Day 30 – miracles

I would imagine that most everyone reading this has had a time when some sort of “miracle” happened while you were extremely intoxicated.  Something that could have gone horribly wrong but, somehow, didn’t.

I’ve had a couple of narrow escapes when drinking, but I’ve been thinking about the most recent one.  I’ve been wanting to write about it, but it seemed so horrible that I couldn’t face it.  I’ve also been reading “Unwasted” and one of the first parts of it that I marked was a story the author tells about a miracle taxi in a very bad neighborhood that took her home even though she was drunk and had only 5 dollars on her.

There have been a couple times that I’ve drank heavily and something goes very wrong in my system.  These “episodes” happened years apart, so I never really thought of them as connected.  It usually goes like this; I’ll just be happily drinking along, not monitoring intake but also not going too overboard, everyone is having fun and all of the sudden I am freaking out.  One time I wouldn’t let my best friends put me in their car and ran from them, one time I began violently throwing up in a club and a friend had to completely ditch our night to help me, one time a friend sent me home to her apt. with keys and I couldn’t get the door open and was semi-passed out in her hallway when she came home a few hours later…well, I think you get what the “episodes” are all about.  The thing is, the next day, everyone’s comment is that they thought I was fine and didn’t think I had all that much to drink.  Another common thread, that I just identified over these past 30 days, is that these were all situations where I knew 1 or 2 people but mostly did not know others and they were “occasions” like a wedding, big night out, etc.  Now I also believe that there had to have been some element of a panic attack in there and/or some kind of subconscious trigger that made me feel vulnerable.

Recently, in June, there was a big party with my co-workers.  There was about 30 of us at a co-workers house, we were drinking heavily but happily.  Then, about 10 of us walked to a nearby lounge.  We smoked hooka and kept drinking.  The rest of the night is a complete blur.  I’ve had very small blackouts where I don’t remember a few minutes here and there but it usually comes back to me as the hangover goes away.  But that night, I estimate that I lost up to 2 hours and at least 1.  All I remember is sitting on a couch and then, all of the sudden, the taxi driver was telling me that I had to tell him where to turn.  I remember concentrating SO hard and telling him to turn right.  Then I woke up the next morning.  The worst part about all of this is that the one person who I am actually good friends with was so worried about me and out of everyone I work with, she means the most to me (she completely forgave me and we’re good, but it must have changed her perception of me at least a bit).

She was also the one who talked to other people and told them I didn’t remember anything and covered for me by indicating I had a bad reaction to some medicine or the hooka.  She also pieced together the events, which were extremely painful to learn about.  My co-workers realized I was really drunk and my friend, “Angie” took me to the bathroom.  She said I could barely walk and fell down a few stairs.  Then she said she would walk to her car and come back for me.  It was raining really hard and she knew I couldn’t make it.  She sat me with some people at the bar.  This is where others filled in the story…they said I started asking for Angie and they tried to tell me she was coming back.  I started yelling at them, so much that our whole group had to leave.  Everyone wanted to go to another bar, but we had to get a cab because of the rain.  I was still yelling, got very aggressive with someone who tried to get me into her cab.  Then two other co-workers took over and got me in.  They said that when we arrived at the second bar, I flew out of the cab and ran off.  No one knew where I was or what happened to me.  Apparently, I got in another cab and made it home.

I apologized to a few people and genuinely shared my shock at the whole situation while also trying to downplay the event.  The person I was aggressive towards completely shut me out and is just now making eye contact, but I understand her position on this.  I think the miracle of that night was that I made it home in one piece.  I was shaken for weeks by that and it was one of the reasons that I really started to plan on quitting and realized I had to at least try to quit and see if I could.  I am so lucky that Angie has a heart that is big enough to forgive me and still be my friend.  I am so lucky that almost everyone was willing to believe that it was a random event and still respect me professionally and it probably helped that almost everyone was completely wasted and there were a few other stories that came out of that night, but none as disturbing as mine.

