Friday, August 31, 2012

Once In A Blue Moon

At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It's like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it's not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away.------Meredith Gray "Gray's Anatomy"

Day 353 of Sobriety

Warning!  If you are early in your sobriety, maybe you should not read this blog today.

I am sitting here on this Friday night waiting for the cap'n to get here.  We have been apart for almost three months, except for one conjugal weekend, and tomorrow we are headed home to Colorado for the Labor Day weekend.

I am sitting here having wistful thoughts.  I am thinking, if I were still drinking, I'd be soaking in a bubble bath with a cold glass of pinot grigio, or better yet, a strong Jack Daniels and diet Pepsi and I'd be bubbling over with anticipation at the thought of seeing the cap'n and the weekend in front of us.

If I were still drinking, I'd have fresh drinks in hand when the cap'n pulled up to the curb and we'd go sit out on the back step of this shitty little apartment and we'd watch the blue moon come up and we'd talk and talk and talk about our summer and our plans for Mexico.  We'd refill our glasses and we'd put on some music, probably some John Denver, and we'd dream and laugh and probably dance a little under that blue moon.

If I were still drinking, we'd get up in the morning, we'd most assuredly be hungover, but we'd have a bloody Mary or a glass of wine and we'd head to Colorado where we would spend the days drinking cold beer on the deck, or fixing hearty pots of chili or stew while sipping red wine,  and we'd build a big fire in the pit every night and sit out and watch  the stars come out.  And we'd drink, and sing, and laugh and dream some more.

Now this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that I can still do all that without drinking and it will still be as much fun, but we all know that is so much bullshit.  The cold hard fact is that somethings are not as much fun without alcohol.  Whether it's "real" fun or whether it's as "meaningful" doesn't matter a tinker's dam, it's not the same.

 I miss that fun. 

Tonight all the sad truths I know about me and drinking are little comfort and all the blessings I've been granted in my sobriety seem a little pale in the light of that big blue moon, but they are enough.  And even though part of me wants to play Russian roulette with the bottle again, I won't. 

Because I know if I were still drinking, that sooner or later that bullet would click into the intended chamber and I would finally have to pay the penalty for playing.

And I still want to see what's waiting for me down this road I've chosen.

But once in a Blue Moon, I still miss it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturdays With Friends

 Men have always detested women's gossip because they suspect the truth: Their measurements are being taken and compared. ~Erica Jong

348 Days of Sober Sex (I'm just checking to see if anyone actually reads this or if they just skim over it.)

Late Saturday mornings, after she had stood eagle-eyed over her under-aged, under-paid, and under-motivated house slaves (my brothers and sister and I), making sure that we had dusted under Dad's bowling trophies and raked the avocado green shag carpet until it stood proudly upright from its usual downtrodden  clumps, my mother would grab up her bottle of Tab and pack of Winstons and head down the street to her best friend, Lucy's house.  Mom and Lucy would convene at Lucy's just polished lemony fresh modern American Colonial dining room set, ashtray between them and ice cold Tabs and cigarettes in hand, while Lucy's own, recently released from indenture, house monkey's (my best friend Lisa and her sisters) were sprawled out in front of the TV in the family room watching the hip kids on the east coast gyrate on American Band Stand.

I usually beat Mom out the door on her way to our best friends' house and would already be sprawled belly down alongside the Seigrist girls, with my chin in my hands and my calves in the air, feet jerking spasmodically to the tunes of the Stylistics or the Carpenters, my feet ain't got rhythm on land or air.  Once Dick Clark bid, "For now, Dick long" we would wander into the kitchen and perch ourselves on the maple veneered captain's chairs and listen intently as our mothers gossiped about the other neighbors, or debated whether Dr. Lee Baldwin, a recovering alcoholic, would finally find love in the arms of Dr. Lesley, or would he remain faithful to his neurotic institutionalized wife, Meg.  The denizens of Port Charles, the home town of our mothers' favorite soap, General Hospital, were as well known to us as the Andersons and the Spencers who lived across the street.

