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!

Remembrance

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

You Did What?!?!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been checked into the psych ward. My doctor and therapist thought it was a sign I am doing so much better. Even though I told them the next time I go into the hospital it will be feet first or in hand cuffs. The last time I went was in handcuffs but I knew all the right answers and lied. They put me in an unlocked room for “observation.” I texted someone and escaped through the side door of the hospital. I would have just walked home but it was the middle of winter and all I had was a thin shirt.

I won’t go to the psych ward again because of the way I was treated last time I was there. I checked myself in and at the time I was drunk. I told them the truth and said the only reason I was drinking was I stopped taking my meds and was trying to self medicate. All of the doctors and nurses would ask me who my doctor was on the outside. I would tell them, Dr. Kates. They would all have the same reaction, “Oh Jim! I know him, he works here on weekends” I would say I know he’s been my doctor for 20 years.

I saw a doctor the first day and explained I just needed a safe place to get back on my medications because I was suicidal. He nodded and said he would prescribe me and he left. At night I went to the nurse window and they gave me flintstone hangover vitamins. No psychoactive meds I usually take. I stayed awake that night. The next day there was another doctor and her team of like 5 people taking notes. I told her I didn’t get my meds. She said I would get them tonight. Again at night I went to the nurse window. Flinstone vitamins, no meds. I saw a different doctor the next day he told me I would get my meds immediately. I went to the nurse. She said he prescribed me a shitload of valium. I didn’t understand, I had never taken valium in my life. I said I didn’t want it. It was a lot too. So much valium the two nurses thought it was a mistake and called the Dr. to make sure. Then they still refused to give that to me. Even though I didn’t want it.

It was the 4th day and all of a sudden I find I am one of those people arguing with the nurses about my meds. I know nurses can’t prescribe. They just hand out the pills the doctor tells them to. I saw the doctor again. The one with all the assistants around the table. She looked me straight in the eye and asked me if I was buying my meds off the street! I said, No, I get them at the pharmacy like everyone else. She looked surprised. I said, I suddenly feel a lot better, do you think I can go home now? (5 of them around the table and not one had the job to verify with 1 phone call?)

After that it was a different story. The nurses were chasing me down the halls trying to throw pills in my mouth. Everyone had a big smile and was friendly to me. I was fuming. I was in the hospital after being unmedicated at home for a week and they kept me unmedicated for 4 more days and nobody had called my doctor on the outside to find out what meds I take?!?! I was pissed. They were treating me like one of the drunks that checks in for 3 hots and a cot. (3 hot meals a day and a place to sleep for free) They thought I checked myself into the hospital to score drugs. They just automatically thought I was lying and I couldn’t figure out why.

Part two:

Five years later ( November 2020) my therapists drops the phrase “alcohol use disorder” on me like we talk about it all the time. I thought about it and it all started to make sense. Not only the hospital but how I was treated differently in all official situations. She diagnosed me with alcohol disorder. That was the only difference between my last hospital stay and all the previous ones. Were they just taking my word for it when I told them the meds I took all those visits? WTF kind of process is that? Then I come in and they see on the computer “Alcohol Use Disorder” Red flag! He is a liar! Don’t believe anything he says! I finally figured out why they were treating me with vitamins for alcohol withdrawal. Even though I told them I only drank one day and I could never in my life drink every day so I was in no danger of having a seizure and dying. I told them the truth on every question they asked me. I am done telling the truth to anyone in an official capacity.

Cunt! My therapist. When I figured it out in December I yelled at her on the phone and she lied to me again. All the times I complained and swore I would never go back to the hospital again and all she would say is, ” I can’t understand why they would treat you that way?” Bullshit! She knew exactly why! That is how they treat alcoholics in the hospital! I just couldn’t figure it out because I had never been treated that way in all my many visits over my lifetime. I had seen it a thousand times. I just thought the drunks were trying to con their way into drugs. I didn’t know they were being lied to by the doctors like I was.

