

They picked me up and I told them all about what happened that day while we we drove to the club. They were laughing and telling me I was full of shit. “Yeah, right, what color is the sky in your world?” We we walked up the wide staircase and turned to the right. I smiled and pointed. Who were those 2 drunk girls in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by 10 guys? Use your imagination.

Euphoric Recall. That is my biggest problem. I romanticize the past. That’s how I fucked up this summer. People tell me I just thought I was having fun because I was so drunk. Maybe. Do you have any stories like this?

I’m not telling anyone to go out and start drinking. Do I remember and regret all the godawful shit caused by my drinking? Abso-fucking-lutely! Alcohol is the worst drug. Right now my brain is feeling high, thinking wouldn’t it be great to do something like that again? Like what? Blackout for the weekend and almost get my ass kicked out on the street? It’s not fun anymore.

I don’t know? Do I forget about all the good things? Do I only focus on the negative and beat myself up until I feel like a piece of shit? I do that enough already. Do I forget about everything? How?

I had to come home and write something. I was just minding my own business today and stumbled into a situation and my brain jumped up with, “Wouldn’t it be great if we…?” Uh…No. What am I supposed to do? Hide in my apartment for the rest of my life? That’s no good for me. That’s why I walked 2 miles to get fucking bananas. 4 for 99 cents! How is that possible? A couple good things happened today. Small things, but encouraging. If I stayed home I would have missed that. I did go straight to the office this morning and signed the shit out of my lease. So I have my priorities.

I’m doing pretty well. That is the second time in 2 weeks I ran into an unexpected, random encounter where my brain immediately kicked into gear with, we could have so much fun! And I slammed on the brakes.

Dinner time!


Robot Brain

“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

I’ll Kick My Own Ass,Thank You

“It’s no surprise to me, I am my own worst enemy
‘Cause every now and then, I kick the living shit out of me
Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk?
I didn’t mean to call you that”

“My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit

I am so happy I did that YouTube search yesterday. “Alcohol makes everything worse.” It populated with a long list of suggested phrases and quickly narrowed down to only one. Guess what it was? “Alcohol makes everything better.” Not for me. There were actually a lot of videos but one popped out and I clicked on it. It was this dude Sober Leon. He started out standing in front of a white board saying, I’m going to give you a list of 10 simple tips to easily quit drinking!” Yeah right, what’s this guy selling. He is selling his program but he actually did the full video which wasn’t just a tease to make you pay to hear the secret. The first thing on the list was Reframe alcohol. Alcohol is not a good thing. I was like, yes! I know all ten of these things. That is why I type in the phrase. That is what made it so easy for me before. Even when I had that Super Anxiety 2.0, if I thought of drinking, I held my hand up to the imaginary beer bottle and say, “Alcohol makes everything worse.” Less than ten seconds and I wasn’t thinking about it anymore.

The problem was I forgot to say it last month. Well, I was a bit deranged, but a little reminder would have helped. I paused the video and popped open a fresh document and started typing. I need this shit printed and left out in the open. I changed a lot to fit my situation but it was all the same basic principles. Second was, don’t call yourself an alcoholic. It’s a drug like any other, it’s addictive. You are not powerless. You are a powerful person. I thought that is what I don’t like (hate) about AA. They are always talking, Stop throwing yourself a “pity party”. The whole thing is a pity party. The first thing you see when you sit down. “I am powerless”, I was born with this “disease”, it’s incurable, I have to spend the rest of my life in this church basement reliving it or else I will drink again. Fuck that shit! I don’t want to drink for the rest of my life but I want to be sober and live. (Sorry)

The next thing was, Don’t use willpower, it’s not a struggle or resistance or a battle for the rest of your life. That is when I had the hardest times was thinking it as a battle of wills. You never stop thinking about drinking. When I figured out to just tell myself it makes everything worse. I would forget about it. It’s not that easy, I still messed up but I forgot to tell myself. That’s just what works for me.

There was more and of course near the bottom was “Get a coach.” (him) I put a question mark next to that but added, I need to find some type of variation of that. I still don’t know what. I need a therapist anyway and I’m waiting to get one but if I start talking to a regular therapist about drinking they will want to refer me to an alcohol therapist. Most of them are 12 step and want to send you to AA. I don’t have many options for providers in my situation. I have to figure something out. Maybe I just need regular people to hang out with and do normal shit.