I think maybe this post came to me tonight as a cautionary tale.  1. I have a work event to go to tomorrow.  I won’t drink and I’ll only stay for the beginning of it.  2. It’s my sister’s birthday and I’m going to her house for dinner.  She doesn’t drink alot, but I have identified her as one of my triggers.  3. AFTER tomorrow, not on tomorrow, I can decide if I am going to commit to moderation or abstinence.  4.  I need to be careful tomorrow, very careful.  5. I never, ever want to allow myself to be that drunk again in my life.  I don’t think that luck and miracles come in an infinite amount to us.  I just don’t think the Universe would allow that or we would all be such complete idiots all of the time.  I’m pretty sure I’ve used up all of mine and it’s time for someone else to be protected by luck and miracles.

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9 thoughts on “Day 30 – miracles

  1. wow, those are hard stories to read, i can’t imagine what it must feel like to write this down. you’re lucky you had people to take care of you, who didn’t just say “oh well she’s just drunk.”

    if i’m being honest, when i’m at an event and someone is very drunk, I leave and go home. it makes me so uncomfortable and scared. i’m probably like your colleague who’s just starting to meet your eyes now. she was probably freaked out, like i would be.

    Maybe this is a cautionary tale you’ve written for yourself, or maybe you’re being honest. As RoS said to me when i was nearing 30 days: “There’s a saying that ‘if you are an alcoholic, you should not drink. If you are not an alcoholic, you don’t have to drink.'”

    if you feel better not drinking, there’s no reason to start up again. I wrote this on (I think) day #14: “… in return, I get back energy, sound sleep, peaceful relationships, increased productivity. I consumer fewer calories, spend less money, and i gain self-respect. gee, when i write it out like that, it seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it?”

    hugs from me 🙂

  2. I have generally been pretty easy going when people talk about moderation, what to do after 30 days etc. What on earth could I possibly know about another persons situation? I always say – go with how you feel etc. . However reading this, at the risk of really pissing you off, I want to say, 30 days is too short a time to make any decision about drinking again, moderation etc. Today I wanted to eat a melon. I really wanted it and although I knew it was not quite ripe I cut into it. And yes it was hard and unripe and not so great to eat. If I had left it another day it would have been sweet and juicy. Thats 30 days – you have not yet got to the sweet juicy wonderful stage of sobriety and thus thougths of drinking start up again. i really would urge you to go another 30 and then re think again.
    Some of your incidents reminded me of a book I recenlty read – “Under the influence – a guide to the myths and realities of Alcoholism” by Milam and Ketcham. Although I dont relate to a lot of it , it has some quite interesting stuff to say about the kind of incidents you describe. About them potentially being signals about your bodys response to alcohol.
    Anyway thats enough from me. And sorry for the lecture. Know you have my support in whatever you decide to do. xx

    • thanks cleo. I’m going to take a look at that book too. I want to gather more books to read because they have been really helpful too. and I have alot to think about this weekend, including your thoughts. I appreciate what you’ve shared with me and I will absolutely pour it into my already simmering pot of thoughts.

  3. Yup I’ve had so many miracles where things could have gone so terribly wrong but they didn’t. Man, i shudder to think of the dangerous situations i put myself in.

    Your story is heart-breaking. I hope you’re not beating yourself up too much about it, i know how consuming that shame can be, but you’re the only one carrying it. You fucked up, you apologised and you’re making amends. Your co-workers will get over it.

    Just out of curiosity, have you tried moderation before? I can’t remember if it has been mentioned here…

    • I think I am over that shame of that incident, that’s what allowed me to share something that I could have just kept a secret. I haven’t ever tried moderation. I’ll be thinking/researching it this weekend. I have cut back before but out of reasons of guilt and fear. This is the first time that I’m taking an honest look at all of this (not-drinking/moderation) and making the decision from a healthier place.

  4. I think that I found social situations with strangers a big trigger also. I can understand how you feel about your work situation, it must be awkward if you work with those that were with you on that night. Although an apology is important, the really best thing you can do is to continue to be thoughtful and considerate in your dealings with them. Time does heal a lot of stuff, and from my own experience I’ve found that it has deepened the relationship between (most of) my collegues and me, because you’ve exposed a human frailty beyond merely who u are at work. I’ve also made a commitment to them not to put them in that sort of situation ever again.

    I’d also chime in with Belle, and suggest you need a really compelling case to even start moderation. As you say yourself, you can have “moderate” night turn to shit without you knowing where the cliff is (the drinks you have change your perception), and when you’re over the cliff you ae a zone where you put your friendships and even your work at risk.

    Take care this weekend, Paul.

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