I cancelled my therapist appointment the day before Christmas. I have no idea why she thought I would want to ruin my holiday by getting pissed at her all over again. She had no clue and rescheduled for January. Well, I’m glad she had a good holiday because mine sucked. She called yesterday (Friday) and tried to continue the lie. I told her to get fucked don’t call me again! She waited 5 minutes and called back. She asked if I wanted her to call me next week. I said bitch, what did I just say? What is going to change next week? What is going to get resolved? You have been lying to someone who trusted you for 5 years. She tried to say she can get me another therapist. What is that going to do? I’m not going to trust the new therapist and the new therapist is going to treat me like an alcoholic and won’t believe anything I say. Fuck all of them. They all work together and I know my doctor knows because he works at the hospital. He has treated alcohol use disorder patients the exact same way over the years. He has been lying to me the whole time too. I am about ready to stop taking all my meds again. They can all get fucked! Who am I supposed to trust. Do they think I am an idiot?

The Witching Hour

Monday

12/28/20: I just rage walked to the pharmacy. I was forced to go and it was a close call I might get rained on. The reason I had to walk on this particular day is because you can only pick up controlled meds one day in advance. Even though mine won’t kill me. While I was there though, they gave me 3 more months worth of another med that can kill me. Do you think they warned me not to take too much?

I say rage walked because that is usually what I do while I am walking down the street. I scream at everyone who has wronged me. It doesn’t matter; Nobody can hear me, they have their windows rolled up. For all they know I am probably singing along with my iTunes. It’s cathartic. It takes about an hour to walk to and from the pharmacy. By then I have yelled at everyone I know. I feel calmer now than most days at 2pm. It was satisfying to only feel 2 raindrops on my face as I stuck my key in the door.


I used to have a friend who lived 2 miles away over the border where it is recreational but sitting in her car in my state for the same thing could land her in jail.


Dude! For like ten minutes I was totally going to get wasted! I wanted to get two big bottles of red wine. I don’t even drink wine. I do sometimes but it would be rare. I do like red though. Higher alcohol content! Then it just went away…

Wednesday 12/30/2020:

I am spending the holidays alone so I took a quick look at the hook up site on Christmas and just this morning. JFC! These guys don’t change a thing. They just keep trying with the same shit they post everyday. They don’t even acknowledge it is Christmas or New Year’s Eve coming up. What cracks me is the married guys. That’s right. After a year of searching, Christmas day is the day you are going to find another married woman to help you cheat on your wife! (Did your husband take his phone into the bathroom Christmas morning?) NYE is tomorrow and I haven’t seen one mention of it. Just copy and paste ads from the same men who have no luck every day…


I’ve really been thinking of tying one on tomorrow night and starting off the New Year hungover! If the store I can walk to sells champagne I think I will. It popped (no pun intended) into my head last week but I wasn’t really serious about it. But now I think, what am I going to do? Sit here and watch awful music on television and see the ball drop? I will if I can get my girlfriends to come over but they were just here last night and one of them has kids so they will probably stay home.


Yeah, my girlfriends are staying home so I probably won’t get drunk. It’s just stuck in my head. It’s my second favorite holiday next to the 4th of July. Even though I don’t think the change to a new year is something special.

Lol. I just saw the sobriety blog I follow gearing up to get people to try “Dry January.” I guess it’s okay if I stop drinking before midnight tomorrow? Let’s hope it goes better than “Dry July”, where the people who run the blog apparently relapsed the last week of the month and stopped posting tips and stories about being sober! I stayed sober in July. I’m relentless!


I’ve done some cat fishing but do you want to know who answers me most often when I am obviously looking to meet a woman? I’ll tell you right now. Your husband! This is a typical reply I will get: “50’s MWM, 6’2″ 250lbs want to be your submissive little cocksucking slut!” First of all; What? I’m 5’10” 200, how is that even supposed to work? A lot of the time they send me an unsolicited picture of themselves wearing their wive’s underwear. It is usually too small as their hairy chest is too broad to snap the bra. Being married is the first thing they mention. I’ve teased them and it is because married men can’t be out sucking everyone off. But how can that be true if they are offering to suck off any random stranger on the internet?

