10 Days Dry.

So I finally attended my first ALL women’s AA meeting…. And….

Deep breath.

Let it out.

Sigh.

As much as I would love to say Girl Power and proclaim that it was amazing and that the companionship between women was something unheralded, I’m not going to. I’m not going to because, how do I put this nicely, it was fucking awful. You would think that since I like women I would dig it and feel more comfortable. More “at home” even. Nope. Not the case. I have decided I cannot be around that much estrogen ever. EVER AGAIN. Especially when talking about problems and feelings. No disrespect to the women in that meeting who are fighting their own battles with alcohol. Their struggles are real and feelings are valid. I just personally don’t like sitting around with a bunch of women talking about problems. I’ve always been more comfortable around men (oddly enough) so I’ll stick to the gay boy meetings where I hear about blackouts and bitch slap fights. More my style.

Although that all women’s meeting was a fail (to some extent) my dad came into town this past weekend with his wife and they stayed at my place which made for a nice little weekend. As mentioned before, my dad is 14 years sober and so it’s really easy to not drink around him. His wife is not sober, however, she is the type that can have only ONE drink and NOT have that craving or desire to have another one. ONE drink? What does that even mean? I don’t get it.

They came into town Friday night and my dad and I attended a meeting together. We went to a Gay and Lesbian friendly meeting and again, I was the only girl there. My dad was the only straight person there. I, for whatever reason, thought he would be a little uncomfortable and that he would assume that all of the men would hit on him (since he likes to think that everyone is attracted to him and his natural charm) but he wasn’t uncomfortable at all. On a side note: he loves to wear Prada shoes and shop and get manicures and pedicures so I feel like he can identify with gay men. He does have a wife and he did tell me that he thought he was a lesbian because he, too, likes women. Which he thought was sooooooooo funny.

Anyways, the meeting I attended with my Dad was a speaker meeting and the speaker talked about his own personal experiences and struggles with alcohol and then opened the room up for discussion regarding the first step: we admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable. I always find it so fascinating listening to other peoples stories. To hear their personal struggles with alcohol and how they have overcome them is really inspiring to me. I also love that in AA you can bare your heart and soul with a bunch of complete strangers who will not judge you because they have been there done that and then some. It’s like free therapy with cookies and coffee.

Back to the First Step, I have no problem admitting that once I drink I am powerless over alcohol. Once I have a drink I want and crave more, however, I have had a slight problem with the word addiction and describing myself as an addict. I do not think I am addicted to alcohol. I do not think if I go days without it I will go through withdrawals, I do not need it to function and I do not drink everyday. I do not think I am I addicted to alcohol. I think I have a problem. Yes. I think I abuse alcohol. Yes. But addicted? Not so much. And then I read the definition of addiction. Addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences. Fuck. Fine Wikipedia I guess according to you, some could say I was addicted. Dick.

So many people think that being addicted means you end up on Intervention (that amazing show I binge watch) where the alcoholics end up drinking mouth wash or hand sanitizer because of the alcohol in it. Or the alcoholics on it who drink all day, everyday, and go through withdrawals if they don’t drink. Yes, that is a form of alcoholism and addiction but alcoholism has so many more faces than just the ones that are seen on Intervention. Just go to an AA meeting and you will see. Alcoholics come in all shapes and sizes.

Since coming out (not out of the closet) and saying that I am getting sober I have had friends question why? Why stop drinking? Proclamations from many like “but you’re not an angry drunk” or “you can stop I’ve seen you,” among others, have been made.

Yes, you have seen me stop but it wasn’t without a long internal dialogue in which I had to consciously battle talk myself into stopping and not having another. Yes, you have seen me stop but it wasn’t without wanting another.

When I drink it just brings out another side of me. A side that may be fun to others — because I get crazy and careless and end up in Mexico or at a strip club or waking up in my car with a Cherry Limeade Tea from 711 (who the fuck even drinks that?) — but it is just not congruent to the lifestyle in which I want to live and the future I want to have. If I continue drinking I will likely end up a drunk homeless person panhandling for change. Ok. So I might not end up like that but I will continue to hurt the people I love and live carelessly without regard for anyone but myself. And frankly my dear, that’s just not what I want.

