Proof: To Drink is Not to Die *but it may not be Living either.

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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 …..

gena-rowlands-faces - Vague Visages

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 ……….

Gena Rowlands 10 Best Movies Streaming

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. There was no 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.

A Woman Under the Influence 1974 movie review: Indie letdown

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.

Hi Grief, thanks for calling! I’m just gonna put you on hold for 22 years

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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.

Hoover Dam Night | Places to see, Places to visit, Places to travel

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.

photo Russian Semenov Nesting dolls

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.

beautiful dragons pictures - YouTube

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.

Art by H.Minh

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.

Some people may call it anorexia.

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!

It’s Official. Drunk or Sober, I’m not Chill.

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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.

That Creep in your Zoom meeting #4 Day25

Are you new or trying Sober and getting creeped out by Older White guys? You are not alone. If you’re a newcomer and identify as female and experience anything like this, here are some comments, and tips on how to navigate or unf*ck the experience and stay on path.

The meeting I go to are 85% white hence “creepy WHITE guy ” So this is only my experience. Pick your poison and your predator according to yours.

I went to CO ED AA zoom meeting and and identified as a newcomer. I received a private chat message from a regular in this group that said “I love you xxxxx” I have never spoken to this man When I received the chat message, I looked and saw who sent it. Ewwww. I did not reply and let the secretary know. It’s gross. Im older and have been around. What if I was new new?

WOULD THIS HAPPEN AT A MEETING IRL? NO

Stick with the women unless they drive you more crazy and don’t have what you want.

Try other 12 step meetings- PINK CLOUD is a great tool to find them and you can filter by Women only OR the focus of the meeting

use an alias /change your name if it makes you feel more comfortable

Try alternatives to AA if the guy and/OR the 12 steps are not a match for you- there are plenty of other programs and alternatives . Its all part of Life’s Rich pageant to find the one that works for you. Who cares how you get sober. I welcome you if you are trying or have tried.

Belle Roberston has a totally anonymous program

Kevin Griffin weaves the 12 steps and Buddhism Together and is an older white guy who is NOT gross or Predatory at all.

WFS is another Women centered resource

Other alternatives to 12 steps.

I need to remind myself that the good guys are plentiful in meetings too. I’ve met a lot of male folk who have helped me along the way over the years and who are NOT creeps. There are also women creeps. Sometimes Ive been a creep ( althought not in a sexual predatory way -more in a snarky gossipy way) than they have been. This doesn’t excuse or negate White male creepery, which is rampant , but paints the fuller picture.

Day 25 for me. Lots of zoom meetings involving ACA and AA and Alanon. It helps me. I also listen to Belle Robertson and Recovery Elevator, and Kevin Griffin. I Find more resources every day. I give 50% airtime to what I disagree with and 50% to what I espouse in these meetings, podcasts, blogs. Thats all I can hope for. I feel better after a meeting/listen and maybe I can help someone. So the pros far outweigh the cons in this Pandemic climate. When they don’t, I’ll know and I’ll keep discovering , ideally while remaining alcohol free.

#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.