Top Lessons Learned About my Problems with Alcohol

1. You know you had a problem when “you could violate your standards faster than you could lower them”. ~Robin Williams

2. After telling people you’ve dried up, they turn into your personal cheer leading squad (complete with matching outfits, cheers, and pom poms). “OH MY GOD! THAT’S SO WONDERFUL! YOU CAN DO IT!” When people don’t question if you had a problem, then 99.99% chance you had a big problem.

3. You don’t want to tell people you’ve gone dry because of cheers mentioned above. You don’t want to explain yourself. You don’t want to bring attention to your quitting something that other “normal” people can handle well enough on their own.

4. The memories of your behavior on alcohol are more shameful the drier you get. Memories don’t go away, just the ability to access them. The healthier your body becomes, the more vivid the memories.

5. You realize there’s not enough years and opportunities in life to make up for the shitty things you’ve done.

5a. Even though people say they forgive you, they will never forget. They will always have their guard up for the next time you fail them, because it’s what you did so well, and what humans do. Humans will always fail at things, and most often times, at the most inopportune moments.

5b. Words are cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Don’t just talk about doing things; actually do them.

6. Forgive yourself, even if others refuse to.

7. If you must explain yourself, keep it short and contrite. The less details you give, the less people can throw in your face later should you fall off the wagon.

8. Friends know you now. Family remember you back when. Even though it’s easier to explain things to friends, you might want to use them (for lack of a better term) to practice what you’ll say to your parents and close family members should they ask.

9. Yes, they will ask. No, you can’t hide in the upstairs bathroom. They’ll just unlock the door, waltz right in, and pester you in whatever condition you’re in at that exact moment. Hopefully not with your pants around your ankles or popping a zit.

10. The shittiest thing I learned while being an adult: When you’re a high school student, you get the lesson, then the test. When you’re an adult, you get the test, then the lesson. Adults learn the hard way. Adolescents shouldn’t have to.


Dear Ex-Boyfriend

Dear Ex-Boyfriend:

I had a dream about you last night, so I feel the need to write this letter.

The breakup was my fault. I moved away to be closer to family, and perhaps (subconsciously) I knew this was going to force a breakup and I didn’t have the courage to do it first. I always have hope, which is also a detrimental characteristic of mine. However, the reasons behind the breakup is not entirely me. Here’s a list.

1. You’re arrogant. For example, you tried to tell me how to analyze literature because “I’m a voracious reader. I bet I’ve read more books than you.” No, you haven’t. I have a B.A. in English, Sociology, a minor in Gender/Women studies, have 4 concentrations, and was in graduate school for English at this time. You have a degree in International Studies. You have no other BA or minors to your name. You are not qualified to tell me how to analyze literature. A few months later, when watching Game of Thrones with friends, one had mentioned her student had a palindromic name. She explained what it meant, as it is not a frequently used word in English vernacular. You interrupted her, said, “I know”, then proceeded to roll your eyes (unnecessarily hard). You could have handled that better, but you didn’t.

2. You would undercut me whenever you wanted to feel better about yourself. For example, I can cook and bake. I’m quite good at both, but this requires experiments and calculated risk-taking. So when I make banana bread with apple sauce (instead of sugar). Since I added coconut flakes and chocolate chips, you mocked it, saying it wasn’t banana bread, and would tell my friends about it. You tried to make it a joke, but it stops after 5 minutes. You would not let it go. I took it in stride, but others had noticed this.

3. You are clueless when it comes to female sexuality. You wanted it 24/7, and when I turned you down you turned to pornography. Because if this, you turned it on me and said I forced you to turn that way. No, you had a conscious choice, as we all do, on how to find healthy outlets of frustration, no matter what type or the basis/cause thereof. You weigh 350 pounds. I didn’t want to be intimate because you crush me. I, literally, could not breathe when you were on top. As for me being on top, you said you would have to “stretch me out”, meaning my hamstrings and legs. No, you need to lose weight as nobody can wrap their legs around you. This I kept to myself as you were sensitive about your weight. I, as a lady, can commiserate. Therefore, I wasn’t willing to hurt your feelings. I guess by not telling you the truth I was doing us both a disservice. I apologize. I truly had the purest of intent.

