Skeletons 2.11 – My Remorse

**Disclaimer: This is an unusual recovery blog. I am presently in the “what happened” portion of my story, which focuses primarily on my drinking and recovery in the past. Whether this is your first time here or you are a returning reader, I encourage you to visit my About page before reading further.**

Remorse (past) – Our friend is still victimized by remorse and guilt when he thinks of yesterday. (12 x 12, Step 3, pg. 39)

Like most problem drinkers and alcoholics, I did and said things I would never do sober.  There were always consequences – big and small – but the ones that did the most damage were the guilt, shame and remorse. Why?

Because that was the cycle – drink, do or say things I would regret, wake up, feel bad for said things and then drink the bad feelings away.

The feeling of remorse was a constant. The longer I drank, the worse I got, the worse I felt, the more I drank. I was even remorseful for drinking when I DIDN’T do anything stupid. I knew I had crossed the line into full-blown alcoholism and made many vain attempts in getting my shit together. Chapter 3 of the BB offers a list of some of the methods people try in order to gain control of their drinking so they don’t have to quit for good. Here’s the list, what I tried and the result (over an approx 10 year period:)

  1. Drinking beer only – nope, didn’t drink beer unless it was the only thing available.
  2. Never drinking in the morning – yep, failed.
  3. Drinking only at home – nope, in fact, I far more enjoyed drinking socially even though I did most of it at home.
  4. Never drinking alone – yep, failed.
  5. Never drinking during business hours – yep, failed.
  6. Drinking only at parties – nope, refer to #3.
  7. Switching from scotch to brandy – literally speaking, nope. But I DID try using MJ to help me drink LESS and that DID work…for a little bit soooo, that’s a fail.
  8. Drinking only natural wines – nope, wine is wine and my drink of choice. I never discriminated.
  9. Agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job – nope, I was never put in this position but should have been fired a gazillion times for how alcohol affected my job performance.
  10. Taking a trip or NOT taking a trip – nope, taking a trip meant uninhibited alcohol consumption and the only reason I wouldn’t take a trip is if I was told I couldn’t drink on it.
  11. Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath) – yep and yep, failed.
  12. Taking more physical exercise – yep, failed.
  13. Reading inspiration books – yep, failed.
  14. Going to health farms and sanitariums – kinda? I went to a holistic nutritionist at one point. I tried. But not hard enough. So, yeah, fail.
  15. Accepting voluntary commitment to asylums – yep and you can read about it in Skeletons 2.3 – My Reckonings.

The book says next “we could increase the list ad infinitum” and that is most definitely true for me.  Here are a few (and very common) other methods I personally tried to manage my drinking:

  1. Limiting the number of drinks I would have in a social environment – “I’m only going to have X many drinks tonight.” More often than not, I failed.
  2. Only drinking on the weekends – always failed.
  3. “Personal detoxes” – Swear off alcohol for a determined or undetermined amount of time. I (almost) always succeeded, felt amazing, and slowly fell back into the same patterns once I started drinking again.
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The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 30

It was a deathly cycle that I simply couldn’t change on my own and I needed help but didn’t WANT to ask because I was for too prideful to admit defeat.

So God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. A “concerned motorist” called me in, the cops were already looking for me. I ended up in handcuffs for the second time.

I felt total guilt. Terrible shame. Tremendous remorse. Remember what I did when I got home the next day? Yep, that wine from the night before was calling my name and I answered.

Today, I still feel remorse over things I do or say sober – I am human after all. I just don’t drink to run away from it anymore.

#morewillberevealed

I’m a Yeller :(

I will never forget the first time I yelled at A1. A2 was a newbie, less than 3 months old and A1 was 2 ½. Us 3 girls were home doing laundry up in the small hallway of our townhouse while H was at work. I was still using a gate at the top of the stairs, A1 was “running loose” and A2 was in the bouncer being the precious little angel baby that she was.

A1 was a jealous big sister and she wasted no time in showing me too. I had no idea WTF I was doing but was telling myself I did, so I assured H he could go back to work when A2 was just 8 days old.

H: Are you sure?

P: Totally. I got this.

But did I?

d8a18a34-a795-4ee7-92be-e48abccde5bd
Nursing in a glider. Not a couch. Not a stationary chair. A chair that moved.

Yeaahhhh no I didn’t and that was just the beginning.

A1 was VERY affectionate towards A2 – in such a way that I was scared of her smothering her.  Of course she wouldn’t, not in front of me anyway but what I’m trying to get at is this: I could NOT keep A1 OFF of A2.