The last guy who answered me had a copy and paste form letter he sent out to all the straight guys. (All the gay guys aren’t looking for each other because it’s STD dangerous, I guess) He said he was 50, bottom, submissive, likes to wear panties and masculine. (I guess?) What did he think would turn me on about that description? (he went on about what a nice guy and fun he was) The total opposite of what I was looking for. I don’t care what you do but what are you trying to do? Turn me? I sent back a message saying I thought you were BORN gay? Now it’s a CHOICE? I went off on him but not too much. He came back with a picture of his dick and all caps saying he had that up my mother’s ass last night! (So much for nice, fun guy) But WTF? Just because a big hairy guy is wearing lace doesn’t make him attractive to me. Are straight women answering gay guy’s ads trying to turn them?

I’m just going off because that was my last interaction on a dating site. I don’t know what these guys are thinking they can get laid during the holiday season. Everyone is home with their wife and kids. Nobody is going to get a babysitter and go out and fuck you Christmas or New Year’s.

Lol, I just got laid last night. I don’t even know what I’m talking about? It worked out great! The night before I made my sex playlist on my iPad. Which is basically all the songs I never got out of my chair to hit skip on my ancient iPod Classic. I have excellent taste in music. Last time I was in a bar they had an internet connected juke box and I played the shit out of that mother fucker! People used to listening to Irish jigs were like, “Wow! Who played this song? I love it!” Every time it was me because I was the only one putting any money into the machine. I can rock a place old or new, usually both at the same time! Ah good times… That was the last time I was manic and publicly drunk.

Accountability

I’m dating myself. Does anyone remember Bartles and Jaymes “wine coolers?” I think it was the first time alcohol companies started aggressively marketing to young women.

My first job back in the day was at a grocery store chain. I worked in the meat department. No, I wasn’t a 16 year old butcher. I was the kid who steam cleaned all the equipment after the butchers had gone home. A good job if you are trying to quit eating meat. I’m not going to tell you how bad the meat grinder smelled after just one day of use. They gave me that particular job because I worked well without supervision. As I go on you will realize I probably needed more supervision.

Okay, back to the sickly sweet, fruity tasting wine coolers. Not only did they come in a nice 4 pack of glass bottles, they also sold them in plastic 2 liter bottles! This is where I came in.

I had the run of the store and nobody questioned anything I did. I got a good idea. (In my 16 year old brain.) I went out onto the floor and grabbed 2 two liter bottles of 7-UP and carried them back to the small walk in refrigerator at the end of the butcher shop. Then I went to the warehouse part of the store and stealthily took 2 two liter bottles of wine coolers.

The walking fridge had a drain in the floor into which I emptied the soda bottles. I carefully transferred the wine from the 2 liter bottles into the 2 liter bottles of 7-UP. At the end of my shift I would carry it down to the front of the store and pay the cashier 99 cents for two liters of wine coolers because that was the price of the 7-UP.

Looking back, I think it was a pretty ingenious way to start my alcoholic career driving home and chugging my pilfered wine.

I only lasted about a year at that job. It’s another funny story. I got fired but not for stealing wine coolers. I knew a kid who worked alone in the dairy department and our freezers were next to each other. We spent a lot of time talking. But this kid was a real wise ass. To the point annoying as fuck. He said something to me and I impulsively wrapped his head with the strapping tape I had in my hands. He tried to get it out but it was hopelessly stuck in his long hair. As he started to freak out the store manager walked through the swinging doors and wanted to know what happened. That was the end of my butcher career but not the end of my drinking. I guess I was pretty determined there.

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.

Rock Bottom

They say every alcoholic has to hit “rock bottom” before they can quit drinking. I didn’t hit mine with a bang. My experience was fairly banal. I hit bottom softly like a feather floating down to earth. Of all the stupid things I’ve done when I was drunk and wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t drunk, it was something as simple as a hangover that brought me down.

