She wore a Blue Bathrobe because nothing else fit anymore

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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.

10 Items Of Clothing We All Remember From The 1980s

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.

Neato Coolville: ROMAN MEAL BREAD IS THE BEST

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.

More later. I’m full.

#3 Benzo Enchantment Day 24

I am titrating off Ativan under a Doctors plan. I took 2mg at night for sleep.

And when I say for sleep , since I don’t mix it with alcohol now, it is ostensibly for sleep . I do long for the days of the effortless, elegant Ba-Bye at 2 mg. I started out years ago (maybe 10) with a .5 mg “when needed” and have become dependent on a larger dose. Its hard to say goodbye to the wafting hush. Yes, I know there are way worse cases. I remember Janice Dickinson on “Celebrity Rehab” But this is my case. Sharing this to help with accountability.

I have titrated down from 2mg to 1.5 mg. And now, the headaches and trouble falling asleep. The spin in the head that is great for writing for not for trying to reach alpha and eventually delta brainwaves.

On this sobriety experiment (day 24) , I have not been a daily or weekly drinker so I know it’s not the alcohol withdrawal. I have no clue whether this a high or low dose of opiate. I sense myself looking for permission to have withdrawals since i have it “pretty good”

I took a Tylenol last night to eradicate the headache. Is this even worse ? The lesser of several evils?

I had been going to sleep at 9:30PM and now am not falling to sleep until 1 AM or 2 AM. I am astonished at what a difference the absence of .5 mg makes .

I will now scour the other Benzo related blogs and compare my experience, dosage, and results.

On the flip: I am meditating twice a day, exercising (dance) 2-3 times a week and am losing my sweet tooth a little.

#2 Stop Grading your problems . Day 23 -“You mean all this time we could have been Friends?”

The last time I drank alcohol was not spectacular or worth a short film. On March 19th when The mayor issued the order that non essential workers in my city go home, I was not unhappy. The part time job was a necessary drudge that I showed up for the best I could. Let me also say I have known of no one in my small circle who has died or been catastrophically affected physically by COVID 19.

Loss. Grief. Fear. Whose is greater? Whose wins? Stop grading and take care of your own first. It counts. If you’re in your 50s and you’re trying to reconcile crepe-ing arms OR you are 40 and going through a loss of a parent OR you are 15 and getting bullied or you’re 55 and getting bullied OR your Public identity is OVER because of COVID 19, the body isn’t making note of the specifics. Do you think your adrenal glands, cortisol levels, limbic system are all talking to each other going , “Actually, lets just fire at a level 2 Fear because she should be over this shit”. No. The monster under the bed is REAL to your body. Whatever age or whatever longitude and latitude coordinates you occupy. #Compareanddespairanddonothing.

When the Pandemic order was issued , I hadn’t had a drink for 20 something days. I could just take it or leave it. My desire for alcohol was further lifted and I continued not giving a shit about it (meaning booze) UNTIL the beginning of May. Then I thought, I’ll have 3 beers. This was not a secret plan it was a declaration. An experiment. I was not “supposed” to be sober. Nobody but me was judging/not judging . I walked and bought a 6 pack of Racer 5 IPA from the liquor store. I still have the receipt.

Ensconced at home, couched with my partner, I took a sip. This doesn’t taste good. My body doesn’t like it. SIP. Its like too bubbly? But I really want this to work. SIP. Sort of tastes toxic. SIP. Its not that bad. SIP. It will be fun to host virtual game night with my friends tonight. REST-no sips. Game Night began, the sipping tripled. I was chasing the dream.

Later at 11:20pm after 4-5 beers and an Ativan , I laid on my carpet and drooled. Alone. My boyfriend was snug as a bug in bed. There had been no judgement or altercation. I imagined myself floating away and wanting to sink into the carpet ala “Trainspotting” This isn’t me. This is a sort of death but I’m not ready. I knew what I had to do. Purge and Primp.

I went to the bathroom and induced regurgitation. ACID extravaganza. The next day was lost to physical pain but I didn’t really experience the second arrow of shame which was UNUSUAL.

I’ve gone 5 years and 9 months and 2 months and 6 months without drinking in in AA but the large percentage of that time just felt like I was holding my breath and waiting for a reward from GOD.

On May 2nd, There was a monster under the bed that I skated over and I drank. I’m psychologically astute enough to know I don’t just drink because …whatever. I have no external problems compared to some and maybe a lot compared to the other “some”. As a human (most likely), I have the ability to face fear/loss and the requisite emotions that tap my on the shoulder and then throw bricks if I don’t pay attention.. If I stop grading and comparing my fear, “problems” then I can see them or it. CLARITY. Ohhhh!!! Fiona Fear how are you? Come to Tea this afternoon ( Buddhist reference I know) and I can say “FIRE, walk with me!” (David Lynch credit) Let’s be partners. If not friends then fellows ? fiends? In my experience , this lessens the burden and I incrementally lose the desire to drink , or to (insert buffering behavior)one friendly fear fire at a time. This is ACCEPTANCE and ACTION.

Now here I am with choice. Day 23 goal 30 virtual meetings in 30 days . MY preference is to be alcohol free NOT sentenced by shame to be alcohol free. Will I stay the course? I don’t know. I don’t have to know. I’m not throwing AA out but I’m adding Kevin Griffin and Belle Robertson and Recovery Elevator and this blog. I’m tracking Fiona Fear on an excel spread sheet.

Define Sober #1 NewcomerAgain??

I’m clear. I’d prefer to not to drink . Im 52. Female. I’ve tried AA and it worked for me ( just like drinking WORKED for me ) until it didn’t. AA was a beginning and Im still participating intermittently. I still encourage trying AA if you’ve never been sober. Its not AA or blank … for me ITs AA and blank, blank , and maybe blank for me … Im doing 30 meeting in 30 days right now because in this pandemic-ly virtual world, Its easy for me.

This first entry is ranty. Maybe future post will be solution-y

This is an anonymous slightly screaming blog to track the terrain that awaits me in the alcohol free unknown without trying to be a popular/parrot/good AA. Since 2008, Ive collected 7.5 years of sober time (but EEEEK not consecutive sober time) THIS AMOUNT OF TIME COUNTS.

I am really at odds with the idea of “losing time” or “starting over ” as a NEWCOMER after a RELAPSE/slip.

Any time I’m NOT using booze to buffer a difficult feeling or life situation , its a WIN. I don’t agree with the word relapse. I don’t agree that you have to destruct and recreate from the bottom up and tearfully admit in a pseudo humble way That you are a newcomer again if you have already lived life sober for a time. You’re NOT a fucking Newcomer. All of the gut level “knowing” and experience you gleaned up until now now now is part of the recovery trajectory, it’s not blotto’d out because you drank again. It’s cumulative. Every part of my story is needed. My relapses up until now have only enriched and enlivened my WHY for CHOOSING to move towards an alcohol free or MOSTLY (Im shooting for 87%) alcohol free rest of life. Can I navigate the world and especially a POST pandemic world without the sheen of alcohol. I want to try it. Its a game. A Badass courageous game. I’ll be happy if i get 15% more sober time under my belt by the end of the year.