4. You tried to exert power trips on my friends, much to their horror. When it was ladies night at a bar, you insisted upon coming along. They were kind, but not friendly to you. When they weren’t singing your praises about the books you’ve read (as these ladies read different genres) and weren’t interested in your analysis of the classics, you went and bought shots for them. These were duck farts, guinness and something else unknown? They were not interested in drinking these, and as they weren’t going to be consumed, I offered to drink a couple. You said to me, “No, these aren’t for you. These are for them.” This comment was not appreciated by my friends. You didn’t ask them what they liked. One person referred to this evening as “Pugsley’s Power Play Night”.

5. You left me and a friend at a bar to walk home when we “didn’t come when called.” We’re your friends, and fellow human beings. We’re not dogs. We don’t take orders from you.

6. Speaking of dogs, how can you expect anybody to want to have children when you think dogs are “messy, hairy, shedding beasts.” Uh, and children are….? How could I think about breeding with you when you would expect subservience from your partner in all things? All the crap jobs would fall to me. I would be expected to run by every decision by you, and you would make a ruling. That’s not an equal partnership. That’s servitude. If you want children, or a decent human being to love you, you will have to change your ways of thinking.

7. The reason why you and your father do not get along is your identical personalities. It’s your way or the highway. Do not mock your father, as in a way, you are mocking the very things people do not like in yourself.

All those reasons aside, I still loved you, but not enough to be a subservient, tame, docile, domesticated motherwife. This relationship hasn’t been a complete failure. It certainly taught me what to tolerate, what to compromise, and if a partner isn’t willing to compromise, I will hit the highway. I am better off alone than making a huge mistake and being patronized, pestered into putting out, having children, and converting to Catholicism.

I wish you well in your future endeavors. Do not contact me. Do not email me. Do not, under any circumstances, talk to my friends. They hate you and will not hesitate to tell you. My sister may have wanted to “remain friends” after our breakup, which you are more than welcome to do. She will do to you what she did to me: sell you out for her benefit.

In closing: TIL Engines have a Magneto. Yes, that’s what it’s called. It generates power from the battery to the alternator. When the engine starts up and is running, it runs off the alternator, not the battery.

I stuck to my guns.

I sassed a coworker who made me mad. 0 regrets.

I told a different coworker why I was mad. 0 regrets.

My career, obviously, is in customer service. I work with blue collar workers. I come from a blue and white collar family. My father, a farmer and machinist, quit high school. My mother’s side of the family is all medical doctors; she herself attending college and becoming a nurse. I have had to deal with the “good ol’ boys” club for years. Whether it be at the gun shop, show, or range, a warehouse, or now, a telecommunications worker. I have put up with sexist crap for years, and the antiquated and patronizing idea that I’m working there until I find someone to marry. This is 2015, people. Grow up.

Again, I want to drink. I want to drown my sorrows. I have a fleeting thought that beer or shots will calm me down, make me a more pleasant person, and make all this crap go away. However, I know, deep down to my liver and pancreas, it won’t. So I won’t. And it sucks.

So much failure from humans, but that’s to be expected. Nobody is perfect and we are designed to fail. We are designed to screw up. I love Rita Ora’s song, “Never Let You Down”. I know it’s upbeat, catchy, a sweet sentiment, but that’s where it stops for me. Everybody will, eventually, let you down. But that’s also what’s so great about humans. We have the capacity to forgive some pretty heinous crimes, slights, and stupid-ass decisions. I will get some food, some sleep, an wake up refreshed for another day, which will present itself with a whole new set of problems. I will forgive my coworker, even if he never asks for it. I will forgive myself for behaving like a turd/bizzo even when I thought it was justified, but truly wasn’t. I’ll struggle with the fight between justified indignant behavior and trying to be the “bigger person”. I’ll just have to struggle without alcohol. That is one shitty referee that doesn’t need to come to this match.

