Monday, April 30, 2012

Stayin' Alive

Day 241 of Sobriet (8 months WhooHooo!!)

Follow my one simple rule and you too can be an aging, totally jive talkin' Disco Queen! The rule?  Don't Drink! Rinse and Repeat! Yeah, that's your's truly above but in my defense it was taken at a Disco theme birthday party Saturday night.  Maybe I should be cringing in mortification but I'm not and here's how come.

A couple of weeks ago my brothers-in-law showed me some pictures they took at this very same bar a year ago, one of them showed me obviously very drunk with a sullen look on my face and the cap'n obviously very sternly telling me it's time to go home.  In the background is my bouncy friend Karen singing away with a mike in her hand obviously oblivious to the scene playing out in front of her. La la la!  My brothers-in-law think the photo is very funny, I think it is repugnant, repulsive and very sad.

Also, this photo is taken in the entrance to the bar I have stumbled out of, been dragged out of, and bodily carried out of.  Saturday I left the same way I came in, on my own two feet and 100% sober.

Also, several people came up to me during the evening and told me how great I looked and then, of course, regaled me with humorous/pitiful stories of how I "used to be".

Oh well.. Here's my anthem!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Going To Be A Long Night

Where to start... I went and got a tooth pulled this afternoon, it took an hour and a half of wiggling and pulling and yanking.  I got out of the dentist at 6:00 pm, it is now 11:15 and it hasn't stopped bleeding.  It's okay as long as I leave the pack in and bite down but the minute I take the pack out the blood wells up.

Then.... I went up to take my shower at about 8:30 pm and I get out and dry my hair and put on something fishnetty and sexy for my Skype video call to the cap'n who is in the states. I come out of my bedroom and start down the stairs and right in front of me is a gaping wide open window.  This is a stained glass window that is never open and it doesn't have any protectores on it (steel bars).  I run back up to my room and slam and lock my door...except my phones are downstairs.  I grab the airhorn I have by my bed and blast it out the window but a lot of good that is going to do me since I already have our roller gate down and locked and no one could get in to help if they wanted, unless they scale the wall and climb in through the window like my would be intruder must have.  They could come in from the beach side but they would have to break the sliding glass doors because I've locked them too.

I finally get my nerve up to go downstairs (I change my clothes first, I don't want to give the intruder any illicit thoughts. I save those for the cap'n when he is thousands of miles away and I am safe from him acting upon them.) and everything is untouched.  The computer is still where it belongs, my purse was in my bedroom with me, and all the doors are closed and locked.  Mr. Stanley, the blind killer bichon, is wandering around bumping into things as usual.  I grab the phone and call my neighbor, no answer.  I call another neighbor as I make my way to the roller gate to unlock and open it.  She answers and says she'll be right down, I then call the police officer that speaks English whose # I have programmed into my phone.

Long story short, there is no one in the house and there is no sign of any disturbance in the sand outside the window, they would have had to use a ladder to reach it.  The window must have popped open somehow and it was a false alarm.  But still, I'm sleeping with my bedroom door locked tonight.

I think I did good. I didn't panic.  I don't feel overly scared right now.  Being sober has given me a sense of calm and an acceptance that there is only so much I can do to safeguard my well-being, the rest is out of my control.  I am so glad I'm sober.

I'm still worried they may find me in a pool of blood in the morning from this damn tooth.

6:20 am update:  Alive and well and no pool of blood. "Well" is a relative term this morning, even though I slept better than I expected, I am still tired and cranky.  It's amazing how common feeling "perfect" everyday has become.  I get up every morning feeling rested, I go about my days in an unencumbered state, I eat regular meals and then some, I laugh, I cry, I sing, I cuss, and when I feel tired at night I turn out the light and roll over and go to sleep.  How freakin' normal is that?  Tell me again why I chose to live "abnormal' for so long.

I guess normal is a somewhat relative term also, I keep wondering what my would be intruder would have thought when I came downstairs in my sexy lingerie, torn fishnets get-up.  I need to get on Google translate and practice saying, "Welcome, I've been expecting you." Ja Ja Ja!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just Hit Play

Day 234

I should have put  a warning label on that picture for any of you that might be hungover this morning.  That is actually my breakfast this morning and not last night's dinner revisited.  Oh the good old days!
It started out as an omelette and ended up as a scramble, as usual.  It aptly represents my thoughts this morning.