Also near the bottom was, Commit. Not 1 week, not 1 month, go all in. I put commit in all caps with an exclamation point! I don’t know why that wasn’t at the top. I was thinking about it all day yesterday. Why is it that every time I look at the word, “commit” I get a twinge of fear? I have quit before and I never put any time limit on it but I never went all in and said, “for the rest of my life.” I had trouble coming up with an answer for that one. Another one on the list was just try to get a tiny bit better each day. I like that one. I don’t have figure it all out right now. I need to stick with the first one and get it back in my head if I drink shit gets worse. I have proved that many times.

This morning I woke up and thought, I’m putting “COMMIT” second on the list. Not that hard, CTRL-X, CTRL-V, change a few numbers. New list. Print. Okay. Funny Aside. I have this weird thing with printing paper and paper towels. I won’t print something unless I absolutely have to do it. And if I’m using a piece of paper to keep notes, phone numbers, etc… I use every available space until it’s just a jumbled up, illegible mess. Same with paper towels. I reuse them. I mean if I wipe up some shit I will throw it away but if I’m just using one as a napkin, I fold it into quarters and flip it and flip it and open it and refold it. I have no idea why. I’m not trying to save the environment. I don’t have much money but I just blew $200 getting drunk for the weekend, am I trying to save 3 cent worth of paper? Whatever. I thought why am Ieaving this list on the table behind me when I’m sitting here at the computer most of the day? Then, wait a minute, Click, “Copies, 2”. Now I have one on my desk, at the table and in my bedroom. I really don’t want to forget this shit.

The next thing I searched was, “Why am I afraid to commit to…” Guess what came up? You’re right, “relationships.” That’s another post. I typed in “quitting drinking”. A lot came up and they all had similar titles about common fears quitting drinking. I picked the first one. I was lucky. It was a blog. She was trying to sell her book but why not? It was a long article with good information along the same lines I think. Then one of the headlines read, “Will I be in recovery for the rest of my life?” I was like, Oh no! She said, “No fucking way!” Thank you! I think the exact same way. I quit smoking 10 years ago. Am I a “recovering smoker?” I don’t think about smoking, I’m not tempted to smoke, It doesn’t bother me when someone smokes around me. Anyway.

I got into trouble this summer because I was getting out of the house as much as I could on purpose. I had the right intentions. I had to stop isolating. I wasn’t thinking about getting drunk. I just wanted to be around people. I thought I was doing great. Every nice day I went out for as long as I could. I took long bike rides. I walked places even if I didn’t need to just so I would be out longer. But I realized, I was still isolating. Sure, I spent hours near the ocean with tons of people around but I never stopped anywhere. I might have well been sitting at home watching a video of someone riding a bike. Not really. I was getting exercise, fresh air and sunshine, but you know. I just didn’t know where to go.

I started to get discouraged when I looked online for places to go. The seacoast is a popular vacation spot so almost everything is geared towards what people do on vacation. Party! I posted about this before. I got on meetup and still found the only places near me were people doing things in bars. Somehow that became a good idea. I’ll start hanging around with people my age partying. Okay. That’s not what I need. I don’t need to hang out with people my age who still have a drinking problem. Next.

Back the same problem. I don’t know where to go. I did another search. I wanted to type, “How do I find sober people.” Of course, up pops, “Sober singles.” What? I didn’t know there were dating sites for sober people. I guess it makes sense. I’d like to get laid I guess. There was a list of about 10 of them. They were mostly pay sites. I’m not doing that. All I wanted to see is if there were actually any people on these sites. There was a “free” one so I clicked. It was “free to join”, of course it’s free to join. I put in my email and town and I joined. You know where this is going, right? Now I can see pictures of women and read there profiles. Let’s see what happens when I click, “Send Message”. It takes me to a page with 5 tiers of paid memberships. 5!!! It was free to join but you can’t do anything. I didn’t read it all, I think the cheapest one was you could “like” people but you still can’t message them. Yeah, that’s going to impress the hell out of them. I’m not going to do it anyway, but then I thought, Why the hell am I even looking at this? The whole idea is to get offline and out into the real world. What am I thinking? I want to sit home all night on the computer getting rejected by sober broads? Next

Something struck me earlier. I’ve known it for a long time but it’s more extensive than I thought. Even when I was going out to bars, almost all the women I attracted weren’t really drinkers. They would drink because they were in a bar but like 2 or 3 drinks in 4 hours. I would get shitfaced. What did they see in me?

I thought about it more this morning. Since I stopped going to bars and started dating online. Of all the women I met, whether hooking up for one night or a couple months or a couple years. I never once drank with any of them. I drink, they might drink but when we were together we were both sober. All of them, all the time. I liked it. Even if I was drinking when I first talked to them online, when I asked them to meet, it was always for coffee. Coffee doesn’t always mean coffee but a lot of time we actually met somewhere and got coffee.

