In less than a week, Boy & I will be setting off to sit in a field for 4 days listening to a bunch of obscure bands. This is also known as going to Bonnaroo. For those unaware, it’s arguably the largest music festival east of the Mississippi River. One of my (many) ex-boyfriends is big into obscure music & introduced me to a lot of the artists playing the festival. I was curious to see how many of the acts he had recommended to me and if there were any I missed. I have a bunch of my old texts from previous phones saved in my email (thanks to Boy for figuring that one out for me). Along with musical advice cached in those old texts, I found a girl who offered a very, very sobering view of early to mid trauma recovery.
A history of my drinking goes something along this timeline. I graduated from college in 2007. By that point, I was already a heavy drinker. My abuser and I were in the same year. He moved back to New Orleans and I stayed behind. I was just out of college, so it wasn’t weird. I kept up my heavy drinking habits until 2010. By that point, most of my friends rarely drank unless it was a bachelor / bachelorette party. I did my first stint in AA for about 9 months starting in 2010. I bounced on and off the wagon from the summer of 2011 through 2012. I finally broke the cycle last year. For reference, this ex and I met in 2009 and broke up after about 5 months. We reconnected again for reasons I don’t remember in 2012. As I read through the old messages, I got a painfully stark view of who I was. I only outright mentioned a hangover once, but I knew I was omitting many more. I would text him at all hours of the night. If he minded, he never said anything. If anything, he encouraged the behaviour. He’s 15 years older than me with 2 kids. I know he got a contact high off of having a party girl ex sharing pretty much everything. That’s not a jab at him even if it sounds like it. He knew just how hard I could party and how much detail I was willing to share. If I ever see him again, he’ll recognize the outside (I’m pretty damn hard to miss). The minute I open my mouth, though, he wouldn’t recognize me. There was a time where I would have been horribly embarrassed to read those texts, much less openly share the basic content. Until recently, I had the hardest time looking back at that girl and forgiving her actions, mistakes, and shortcomings. Now I look back at her and only feel sympathy and sadness. You know that piece of paper with the target that says “bang head here until pain stops”? That was her method of trying to stop the pain. Then the numbness wears off and it’s back to drinking, disordered eating, and fucking anything with a penis and a pulse. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Given both the stereotypes and literature sent to us by the Bonnaroo organizers, there will be no shortage of alcohol and drugs. The 2009 me would have spent the whole time completely wasted looking for aforementioned penis and pulse and ditching whoever I was with, scaring the hell out of them in the process. The 2014 me will slather myself in sunscreen, pull up a chair, and enjoy the music; all while staying properly hydrated. As nutty as it sounds, I’m glad to have that perspective. I don’t kick myself for what I did. Rather, I can bask in what I do today, the memories I’ll get to actually remember, and appreciate someone from my past who introduced me to a whole genre I would have otherwise missed.
I’ll try to remember to set everything to auto-post while I’m off. Let’s see if I’ll actually remember it.
Happy genuine Friday, beloved readers! It’s that time of the week again to get your dose of cute.
Rub my tummy?
What was that sound?
More baby elephant gifs!
I know this has been all over the Internet already, but a llama frolicking to DMX!
This I used enough exclamation points?
My weekend is full of a whole lot of nothing. Just the way I like it. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend full of whatever.
Happy (almost) end of the week fair readers. Today’s post is another aspect of my healing:
I’ve been sober for a little over 14 months now. I’ve lost weight and gained a hell of a lot of clarity. While I was drinking, I was a crappy worker. I would show up late, call out because of a hangover, and generally resent my 8 hour days. I dreamed of being my own boss doing something (writing, making jewelry, starting a hippie commune) that would allow me to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Read – drink and not worry about having to get up until I slept off the hangover. I actually hated drinking. It did nothing for me. It’s not like I stopped to savor the wine or cocktail in front of me. I downed that sucker as fast as I could and reached for the next one before the first one hit my stomach. It was a crutch. It was a loud and clear signal that something wasn’t right between my ears. I knew it. I had two unsuccessful stints in AA to show for it. I still hung on simply because it was how I coped while I was with him. Much like he was my first love, booze was my first “out”. It took a DUI, then an epilepsy diagnosis for me to let go.
