I am on an alcohol free EXPERIMENT. My goal at first was 3 months but I chose “the drank” at 10 months.
I will break down what happened in the head, in the body, in the saloon. Yes I went to a place that called itself a saloon. But heres a little reminder first:
My history with Alcoholics Anonymous, Buddhism, Alcohol Experiment via Annie Grace and other paths is alluded to in some earlier posts for reference. Im not new.
I had successfully lost 40 lbs or more through mindful eating, although we did not call it that in the 90s. Could I do this with drinking?
I wanted to mindfully rate this experience. If that was possible.
My drink of choice was served to me. I was with 2 other people. People who I could tolerate and enjoy without drinking. And had many times.
The first sip. Do I like the taste? It tasted good. I didn’t know I actually liked the taste of IPAs because it had been a while.
30 seconds in …..
Hey Hey I’m back in with the people! The feeling of ease. The feeling of love and tolerance for all. Except for the cold patio.
The relaxation of the physical body. Summer/ no responsibility feeling of days past. A large all over body SIGH.
Is this “ease” going to be fleeting? Right now I cant tell.
3 minutes in ….
Wow. I’m drinking more slowly than the others. My self awareness is still intact.
I asked S about his family and years in Texas, he begins telling an unusual story. I’m interested.
5 min in I’m like ……….
Neurons fire more slowly? The dumbing down of my perception happens as if somebody had placed cotton /gauze around the body’s ability to process social cues. Also I seem to be astral projecting above the situation. I’m no longer really feeling my molecular connection to these people or the Saloon. I have to will myself to be in my body. Get back!
Focus hurts. It’s all effort-y. Ugh. Wait. Which relative is the one S just mentioned who has schizophrenia? This story is not boring and I want to understand with clarity and insight. No, still the gauze.
Would I remember these names and the chronology of the story S is telling if I was undrinking?
? min in -losing track of recording time stamps…
If only we were dancing or at some place where the right brain was in use – I could handle moving, dancing on this buzz. But conversing on it felt like a chore. My processing felt delayed and I hated it. Am I slurring? No you’ve had 1/2 a beer. Can they tell I’m a light weight? I think you’re on a compulsive loop so just let it go by. Do my eyes look weird? Am I over-trying? Is anybody mad at me? Like on Earth? Is anybody against me on Planet Earth? F&ck. I want my laser mind back. Pay attention. But how am I to be mindful when Mindfulness is now cheapened? Pay attention to the cheapness. Yes. Acceptance. Not loving this.
Now I’m drinking faster then the others. But only slightly. Almost to the end of the glass. I’m nostalgic. Not depressed. This is not giving me contentment.
Drinking is letting go of me. I still want drinking to want to be with me even if I choose not to be with it.
And This is only 1 mindful BEER? I don’t want another. That’s great but it also sucks.
THE GUARANTEE of a good time has gone? BUT maybe this will still be ok with dancing. I’m not giving up.
There was never a time for me when to Drink was to Die. Not in the sense of shuffling off this mortal coil.
But when I read this post back, I count several other types of death or loss.
They are not as shattering as they once were. Before There was loss of money, credit score, clothes, social decorum, expensive jackets, cars, wallets, phones, IDs, trust, bile, days, beauty, collagen, confidence, months, years.
This time the deaths were gauzy. Softer. And YES I had a hangover. A sliver of one; sluggish, drained.
I landed safely. I stopped at 1. I did not suffer or torment myself afterwards, I did not make it BAD. Absolute. Tip: when you don’t have the depression, shame and intolerance with your own behavior, it grants a powerful feeling of choice.
Preference has its own kick.
With all this said, If I had been more physically hungover, I wouldn’t have been able to fight the depression and sadness. I can’t fight 3 beers and its aftermath. Not with all the self talk, life coaching, thought models and IV drips in the world. The dopamine withdrawal is REAL and I’ll go down.
QUESTION: I had successfully lost 40 lbs or more through mindful eating, although we did not call it that in the 90s. Could I do this with drinking?
ANSWER: YES . But the thrill of Victory is muted. The Gauze.
I talk a lot about processing feelings but Grief is its own creature. Its is a beautiful beast.
To Those of us that have picked up addictive or compulsive behavior to avoid trauma or grief:
I congratulate you. You are here. You chose life.
BINGE-ING on alcohol and food was an effective dam for avoiding the flood of grief.
Now I don’t really binge on those behaviors much, so guess who’s come a knockin!