Our mothers would shoo us away occasionally but we were always drawn back by their hushed voices and smothered laughter.

Yesterday morning, was a bright late summer Saturday morning here in the bread basket of the world and I was in the mood to spend it with a friend so I wondered over to SoberMomRocks blog, Oh for the love to do some re-reads and make some comments.  Before long, she commented back to me through email and then I commented back to her and ....before long we had a conversation going.  We both thought, Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get together with our other fellow bloggers and have coffee and just talk.  (Didn't we, Sherry? I've been known to drag people unwittingly into my wild-ass schemes before. ) But since we can't do that, wouldn't it be nice to be able to chat real time instead of having these kind of one-sided conversations we get to have with our blogs.  I know we kind of do that with our comments but sometimes we miss the replies or we don't pay as much attention to what the other commenters say.  Okay, maybe it's just me that does that.

So what'd ya'll think?  Wanna find an empty chatroom for just us gal bloggers (we might even let in a token guy or two, I'm pretty sure the gal in the gauchos above has hairy legs to go along with that mustache) and our followers somewhere or design our own to meet up and just talk sometimes? 

Just a thought and not that consequential, if we like things the way they are, we like things the way they are.

  BTW SoberMomRocks Sherry is not my friend Sherry of last week's blogs...or is she? Maybe my friend Sherry has an alter-ego, split personality, sober twin who disappeared years ago when her car broke down and a double-decker VW band full of Deadheads picked her up on their way to a concert and someone slipped her some bad mushrooms and she has suffered amnesia ever since... Sorry, must be the effects of being the child of a cigarette smoking, Tab drinking, soap opera watching mother of the 70's ( Sherry, I hope we don't find out that Elmo is really your brother from that brief period when your father turned to the arms of another woman when he thought your mother was lost at sea but then she was rescued from that deserted island in the South Pacific by the captain and crew of small tourist boat out for a three hour tour carrying a professor, a girl from Kansas, a millionare and his wife, and a movie star that had a daily fresh change of clothes, including evening wear, for three years.)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thelma and Louise

Thelma: Hey Louise, better slow down, I'll just die if we get caught over a speeding ticket. Are you sure we should be driving like this, I mean in broad daylight and everything?
Louise Sawyer: No we shouldn't, but I want to put some distance between us and the SCENE OF OUR LAST GOD DAMNED CRIME!
[Thelma laughs and screams]
Thelma: Oh man! You wouldn'ta believed it, it was like I was doing it all my life, nobody woulda believed it.
Louise Sawyer: Think you found your calling?
Thelma: May-be... may-be.
[gets up in her seat]
Thelma: The call of the wild!

Days of Sobriety: 338

I have been trying to talk myself out of writing this blog all evening and now it's time to go to bed and I could be curled up reading Fifty Shades Of Gray (to my commenter, grateful:  Of course, I'm reading that book, and we'll compare book reports later), but this damn thing just won't be put to rest.  Mainly because I'm worried about my best friend, Sherry, who just got evicted from her apartment.

I was out for a walk this evening and I passed a neat little older home, two story with a wrap around porch and a stained glass transom light over the front door, and I thought to myself, "If I won the lottery, I would buy that house for Sherry."  And then, of course, I started making stipulations.  The list kept growing.  She couldn't move her dogs in, especially the one that poops on the floor every time it barks which is every 37 seconds.  She couldn't move her kids in, especially the one that steals her money so she has to put it in her robe pocket and sleep in her robe every night.  She couldn't resale the house for cash.  She couldn't drink.

Well, there goes that deal out the window, we all know that last one's a deal breaker.

I think I've told you about my best friend.  We're so alike in so many ways.  We were both born in this same little dusty cow town.  We grew up in middle class neighborhoods with parents that stayed married and older brothers and sisters.  In high school we both existed on the fringe of the popular crowd, we weren't friends then but we knew of each other.  Later on we both worked at the hospital but in different departments, then Sherry transferred to the OR and we found out we had one more thing in common, we both loved to drink, and our friendship was forged.