Yesterday I went into Merida for mass, as usual, but this time I did it on my own because the cap'n is up NOB (north of the border) working.  I managed to get over to Progreso on time to catch the bus, I got off at the correct stop, I made it to mass and was able to take away what God wanted me to hear, I went to breakfast with some of the women from church and then we parted ways.  I meandered through the Sunday market on my own and haggled with some of the venders and I parted with a few pesos.  I got my usual helado de coco and made my way back to the bus station and home.

I won't go into the dismal details but I couldn't have done that a year ago, I couldn't have done it 10 years ago without the fortification of booze.  20 years ago?  Maybe, but I would have been hindered by the after effects of the night before and hurried by the anticipation of my next drink

So this morning I was sitting on my patio partaking of my desayunos and marveling at the Mexican people's gift for infusing their usually tranquil and placid life with color and pattern, and fretting over some nagging problems whose answers haven't presented themselves yet when the following two songs came on my sirrius radio in quick succession.  In recovery we frequently use an expression when we are overwhelmed by...well, just about everything, we say, "Just do the next thing."

So I did the next thing.  I got up and danced.

I wish I had the words, I wish you would believe me, I wish I could convince those of you still struggling, to give yourself the gift of a few months, or maybe forever, to let yourself dance through life.

Just hit play and do the next thing. Dance!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Running Into Myself

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
― Confucius
Day 230 of Sobriety

I went for a long overdue walk on the beach this morning, it was virtually empty but several casas to the east of me I ran into a man combing the beach.  He was wearing sunglasses and that made it difficult to tell if he was a local or an extranjero. 

“Buenos dias,” I said.

“How’s it goin?” he replied.

Ah, a furiner for sure.  We exchanged pleasantries and he told me that this was his fourth trip down here.

“I’ve never made it this far down the beach,” he said, “I usually can’t get anybody to hike that far down with me.”

“Well,” I said, “it can be kind of difficult to navigate the rocks just past my house but if you take the beach road into town you can hit the beach there and pretty much walk all the way to the inlet in Chuburna.”

“Town? What town?” 

“Chelem,” I replied, perplexed.

“It’s still Chelem clear over there?”

“Yeah, there’s a square and restaurants and a market and people,”  I replied, even more perplexed that a guy that had been down here four times didn’t know there was a town of 5000 people about 2 kilometers from where we stood.

“Do you know Buddy’s?” he asked, hopefully.

Ah, that explains it.  Yes, I know Buddy’s.  Any expat that lives down here knows Buddy’s, it is the favorite watering hole and gathering place of many of them.  For some, Buddy’s is just about the only place they do know. It is in the other direction, in Progreso.

That used to be me, different places, different watering holes, but so wrapped up in where my next drink was coming from, I didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the world that was passing me by as I made my way there. 

“Have a good one,” he said as I turned to make my way home.  

As I neared my casa I saw a couple I knew heading my way.  I waved and they waved back, instead of taking a few steps down to meet me, the woman turned sharply up my entrada, her husband lingered for a minute as if he thought he should stop to talk to me but then he turned and followed his wife.  They used to stop and chat with me, one day when I was out watering my flowers they stopped in and we were chatting about Greta, they were asking about her welfare, and I shared that I hadn’t drank in 100 days, he quickly came back with the information that he hadn’t drank in six years.  She was quiet.  

 I’ve run into them a couple of times at the local drinking establishments and she has come up to me after she has had a couple of wines too many and told me how she quit when he did but then she started again.  She tells me how badly she wants to find that peace again.  She has that look of pleading in her eyes that I remember.

I guess she doesn’t want to be reminded of those times, not that I ever would, but just seeing me must remind her.

That’s okay.  That used to be me, too.

Used to be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Someone To Watch Over Me

I feel that there is an angel inside me whom I am constantly shocking. ~Jean Cocteau

Day 229 of Sobriety

Barbara saw her first and pointed her out to me, at first I didn't recognize her and then I noticed her halo and wings and knew that I knew her.