It wasn’t just one hangover; it was six hangovers in 12 days. My new thing was “control drinking.” I would pace myself through 12 beers so I wouldn’t do anything stupid. The problem with pacing myself was I never felt drunk but I did get the full 12 beer hangover the next day, all day and night.

Last spring I was just coming out of a long depression and I went on a kick. It went something like this. I would control drink 12 beers and not feel anything, spend the next day and night with the worst suicidal 12 beer hangover and the next day I would be sober until I drank again that night. I did it for almost 2 weeks.

The last night of drinking I couldn’t control my pace anymore and I got that feeling and by the end of the night I did something stupid. It wasn’t major. It was just crossing a line I wouldn’t have crossed if I wasn’t drunk. It was something simple and had no consequences but I feel dumb about it so I’m not going to write anything here. Besides, it was the hangovers that made me want to quit.

I’ve had worse hangovers. I’ve had hangovers that lasted 3 days before. I never drink that many days in 2 weeks. It was drinking every other day and hungover every other day. Finally I couldn’t take the suicidal thoughts and the fear of acting on them and the guilt that comes along with that knowing from personal experience how suicide can fuck up a family for generations.

It was a sober day and I was fighting the urge to buy more beer, remembering how awful I would feel the next day. I still wanted to drink. I’m not sure how I did it but I finally broke the cycle. I didn’t know it would be a long term thing. I’ve read that hangovers are a bad reason to quit drinking because the memory will fade and you will drink again. I’ve also read you have to do whatever it takes to stop drinking. It’s the memory of the torture I put myself through with absolutely no reward. I put myself through it mentally every time I think I want to drink.

It’s working so far. That was my rock bottom. I went out with a whimper, not a bang. I didn’t do anything stupid I would regret. I didn’t get arrested, I didn’t kill myself, obviously. I just had a hangover. Actually several, but very boring compared to other rock bottom stories I’ve heard over the years.

Maybe the memory will fade. Maybe I will trick myself into thinking it wasn’t so bad. I can think of 2 reasons I might start drinking again.The first one is stupid. I would meet a woman who wants to go for drinks. I would be too embarrassed to admit I am an alcoholic so I would lie and just say I’m not much of a drinker and just go with it. The second would be much worse. I’ve never had anyone extremely close to me die. I don’t know how I would react to it but considering my past behavior, I would probably go straight to the bottle. Maybe I wouldn’t but if something ever happened to my daughter I would definitely give up.

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.

Heredity

Sad girl on dock

Tuesday

I was supposed to see my daughter today but when I got up this morning her mom texted me she was crying and could I come another day. At first my all or nothing thinking had me worried my daughter wouldn’t want to see me again. Then I thought of something worse. I was there last Thursday and we were all having a good time out on the porch. My daughter suddenly got melancholy and looked sad and was barely talking. I know mental illness is hereditary. I am schizo-affective and her mom suffers with chronic depression. Luckily my daughter has not experienced any trauma but I still look for signs of depression. She is only fifteen so I know it is normal for her to be crying and not know the reason. Still I think in worst case scenarios so I am always worried. Hopefully it is unfounded.

Wednesday

My daughter has never liked talking on the phone. Since she was 3 the most I could get out of her was, “Hi daddy, I love you, bye daddy”. Now that she is 15 she is the same. In the days between my seeing her we text a little. Today she told me she was tired but she had slept and then she sent me the heart emoji. That means she is done texting. Her mom said she is being 15. I hope so. I am going to try to see her tomorrow. I’ll see how she feels.


