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 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.
After 17 years of field research in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am taking what I want and leaving the rest.
An Alanon sponsor once reminded me, “You’re allowed to change your mind.” Oh? Oh!
Someone asked me the other day ,”Do you think you’re an alcoholic?” My answer was ,”I really want to be.”
As I re enter AA , I think about drinking more than I ever did. Its easy to step right back in and parrot the slogans and reunite with people I truly do love =instant community! A lot of The people in AA are what I choose to keep . Not the perversion and the archaic-ness of the program.
AA was great when I was broke, getting thrown out of gay coke parties and my Father had just died. I was 31 and looked into AA 3 years later. The women in AA were the best friends I ever had. I still dearly want to be with some of them but not with the AA hijacking of human survival skills and belief in Normies.