Barbara wanted her for her own but she wavered for just a minute too long and I stole her out from under her nose.  Don't you hate friends that do that?  Lo siento, Babs, but she belongs to me.

My poor Guardian Angel, I've certainly given her a run for her money.  She must be plumb tuckered out from swooping down to keep me from falling off leaky old boats or wobbly old docks, or from sitting on a bar stool cringing while I regaled the crowd with another dirty joke or from holding my hand during the long nights of withdrawal.

So now she hangs at the side of my bed looking down at me and looking....bored.  Too bad!

Hey! What does that say about my sex life? Ja Ja Ja!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Welcome To Stepford

Joanna Eberhart: How do I look?
Bobbi Markowitz: Can I be perfectly honest?
Joanna Eberhart:
Bobbi Markowitz:
You kind of look like Betty Crocker.
Joanna Eberhart:
I know.
Roger Bannister:
At Betty Ford

--Quote from the movie: Stepford Wives

Day 227 of Sobriety

I just finished knitting a super cute scarf for one of the Elves to take to the owner of a Bed and Breakfast that donated a stay for one of our toy drive raffles.  She wanted to take the owner a bottle of wine but I chirped, "No, let me knit something up, it won't take any time at all." 
I fear that I am becoming some freaky Stepford Wife, the Recovering Alcoholic Edition.  I've noticed that people I used to party with have started avoiding me and refuse to meet my perky, zealous stare.  I think they are afraid I might try to convert them or knit them a turtle neck dickie or toilet paper cozy on the spot. 

When my friend introduced me to her new clients the other night she said, "This is Kary, you should buy some of her peanut brittle tomorrow at the funky market, she's a wonderful cook.  You should see her flowerbed, she really has a green thumb.  Have you read her blog (the other one)? I love the way she writes."

Squirming and wanting to throw a little tarnish on my shiny new reputation, and not wanting to run off a perspective new friend, I said, "Yeah, but I really suck at blow jobs."

So this morning I am feeling a little defensive, petulant, and ridiculously sorry for myself. My two year old self has been whining all morning, "Why does everybody like "so and so" better than me, why does she get more comments?  How come "so and so" and "so and so" don't follow my blog?  Why didn't anybody comment on my excellent comment on the message board?"

Wah! Wah! Wah! So childish and so not the purpose of this blog. Please push the Ignore button.

P.S. Linda B, Thank you for your kind comment this morning.  As you can tell, I needed it.  Thanks to all of you that take the time to comment.

P.P.S.  T, thank you for being my friend, in good and bad.  Have you made any chocolate chip cookies lately? Bring 'em over, I'll knit you something.  And, OMG! Don't you think I resemble Bette in that picture?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Another Harried, Hurried, Happy Saturday

Day 223 of Sobriety

Here I am at 6:30 am, up and running.  This morning is The Funky Market Bazaar and I'll be rushing around in about 10 minutes trying to get things done.  The elves have been holding a monthly raffle to raise money for the Christmas toy drive next year and I still have posters to make describing this month's prizes and a survey to type up and print out to gather interest in a spa day to be held at my house as yet another attempt to pick the pockets of the good people of our village in order to buy toys.

I should have got all this done last night but once again there was an impromptu dinner invite, issued by us, to meet with friends at our favorite watering hole/fish restaurant.  Our friends responded in the affirmative, they had some new clients that had just bought a house down here and they wanted us to meet them.  As usual, the dinner and fun went on longer than expected.  As a matter of fact, we weren't ready to call it a night, so the bunch of us ended up back here at my house for more fun.

On top of this, I wasted precious time yesterday afternoon ruining two out of three batches of peanut brittle that we're supposed to be selling at the market this morning because the other elf that was helping me and I got too busy yakking instead of paying attention to the candy thermometer.  Obviously, candy making should be a solo project for me, luckily I had made three batches earlier on my own.

So this morning I'm feeling put upon and hassled.  And I'm acting like a martyr, which I hate. I  personally feel the only tolerable kind of martyrs are the dead ones. So I'm trying to keep the eyes rolled heavenward, beset and beleaguered look wiped off my face.

Because today I'm damn thankful that:
1. Once again people feel that they can rely on me for whatever needs to be done.
2. Once again, my friends are at ease sharing new friendships with me.
3. Once again, my house and my life are places I am proud of and can welcome others into.