I just spent 5 hours frozen in bed. My fight or flight was in full force. My chest was so tight I was barely breathing and it felt like a fist was clenched around my heart. I put the tv on to listen so I could have part of my mind diverted. The rest of it was swirling in my head. I don’t know what started it. I already took my anxiety meds. I don’t have extra. The whole time I was making deals with myself. I knew I could get rid of it by drinking one of those 24 oz. beers from next door. But the punchline is one of those cans of beer is equal to four regular beers; and I never stop after four. Still I kept bargaining. I could buy two cans and pass out early and get up on time to see my daughter tomorrow. Like that would happen. I don’t pass out early. I drink until all the alcohol is gone. No matter how bad it makes me feel the next day; And I feel bad the next day.

I don’t know how I made it through. I kept thinking I am going to see my daughter tomorrow. Maybe I just had too much anxiety to even get dressed and walk to the store. Whatever it was, I made it. I wasted the whole night, but I made it. I got up and microwaved yesterday’s soup. Then I remembered. I must have had a premonition this morning. I bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream without even thinking about it. I don’t know if I felt better and ate the ice cream or if I ate the ice cream and it made me feel better. Now I am cruising around on half anxiety. They say writing helps but I couldn’t even think of it earlier. I couldn’t get out of bed, never mind open a draft and wrangle a keyboard. They? They have all kinds of helpful hints, but what can you do if you don’t even have control over your body? All I had planned was shaving my face for tomorrow. I couldn’t even handle that. I’ll have to plan it for the morning before I leave. I bet anything it will be like nothing ever happened.

Thursday

I told you I would feel fine today. (I already shaved my face) Even though I woke up at the ungodly hour of 8am. I did go to bed early. (2am) I usually fall asleep around 5am. That is enough sleep for me. I don’t feel tired during the day. I always have a lift in my mood when I know I’m going to see my daughter. It’s already 80 degrees outside. (I don’t know celsius since we gave up on the metric system) We might go to the beach (a block from her house) but she only likes it at high tide. It is too rocky to swim at low tide. Plus the seaweed drifts in closer to the sand.

Friday

Yesterday was fine. We just hung out on the porch all day. It was beautiful. People ask me what we “do” when I visit. I feel like saying we hang out and talk; don’t you talk to your kids?

After I got divorced visiting my daughter was a huge trigger for me to drink. Seeing her was great but I would spend the day like a family and then go home to be alone. I used to drink heavily on those nights. Luckily I stopped that and can enjoy the carry over of a good feeling. It is never dull at her house. She is there, her mom, 12 year old twin step brothers. 4 dogs and 2 cats. Plus there there are a lot of people who stop in once in a while. That cuts both ways because sometimes it is friends from when we were married and it is strange because I lost touch with them but my wife hasn’t. I get along best with her cousin. She is much younger but she has always been nice to me. I see her most often when I visit.


I need to type with music or the television going so I can have 2 things happening to distract my mind from itself. I drank 2 cups of coffee earlier. Sometimes it has the opposite effect and calms me down. I had high anxiety earlier but now I am pretty relaxed. I used to drink a lot more coffee but most days I only drink 2 cups in the morning. Regular cups, not extra large. I would quit but I need something because I wake up before my meds wear off.

I’ve been reading posts about Dry July where you don’t drink alcohol for the month. I’ve been longer than a month but I still don’t find it as easy as they say it is. It probably doesn’t help that the 4th is in July. They do say not to be afraid of having treats. I already had ice cream the other day and last night I found 2 chocolate bars in the freezer I had forgotten about. I just ate now and I am thinking of what to eat next.

Saturday

My anxiety kicks in as soon as I wake up. Sometimes it wakes me up. Not a welcome nudge into reality. Most mornings all I can do is keep my usual routine. A couple cups of coffee and make my lentils. (I know it’s a weird breakfast) I have to put on music before I do anything. Then I get on the computer for some distraction. After an hour or two I can usually face the day. This new blogging thing seems to help. Instead of passively reading I can activate my mind in the morning and other points in the day.

Nature vs. Nurture

This post was supposed to be about hereditary illness but I got distracted by my illness. I’ve been up for 2 hours now and I feel pretty good today. The person I am worried about inheriting illness is my daughter. Both her mom and I are diagnosed. I am schizo-affective and her mom has chronic depression. She is an excellent mom but she needs a lot of down time she spends it in bed away from the family. I don’t live with my daughter so I don’t pose a clear problem. I can usually pull it together for a 1 day visit.