So we’re in the hallway, I’m tired and hungry, A1 is running amok, getting in A2’s face every 5 seconds and I’m cursing myself for ever having children because now I have even MORE laundry.  And then it happened.

I didn’t see it coming.

It came out of nowhere.

I yelled.

And it was loud.

Loud enough that I scared all 3 of us. I felt like shit IMMEDIATELY. I don’t recall feeling triggered to drink at that moment but I do know I went to a meeting that night.  On the way, however, I stopped to bring a snack to share and was overcome with self-pity. Why?

Because the patrons in front and behind me in line were buying alcohol and I was not. I didn’t even REALLY want to drink but started to cry in line knowing that they got to drink and I couldn’t. It had now been 3+ years since my last drink and here I was sulking over being an alcoholic and wishing SO badly (and still thinking maybe) I wasn’t. Remember, I was a dry drunk and would remain that way for another year and 7 months.

What do you think would have happened that evening had I succumbed to my emotions and decided to drink; or any other time I found myself overcome with great sorrow over the fact that I was an alcoholic and couldn’t “take the edge off” like normal drinkers? I shudder at the thought.

I remember what I was like when I drank and I was atrocious. If you’re a new reader, you can read my “drunkalogue” in Skeletons Part 1 by visiting the My Story page.  

Aside from drunk driving, did I tell you about the time I utilized a deadly weapon in a drunken stupor? This was, of course, before I quit drinking. I was hammered and out of my mind. I was CONVINCED H had taken my phone and hid it IN the couch.  It didn’t matter what he said, I KNEW IT and the longer he denied it, the more volatile I got. Next thing I knew, I had a knife in my hand. Not a butter knife or a steak knife, a big ass, “I will cut you” knife. I took that thing and sliced open our couch only to find that he was telling the truth – my phone was not in the couch.  No no no, turns out, it was in the bathroom and I’m pretty sure I hid it from myself.

That’s the shit alcohol makes me do.

I’m reckless, out of control and downright dangerous.

THAT’S why CPS would be knocking on my door if I was drinking today.  There is seriously no telling what I would do in moments of anger but I know what I’m capable of and it’s terrifying to even fathom.

So when tempers run high in high stress, anxiety stricken moments with my girls, I don’t drink and smoke weed instead because MJ doesn’t have that effect on me. It aids in keeping me in check when my brain is in overdrive.  It IS a tool in MY recovery toolbox and like I said, it’s not my only tool or the first one I pick up either.

But back then, it was and that’s just how my story goes.

I love my story. And guess what…

…it keeps getting better and better.

#morewillberevealed

My Relapse – Part 3

Relapse #3: I don’t remember what I had but I want to say it was another ½ mini-box of wine? Or maybe 2 mini bottles from a 4 pack? Weird I don’t know specifics because this was the least I had drank of all the relapses since my DUI.  Hubs came home earlier than expected. Since it was such a small amount, I really didn’t think he’d notice.

But he did. He asked. I lied.

H: “Why do I not believe you?”

P: I don’t know because I haven’t.

H: Okay then. Let’s go to your car and you blow in your breathalyzer.

P: (yep, I’m screwed) Okay, let’s go.

H: (sigh) nooo, it’s alright, I guess I believe you.

ANOTHER bullet dodged and man, was I sweating!  I decided right then and there that I couldn’t risk it again because the next consequence would be him leaving me – even though he never once said that he would.

See, that’s where my brain can go sometimes. Immediately to the worst case scenario with nothing to back it up. Like a hypochondriac (which I can also admit that I am to some extent) thinks they are at death’s door when they experience unfamiliar symptoms they cannot explain, I was foretelling the death of my marriage. It’s just so dramatic (eye roll).

I decided I’d wait a while.  I’d complete the 6 week outpatient rehab program, the dust would settle and I’d drink again when it fizzled into something we just didn’t talk about. You know, sweep it under the rug like it never happened. Story of my life.

But I haven’t.

My new date was now March 30th, 2012 and has remained that date ever since.  I am now 8 years sober from alcohol.

#morewillberevealed

My Relapse – Part 2

Relapse #2: I decided I’d do one final “test.” It’s a common test we lushes like to take and it’s rather quite simple for normal drinkers to do: have just ONE drink and that be all. Since I had a suspended license, I walked up to the liquor store and bought 2 of those mini fridge size bottles of vodka and pineapple juice.

Yes, that’s one drink – a double bay breeze, sans cran, duh. Why would I drink a single? I’ve never known an alcoholic to order just ONE single shot cocktail and call it a night. And I know a lot of alcoholics. I’m no different. But I REALLY wanted to be.