The ignored, avoided, neglected Grief of My father’s death.
It’s not waiting any longer. After 22 years, it’s summoning me.
In my experience, Grief is a Russian Doll in Reverse. It gets bigger, not smaller, as you close in on its heart.
And as pictured below, the Heart has eyelashes.
TIP: Before you get to the Main Event of Grief, you may have to butter up the gatekeeper dragons.
The dragons that guard grief are just doing their job.
So I dropped my armor and told these Gatekeeper dragons that they were fierce and stunning. I vowed that I would follow them on social media.
I gave them my attention. I thanked them. They ate that up. They didn’t leave. But they laid down. I walked past them freely.
Then I saw Grief. She had been waiting for me in this bathtub for all that time.
And she still looked fine AF.
As she creeped into my body, She was gentle but HEAVY. Heavier than she looked.
I saw the year 1996 when my father got diagnosed with lung cancer (non smoker) and how that set me off on a path of multi-layered addiction. I saw that I had lost faith in the God of everything at that moment. I remembered how my Binging and OVEReating stopped and my UNDER eating began. I was unable to take anything in. This was my illusion of control.
With the goth super-model of Grief still swirling inside me, I discovered that under the water of sadness, there was ANGER.
She knew that revelation was enough for today and swam out of me.
Grief told me, though not thru words, that she’d see me Tuesday.
So I continue my grieving process in my time. I write, laugh, compliment dragons. Luckily I have a lot of free time. Because I don’t think this is something you can short-cut. Do I wish I would have done this earlier? Absolutely.
I now have a standing appointment with Grief. It’s there and there is no cancelation fee. Make yours today!
My Benzo Taper is happening again. 2nd public try. Come with me! This isn’t the first or last time I’ll write about it And each little benzo death deserves some grief and celebration.
Heres an excerpt of my withdrawal symptoms from a previous blog entry in June (4 months ago)
Weeping uncontrollably when I forgot my phone – I know my normal weep quotient and this is WAY more bio chemically feeling than that.
Overwhelmed and shaky at the thought of driving 5 minutes to retrieve said phone.
An almost constant feeling of overwhelm and helplessness.
headache and facial pain including teeth.
A feeling of thickness like I’m stuffed with cotton candy. Great for Body Dsymorphia.
Pretend Sciatic pain hamstring area that goes away ( I don’t have Sciatica)
Twitching , most notably bouncing my feet to the beat of benzos
Restless Leg Syndrome
Insomnia PALOOZA like needing 5 hours in bed before I fall asleep
Compulsive loops of mind sharking around for mistakes or wrongness
I am now at the same level of taper I was in June 2020. So far this taper’s softer and gentler. I still have the compulsive loop think but I can recognize it. As in “I see you Mara” Here are the things Im doing differently this time:
Watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race because its now available to stream on Prime. I know. Im only on Season 2.
upped my Prozac 10 mg by Drs orders. And by Dr , I mean a Psychiatrist not a Primary care Dr.
Exercising or moving once a day even if only for 15 minutes
Now I’m no stranger to withdrawal or Drag . One of my dearest Friends is in drag any chance he gets. And a member of my now defunct theater company wrote the wonderful play “Anything” and the movie is on Showtime.
But “Drag Race” is a new frontier for me. I also had no idea how deftly Ru can go from Fierce to Compassionate giving Alanon-ic and CODA realness.
You mean The Queen and her Queens could have saved me back in 2009? When it aired. 11 years I’m sad that I couldn’t afford a larger swath of cable channels then.
I was laying out in the sun with my new, shiny friend Jen at 16. She looked at my legs.
“You don’t have any saddlebags”, Jen pronounced ,amazed.
What were they? She showed me hers. Oh. Didn’t look like much to me but I guess they’re not desirable?
Jen was blonde, tan, native Californian, more experienced. Christy Brinkley tone. Her parents let us drink and then helped me throw up over the side of the boat. They were so cool.
“Do you diet?” DIET. What was that?
Wow, now she was introducing me to a whole adult world full of saddlebag fear and diet culture. Calories and counting. I loved counting. It’s comforting.
I had friends. I was getting tan and I had no saddlebags! It was 1984 and the pants were full-on pastel at Contempo Casuals. Jelly shoes were light as a feather. I knew the words to both Synchronicity I and II. 16 and blissful.