I was given a very simple choice. Did I want to drink and risk having another seizure? Or did I want to stay sober and vastly reduce my chances of another seizure? Like hell I’m intentionally going to put myself in a situation that would increase my risk. Now I’m on time to work, give it my best, and call out only when I can’t even get out of bed. I function best in a structured environment. I don’t have to drag myself off the couch to write a blog post or the next chapter in my novel. I can go home, put on sweatpants, and plant myself on the couch for a marathon of True Blood.
I can’t put into words how grateful I am to all my friends who stood by me through the drunken tirades and poor life choices. They certainly didn’t have to. I wouldn’t have blamed them if they walked away. All in all, I only lost one friend over it. I said something intentionally hurtful and she stopped talking to me. I apologized, she chose not to accept it, and we moved on with our lives. I’ll periodically see things about her on Facebook. In my head, I wish her the best. It’s said you’re a combination of the five people you spend the most time with. If that’s true, then I’m way more awesome, forgiving, and patient than I give myself credit for. Whatever unhealthy coping mechanism is holding you back; be it drugs, alcohol, cutting, or an eating disorder, it doesn’t have to hold you back forever. Your healing won’t be the same process as mine. I certainly don’t recommend 7 hours in jail and a significant health issue. You may be handed an easy decision which allows you to give it up easily. It may be a long, hard road before you wish it a fond farewell forever.
Welcome June! At least you haven’t come bearing the godawful heat yet, just the lovely sticky humidity.
So new month, new set of goals. I’ve paid off all my medical bills from last year (woohoo!) which has allowed me to shift my budget around. As always happens, I’m eyeing the extra money trying to decide the fanciest thing I can spend it on the fastest. Then once I buy whatever it is, three days later, I’ll be wishing I hadn’t. In the vast majority of these cases, I can’t return said thing. Typically it’s some iteration of “life coaching”, radical diet change program, or both. They don’t usually issue refunds. In fact, I’m often paying 50% more to break the contract. Not cool. I hesitate to call them budgetary rules. I still look at a rule as something to be subverted or flat out broken. Again, doesn’t make things very easy to stick to, does it? It’s the metaphorical bingeing and purging that once again rears its ugly head.
I’m sure I’ve discussed the amount of money I spent on Groupons, yoga equipment, and actual yoga classes before I admitted to myself I disliked yoga. When I added up just the purchases I could remember, that same sum would have allowed me to buy a plane ticket to visit my best friend in Virginia. I wrote down that number and came up with a list of other things I could have spent that money on. I saved it in my phone as a reminder every time I’m tempted to make another impulse purchase. A few years ago, the life improvement programs were a good idea simply because I didn’t know which way was up. Now that I’ve healed enough, I have a pretty good idea of which direction to go using only my internal compass. After all that nattering, my financial goals / guidelines / polite suggestions for the month of June:
- Write down the amount of recent impulse purchases. Make a list of other things I could have bought or saved for using that sum.
- Wait at least 5 days before making a decision to buy something more than $40 (read- the average cost of date night).
- If it’s a sale that ends before the 5 day period, be willing to spend the full amount.
- Do my best to avoid the hype. Buy!Buy!Buy!Now!Now!Now! is hard to avoid, but again, if I take the time to think, I should be okay.
- Walk into a store, be it Target or Gucci, knowing exactly what I want.
- Carry cash as often as possible & leave the debit cards at home.
- In the same vein as the 5 day suggestion, think about experiences vs. stuff: For example: Around this time last year, I was given the opportunity to go to an aerial retreat in Costa Rica this past January. I turned it down because I didn’t want to burn 5 days of my time off right off the bat. Now I’ve been promoted and got an extra week of vacation time as part of the deal. The same retreat is happening this year and I’m already setting aside money to participate this time around. It also happens to be 2 weeks after my 30th birthday. Hello present to me! I know I’ll get a lot more out of that experience that I ever would spending the same amount of money on a thing. Frankly, I’m not even sure what thing I could buy with the same amount of money.
- Above all – be patient with myself. If I do buy something out of sheer impulse, I’ll do my best to return or get a refund.