Of course I failed the test because the “phenomenon of craving” came on strong right away and before I knew it, I was walking back up the hill to the shopping center but to the grocery store this time.  I couldn’t return to the same place I was just at. I thought they’d think I’m alcoholic and I couldn’t stand the thought of that kind of judgment. I purchased 1 of those mini-boxed wines, hustled home and got to drinking.  I drank…maybe ½?…before H got home. And not soon after, he figured it out and left. I went to finish the box, but a strong sense of conviction came over me and I poured it out.

My new date was now March 24th.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.9 – The Relapse Series – Part 1

Relapse (past): The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. (BB, Chapter 3, pg. 30)

Here’s the bottom line: I don’t remember my very first sobriety date because I wasn’t done drinking. All of the harsh consequences I had already brought upon myself weren’t enough to convince me I was a real alcoholic. I still needed more proof, hence the final 3 legit relapses and I will relive all 3 of them for you today in a series of 3 posts.

Relapse #1: I talk about it in My Recovery Rewind – Part 2 and Skeletons 1.9. It was a basically a true “relapse before the relapse” situation.  I had just gotten 30 days prior to a wedding weekend. When I was handed that token, my mind was already in Bend, OR, fighting off that trigger that I knew I wasn’t going to even try fighting.

I wasn’t excited about it. I didn’t rush home to show H or text pictures of it to my family or friends. I was also terrified of anyone knowing about it that weekend because, well, a) my prideful, alcoholic brain didn’t want them to judge me but more importantly b) if they knew, they’d try to tell me not to drink and I couldn’t have that. But at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. I had relapsed in my mind before crossing state lines.

H did tell our friends, I still hid it, I still got caught. I said I had one mimosa and I stuck to that story – with my sponsor, my counselor and everyone else who I told.  If you already read the posts mentioned above, you know that was not truthful at all and I still can’t believe I drove after the reception.

Insanity.

My new date was now March 18th.

#morewillberevealed

My Reprimands – Part 4

I wrote some amends letters after my reprimands of SD2 and the last one was to myself (second person to first person,) and I ended it with this:

“Is that all? You done now?  Because I can think of some messed up stuff you did to other guys too, or have you forgotten?  I hope you plan on taking responsibility for how YOU treated some of the dudes that you spent your time with over the years because you were no saint.”

Yes, yes I do.


Yep, I wasn’t very nice.  In fact, at one point in my 20’s, I proudly claimed Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” and “Promiscuous” as my anthems – which, not gonna lie, I still get a sick high every time I hear both of those songs and I recognize I should feel bad about that now but I don’t…not yet anyway.

Seriously though, I do feel bad for some stuff – how I handled some break ups, caused drama and led guys on.  Let’s face it, I was self-seeking and loved the attention of the opposite sex. I have yet to get to the bottom as to why but a thorough 4th step will uncover a lot when I get to it. For now, here is a short list of the kind of damage I did and would make amends for if it WERE appropriate because today, it is NOT:

  1. I broke up with my very first “boyfriend” on his doorstep, dropping him off after the “sadie hawkins” Valentines dance. 2 years later, the same was done to me after the Homecoming dance. Of course it did. I totally deserved it.
  2. Barely paid attention to my date at the Homecoming dance the year prior to the one mentioned above. Why? Because I was no longer interested in him and wanted to be there with someone else.  He went on to be a total jerk to me until Sr. year and as fate would have it, I married him 12 years later. Man, I am one lucky gal.
  3. I willingly fueled situations that led to physical encounters between guys I was dating and ones who had hurt me in some way.  That’s just weird to me.
  4. I befriended guys who wanted to be more than friends – when I was single AND in a relationship. It is clear to me now that I simply loved the attention, bearing no concern for their feelings. Careless and mean.
  5. Fell in love with “the one that got away” and broke up with D1 in hopes to be with him. But the love was not returned, so I went BACK to D1, only to cheat on him a few months later with H – and then lied about it so he wouldn’t break up with me.  Then I really broke up with him and called him pathetic when he wouldn’t stop crying. At that point, I really was a heartless drunk.
  6. “Dated” guys while I waited for H to move home from out of state. I DID however, tell them not to get attached because someone else had my heart and they were just “fillers” but still…selfish and not cool.
  7. I’m not going to say how but I hurt H at the beginning of our relationship. Pretty bad. I will be making a living amends to him for the remainder of our days on this earth.

Yes, I am sorry for all the above and that’s all I want or even need to say. When it comes to my days “playing the field,” it’s time to let go of all the shame, remorse, guilt and any other negative feelings that no longer serve me.

