Day 61

I’m at the walk-in clinic because I believe I have an ear infection.  I’ve been having a headache for over a month and I can feel it in my eustachian tubes. It might be my teeth,  I don’t know.  I just think it’s time for antibiotics.  I’ve tried everything to get rid of it but it’s been awhile and I guess this is what self care is supposed to be. Going to the doctor before shit gets bad.  My boss isn’t too happy that I am not at work but I don’t know if I care.  So,  in a crowded waiting room, I sit. 

I started to get nervous because as soon as they call someone back,  I can hear them direct them to the scale.  Do I stand on it backwards?  I’m curious to what it is too and the more I fidget with this idea the louder the clicking of the pen the kid sitting in the waiting room gets.  It’s driving me bananas.  I’m sure he doesn’t realize he’s doing it.  Click, click, click, stop it.  

Over the weekend, I ran into a lady that I went to treatment with for eating disorders.  I’m going to start going to the Tuesday night support group because I reaffirmed that she would be there. She’s great. We were good friends during treatment.   She had binge eating behavior disorder and had had stomach surgery to make her thin and then realized she had a bigger problem.  She looked good. I need support with this bullshit.  It’s insidious how both alcoholism and eating disorders can tell you,  you don’t have a problem.  Not drinking is a hell of a lot easier than following a meal plan, at least right now it is,  and lately I have been really resistant to getting more support.  I keep telling myself that I can do it on my own.  It’s expensive to get a dietician.  I have all the information.  I know what I am supposed to do.  I’m not accountable to anyone and most of my circle of friends and family don’t understand it well enough to know how to support me.  And living alone makes it tremendously easy to skip meals.  

I just saw my weight.  And my blood pressure is super low. Now I am waiting for the doctor to come in and look in my ears. Seeing my weight was a bad idea because it tells me that I am sick but not sick enough to do anything about it. 

I know I can’t consider myself really sober until I get on and stay on a meal plan for at least for a month. 

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I don’t have an infection.  She gave me shots of novacaine in my neck because I was complaining of headaches and  eustachian tubes being clogged- when she felt the muscles in my neck she said they were super tight.  If it helps,  I’m willing to do anything even though I don’t like needles.  There was also a chiropractor in the building so I got an adjustment.  I think I feel better.  She said if the symptoms don’t go away that I need to see my pcp and that they will order an MRI.  It could be something in my neck/head.  I passed the neurological tests. 

 Bodies are weird.  Complex and amazing but since I have been trying to get back into mine – it’s been a surreal experience.  A bottle of wine is my old way of coping.  This new way is far more challenging than I had anticipated.  Not unattainable. Just a hell of a lot of work and vigilance.  

Day 52

I went to my first sober concert last night since the 9th grade. It was a trip. I didn’t want to drink but I had this urge to get in the beer line. It was like I was forgetting to do something, that I needed to go stand there with the other people. I can’t say I was a fan of the band because Jerry Garcia ruined that for me years ago and this was a billboard band from the 90’s. The familiar songs reminded me of the college bar. I could close my eyes and remember playing pool and who was around and floods of memories of beer and Jagermeister- that was my drink in college… shots of Jagermeister and gallons of 3.2 beer. The thoughts of it makes me want to hurl now. I went because my friend had an extra ticket. I wouldn’t have sought it out on my own. I’m glad for the experience. She wasn’t drinking either even though I told her it wouldn’t bother me if she did. It was a challenge getting myself there. I’ve been such a hermit the last few months. It’s been safer for me to stay home.

Today, I’m going to a Polynesian festival. I met a Samoan woman at one of my accounts about a month ago and she invited me. I lived in Tonga as a peace corps volunteer in 2001-2003. There are very few Tongans in Tennessee or Polynesians for that matter. They tend to cloister together so I am hoping that I have found some new friends. I’m a white lady who speaks Tongan so this should be fun. I wish I didn’t have social anxiety. I think I will be ok though. I met her sons the other day and the old familiar feeling of being accepted and loved was there immediately. Polynesians are like that, a group of people who love first and judge second. Not that they don’t judge and gossip but the act of hospitality is so strong in their culture it’s easy to be acquaintances if that makes any sense. I’m excited and a little nervous. I just hope they have some of the foods that I have been missing from the islands. Taro, kapa pulu, those donut things, I don’t know what else.