My 10 minutes are way up.

I am

Friday, April 13, 2012


effervesce issue forth in bubbles. show enthusiasm, excitement, liveliness, etc..

Day 222 of Sobriety (Hey, Room 222 was one of the Friday night line up of my favorite shows when I was about 7 years old.  The line-up was The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and then Love American Style.  God, I'm old!).

I almost groaned out loud when my brother-in-law asked if we wanted to go snorkeling in Akumal the next morning.  Didn't he know I had lived on a boat for twelve years?  Didn't he know I had seen my fill of fish and underwater things? Truth be told, I'd never really "got" the allure of snorkeling, it was just one more activity that took time away from the one activity I enjoyed the most. Drinking.

 I didn't groan. 

You see, I was on my best behavior after the last disastrous visit I had with my brothers-in-law a year ago at Carnaval in Merida.  During that visit I spent the better part of two days being moved around by my brothers-in-law and the cap'n in a catatonic drunken stupor amidst the revelers, the lesser part was spent passed out behind closed shutters in the hotel room as the cacophonous parade passed by down below.

 So now I just gritted my teeth and made myself smile and say, "I can't wait."

Simply put, it was glorious.  I floated languorously  above the rainbow fish cavorting below.  It was effortless and, for the first time, I experienced the peace that I had heard others expound on for years in regard to the underwater world.  For the first time, I wasn't weighted down by the edge of panic brought about by a hangover, or pulled by the thought of a cocktail waiting for me in the boat or at the bar.

My brothers-in-law laughed when I said, "I think that is the first time I've ever snorkeled without a hangover. I want to try it again.  I want to try everything over again."

I was effervescent.

Oh, the first definition of effervescent? It is: 1. To emit small bubbles of gas, as a carbonated or fermenting liquid.

"Perdon mi!"

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Sober Easter II: The Sequel

 Ninas first Easter egg hunt.

I lied on my Weight Watchers list. I put down that I had 3 eggs... but they were Cadbury chocolate eggs. ~Caroline Rhea

Day 218 of Sobriety

I looked back to see where I was on this journey last Easter, I was on Day 9 of one of my abs stints, so this is my second Easter in a row that I have been sober.  Hallelujah!  I am so thankful for that. I don't usually blog about my gratitude list but I do one daily, sometimes more than once a day, sometimes all day long.  Easter morning seems like an especially good time to be grateful.

Today I am grateful for:
God's love that didn't and won't forsake me and abides forevermore.
My love of self that perseveres through all the trials and tribulations.
The love of  others, here and in heaven, which sustains me.
My love for others which compels me.
Boundless love that renews and refills each day with hope, forgiveness, and joy.

I think I'll include chocolate covered almonds in pretty Easter pinks and yellows and blues for good measure.

Felices Pascuas, Mi Amigos!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coming Clean: Part II...finally

It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls. ~Katherine Lee Bates

Day 216 of Sobriety

So here is what happened.  The day before my birthday, the cap'n and I were sitting in a little courtyard restaurant in Merida for lunch.  Because I wanted to celebrate I ordered a daquiri limon sin alcohol con ron seperado. In other words in English, I ordered a daquiri without alcohol but asked the waiter to go ahead and serve the rum separate on the side.  I did this because they are going to charge me the same with or without rum and someone at the table will always drink that shot of rum. (Yes, it's usually the cap'n and yes, I know how to spell E-N-A-B-L-E-R).  Anyway, the drink came and I did what I usually do, I sniffed the drink. I've ordered a daquiri in this same manner before and the waiters or bartender, who just can't comprendo why someone would want a daquiri without alcohol, have still delivered to me a benign looking frosty drink loaded with enough rum to make my eyes water. In the past, I have always promptly returned these drinks back to the bartender and ordered a Coke-lite.  This time the sniff test had a negative result.

But when I tasted the drink, it tasted...uh, funny.  It didn't taste like rum but it didn't taste like a straight lemonade (which is what I should have ordered) either.  Was it possible, after all my safeguards, the bartender had still snuck in a little hooch? The feeling of elation that swept through me was intense, and I'm not exaggerating.  In a blink of an eye, I rationalized that I had done my part and, if this drink happened to have alcohol in it, I was absolved of any wrongdoing. And it was my birthday. And I was turning 50.  And that was special enough for a little transgression.  And no one would know.  And, after all, I had done my part.  And maybe I would just allow myself this one day to drink.