P.S. I don’t think I could ever forgive my sister for what she did. I will probably spend the rest of my life in therapy trying. Methinks that is time well spent.

I had a dog for less than 48 hours.

I have wanted a dog, in the worst way, for years. I put in my adoption application, and had been so excited since then. The only people who told me it was a bad idea were my parents, but they’ve never really supported any idea of mine. Hell, they only wanted to control everything from my choice in food to college career. They can’t ever just trust me, but the few times they had, I crapped all over it, so of course I’ll be “the younger disappointment” in their lives.

I finally picked up the dog on Friday, after meeting him with my roommate’s dog, and they got along great. I was so nervous. I wanted to give him everything he could ever need or want in life. I wanted him to feel loved. I wanted that parental bond so much. But, true to my form, the cart was put before the horse, and the wheels fell off the cart.

I was so uncertain of what I was doing, where we were going, etc. Not specifically, just long term, generally. We got him home, and he still didn’t have a name. The dogs bonded, but he would whine and cry when the other dog was locked in my roommate’s bedroom with her for the night. I tried lying down next to him on the floor, which worked for a little bit. My shoulder cramped up; I went back to bed. The next day, my roommate slept in and kept her dog in her room for 12 hours. I don’t know how that dog does it. I took my dog on a walk, fed it, tried to engage in playing with some toys, but it whined for the other dog. Eventually, my roommate left and I was all alone with both dogs. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t do the regular things I usually do on a Saturday, which I knew would happen, but it was frustrating. The dogs were playing, and sometimes it would get rough and one would yelp. I’ve never had to deal with this before. When my roommate finally came home (14 hours later), we fed them. The dog exhibited food and toy aggression earlier, something the foster family didn’t know about, and when I told them this, they seemed shocked. After all, he was just a “sweetheart.” I didn’t know how to feed them by myself without one getting aggressive and such. Turns out I could have just fed them individually in another locked room, but I didn’t think of that. Why? Because I was overwhelmed and my brain had shut down. I’ve been so used to taking orders that thinking for myself in stressful situations doesn’t go so well. I didn’t know how much emotional and mental energy this would cost me. I thought I knew, but I didn’t. I feel like such a failure now. I thought it was going to be so much easier than this, like my previous dog I had years ago. All I ever considered when choosing this new dog was my roommate’s dog, not what I wanted and needed.

I don’t know if the adoption agency will trust me with another dog. I wanted something to love, and this dog wanted my roommate’s dog. He didn’t bond to me. I only gave it two days, so did I give up too soon? I was so worried with what everybody else was thinking and feeling that I never stopped and considered my wants and needs.

This adoption process has taken months, since last October. Everybody was so shocked when I gave the dog back. I couldn’t handle it. I failed at taking care of something that I’ve loved and wanted for years. This dog didn’t want me. (This feeling of indifference, ignoring me, not wanting me, etc., is not new, but it hurts every time.) It was bonded to my roommate’s dog, and I was jealous. I wanted that bond. I want to feel wanted and needed.

I don’t know if I’m finger-pointing at the roommate’s lack of support, training her dog, etc., or if I’m just using that as a cop-out for my failure. I cried all Saturday night, got 3 hours of sleep, and was absolutely broken inside; and the dog just missed my roommate’s dog, didn’t come to me, didn’t show concern, etc. I wasn’t what the dog wanted. I wasn’t enough. I had depressive and suicidal thoughts for hours. I wanted to drink. I wanted to set everybody up so they wouldn’t have questions of what I wanted or needed after I died. I didn’t want to fail again, and here I was, failing with something I’ve wanted so deeply. I wanted to love a dog. I wanted a dog to love me, treat me like I was something special, and it didn’t. I gave up on it before 48 hours was up. I’ve put in so much effort into other relationships only to be crapped on, so why should I have to put forth tons more effort? Why does it seem like everybody has their shit together, and my life only continues to fall apart? Why does everybody have something that I don’t? A handle on their emotions, relationships, houses, family, etc. What have I done wrong?

But I didn’t drink at all and I’m seeking out counseling, so at least I have that going for me.