Her mom and I are also both alcoholics. The studies say it is genetic but I’m not sure. I was taught to drink by other drinkers at a young age but does that mean I was born to drink? Maybe. I found out my father died of liver cancer from alcoholism. Her mom also fares better in the alcohol department. She keeps it under control. I’ve seen her buzzed but never really drunk. On the other hand, I have been sober for some time but I feel like even today I could break my streak and just get smashed.

So far my daughter is against drugs and alcohol. That is exactly how I was at her age but the next year I was out all night partying with my friends half the week. We are always keeping a close eye on her looking for signs of mental illness. She experiences some sudden downturns in mood but maybe it is just part of being 15. Who knows when someone is that young? I just don’t want my daughter living through some of the horrible things I have experienced. I worry for her a lot.


This was supposed to be a themed post but I got distracted and couldn’t formulate the ideas. That is why it turned into a journal post. Today is Saturday and I am going to post it tonight. It hasn’t been a full week but yesterday I finally got the impetus to write a real post for Sunday, so I broke my spell. I sometimes give up on long blog posts. I hope this one isn’t too long or boring. Let me know if you made it this far.


It happened again. Hours of being rigidly frozen. Not as bad as before but this time with the paranoia. Every sound in the hallway someone trying to break into my apartment. I know it’s not true but I can’t talk myself out of it.

I feel better after midnight. I always feel better after midnight. I feel like I’ve accomplished something; made it through another day. Maybe it’s the bens I took finally kicking in. I don’t know. It’s the main reason I stay up so late. I’m not overcome with fear like I am during the day. I can finally relax. I stay up forever.

It’s 1 am now. This is my first shot at a diary type post. I think it is a little long but I didn’t know what else to write all week. I have sticky notes on my desktop with title prompts to give me ideas but I couldn’t get started on any of them. Finally yesterday I got one down about quitting smoking. Now seems like as good a time as any to post. I’m just repeating myself. It’s still yesterday in my country but they are well into a new day on the other side of the world.

Independently Yours

Pink Panther drunk

9pm. I planned on being drunk when I posted this. It may still happen. I don’t know. Seriously, I had it all planned out. All the way down to the detail of how many beers I was going to drink per hour. My attempt at controlling my drinking. I started writing this at 9pm for two reasons. One is that was the time we used to get to the bar when we were partying a lot. In our minds the alcoholic was the guys falling off the barstool when we cam in. We couldn’t be alcoholics, we have it under control. ( even though we partied until the sun came up). The second reason is later in my attempt to control drinking I would buy beer at 9pm. That way if I nursed it, by the time I ran out of beer the store would be closed and I couldn’t buy anymore. So I would just go to sleep after the beer was gone.

I’ve actually been doing this since Thursday when I was at my daughter’s house. I was pointedly uninvited from today’s party. It’s the best of the year. And it’s my favorite holiday. I’ve never been a patriotic, celebrate America type of guy. I jsut like fireworks and partying in the summer. That’s why I was uninvited. Last time I was there I drank most of the Jagermeister and got really drunk. It’s a bad idea for me to be at a big party. A band, a bonfire, beers. A bad combination for me. I can drink and have a good time. My problem is I don’t stop until the beer runs out. Anyway. I was both anger and despondency. But it’s turned inward on myself. I’m pissed because it’s my fault I can’t go.

It was on the ride home I gave myself permission to drink. It only took a second. It was a thought of reaching into the cooler at the store and pulling out a potent six pack. Then the dopamine rush. The tingle in my brain. The plan was set in action. Everything I did was because I was going to drink on Saturday night. (This sucks. I can hear fireworks all around me but can’t see over the trees) Yesterday I listened to an audio book for the first time. It was to take up most of the day so my mind was kept busy away from thoughts of drinking. Today I made it to the food store so I could stock up on a good meal. Get my belly full before I started drinking. It was dinner that did it surprisingly. I had my once a month rib eye steak and mad a full dinner out of it and while I was doing that I did a 180 and decided I wasn’t going to drink. (Or at least try not to) Every thing turned into a treat. I ate a can of Pringles and 2 chocolate caramel bars. Hopefully I didn’t celebrate too early.