I think I spent 3 years with Amy. She didn’t drink at all. She smoked hella dope though. We spent a lot of time at her place. It was nice, right on the lake. I would take a few hits but it makes me too anxious. She was like a chimney. I like her.

It took me 2 years to find out Jen drank! We hung out a lot, we talked about everything and we had a ton in common but we never mentioned drinking. I thought she was totally straight edge and she thought the same of me. We weren’t hiding it from each other. One night I texted her what was she doing and she said she was splitting a handle with her roommate. I said, you drink?! Then she was shocked that I did too. She drank more than I did and I drank a lot. Weird.

Almost forgot. I read something today about being a perfectionist. I never thought about myself as a perfectionist, I half ass shit all the time but I thought about it and it was me. It’s about if things don’t turn out just right I’m a failure, I’m a loser. That’s why the word commit scares me. If I say I’m going to quit drinking for the rest of my life and I drink again. What does that mean?

The reason I started all this searching yesterday is because I almost fucked it right up again 2 days ago. I went for another walk again for no reason. It was just nice outside. I went a couple miles. I turned onto my drive and I noticed the same 2 guys were still sitting out on the tailgate of their truck since I left earlier. Now there was a woman with them. They were all my age. I didn’t think much of it until I notice the woman looking right at me smiling. I was still pretty far away to be smiling at. I smiled back and kept walking closer. She’s still smiling, I got close and she turned full and stepped a few towards me and said, Nice day for a walk? I said, I love it and stopped to talk for a bit. My brain fucking brain clicked right into gear! I know this scene, all hanging outside doing nothing, these 2 guys got some hard miles on them, she does too, I got some hard miles on me. I’m gonna pick up a few beers and be knee deep in some pussy later tonight! WTF? Good thing I caught myself and broke off the conversation and started walking.

What was I thinking? That is all I need. Hook up with a woman in the building next door and start partying with her and her friends. I would never stop drinking. Now I am afraid to go outside. Not really, I went for another long walk yesterday. That’s why I printed out 3 copies this morning. I need to retrain my brain.

Maybe I will take up bowling.

No Dogs Allowed

Robot Brain

“Going off the rails on a crazy train!” Ozzy.

You know that movie, “Lost Weekend”? Sometimes I recreate it. I thought I was doing pretty well for a while. But I remember making all these plans for drinking. Not specifically but I live in a tourist area and the main events are partying your tits off! When I looked for events to attend, the main activity was drinking. I started with Google and that was shit. I remembered meetup.com. It sounded like a good idea. I put in my interests and they suggested groups. They all centered around drinking. I searched, “Sober activities,” Nothing came up? I call bullshit on the percentage of alcoholics in the USA. It is reported as ridiculously low! There are like 10,000 bars in my tiny state. When I go to a bar, rarely do I see anyone have 2 drinks. ( social drinker) Most people have 5 or more, which is a binge drinker. That is a problem. Friday night everyone was drinking the same as me… A lot.

Whatever. I have surreptitiously been planning on drinking even without my knowledge. A week ago on meetup, the entire event seemed a mess and I changed my mind and didn’t go. They seem like a group of people who all go out together several times a week. I don’t want to be the new guy with whatever my problems are.

This weekend, Labor Day. There were two groups going to a large dance bar. At this point I am going to go out and dance. One group was private and there ‘What we’re about’ spiel started out, MEMBERSHIP IN OUR GROUP IN A PRIVILEGE, NOT AN ENTITLEMENT. Yes, All caps!. After was a long paragraph and a link to “read more”. I clicked and it was a mile long list of rules. fuck them!

Another group was just one woman! Okay? I’m joining her group. She sent me her number and we texted for a bit Friday. The last thing she said, was “You will have a blast!”, I said I think you are right. An hour later she cancelled the event. Then she texted me saying, Sorry, I completely forgot I have a 35 mile bike ride in the morning. (Seriously?) She planned all week to go to a club Friday and never thought, oh, I have to get up a 6am and exert myself? I said, no problem shit happens. Second time this has happened to me in a week. I guess so, I had been debating all day whether I wanted to be stranded by Uber in Salisbury at midnight anyway.

I still wanted to go out though, now that I had it in my head. She cancelled so late I had taken a shower, got dressed and just gotten back from the store with some kind of seltzer women might like to drink. I sat down to text her and my phone beeped first. It was her.

Now I was in a mood. I drank a few of the seltzer drinks. (Pretty high alcohol content) Still no way I was getting stranded by Uber, (For a high population area there is next to zero public transport) I walked to the dumbass bar next door. I thought, watch, it will be all the same people from the last time I was in there 5 years ago. I was correct. Bartender walked up, Pat. I don’t think he remembered my name but I have a distinctive look. Vodka, tonic, I guess?