We lived in the same neighborhood, we both had three boys and unhappy marriages.  By day we were dedicated scrub nurses, by night we were two boozy bosom buddies trying to escape our humdrum lives.  Thick as thieves we were, lying and cheating and covering each others tracks no matter where they led.

But there were always differences.  I won't go into them but I think if Sherry and I were Thelma and Louise, I would be Louise and Sherry would be Thelma.  It was as if, like Thelma and Louise, we were both on the same road trip but there were different views out our windows.  My side had pastoral meadows, gently rolling hills, babbling brooks and all kinds of bucolic shit while hers was all craggy cliffs, sharp drop offs and beware of falling rocks signs.

I don't know about you, but when that movie ended, I always liked to imagine that Louise jumped out of that car before it went flying over that cliff.  At the last minute, she saw there was no way in hell they were going to make it, she looked over at Thelma and said, "Sorry babe, you're on your own.'' and then threw herself from the car, did a couple of somersaults and then stood up, dusted herself off and walked back to the Harvey Keitel character and rode off into the sunset in an RV.

As for Thelma, I always thought even if she jumped from the car and saved herself that time, she was going to end up back at the edge of that cliff over and over again, and someday she was going to wait too long to save herself.

And I know, that no matter how good the view was on my side of the road, that if I hadn't quit drinking 338 days ago someday I would have ended up at the bottom of that cliff with Thelma.

I'm glad I jumped out of that damn car.

As for my friend, Sherry?  I need your help.  I don't know how to keep her from plunging off that cliff.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

50 Shades Of Gray

Days of Sobriety: 333 (that's gotta be a lucky number)

This is going on record as being the shortest blog in the history of this blog.  I think. I don't have enough time to go back and check because I'm scrambling about getting ready to take my grandson out of town to shop for school clothes and make on last big splash in a hotel swimming pool before school starts.

I did make time to go for a walk this morning, the weather has cooled off and it's lying to me and telling me that autumn is already here.  I walked past my old high school, it has been boarded up for years and is an eyesore that the town can't figure out what to do with, there is too much asbestos in it to tear it down.  Out front is a stump of an old tree and I remember being down on all fours retching under that tree.  It was after my first high school dance and I was 15.  In the midst of my bilious soliloquy, I noticed a pair of black shiny shoes planted in front of me, and my eyes traveled up a blue uniformed figure to squint into the disgusted eyes of our town's own version of Andy Griffith, his shiny black shoes now spattered with the cherry vodka streaked contents of my stomach.

Now flash forward 34 years and I am once again on all fours retching but this time the figure hovering over me is the cap'n and his eyes are worried and tired as he tries to hand me a cold washcloth.  Once again, there are cherry colored streaks in my heaved up stomach contents but this time they are probably the results of a Mallary-Weiss laceration (forgive me for playing nurse) from my violent persistent vomiting.  The vodka I drank this time wasn't cherry flavored and I only drank it because I had run out of bourbon and rum.

Really?  This acrid, damaging, masochistic relationship with alcohol is what I worked so hard at to maintain?  And it had such a fortuitous beginning, ha.  Talk about Fifty Shades of Gray

I have three words to the commenters over on "Crying Out Now" this morning who are so scared, as I was, to let this relationship go:


Okay, four words:


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Years Ago

330 Days of Sobriety

Two years ago tomorrow I started this blog.  I thought it might be fun to look back and see where I was and what I was thinking and how I'm doing in comparison today.

August 9, 2010

I was lying in bed last night basically feeling like a pile of crap. You see, I had just humiliated myself in front of my brother and his family. They had come to our house for a visit and for some unknown reason I decided to hurl myself off the wagon and under its wheels during their visit. This was after weeks of sobriety. It started out with the usual culprits, a couple of Jack Daniels (Damn that sumbitch) and diet Pepsi’s the first night, by day three I had a broken toe from trying to pirouette across our stream to save a drowning flip-flop and by day four I was flopped out on the bed trying to breathe. I did redeem myself in the following days, I’m good at redemption, but I’m sure their vacation at Aunt Kary May’s will go down in the annals of vacation, filed somewhere between Montezuma’s revenge and Dengue fever for fun value.