That’s my new addiction If I quit drinking. I will eat. I’ve already gained some weight. Better than smoking. I’ve done that and it’s awful. Some people pick up a serious habit after they quit drinking. I’ve seen people fire down 2 cigarettes in a 5 minute break. I can’t start smoking again. I was horribly hooked. Oh well, I’ll get fat. I’m not really unhealthy. I”m just addicted to everything.

11:02pm This is the time I would assess my situation. The store closes in half an hour. Last call for alcohol. If I bought a 6 pack of double alcohol beer at 8 I would be out by now and would buy another 6. That’s why I have to wait until 9. I’m doing pretty well tonight. I just rested in bed. No pangs. I think what made my decision for me was the hangover. Now if I drink it takes commitment. Not only commitment to drinking all the beer but also a commitment to an all day hangover the next day. And I mean all day. Until the minute I sleep again. All this time hearing a voice telling me I’m worthless and should kill myself.

Of all the stupid things I’ve done while drinking that could have been my rock bottom. Who knew it would be something as mundane as a hangover that made me want to quit. It was the repetition. I did it 14 days in a row. Really drunk. The next day deathly hungover. Over and over again. I just couldn’t take it on the last day. How could I do that to myself?

I don’t know what makes this holiday so special. I made it through my last birthday no problem. Same with Memorial day. It was the summer holidays I drank on the most. I think it was having it put right in my face. People talking about the upcoming party as if I wasn’t sitting right there. Knowing why I’m not allowed. And deserving it.

The witching hour I didn’t even use the shut down as an excuse to drink. That’s pretty good for someone who doesn’t need an excuse to drink. I never had to drink every day. That doesn’t make a difference though. I usually go periods of time without drinking and then drink heavily. So I have to watch out. Tonight was pretty weird. I can be stubborn when I put my mind to it. I don’t remember backing out when I made such a detailed plan to drink. I always follow through.

I’m good, but it’s easy now that the store is closed and there is no way to get booze. I just don’t think about it. Plust the bar is shutdown so I didn’t have to go through that period of knowing the bar will serve me until 12:30am. I had to stay away from that place. After a manic month in there drinking like I was rich and putting it on my credit card. It took me forever to pay that off.

I don’t think I need to type anymore. I’m going to cram my head into the pillow and listen to the t.v. until it is time to go to sleep. I’m still surprised. I don’t reverse course like that. I fully believed I would be writing some fucked up shit while drunk. Since I found out about it I’ve been scheduling my posts for after they are written. Yesterday I wrote a “review” of the book I listened to but it won’t show until Wednesday. I didn’t want to do that Here. Either way I wanted to post when I was done writing and see what came ouut. Also I don’t think anybody will be reading on the Holiday weekend. that’s another excuse to drink. I’m “special”. I”m the only one at home alone while everyone else is out having a good time, right? Good Night.

[Post Script] I made it through the night but still woke up feeling hungover. My anxiety was out of control. Enough to activate my “fight of flight” response. That lasts forever. I usually drink to take care of it. This week was the perfect storm for drinking. I took care of everything so I felt I could use a reward. I saw my daughter for the day, I cleaned my apartment, I did grocery shopping. I even got laid so that was out of the way. I also felt slighted for not getting invited to my favorite event of the year. Seeing my daughter cuts both ways. I am so happy she is a good kid and part of my life but after I see her I go home alone and I am not part of the family. When she was born the plan was to stay a family. I used to drink after every visit. I just couldn’t handle the fact that I fucked up my life plan. She really is the most important thing in my life. Without her I would let everything else go.