One day at a (motherfucking) time.

fruit punch soda

a delicious Fruit Punch soda from The Prado in Balboa Park. who needs a cocktail when you can have this masterpiece?

 

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Week 1

Since Sunday I have been going to AA meetings. So far, most of these meetings have been compiled of a bunch of gay boys and then there’s me. The token lesbian. Needless to say, I stick out in my flannel shirt, cargo shorts and Birkenstocks (just kidding, I do not wear cargo shorts…yet). But anyways, everyone is so warm and inviting and gay men love boobs and, well, I have enough to go around. I’ve already been asked out on two dates. And, although the dates are with gay men and involve a meeting and a coffee, I still feel really popular.

(I still don’t know if AA is for me. Not because I don’t like it, I do. I just don’t like the reliance on God and the overuse of his almighty power in the program. Perhaps if I think of a “higher power” as something other than an all knowing God (maybe like the fat little Buddha man) then it will be more so for me. And please no hateful comments about me not believing in this almighty God (Grandma)).

So far I’ve learned that I am not alone in this struggle AND alcoholics are really fucking funny. Typically, the people who make up the masses at AA were the life of the party in their drinking days. And some of the shit they did when drinking is just insane. From ending up in jail, buying a one way ticket to Europe, peeing on police cars, stealing police cars — you name it, they done it. The meetings are never short of laughs. But, despite all these laughs about drunk times, most if not all of the stories end on a sad note with someone hitting their rock bottom, hence their attendance at AA.

I was talking to my dad today (who is 14 years sober himself) on my way to work and he asked how I was doing. I told him the truth: I feel great. I really do feel great about this decision (granted it’s Day 5 and I haven’t been put in a situation where I want to drink). But I do feel super confident that this decision is for the best and I’m feeling great (other than the fact that my animals are driving me fucking insane and I’m thinking about putting them all on craigslist under the free section). Back to my dad, I used to hate when I would ask him in the beginning stages of his recovery if he thought he would ever drink or do drugs again. He would always reply the same way, “not today.” UGH! It would frustrate the hell out of me. I just wanted him to fucking tell me “No Brittany, I’ll never drink or do drugs again. Ever.” But for him, it is literally one day at a time. As frustrated as I was with him saying that, I now find myself saying the same thing. Funny how that works. Or not funny at all.

In our conversation, my dad was also telling me that he is proud of me because I am so much like him and he doesn’t want to see me end up like him. I proceeded to tell him that since I am younger and at a stage in my life where I don’t own a home, don’t have any children and have far less to lose than he did, my rock bottom is quite different than his. I didn’t lose a family and a mortgage and a job before I sobered up. What he told me is everyone’s rock bottom is different. Every single person has a different rock bottom. And it doesn’t make anyone’s lesser than the other. Or better. Or more of a rock bottom. Damn it. He’s right. (He won’t read this because he’s not keen on the interwebs and technology so thank God he’ll never know that I said he was accurate).

But rock bottom. Rock bottom makes you quit drinking. Whatever your rock bottom is you don’t quit because of a drunk dial or text to an ex or even a Girls Gone Wild moment – you quit because of something bigger than that. Your own rock bottom. Whatever that may be. You quit because something about you being drunk scares the shit out of you. You quit because, as bad as it’s gotten, you know that it could and will only continue to get worse.

I may come across as nonchalant and funny from time to time (because I am funny) but this is truly a terrifying experience. Putting myself out there the way that I am and declaring sobriety is terrifying because, well, what if I fail? What if I can’t to do this? I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know what the next week will bring. But what I do know is that bottle of craft beer is not gonna get drank.  Today.

“Life is about change, sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s beautiful but most of the time it’s both.”