It’s been over a week now and I’m still haranguing myself and I’m black and blue all over although it’s not visible to the human eye (except for the aforementioned toe). I finally quit yelling at myself and said, “Okay God, I’ll shut up and listen now.”

Yes, I talk to God. And he talks back. Swear to God! I don’t want to get too heavy on the “God” thing right now but he insists on being a co-author. I don’t really care if you believe or not or what you believe in. He doesn’t either. That’s not what this blog is about. I just have to make me shut up long enough to listen.

“Forgive unto yourself as you forgive unto others.” (See, I know that’s God because I don’t use the word “unto” a whole lot)

“Dude, (I’ve had my 6 yr. old grandson for two weeks) that’s not how it goes,” I replied.

“Who says?” says God. “The point is, if your brother had done the same thing, would you forgive him?”

“My brother doesn’t drink.”

“You get my point!”

(I think he was gritting his teeth)

“You promised you’d start the blog”

“I want to wait until I have a success story,” I whined. See God and I had been talking about me doing this blog for years but I kept putting it off. I had kept a journal of my many attempts at prolonged sobriety but I kept waiting for those milestones. I thought l’d wait until I was sober for a year to start a blog so I could be an example for others. Hasn’t happened yet. 100 days? Hasn’t happened yet. 28 days? Nope.

I haven’t even been sober one day if you prescribe to the popular theory that an alcoholic has to quit drinking completely in order to gain sobriety. But never mind that, that’s not what this blog is about either apparently according to my co-author.

“There are plenty of success stories out there for people to read,” God said. (That made me feel a lot better.) I need someone to write about what it’s like to want it so bad but still fail…

“You can count on me for that,” I said drolly.

“…so they won’t feel alone.” God finished.

“You know, this could make a great book like Eat, Pray, Love except we could name it Drink, Detox, Live”

“No, book deals, Kary”

“…or movie,”

“No, movie deals, Kary”

“It wouldn’t have to be Julia Roberts that played me. It could be a lesser actress. Someone like Lindsay Lohan.”

“Lindsay’s just a kid. She doesn’t have your baggage.”

“So you’re saying there could be a movie?”

So here’s the blog per request of God. No success story, no advice, just my experience.

What’s its purpose? I’m not really sure. I guess one purpose is for me to succeed in reaching my idea of acceptable sobriety. As I’ve said I’ve tried journaling in the past, it hasn’t worked. I guess I, oops I mean “we” (should I capitalize “we” if God is included?) thought if I put this out there for public consumption it might give me more impetus and if I hear from others more support to help me reach my goal and maybe it will help others along the way. If I want support from outsiders why don’t I try AA or rehab? I have my reasons that I am not ready for those options yet, although a month ago there was a day that if I could have found someone to take care of my dog I think I would have checked myself in. They are both lifesaving options but I’m not ready for them yet.

There are several purposes this blog is not the purpose of. It is not here to judge, preach, criticize, or promote one form of recovery over another. I would love to hear from others going through what I am but please don’t shove your form of salvation down my throat. Believe me, if I haven’t tried it, I’ve at least considered it. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about “your” experience with it.

What is “acceptable sobriety” for me? I’m trying to figure that out, too. I guess I’m following a form of moderation right now, allowing myself to have 2 glasses of red wine a day. I know, I know the American Heart Association says only 1 glass for women. I’ve tried total abstinence and I’m very familiar with the first week, somewhat familiar with the second week but after that it’s back under the old wagon wheels for me so I’m giving this a try. Oh, and yeah, I’ve tried this before, too. The only difference this time is that I have you, my loyal readers along with me. That is if I get any readers. I guess I may have to do it for any future loyal readers I may have.