#morewillberevealed

My Reprimands – Part 3

Reprimand for Misdemeanor #2 – 2012:  My sentencing required a lot from me over the course of the next 18 months and, as previously mentioned, one of those things was spending 2 weekends on lock down. I find it hard to hold back telling you everything about this experience so here’s a sub-list of the moments that stood out as particularly memorable:

  • The seasoned inmate who called me “ma” as she consoled me in the depths of my emotional breakdown after waiting HOURS to be assigned a bunk and my name not being called. Fun little fact: “ma” was a nickname I shared with a couple besties in high school and it stemmed from a mean-spirited joke about someone else. Oh the irony.
  • The two other “weekenders” whom I befriended and at one point shared my hopes to get (or already be) pregnant. I became FB friends with one of them and I still am to this day. Coincidentally enough, I saw her 3 years later and locked eyes with her as I led a meeting telling my story. I was also pregnant with A2 at that time and she had gotten her 3rd DUI. Now THAT’S a trip!
  • Being solicited to smuggle drugs back in when I returned for weekend #2. I asked her, “do I look like someone who would know how to score hard drugs?” Where those balls came from, I have no idea and the fact that I escaped a lunch room beat down from challenging a broad like that is beyond my comprehension. Another bullet dodged.
  • My bunkmate the same weekend.  My first impression of her gave me no reason to feel intimidated or think she was in for anything other than drugs, like the majority of inmates.  That is until she nonchalantly tells me she had just done heroin for the first time the day before and later threatens to kick the ass of the person who had just farted in her general vicinity. Confession: it was me and I remained unscathed. (so many bullets!!)
  • The one and ONLY email I received from a loved one those two miserable weekends.  Yes, I still have it and no, you can’t read it. But you CAN read excerpts from it right here:

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(To the author of the above hilarity, if you are reading this, I still laugh at your humor in this email. You’re still funnier than me, but man of man do I have some new material!)

  • The wasted woman puking up blood in the drunk tank as I waited to be released.  I was far from accepting my alcoholism but I felt compelled to give her the hard word and told her if she didn’t stop drinking NOW, she was going to die. She proceeded to tell me she was already dying from esophageal cancer. Several months later, I saw the same woman at a rehab facility where I attended a handful of “after care meetings.” In that moment, I wanted to run up to her and tell her how happy I was to see her alive and getting help to improve the quality of her life for as long she had left. But I didn’t because I knew there was no way she’d remember me.

As the ex who traveled with me to the aforementioned foreign country where I EASILY could have become a cold case victim would say: fun times…fun times.

Like I said before, this series has been mostly for me; it serves as a “purging” if you will, much like what I talked about in my very first blog post.  However, I’ve beat myself up long enough for my choices with the opposite sex and my recovery journey. I think enough time has passed that I’m ready to be fully free from all of that negativity. God keeps doing for me what I could not do for myself and has relieved me of the desire to publicly shame these lost and damaged souls, therefore, I have removed the DUDS page from my menu, as well as deleted their “letters.”

I have totally forgiven all of those dudes who didn’t deserve me.

Thank you, God!

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.10 – My Recovery Revealed

Revealed: It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (BB, pg. 85)

I remember the first time I learned that smoking pot was a no no in the rooms of AA. I was sitting in a meeting watching a woman take a 1 year token after “smoking a little weed” when she had 11 years of sobriety. I distinctly remember a part of her share when she received the coin and it went SOMETHING like this:

“I really don’t want to be taking this token but my sponsor is making me.”

I thought it was ridiculous that a woman with long term sobriety would be “told” she had to start over.  I still do and that’s why I kept my “marijuana maintenance” a secret for so long.

Revealing my chosen recovery path here isn’t the first time I have “outed myself.”  I came clean to 3 friends a few years ago and their response was this:

“So? The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.”

I couldn’t believe my ears and was really happy they were so accepting.  It was a game changer for me and I started going back to meetings. But not regularly. Even though no one else in the program knew, I still felt like an outcast and “not worthy” to be an active member of AA. Down deep, I really did want to be “a part of” but I was convinced I wouldn’t be accepted if I fully “got honest.” I felt like a fraud and it was killing me inside. I could NOT let go of the idea that I didn’t belong because I WAS doing it “my way” and if they knew, they’d shun me. Why?

MY ego.

MY pride.

MY will.

I was IN self and entering the danger zone, distancing myself further and further from the program.

I’ve heard countless times that people who smoke weed in recovery end up leaving AA altogether and eventually turn to the drink when life gets really hard. And guess what…

…it did. I left AA and then shit got real. And guess what…

…the thought to drink DID occur to me a handful of times. But did I?

#morewillberevealed