Speaking of foods, my eating disorder is still a mess but my sobriety is good. I think I am making a little progress with getting ready to be “recovered” from anorexia. I get it intellectually, I want it in my heart, it’s my mind that is being the asshole. I have found some new resources online. I know I am the only one that can do this, it’s up to me. I am working on the “invisible hurdle” with my therapist. I need some weight restoration but other than that I think I am on the right path for going forward. I think not drinking is a little easier because I am really good at restricting. Or at least that’s what I tell my therapist. When I was in treatment last winter I was drinking regularly. It’s either one or the other. Now, I have to do both if I want my life to progress towards a fulfilling future. Get back to the things I love, like traveling and adventure. I miss who I used to be.

The things I have learned in the last few weeks about eating disorders: 1.) the BMI is a bunch of bullshit. It was formulated by the insurance industry, it’s not really hardcore science based. And they lowered it in the 70’s because of the whole Twiggy movement or our thin obsessed culture. So, I don’t need to strive for a particular BMI and I can throw that out as an indicator as to how well I am doing or not doing. 2.) It’s common for people with eating disorders to feel undeserving. I have known this about myself for a few years now, that I have a core belief that I don’t deserve anything. I have had inklings that it was tied to my father’s wealth. (BTW- he hasn’t given me money in years) but I think I realized in yoga that I feel undeserving because I can’t find a shred of love for the man in myself. It’s a little hard to explain because I haven’t really explored it fully but I know I have done a lot of work on forgiving him. I don’t hate him. I just don’t love him. Don’t think I ever can, will or want to and somehow this has affected my own self-acceptance and self-worth on such an unconscious level that it has manifested into a tangled web of dysfunction. Or maybe not. Maybe I just think too much.

‘Ofa Lahi ‘Atu!

First time I heard A.A.

My dad sat me down when I was 13 years old to have a talk. I was probably nervous, I usually was around him. This talk was different. I remember it clearly, it was upstairs on the white leather couch in front of the large tv built into the wall, where my mom and I served him his meals and fetched him ice water while he decided what shows we would watch on tv. I remember a lot of boxing and football. This day, however, it was late afternoon and I’m sure that I was frightened that I had awoken him from his nap when he called me in there. He sat me down and told me he was an alcoholic. That his father is an alcoholic and he wasn’t going to be like him. He said he was going to AA. And he told me never to drink because I would be an alcoholic too.

I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant, alcoholics and that, I mean I had never seen him drink except for twice. Once the previous summer on the houseboat at Lake Powell, where he was actually pleasant and let my girlfriend and I play the radio in the ski boat tethered to the houseboat and dance. We had just discovered “Woolly Bully” and “It’s my party and I will cry if I want to” and I heard him say, “I knew a 6 pack wouldn’t be enough,” there were other adults drinking the 6 pack too but we were having too much fun listening to 60’s music to even notice. Lake Powell was where he called himself UNCLE FUN even though it wasn’t that much fun for his crew, my brothers. The rest of guests loved the luxury. The other time I saw him drunk was just before Christmas that year. He had been driven home by a girl’s mom I knew at school. She was standing in the kitchen with my dad and his buddy sitting on the floor playing with a box of kittens my mom and I were bottle feeding because their mother had disappeared. Normally animals weren’t allowed in the house but this was an exception. I thought it was thrilling that he actually gave a shit about how cute they were and how weird it was, I had no idea he was drunk until the friend’s mom told me they were and I was like, “oh, that’s what it is.”  She got my dad’s friend off the floor and took him home and my dad went up to the leather coach in the tv room and I brought him his spaghetti dinner. I know it was before Christmas because I had wanted a Gucci watch and he had already told me, “NO” the week before. He said he would get me “a Gucky” through his spaghetti he was spilling all over the place because he couldn’t get it into his mouth. Then he stumbled to bed. He was pleasant. I felt relief. I cleaned up his mess and went in my room. I’m not sure where my mom was, probably at Al-Anon but I didn’t know she was going there yet.

We were Mormon. So that talk, that afternoon on the leather couch, I looked him squarely in the eyes and said, “I will never drink alcohol.” Meaning, I will never be like you and I will never have the problems that you are, if it is alcohol that makes you act this way, then no way. I didn’t even know what it was really but I knew it was bad, against the Word of Wisdom, what the lesser people did. Mormons, the good ones, my neighbors, they didn’t drink alcohol or coffee or smoke cigarettes or anything bad. We liked things to appear pristine.