I write to stop from doing something stupid.

Everybody hates aspects of their job, or will get so fed up on certain days that they just want to scream something creatively inappropriate at the supposed source of their pain. That was me, yesterday. My usual response to coworkers who can’t do their job is to internalize all of the angst until I leave. I’ll sing Sam Smith tunes at the top of my lungs. I’ll drive to Papa Murphy’s and get a family size Thai Chicken thin crust pizza. I live alone, but hell if I’m going to tell that tween behind the counter that. Bitch, don’t judge me. Then, I’ll stop by Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop and buy Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey. I’ll go home, eat the healthiest pizza I could find, drink the tastiest whiskey on the rocks, and watch comedies. Even the mere sound of laughing by an audience can trick the brain into producing the “happy” hormone, seratonin. Oh, pardon me nerds. It’s not a hormone; it’s a neurotransmitter. Don’t make me throw these whiskey-soaked ice cubes at you. Well, that was the old me.

Instead, I called up my boss, unloaded on him (poor guy never saw that diatribe coming), and felt so much better! Why, oh why, haven’t I done this before?! Oh yeah, that’s right. Antiquated, sexist ideas of how a woman is supposed to act. Grr.

Why do we ladies internalize our “anything but happy” feelings? Lord knows a woman can’t be upset, because then she’s bitchy, isn’t nice, and probably on the rag because her panties are up in a bunch. 90% of the people I have constant communication with at work are men. These are blue collar, technical school attending, beer drinking, motorcycle riding, goatee sporting, men. I’m the opposite of this in every aspect. I know they have a different set of ideals, morals, etc. I know they have a different learning style and personality traits. But because I know these things, I’m demonized because I don’t treat them consistently, because they all have their own unique idiosyncrasies. Why do I have to be the grownup with a better education? Why do I have to tailor my behavior to their personalities? Playing politics? I get some people thoroughly enjoy this mind game. They’re called sociopaths: people with no empathy for others’ plights.

Yay for me. No drinking. Still fighting the sexist, racist, patriarchal, capitalist hegemony seemingly by myself.

I want to end this on a positive note. I read a quote that makes me so ridiculously happy: You may feel like the fries on the bottom of the McDonalds bag. Maybe you go unnoticed at first. But, eventually, someone’s always thrilled to find you.

Man, did I choose the right time to quit drinking.

First, I’m considered obese. I weighted myself this morning and I came in at 228. This is the lightest I’ve weighed in 6 months. I’m 5’6″ tall. I don’t think I look like 228. No, really, I don’t. At the time, I didn’t think I looked like 250. Maybe because I haven’t had any health problems yet, play on a volleyball league, and take multivitamins? But I really don’t think I look obese. Even in pictures. Heavy? Sure. Obese? Nah.

Here’s the deal. My friend, Coco, looks perfectly healthy. I’ve seen her without makeup 2 times in the 5-6 years I’ve known her. She’s a curvy 5’7″ blonde who doesn’t even drink coffee, and maintains a strict, gluten-free diet. She has numerous health issues (POTS, Lupus, arthritis) and has a handicap tag for her car. I’ve sat on floors with her because her lungs have suddenly decided to not get their shit together and work properly. People have been down right awful to her because she appears healthy on the outside. My other friend, Kay, again, looks healthy. Size 6, wildly curly blonde hair, effervescent personality. Her knees are weaker than raw spaghetti noodles, so sports, even recreational bike rides, are no bueno. I have helped these people move from house to house, carrying more than they are capable of, and I’d gladly help again. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have knee problems, weak back muscles, etc., but apparently, it won’t last long. According to a recently published study conducted over 20 years at the University College London, I’m screwed. My health won’t last long. In 20 years time, only 11% of people classified as “healthy obese” lost weight and became “normal.” The others went from “healthy obese” to “unhealthy obese”. I’m 29, so by 49, I’ll be… “unknown.”

