A decade of honesty & self loathing – my journey with sobriety

It does not feel like ten years.

Just the other night I was “reminiscing” with friends about parties we went to and different events we somehow managed to crash and it felt like it was a LIFETIME ago.

No, it definitely does not feel like ten years.

People will ask me from time to time if I miss drinking and I’m like… “LOL YES?? I’m a fucking alcoholic….”

To me, being an alcoholic means admitting that I am powerless over drugs and alcohol. It means that I have a serious problem with moderation. It means that I cannot remember a time I drank that didn’t involve me getting sick, fighting or both.

For me, personally, it is not a daily struggle. Anymore. The first 3 years were the hardest and then it kind of became second nature.

I’m not going to lie and say there haven’t been triggering moments where I’m craving, wanting or even NEEDING a drink (a whole bottle, I never did “a drink”..) because those moments happened when I least expected them since day one.

It was more frequent in the beginning – like, everything triggered me wanting a drink.

  • Car won’t start? DRINK
  • Late for work? DRINK
  • Got yelled at? DRINK
  • Bills are late? DRINK
  • Short on cash? DRINK
  • Lonely as hell? DRINK
  • Someone said/did something you didn’t like? DRINK

And then it was just petty shit…

  • Woke up? DRINK
  • Went to work? DRINK
  • It’s the weekend? DRINK
  • Bored? DRINK
  • Saw booze? DRINK
  • STLL ALIVE? DRIIIINK
  • LIFE SUCKS ASS?? DRRRRIIIIINNK DAMNIT!!!

Somehow I made it through most of all that unscathed and I lived to tell the tale.

The hardest part of my recovery is the loneliness. I almost wrote “crippling loneliness” but it’s definitely not crippling, I’m just dramatic. It’s a very lonely world when you are not completely submerged in “the fellowship” – which in my experience is mostly a cult but maybe I haven’t found the right one……?

It’s hard for people to relate and they think you’re some boring ass-hat who doesn’t like to have fun. It’s like NO! I’m the epitome of fun! I know how to party, believe me!! I’ve been court ordered to rehab… TWICE! They don’t do that for people who DONT know how to party! Please be my friend! LET ME LOVE YOU!!!

Beyond the loneliness factor – I do have a SOLID group of friends who I wouldn’t trade for the fucking world. These are friends who keep me on my toes, engaged with the world and they love and respect me.

These past ten years have been so incredible. Mostly because I can remember most of it! I hate remembering it all but at the same time I don’t. It’s win/lose, you know?

Lose because the bad sticks with me forever until I have enough therapy sessions to let it dissolve and float away.

WIN because I have DONE and SEEN and EXPERIENCED some amazing shit in these past ten years. Things I never could have dreamt of, things that were never a possibility when I was active in my addiction.

Well, here I am… doing all that feelin’ shit.

Lol why are my neighbors screaming? Like, I know they are from Virginia but it’s NOT the first time it’s snowed and they are on the front steps yelling… athe snow. They do drugs. It’s fine, they smoke weed and I can’t judge them because they are older and they’ve lived their lives so if they want to get stoned on a Sunday afternoon and yell at the snow who am I to say shit?? But my WALL neighbors (the ones I share a wall with) are annoying as hell. Mostly the girlfriend that just moved in last year. The guy isn’t so bad and he’s hot but her voice echoes through these walls and penetrate your eardrum like a needle poking through a thick cloth. I want to slap her. I’m going to sleep with her man. Whatever. I’m a bad bitch.

ANYWAY – here is a journal entry I found from 2009 shortly after I sobered up:

“Leah and Mandi are drunk now, talking to these men as we sit under an umbrella in an already enclosed patio space. As I stare into the skeletal structure of this massive umbrella, the crisp static of conversations around me barely making its own at into my thoughts, I’m wondering how such an ill conceived idea as umbrella-d tables in a covered smoking patio came to be when I noticed a hand caressing my knee.

Not in a sexual advance kind of way, more of a friendly way, but he was no friend. Not even someone I could call an acquaintance. Just some tired old guy in a tired old gay bar trying to regain my attention.

The night was just a bunch of brief encounters full of compliments, insults & derogatory remarks (mostly from Leah and the man who eerily resembled Chris Frank).

I don’t know how we managed to break ties with these guys we were smoking with but I do remember Leah’s booming laughter trailed by “there’s too much estrogen here, let’s go to Pi”…

I chuckled nervously, she always knew what NOT to say. I look at my nails judging. They’re too square and I hate that. I always ask for round and for some reason they always make them square. I hate square. Square nails are gaudy. Square nails are for women without class, tact or grace. I don’t want to be at the bar anymore.