And that was it. That was the talk about AA. He’d done his job. No amends. No changes in his behavior, actually he got worse, meaner, scarier. He did get richer, though.

I think it was shortly there after that my mom told me she was going to Al-anon and that the lady that had driven him home, the girl I knew at school, they go with her and that her daughter goes to Ala-teen. I flat-out refused to go. So embarrassing. There was no way. We kept huge family secrets and this was so foreign to me. I couldn’t relate to his “Alcoholism.” And I knew when my parents were at meetings that I would have at least a solid hour of doing whatever I wanted. No worries of looking busy and watching what I wanted to on tv. I continued going to church and school and didn’t tell anyone what was going on at home.I have three older brothers, they were beaten and degraded on a regular basis. They were kicked out (literally down the stairs and out the front door) of the house by the time I was 9, so I was pretty much an only child by this time, in 7th grade and I had my social circles and did my best to stay out of trouble and get good grades. Plus it helped that I had a new outfit every week and my mom dropped me off at school in a BMW or god forbid the Ferrari she hated driving it, she’d get so nervous that somebody would hit her and then there would be hell to pay. I got the Gucci watch for Christmas. And when people came to my house they knew I was the richest kid in the school. My dad’s mode of transportation was a helicopter and I had horses, a tennis court, a duck pond. There was no way, I was going to go to Ala-teen. Not with that girl from school who wore brightly colored wrangler jeans everyday and hung out with the “Rockers.”

I wish I would have now. Gone to Ala-teen. Maybe it would have saved me from some of my bad decisions.  Or maybe not.  I don’t know.  

 

 

Day 3

Shit. I’m trying not beat myself up because that will lead to another drink. I went to a wedding in New Hampshire. It was my old college drinking buddy girlfriend getting married. I wasn’t prepared to miss “the fun” of the party. It was fun for awhile and then I got totally sick because I hadn’t eaten much. And I missed a lot.

My girlfriend from Vermont came down to be my date, we were in the peace corps together and have stayed in contact through facebook and texting and phone calls and have seen each other a few times in the last 15 years. I was super buzzed- I apologized when she showed up because I felt stupid for being that fucked up already by the time she got there and I was totally sick when she left the next morning. She didn’t worry about it too much. She said, “It was like old times, :).”  I was like, “fuck, I don’t want to be that guy anymore.”

So, lesson learned. I hope. I know if I would have said, I’m trying to quit drinking and I have only been sober for 15 days to either of these sweet, long time friends, they would have been supportive because I don’t think either one has their drinking out of wack like I do. But, I didn’t because I wanted to drink. I wanted the old times. I thought I could moderate it. Nope. I can’t. They both assured me that I didn’t act like an asshole. I tried really hard not to be one. I know I was repetitive in the things I had to say. And the night of the reception is a little spotty once it got dark. I threw up in the drive-way, very classy.

I would like to say that when I got home I didn’t drink. I did. Two more bottles of wine- not in a row.  But, on 6/16/16 I emailed Belle- from tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com  and asked her to start me over.  I’m a weirdo about dates. I remember every date. Days things happen, not just your birthday but dates that concerts happened on, dates of when people died, the date we met, the day I started a job, the date I got fired…. so this is a good day for me as a sober date. It’s the same backwards and forwards. My last day one.

I didn’t choose this day, it chose me because I didn’t even plan it or realize it or anything. All I know is that it’s time. I’m done and if its the only thing I can hang on to when shit gets real, I hope it’s enough. (I just had to look up it’s vs its. I hope I used it right, damn it’s been long time since college.)

I bought Blackout by Sarah Hepola and read it on the plane. I’m not finished reading it yet but today, I came across this:

For so many years, I was stuck in a spin cycle of worry and questioning. Am I an alcoholic? Is alcoholism a ‘disease’? What if this, or that, or the other thing? Overthinkers are the most exhausting alcoholics. I have left a trail of soggy Kleenex that could stretch to the sun, but the equation is simple. When I cut out alcohol, my spirit came back. An evolved life requires balance. Sometimes you have to cut out one thing to find balance everywhere else. 

I’m a Libra. I need to be balanced. It’s an innate need. I’ve been so out of balanced for so long that I am sick. My body is sick. My mind is not great because of depression and anxiety and food deprivation. I have a piece of shit job that I can barely do because I have gotten myself in such a rut.