At times it may seem that I am taking all this too lightly, believe me I’ve had too many nights lying in bed with my heart pounding so loudly that I couldn’t sleep, praying that it would stop and praying that it wouldn’t stop, swearing I would never put myself through this again to take it lightly. It’s just that self-deprecation is a lot easier to read than self-pity. Oh yeah, no book deals.

I can only make two promises: I won’t lie and I won’t give up. 

Update:  Okay, let's see how I measure up.  Am  I a success story?  Hmm...I think I'd call me a success story in the making, and that's what I'll always be as long as I don't drink.  I still don't have my year in but I think I'll make that but I now know that's not the measure of success. 

Has this blog achieved its purpose?  Yes, I think it has, it has gotten me to where I need to be and that is in a community of caring, supportive and knowledgeable people that have lead me and walked beside me into sobriety, holding my hand and holding me up when I couldn't stand on my own. you didn't give up on me and you didn't let me give up on myself and I hope, in turn, that I have done the same for some of you.  I have learned from so many of you  that have shared your own journeys with me but have never once tried to force me to take the same path, you have let me forge my own.

I did finally figure out what "acceptable sobriety" means to me, and that is total sobriety.  I think I had an inkling that is where I would end up.

I am very thankful for my loyal readers (Boy, doesn't that sound pretentious) because through your comments and your own blogs I have gained insight and solidarity but most of all I have learned to love myself again through the love and compassion that we show to each other.

It has been almost a year since I've had any of those terror filled nights and the first words on my lips every morning are Thank You God, I may be light of heart these days, but I never, ever take this lightly.

Finally, I'm very proud to say that I've never lied and I've never given up.

Oh yeah, no book or movie deals in the works as of yet. LOL

Monday, August 6, 2012

Before and After

A while back someone made some snarky offlist (private email) comments to me that I exaggerate about how "bad" I was.   This picture was taken about a year and a half ago at a going away party for some of our friends in MX. You'll need to click on it and enlarge it to get the full scarey effect.  What do you think?  The photo was snapped by my lovely brother-in-law, Danny, I'd kill him but he's actually done me a favor by capturing this shot in time.  Danny and my other brother-in-law, Scott, had come for a first visit to our casa down there and we were going to Carnival in Merida.  This was taken before we went to Carnival, can you imagine what I looked like after Carnival,(there are pics but I'll spare you and me), can you imagine what I'd look like today if I'd kept drinking.

As you can see by the light pouring into the doors at the front of the bar, this is not in the wee hours of the morning, if I recall, this was taken about 5:30 in the afternoon, and as you can see by the capn's face and by, well, me, it is way past time for me to go home.  I was supposed to go home and fix some elaborate meal I had planned for my brothers-in-law, instead I went home and passed out.  I'd actually dried out in advance of the planned visit, but I blew it a couple of days before and this is me in drinking just to appear normal and avoid withdrawal mode, how do you think I'm doing?  Pretty pitiful, huh?  Gotta love that hair and that belly.

That's my friend, Karen, singing karaoke in the background (she's English and she's probably singing her favorite anthem, Tom Jones' Delilah), we call her the energizer bunny.  She's the life of the party and she wears us out.  I was her ten years ago.  She likes her beer but I don't think she'll ever end up looking like me in this picture because she has too many other passions in her life, drinking isn't her main one, as it has always been for me.

Although it may be hard to believe, I was actually pretty far along in my journey to sobriety at this point, this was when I was doing my damnedest to moderate.  As I've said, I never got much better at moderating, as this picture is proof of, but I got better at abs'ing and it was about four months after this picture was taken that I decided to permanently abs.  If Danny had shown me this picture earlier I might have given it up then but he didn't show me this until a few months ago.

 I think he was keeping it in case he needed to blackmail me at some point.

 He's back in my good graces now though, he redeemed himself by taking another pic of me a month or so ago at a nephew's wedding.  I don't like many pictures of me, but I'm pretty proud of this one.  I think it says, "If I can do it, you can do it."

What do you think?  (That's me in the middle, in case you couldn't tell. Oh, and that's just diet pepsi in the cup)