Secondly, another study with concrete statistics came out saying 6 people die due to alcohol poisoning, typically after binge drinking. For ladies, it’s 4 drinks in 1 sitting, 4-5 hrs. Tobacco kills someone slowly, as the damage accumulates and comes crashing down like an avalanche that just cannot support itself anymore. Alcohol just takes 1 time. I used to smoke from 16 years of age until 24.

So the fat on my body and the damage of underage smoking is in a race to see who’s going to kill me first. Outstanding.

The Failings of “Finish All on Your Plate”

Before I went alcohol-free, all I wanted to do was drink. I realized I had 3 nights left of drinking before it was done. I didn’t want to go to the bars since it was an additional cost. I don’t have anybody to drink with anyways, besides my 23 year old roommate, and even though there’s 6 years between us, there’s 6 years of experiences, so we have very little in common. Instead, I wanted to drink up what I had at the house. I had 3/4 bottle of Jack Daniels Honey Tennessee Whiskey, 3/4 full bottle of Canadian whiskey (purchased in 2011), and 1 full bottle of Blair Castle whiskey (purchased in 2006).

Here’s the kicker, and what solidified my wanting to go alcohol-free for 1 year: Why on EARTH would I want to drink all of it up in 3 days? I could have drank it up every day, but didn’t. Now I wanted to hurry up and finish it all. Reasonably, it has kept for years. It will continue to keep. The only conclusion I could come up with was if I’m tempted after a frustrating day, then It’ll be there to drink. I could give it away, or I could pour it down the drain. I can’t give away a used bottle of whiskey without answering questions (I’m not ready to explain people this for fear of judgment.) I can’t pour out the whiskey because that would be a waste of money.

I grew up in a household where you finished everything on your plate. If you took it, you’d better eat it. As a child, when the whole family went to a restaurant, we (my sister and I) could order what we wanted. However, if we didn’t finish it, my mother and father would order for us next time. It was taking a responsibility and agency away from an 8 year old, and punishment for gluttony. This has manifested itself into terrible habits today. I have to finish my alcohol. I have to finish my food. I have to finish my projects, and if I don’t, there will be consequences. I quit graduate school with only 1/2 a thesis and a defense left to do. I felt like a failure. Nobody supported me throughout my graduate career. Of course, there were people saying, “you can do it. This is a good thing.” However, talk is cheap. When it came to people actively supporting me, I had no one. Of course, if my parents were to read this, they’d say, “No, you had a choice. You always had a choice. Don’t blame us for your choices.” No, guys. No, I didn’t. I was broken before I turned 18. And as anybody who has dealt with horses knows, once you’ve broken them, you’ve broken their spirit. I had turned into somebody who was a doormat. I wouldn’t voice my concerns with a boyfriend because I didn’t want to cause a fight. They’d just leave anyways. I didn’t go to the school I wanted because mom said, “Dont’ go. If you go too far, we can’t come help you.” And I went to a school only 1 hour away from home. I’d go months without seeing my parents. They weren’t around when I needed them. Our relationship is irrevocably broken, for so many reasons.

I was a drunk in college. I overspent and bounced checks like a basketball. I wanted to be friends with everybody since I grew up without them, besides my sister. The best way I knew how was to buy them stuff, and to make them reliant upon me, make myself in-disposable. This time, however, my parents couldn’t stop me as they had before. I went from being a conservative Republican to, well, not being one. For a political family, they couldn’t understand why, and blamed the liberal educational system. They blamed my liberal professors and friends as being terrible influences. It certainly couldn’t have been them pushing me away, or my own logic, since I was a screw-up, I didn’t have logic on my side. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but I know where they went wrong. And where I come from, you can’t tell your parents they were wrong because that’s disrespectful. They also can’t admit when they’re wrong, because that admits their failings. So we hold in our criticisms. What could possibly go wrong with holding in how we feel? Ugh.

So for all those parents out there who want to rule with an iron fist, lose tempers, and want to break your children to bend to your wills: for the love of GOD, don’t do it. The world will try to break them well enough, so don’t do it first. Love deeply. Show them your trust. Pick your battles wisely. Don’t force them to finish all their alcohol, er, ah, I meant food on their plate.