It was Karaoke night with DJ Dan. JFC! The first person to catch my eye was this kid about 30 wearing an Adidas shirt, looking like the only time he makes it to the gym is “chest day.” Just my luck he is walking my way and there is only one chair next to me. Is that an Adidas sweatshirt hanging on the back of the chair? Yep. And where the hell did he get the Adidas hat? He wasn’t wearing it a minute ago. He started telling me his life story. I guess he is okay and he’s very excited to start singing karaoke. There is a black guy sitting next to him and the kid keeps saying, “I’m not racist, but…” That is as far as I got. Good thing he was hyper and kept getting up to walk around.

Then I noticed I seemed to be the only person in the place that didn’t know everyone else. How do I get these ideas in my head? How do I think they are good ideas? There was only one woman there under sixty. She spent the night making the rounds, smiling, hugging, touching but her boyfriend was this huge motherfucker. I think she was just being innocent because again everyone knew each other.

I was the only one in there being quiet and minding my own business so Pat put a drink down in front of me and said, That’s your last one. It was early and the other bartender just got telling me they sometimes stay open until 1am. Whatever, I’m not one to argue. I looked at the bill, $60, looks like I had 10 drinks. Maybe it was time to go. The General store is right next door and I stopped in for another 12’er of seltzer, they went down pretty easy. I guess I didn’t have enough left at home.

I don’t remember much after that. Bits and pieces. At least I wasn’t out in public, but I did acquire taste for those seltzer. There were 12 empty cans scattered around my bedroom floor. My phone said, 12. Not sure if it was midnight or noon but I was pretty sure it was still Friday, or maybe Saturday? I made my way to the kitchen. There were 4 empty boxes of my new favorite drink. Looking like it must be Sunday and hopefully not Monday. It was dark so I guessed it was midnight. No, I know it’s Tuesday and for some reason my back hurts like a bastard.

That’s how I celebrated the working class holiday.

All Night Long

This is a day in the life from when I was 10 years old and lived with my grandparents. Every morning my grandfather would get up early to drive my grandmother to her shitty job. Then he would drive to his shitty job. After a long day at work he would pick her up on the way home. On the way back to the house they would pick up a 12 pack of 16 ounce cans of Narragansett beer for him and a bottle of Jenkins whisky for her. (bottom shelf)

My grandmother enjoyed “Hi-ball’s” which in her vernacular was three fingers of Jenkins over an ice cube. My grandfather must have chugged the beer because that was a lot of liquid and he would finish it by the end of the night. (Every night)

In the evenings my brother (7) and I were only allowed to sit on the couch in the living room or to get something from the kitchen. My grandparents would sit on the other couch and start drinking. Back then there was no cable television. There were only 3 broadcast networks on VHF (Very High Frequency), 4 if you counted PBS. Those were the channels that came in clear if the rotary antenna on the roof was adjusted correctly. We also had UHF (Ultra High Frequency), which sounds better but it’s not. The picture would be full of static. That is where my brother and I would find “Creature Double Feature” and Texas Wrestling on Saturday mornings.

My grandparents would start the night in a good mood; Watching the news first and then moving on to prime time television. After that they were drunk enough to start arguing with each other. That was a sign for my brother and I to go to bed. It didn’t help much. I think my brother fell asleep quickly most nights but I never slept as a child and I stayed up listening to them yelling loudly at each other. Even from upstairs I could hear them clearly. By this time my mom had already slipped out the downstairs window to hitchhike to the bar where her sister worked. (My mom was almost 30)

They didn’t fight over normal things like money etc… They fought about things that happened years before. I don’t know if they looked at the clock but they always seemed to finish up around midnight. Then they would fight over who got the last word. My grandmother would be going upstairs and yell, “You want the last word, you got it!” and he would yell something similar. Both of them telling the other to take the last word but they were taking the last word by saying that. My grandfather stayed downstairs. They didn’t sleep in the same room.

The next morning would be the same day all over again.

The Cure For What Ails You

I thought I was going to quit drinking coffee cold turkey this week. I thought it would be easy. I thought. I was only drinking two cups a day. Apparently I was underestimating how strong I was making those two cups.

I quit caffeine before when I was drinking two whole pots a day but I did the reduction method. I spent a month slowly making each pot with less and less coffee grounds until I tapered down to one weak cup per day. Then I quit no problem. No withdrawal symptoms I had heard about.