When I was younger I thought that sitting in a bar with a cigarette lit in one hand and a drink in another was the epitome of greatness.

In reality it was as me sitting slouched over a mug of rail vodka & dry ass cranberry juice listening to bad remixes of already bad songs… standing outside to smoke a cigarette while fat sweaty men hang all over their fat sweaty girlfriends.

I went to bars to drink away my problems at home. I drank at home to forget who I was.

I started drinking to be cool and have fun. I quit because I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t having fun.

I don’t know where I’m going, I barely know where I’m coming from. But… finally, I feel like I’m beginning to know who I am.”

And that’s that. I’m going to buy a pack of smokes and enjoy this beautiful snowy day.

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Good vs Good

Where do we go from here? It seems like the nation is stuck in a davistating loop of violence and hate. Turning on the news or checking social media is a guarantee to see some sort of violence – police crimes and/or hate crimes.

I’ve read reports – national surveys – saying that Donald Trump is more trustworthy (according to voters) than Hilary Clinton. Has there been a national survey about trust of the police? I don’t think the outcome would be good. I have to respect the police, because I was raised that way, but I do not have to believe that they are all good and just. I do not have to believe that they DONT need help.

Is it that police officers are bad? Is it that police officers are RACIST? Is it that police officers don’t have enough training? What is it? People have been saying that “we only see a fraction of reality, that police aren’t killing JUST BLACK MEN”… but… so police are killing a lot more people and we just don’t see it? Ok, but that makes me feel WORSE knowing there are people dying at the hands of police that we did not know about. How is that ok?

Also, is that supposed to make it ok that there are BLACK MEN BEING MURDERED at routine traffic stops? I have been pulled over quite a few times (I’m not the best driver) and never in my wildest dreams would I imagine my own demise. 

I had never been afraid of the police. 

Until now. 

BUT my fear is not for me!! I am a white woman! I am no threat to the police. I fear for my BLACK friends and their BLACK families! My fear is for the BLACK population entirely, not just the people I know. 

My fear is that this hate, this sickness, is going to be allowed to continue, allowed to grow, allowed to darken. 

As I laid in bed last night I read comments of people choosing to defend the police actions, choosing to “wait to pass judgement”… This is not about us as civilians passing judgment, we are not a jury or judge. It is about US as civilians standing up – uniting – and saying NO MORE! 

What more evidence is required for you to see that in less than 1 week two black men were gunned down needlessly? How is that fact, that two men are now dead, not enough? 

Now there are sniper shootings at protests.

Why? 

I don’t really have much to say, I don’t really know what to do. I’m not feeling eloquent or articulate, but I had to just say something, somewhere.

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” (1958)

Hats, Scarves, Gloves & Boots

Morning seems to come earlier and earlier this time of year, especially when the cold comes with it. Image

Today is blustery cold. There is nothing to do outside besides freeze and DIE. Getting out of bed was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do in a really long time. Even the dog didn’t want to go out this morning and he is never concerned with the weather. Unfortunately, I get to work only to find out that I am not needed today. That is my life today.

It is actually warm here, in the training room. Comfortably warm. Nap warm. I don’t think I will ever leave this room!

I would love some coffee. I have some with me however  it is completely tasteless and blagh. Well, it is flavorful. I guess its all because I am a creamer kind of gal. Sugarless now, actually, I just really enjoy a splash of creamer in my coffee. MMMMMmmmm that milky goodness! French Vanilla, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Fat Free, Sugar Free… whatever! I love it! If you are in the Richfield area and happen to swing by my work with a bit of creamer I will smile at you and tell you a story about something while I drink my coffee. We can sit together in the training room and talk about life and our dreams and the days to come and what sort of goodies the future has in store for us. And then, I will ask you to leave, and leave you will because no one likes to overstay their welcome. You will go back into the cold tundra and I will stay, comfortably warm & tucked away, in the toasty training room.

Today will be a good day.

QUESTION: has anyone seen Sharknado on Netflix and IF SO – two questions – 1] what were you thinking? 2] was it entertaining?

Note how I didn’t ask “was it good”… to me a movie doesn’t have to be good to be entertaining. For instance, Joe Dirt… HA! Now, I don’t think anyone would call that cinematic gold [besides the Martini family & a few select others who happen to have a great sense of humor and a solid understanding of what it truly means be white trash] BUT it is a terribly entertaining movie! Terribly! I remember being SOOOOOO excited when Netflix added Joe Dirt. Oh, SO excited! I am pretty sure I blogged about it!