I had just moved from Michigan where I was bullied and unpopular, at least by the end. Now I was laying next to my empress friend (who had a college-aged boyfriend )on her boat in Catalina. So, So stoked!. To make her laugh I would get buzzed and imitate the aerobics instructors on the “20 minute work out”. Her boyfriend laughed too. What a man. Los Angeles, where have you been all my life?
4 years Later.
I live at home and am 20 years old. I’ve gone from a 114 lb naturally slim girl to a compulsive overeater who is nearing 150 lbs. I’m agoraphobic. The gaze of anyone as I walk across a crosswalk hurts. My 50 -something year old mother is sleeker than me. Nothing fits. My body is not mine.
I have a bathrobe thats nubbly and Navy blue. It has red braided waist tie. Sometimes I tie it slightly below my waist,80s style. This Bathrobe is all that fits. Sometimes I would belt it with my fathers tan leather belt to feel more secure. It’s the only piece that doesn’t rub up against the folds of fat and remind me physically of my size.
I eat whole loaves of bread with cold, Imperial margarine in a fever. I don’t even like bread. And it was Roman Meal for god’s sake. I cannot stop. I rabidly eat pasta which tastes like nothing and I chase the hope of it tasting like something. I grab hold of flesh around my body often, pull at it, and visually measure what is me and not me. I have friends but don’t want to go out. None of them have my problem.
I was hurting myself with food. With distention and paralysis. I did it over and over again.
There’s a lot of reasons why I did it. None of those reasons are: “Everyone gains weight as they get older”. I do not have any molestation in my history. I built a house of extra in that bathrobe. I needed protection. It was not safe out there. I did not belong anymore.
If you are here. If you are suffering and repeating this pattern compulsively, it can change. I am proof. The whys may be different for you. They may be worse. My compulsive overeating was traumatic but not special and it’s mainly OVER. It taps me on the shoulder sometimes but it’s mostly out of the picture.
I remember listening to a cassette tape by Marianne Williamson circa 1990 about the power of food and its ability to physically transform the body. That’s different in comparison alcohol or heroin. Those drugs may string you out, hag you up and kill you too. But they don’t have the power to multiply you by a quarter or more of your mass. FOOD. Potent and Powerful. This nourisher and nullifier.
I went to the DRIVE IN with my mask and boyfriend in July.
We saw RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Impeccable casting.
I had forgotten how resentful Karen Allen/Marion is at Indiana Jones/Harrison Ford in the bar scene.
“What you did to me! To my life!” she wails.
That surprised me. Marion was written as such a warrior and then, after 10 years of living a new life for her to say that? To blame him after 10 years?
There is no Expiration date on Resentment. It’ll keep.
Resentment, Victimhood, Grudge, Aversion.
Immediately Delivers the sweet burn. And then its gone and you need some more kindling to keep your resent-a fire burnin.
I’m not going to write the poison metaphor; you already know it.
I was dope sick on resentment against her and him and that and them. Then I graduated from that/thems and just resented MYSELF. Its seemed somehow a higher Art.
So I dove into the resentment of self since 2016 or so. I’ve done some writing, some facing, some weeping. I’ve done work. I gave myself a very small ration of compassion. Wouldn’t do it that way again.
But behold! Today in August 2020, most of the sweet shock of Resentment has fizzled. Not the same snap or high. Its not as catch-my-breath adrenalized as it once was. Some days I can still get roided up on R but its less and less because I’m onto myself. And you cant un-know once you know.
This is what I know: My Resentment (not my discernment -thats a different post) seems to be a False Flag. Sometimes. Not always. But a lot. This still surprises me.
Example: I have a writing deadline or I have to study something. Or Maybe before it was a social thing. Its a dry ,un-fun seeming, scary task. I don’t want to do it. I want to go home.
No problem. I can convert that “don’t wanna ” into a scraggly resentment to distract from the drudge. So SNAP! And now I’m in a spin about how old I am and how many years I wasted on: compulsive eating, being hung-over, in fear, giving fucks, over spending etc, etc. What a waste of years. I really resent myself hard. It’s over for me. Nothing charming will ever happen to me again.
Uh huh. I’m not buying it. On a clear day I (aha!) catch myself in the fake spin and realize: this ick feeling is perhaps not what I think. Is it possible I am wasting more time right now thinking about how much time I wasted?
To myself I ask: “What if I give you a full 30 minutes to ruminate on how awful you are after you do this task before you.” Audible exhale. “Fine.”
I still relish in the Resentment DuJour. I just don’t marinate. I don’t live to swim the waters. I live on land but occasionally need to jump in once in a while to give a nostalgic shock to my system.