This time thinking I only had two cups a day I figured it would be too easy. The first day was easy. Until I got the headache around 10pm that night. I knew it was from lack of caffeine because I never get headaches. It didn’t stop me from sleeping. The second day I woke up and my legs would not stop bouncing up and down vigorously. It was so bad my calves hurt. I’ve had that happen before but never so bad. I looked online and found one reference to it. To test it out I went to the store and got an iced tea which has less caffeine. I drank it and within 10 minutes my legs were perfectly fine.

The next day my addicted mind started making “reasonable” sounding deals with itself. That’s what happens during withdrawal. Your brain plays tricks on you to get what it wants. This deal was no coffee in the morning but I could have tea in the afternoon to calm my legs. That sounded like a good deal. So I immediately went and bought some for “later.”

That went well for a couple days but it still wasn’t enough caffeine to feed my brain. I had cleared all the coffee from the house so I found myself shuffling over to the store first thing in the morning to get a good large cup. “It’s only for this one day” my brain told me as I put up an ineffective fight.

I am now on my third day of “just one day.” I have never had withdrawal from coffee before and thought I would avoid them with my small but strong two cups a day habit. My brain causes just enough pain to get what it wants. It tells me if I do it I can end the suffering.

I’m right back where I started a week ago. But now I am afraid to quit again. Do I really have to go so slow with my small habit? I feel silly having to cut down to one and a half and then one and then just a half cup until I can finally cut it off easily. It takes about a month to do that. I don’t have that much time or discipline.

The problem is I hate being addicted to any drug. I’ve been trying to quit stuff my whole life but I want it both ways. I want to enjoy it without being addicted. It’s always hard to see when you’ve crossed that line. I even try to quit my psyche meds but that never goes well. My anti-psychotics, anti-manics and anti-depressants. All of them are going to kill me but I am forced to take them. Not really, I could quit but I am one hospitalization away from being mandated to take monthly injections.

So I try to handle the drugs I am allowed. Nicotine was the most insidious. Alcohol has gone from being days to now I am racking up some months without it so I feel safer. I never imagined caffeine would be so hard. It’s only the middle of the week so I can only guess how I will handle tomorrow morning. If I write more you will know.

Last night I made sure I had two dollars to buy a coffee this morning. (Planning your next fix is a red flag for addiction.) I went back for another cup because I had a bad sleepless night. It made me feel horrible. (Using more than intended is another red flag.)

Now it is at the point where I am spending as much money on single cups as I would on a whole container. I decided I am going to buy a whole container and make it myself. (Protecting the supply is another red flag.) My cold turkey attempt to quit caffeine failed miserably. I have vague plans to try slowly reducing the dose until the container is empty.

My First Drunk

Not my first drink. My first drunk. I was 6, that made my cousin about 9. It was the high school kids across the street. They scored a bottle and thought it would be funny to get a couple of the neighborhood kids drunk. They called us in the front door of the split level ranch. When we saw the bottle we knew exactly what it was. We were excited about what was about to happen.

The first sip burned but in a good way. It made me warm and soothed me. The high school kids were right, it was funny; to them. I think there were 4 of them. I don’t know, it was so long ago and I was drunk. They stood in a circle around us and laughed their asses off as my cousin and I rolled on the floor fighting over the last sip. That’s how much we liked it. We were on the floor, both clutching the bottle, laughing. There was about one shot left in the bottle. I was smaller than my cousin but I won and claimed my prize.

Our parents were calling for us to come home because it was after dark. The older kids threw us out the bedroom window telling us not to say where we had been. We rolled across the grass laughing, got up and ran around the house and across the street.

This is when I experienced my first blackout. This is another story our family never talks about with our excellent communications skills. My cousin and I pieced it together through the years. We were at the bottom of the steps laughing our asses off; obviously drunk. Our parents were yelling at us asking where we were. We never ratted any of the older kids out, even though we owed them no allegiance. I made it to the second floor deck and fell backwards through the railing. The story goes I just missed hitting the pavement and landed on the edge of the grassy marshland, unhurt. My cousin got into the house and puked all over the kitchen floor.

We got into a lot of trouble. I remember my cousin having to stand in the corner supporting a broomstick across his outstretched arms. I got off easy and only had to stay in my room for a few days. Maybe they felt bad for me because I almost died. I don’t know why we were punished. It’s not like we went and bought the booze ourselves.

My cousin and I turned out to be the biggest drinkers of all the kids in our family. That was probably the start of our careers. Not that we didn’t have plenty of opportunities to drink other than that. There was a game in our house where the first kid to bring an adult a fresh beer was awarded with a big swig. Real bright.