I can hear people giggling. The heat registers not only carry heat but sound as well. Not clearly though. It’s not as if I could sit here and carry on conversations with people in the next room but I can hear faint voices, pick up bits and pieces of things. I feel like a spy. I want to BE a spy!

Shivers

Today is cold! Its the kind of cold where my appendages don’t want to work, or they cant rather. Stiff fingers. Stiff legs. Stiff joints. Even my face doesn’t want to move! I cant wait for Mondays sub-zero temperatures. I am going to make a huge scene about the weather and write a letter to Mother Nature and ask “how could you?!”… Yes… today is cold. So cold I had to go into the company store and take one of the fleece jackets they have on display to wear around the office to keep warm. I am still wearing my boots even!

So last night I decided that I really, really, REALLY want to: buy some acreage in the country, build a big house & a big barn & open an animal sanctuary. Now, this isn’t a 5 year plan or anything, definitely something I would have to plan for years and years and years and probably start when I am close to, if I hadn’t already, retirement. An animal sanctuary would be a full time job, something I would feel the need to dedicate about 95% of myself to! The remaining 5% would be for personal hygiene. Not something I’d want to dread coming home to after a long day of work, but something to be excited about waking up for! I love the idea! Cats, dogs, llamas, chickens [that’s a huge MAYBE], maybe goats? I don’t know, whatever people don’t want and whatever I can save.

Naturally we would need a staff of volunteers at this organization including trained veterinarian staff that would be willing to volunteer time and services to the animals. Obviously I would pay for supplies and whatever I could but the majority of the place would be run on donations from the community, because by then I will be loved by many, [feared by all] and my peers would be so filled with hope and joy by my life’s work they wouldn’t be able to help themselves from throwing cash at my project. It is going to be great!

So, basically, I am asking for y’all to consider reaching out to me in 30 some odd years to A] see if I am still alive B] see if I have realized my dream of operating an animal sanctuary and C] to volunteer time, money, supplies & services to my fur babies. 

Just think about it. No contracts as of yet. Just an idea. Just planting the seed. I want everyone to be as excited as I am about saving all the lil fluff butts we can! TOGETHER! 

Blue Collar

Today I celebrate a personal/professional milestone. As of today I have received 2,390 customer reviews on our Listen 360 survey program. I am currently at a 70% satisfaction rate. That is the most in our entire franchise! Now, I know 70% doesn’t sound too fabulous but let me explain: the survey rates the booking CSR as well as the cleaning technician, so my percentage is shared with whoever actually did the work. I am very proud of myself!

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I LOVE COFFEE! I recently moved my Mr. Coffee coffee maker into my work “pen” so that I can drink it 24/7. Let me just say “EFFF YEA!” It’s probably the greatest thing I’ve done in my 3 years here at ZEROREZ. A few people have complained about this move but I really do not care. I still share my coffee, it’s just closer to me now! YAY! Now I can live out my fantasy of being a barista. In the past I applied for 3 different barista jobs, two corporate coffee shops and one local, and was turned down at each for being “over-qualified”…. AS IF!!! I have absolutely no experience whatsoever. I was in this phase where I thought that I really wanted a part-time job to supplement my shopping habits. So to me I figured the best place to hold a PT job would be a coffee shop since I love customer service and delicious, sensual and aromatic coffee. Well, that phase did not last too long. I am now looking to supplement my shopping habits by becoming employed as a Tattoo Shop manager. That would be fun too! Interesting and fun. Busy busy busy.

Can I just say that I am somewhat upset that we’ve been having a couple almost too warm days here in Minneapolis? Not that I hate summer with a wild passion and wish to live in a frozen tundra, I am just a fall person. I enjoy the summer and the warmer temperatures when I have free time to sit at a beach or in the shade… or in my living room with nothing but my underwear on and an ice pack on my neck. I tend to over-heat. A lot. I am also a sweaty gal. Very sweaty. Warm temperatures and I just do not mix very well. It is very hard for me to dress comfortably in the summer as well. I love the fall. I love not having to worry about melting at my work-station or while out and about at the dog park or grocery store. I love being able to drink hot tea out on my patio while watching Elton pounce around the yard. I guess I am just saying I am ready for the leaves to change and for a nice bonfire. That is all I want right now. I do not feel that its too much to ask.

Thank you.

Fin.