 

Day 1

I’m sure we’ve all heard or seen “Girls Gone Wild” — the classy movies where drunk college girls show off their twins or do whatever other white girl wasted things college girls do when really intoxicated. While I never made it on one of those movies (although lets be honest I very well could have but they were fortunately never filming where I was drinking) I have been there, done that, been so white girl wasted, and then some. And except for a million stories that should be on the Discovery Channel show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” nothing good — for me — has ever come of it. So I have decided to quit drinking and start a new series “Girls Gone Sober.” And while I haven’t come up with the premise behind the show all I know is that it starts with me — getting sober.

****I thought I was so clever about this tag line “Girls Gone Sober” however, upon further research I realize I am not the only brilliant person out there — others, too, have coined this slogan. (Damn it).

So here I am on Day 1. Well, technically it’s day 2 of being sober but I was so hungover yesterday that I couldn’t even move and when I did it was only to Taco Bell. One bean and cheese burrito and one quesadilla later my body was yet again pissed off at me. First my liver hated me when I drank what seemed to be an entire bar the night before and then the next day still hungover at 7 PM I go and eat Taco Bell. I mean shit, I live in San Diego I couldn’t have even eaten good Mexican food? Regardless, today is a new day and I have to learn from my mistakes (and never eat Taco Bell again).

I have made the decision to get sober. It’s been a long time coming. I have tried to have a healthy relationship with alcohol and tried to be normal but for me 100 drinks is not enough and one is too many. I went to my first AA meeting today and plan on going to another tonight. While I do not know yet if AA is the path for me I do know that it is exactly what I needed today: to be surrounded by a group of people who, like me, have a desire to not drink again.

Different stories. Different pasts. Different stages of life. But beyond all these differences there is one commonality that joins us all — we all don’t want to drink.

Sobriety probably will be one of the hardest decisions of my life and yet also one of the best. I don’t expect anyone to understand but I know that if they truly care about me they will respect my decision. I’m not gonna sit here and preach to you that you shouldn’t drink cause alcohol is the devil etc etc because not everyone is like me. So many can have a normal relationship with it. Believe me I wish I could be normal and have a normal relationship with alcohol, homie just don’t play that.

Why get sober? For so long I was like guuuurrl I ain’t got no problem. I don’t drink everyday. I don’t have withdrawals if I don’t drink. I’m not one of those alcoholics on intervention drinking hand sanitizer cause there’s some sort of alcohol in it. I’m gooooood. But what I have realized is that I don’t have to drink everyday to be an alcoholic. My problem is that once I start I can’t stop. Alcohol — for me — is not a good idea. I drink a beer and then another and then another and another and well you get the idea. My brain doesn’t function right — I drink until drunk. It’s all or nothing. I can’t just have a drink or two and be done. I have to keep going. It just doesn’t have the same effect on me as it may others.

It’s like I’m allergic to it. What is this allergic reaction? Well I end up in random places at random times with random people. As fun as that may sound and as many “great” stories as I have that start with “so I ordered shots of fireball” or “so I was drinking” the ones that make everyone else laugh and illicit the response “oh brittany” — in the process I hurt the ones I care about the most. From ending up in Mexico, car accidents, strip clubs, damaging my car, waking up next to strangers, driving drunk with people I love in my car, pushing people away, losing jobs, a concussion and most recently hurting the woman I care about the most — it doesn’t take a genius to realize that I should probably just fucking stop.

I’m not sad about it. It’s not going to change who I am. I will be exactly the same person. I’ll still talk shit and be a little shit — I just no longer will worry my friends and family. I’ll no longer put myself or others in danger. I’ll no longer wake up dehydrated with a pounding headache and wondering what the hell happened. And I will no longer eat Taco Bell. (Lies I’ll for sure have another bean and cheese burrito from that magical place). Oh, and I will no longer drunk dial my grandma who I’m sure is so thrilled about this. Love you Grandma. My poor Grandma.

I want to hold myself accountable and share my story hence the blog. I am very private at times but I thought I’d be public with this because I know that I am not alone in battling with it. I may fail but I hope I succeed and am committed to my success. But as with all things – only time will tell.

And on a final note: yolo.