And instead of sending that drink back, I gulped it down and motioned for the waiter to bring me another.

Alas, the drinks had no alcohol in them and the only buzz I got was a sugar buzz and as we walked back to our hotel I had that sluggish, indolent feeling that too much food and sun gives you.  But those two bogus drinks had lit a fuse in my brain and I had all but made up my mind to give myself a  special 50th birthday gift.  I was going to let myself drink.  Just a glass of wine, okay maybe two.  Just for that one day.  

 I know. I know.  Cringe!

We got to our room at the hotel and I turned the key in the lock.


Our friends, Barbara and Jack, had driven up to share my birthday with me. 

Poof! There went the insidious birthday present I had planned for myself.  Because, while I knew the cap'n wouldn't support me in my plan to allow myself to drink, he wouldn't tell on me. He'd keep my secret.  But all my plans and schemes were now laid to ruin because my friends had showed up and I have too much pride to let them see me throw away everything I had worked for and they had supported me through. And they would tell everybody else.

Thank you, God!

That cliff is still right in front of me.  I'm not standing at the edge looking over anymore but I'm just a hop and a skip away.  I need to keep backing up. 

This week I am laboring to dig my well of compassion for others a little deeper, I still suffer the sin of condescension and I know when I get to thinking of myself being above others' transgressions my Co-worker is fixin' to give me a smack-down.  I need to remind myself that when I was considering that duplicitous birthday gift, I knew very well that booze isn't a gift that keeps on giving, instead it keeps on taking and taking and taking...and you never know what it's going to leave you with.

So today I'm just out there doing my best to keep on digging and backing up.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Timeshare For Sale

 It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

Day 211  (7 months) of Sobriety

When we first came to Mexico we got caught in one of those time-share traps, you know the kind where you don’t realize what you’ve stumbled into until they have you locked in a room with some ferocious salesman with spittle flying from his zealous lips as he tries to sell you on a fractional non-ownership of some condo in a resort full of legions of rapidly reproducing condos, all with the same DNA. (If I was still drinking I’d never be able to find my way home after happy hour.)  You keep trying to escape but he just keeps going and going and going until you finally succumb to Stockholm Syndrome and sign on the dotted line.  And all you wanted was the free breakfast buffet.

Drinking was like that for me, I kept walking through doors trying to find the escape route but I’d just end up in another room with another bottle doing its damnedest to convince me to stay.

Last night I went out with a whole bunch of mi amigos and had a blast.  I won’t bore you with the details but we ended the night at a carnival in the square of our little village where we boarded the “Disco Bus”, a double decker disco thumping, petrol wheezing jalopy that careened through the streets as we ducked low lying high-wires and tree branches, laughing our asses off the whole way.  Then we decided to try our skill at the bumper cars and loteria.  Finally at midnight we made our way back through the streets to our cars, all of us exclaiming of the fun we’d had, the unique and wonderful place that we had found ourselves and each other in, and how much brighter the stars were shining down on us last night.  They were drinking and I was not and not once during our whole evening did I envy them, not once did I think, “A drink sure would make this more enjoyable.”  I’ve finally made it to that point. 


This morning I awoke rejuvenated, not even missing that hour the time change stole from me last night, and as usual I walked into the village for my conchinita pibil and fresh squoze OJ.  My friends are probably not appreciating the fun we had last night as much this morning, they still have a timeshare with booze and it still claims its dues.  I don’t begrudge them that.  I enjoyed the same timeshare for a long time and thought the price I paid was fair, but then booze’s HOA started extracting more and more maintenance tolls from me and all of my Red and Diamond and Platinum Plastic (as in credit card) weeks turned to blackout dates.

So today my timeshare is up for sale, I don’t have time to share with booze anymore.  I’m too busy enjoying full ownership of my life.

P.S.  I know I said I would write Part II of Coming Clean but my pink cloud showed back up for a revisit and I’m lovin’ life too much right now.

And Glory Hallelujah it’s fixin’ to rain!!

Oh and, 

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!