Y’All Ready For This?

Waiting for the noise to stop. It’s quiet now except for the sound of “Uncle Ray” snoring on the couch. I have lot’s of “Uncles”. That is my signal to slip out of bed. Stepping softly towards the kitchen to the left. Slowly nudge the refrigerator door open, holding my breath until the vacuum seal pops. Seven bottles of Schlitz,(gives you the shits, haha) I am strong enough to twist off the top, it is a game for us kids. Ease the door shut until the airlock. (did it) Into the living room, search the ashtray on the coffee table for a roach… I know how to smoke it. Hold it between a split paper match…Somehow I know it is called a “Jefferson Airplane”. I know I only need a little.

Still silently stepping over a body passed out on the floor. The newest issue of Penthouse Magazine is on top of the stack on the rack next to the Zenith television console. I sit cross-legged on the floor and open the glossy pages.

I don’t know what I’m seeing but I like it somehow. I know the pleasure of my penis, but I haven’t made the connection yet. They don’t look like real people. That is not what holds my interest.

Letters to Penthouse; my favorite,; later on I would find out they are not real. (or were they? Now I write my own, do you believe them?) Who are these people? What is a “clit?”, What are these people talking about? I kind of know, I’ve seen sex before. I don’t know, it is my favorite, I never miss an issue. (my cousin while I’m looking at the cereal box; Do you have to fucking read everything?)

Softly sit down next to “Uncle Ray” on the couch. Cosmopolitan Magazine, “15 ways to please your man!”, “How to keep him coming back for more”. Who are these people? I have never met anyone who looks like this. What are they trying to do?

Move on next to the big white bible, “The Kinsey Reports”. This is fascinating; I know all these body parts but not the words, vagina, penis, gspot, orgasm, urethra?

The sun is coming up. This is the most peaceful time of day. I have to get back to bed and pretend I have been sleeping. School starts soon.

Guess what grade I am in?

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