I smoke pot. Maybe 5-10 times a year. 1 to 2 hits. I don’t count because it’s not a problem. I don’t think about it. I don’t plan for it. I went pot shopping to moss covered dispensaries and didn’t buy if nothing appealed. My life does not suffer in any way. On the contrary, I can gain perspective and lose compulsive thought.
I use CBD. It helps the writing arm and many other things.
I am also on prozac. I meditate. Process most of my feelings instead of getting them on you. Have lost 40lbs and kept it off since my 20s. I have looked at me. Am I saying this so you’ll think Im “good”.? Probably.
I went 5 years no alcohol, and now prefer not to drink, but I can if I so choose. Because unlike cannabis, alcohol has on many occasions, leveled me.
I may lose 5 of every 10 followers for this post *, but then again, maybe Im not hip to the new collective perceptions. If you read my other posts , you’ll read there are things I love and long for in AA meetings. Like PINE for. However, a lot of AA meetings announce “We ask that you do not share if you have had a mind altering substance in the past 24 hours”
That seems ridiculous. No one would be sharing If the rule were followed. And psychotropics like Prozac are mind altering.
“AHA! You ingested SUGAR and prozac!, No share for you!”
“Is that cortisol in your Blood stream ? No Share! “
” Is that caffeine, SILENCIO!”
Where I go to meetings, the overarching belief is that if you smoke weed at all or ingest THC , or other cousins, you are not sober. Well I feel Sober AF. More emotionally sober for talking about this. That has to be enough for me.
Oh and here’s a blurb about Bill Wilsons awakening experience with LSD.
In deference to AA, They still contend “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. ” But it feels like that’s just a script when compared with what I hear from members at meetings.
Can you tell I really want AA to change so I can be in it again ? Well I’m probably not going to pull that off. \So I’ll just write about it time to time. AA was one of the things that changed the trajectory of my life. And with that I am taking off my alcoholic hat. It feels lonely but breezy. I no longer identify as an alcoholic but do believe alcohol to be an addictive substance. I suppose that’s in line with the NIH and their AUD definition. I still offer help and service. It’s weird not to be fooling myself but I don’t want to pretend so I can be welcome in the club. This revelation only took 17 years.
Now. I do know people who have just substituted weed for alcohol. People that I cannot play board games with because they are too damn slow. That’s fine, just be on the other team and don’t slow my roll. I don’t smoke pot daily but that doesn’t mean I abhor all that do. It ‘s not for me. The same way I have a salad once in a blue moon but not daily. Some people eat Salads daily!?? Are you kidding me?
So I guess This blog really IS about defining sobriety in all areas for oneself using empirical data.
As always, Feel free to share your individual experience.
Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin I came to win, battle me that’s a sin I won’t ever slack up, punk you better back up Try and play the role and yo the whole crew’ll act up Get up, stand up (c’mon!) see’mon throw your hands up If you’ve got the feeling, jump across the ceiling Muggs lifts a funk flow, someone’s talking junk Yo I bust him in the eye, and then I’ll take the punk’s ho Feelin’, funkin’, amps in the trunk and I got more rhymes Than there’s cops at a Dunkin’ Donuts shop Sho’ nuff, I got props From the kids on the hill plus my mom and my pops I came to get down, I came to get down So get out your seat and jump around!Jump around! Jump around! Jump around! Jump up, jump up and get down! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! (Everybody jump) Jump! Jump! Jump!…
So great that alcohol does both ! It calms me down enough to anesthetize the worry that jumping may or may not be the appropriate thing to do . It makes it Ok to jump, to be a jumper. To wear a jumper. To romp and wear a romper for that matter.
Alcohol told me I was a leader. No, that’s a lie. My brain told me I was a leader and alcohol let me believe it. Which was not entirely bad.
ALCOHOL – Hey, thanks for drinking me. You look all glowy! I’m now in your body, did you eat?
ME: No , why would I do that?
ALCOHOL: I know, riggggght? Ok so in about 27 minutes , your going to feel me leaving , which will feel like a gradual buzz kill because it IS. That means you’ll need to make a decision .So just choose A or B and let me know when your ready. ASAP Preferably. Sorry, Im in a hurry.
ME: Of course, I wont leave you hanging.
ALCOHOL: Right you’ll only do that to yourself.
ALCOHOL: I love this song.
ME: I cant hear it.
ALCOHOL: So back to the choices below, Here they are .
A) Continue feeling good again from the brains homeostasis chemicals. Your sugar rise doesn’t get messed with (yet) Which means most likely: continued warmth, inner glow, euphoria. Simply continue this until you pass out or see 2 Judy Garlands when you’re watching her later on youtube. In the future, we will touch hangovers and arrested development that will come from this behavior along with less sexy and more scientific consequences.
ME: Sorry I spaced at “2 Judy Garlands”.
or B) Start to feel sad and bad. Feel the come down physically and then Brain will just look around for things to be wrong so that wrongness can match the come down and make sense.
ME: If I were leaning towards A, what are next steps?
ALCOHOL: Just have another drink before and half hour passes ( if your stomach is empty) Maybe 55 minutes if you ate . Or maybe order 2 to begin with. More Pro.
ME: and for B?
ALCOHOL; Yeah totally super cool. For B, Just like don’t have another “drink” drink. Maybe have a seltzer water I think they call it or plain water? Then go through witnessing your brain and body aching to drink, and also face some of the enhanced feelings you’ve ignored for 20-30 years. Along with the regular feelings of ” This bar is really loud and irritating”, “Im old”, “Oh wait, I’m not in a bar because of the Pandemic , so I guess I’m really loud, irritating ,old and so is the calico tabby.
what if a much of a which of a wind gives the truth to summer’s lie; bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun and yanks immortal stars awry? Blow king to beggar and queen to seem (blow friend to fiend: blow space to time) — when skies are hanged and oceans drowned, the single secret will still be man
what if a keen of a lean wind flays screaming hills with sleet and snow: strangles valleys by ropes of thing and stifles forests in white ago? Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind (blow pity to envy and soul to mind) — whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees, it’s they shall cry hello to the spring
what if a dawn of a doom of a dream bites this universe in two, peels forever out of his grave and sprinkles nowhere with me and you? Blow soon to never and never to twice (blow life to isn’t; blow death to was) — all nothing’s only our hugest home; the most who die, the more we live
3) Conan’s Star Studded Charity Song Famous Helping People Video
4) Kate Bush
5) Gigi Hadids Childhood Home
6) This Lavender Field
7) The color of the sky in “Land is the only thing that matters” scene in “Gone with the Wind”
This is not a post about The Pandemic or #BlM. Its also not a post about how to appropriately behave at societal rituals and obey decorum. I know how to and have done that. Yawn.
I have been foregoing alcohol for the past 55 days I had years of intermittent alcohol free ness before this. I just joined Annie Grace’s The Alcohol Experiment and It’s eye opening and Non absolutist. Relief.
As I move through more experiences drinking or not : I am in curiosity , discovery and dare I say whimsy about my preferences. My likes and dislikes : what charms me, what alarms me, and what school marms me.
Stillness -Love it. Chillness, No thanks. There are so many other people that do chill better than me. ( or pretend to).
I am an extrovert , I like people but preferably around an event or theme. (large or small) . I’m just not interested in sitting around and ONLY talking. I prefer there to be a game we’re playing, or movie we just saw, or project we’re working on, a book club talk? If we go to a concert I don’t want to sit down. Gross. Conversation or ONLY TALKING will arise organically around these activities and thats when it’s the best and most luminous!
When I was heavy drinking ,I needed to change things up after a couple of drinks. To stop the Chill before it gets frozen. During an alcoholic run/ binge, there would be maybe 1 drink or 1.5 drinks worth of chatter and then I would insist that it was time to dance now , whether in my living room, your living room , or at Oil Can Harrys. That drunk had it right! She suggested activities and drunk people followed. She shook it up. Then some people had kids and stopped following.
This is not a 20 something thing .This still is the case today, 32 years later. I mean, after a while the time for just talking is OVER. Now we have to play a game, sing karaoke, choreograph a dance, go swimming, or pierce someones’ ear.
What if this isn’t neurosis but VITALITY?
Not Infantile but Inspired ?
Before I thought, “oh you just get hyper when you drink and you must be very insecure to have to switch things up/control the situation. But what if I’m a curator of a better time. VARIETY people! People hire event planners to keep things moving. Mock dancers to break dance floor ice. I don’t know if its socially acceptable to continue to curate without the excuse of tipsy-ness ? I mean I guess as long as you’re inebriated, you may be more open to try my switch ups.
Aha! I don’t need to be drinking but I really need you to be drinking.
Whatever this fever is , Im going to follow it and try not to drink so I can be ok with it. More will be revealed.