Monday, May 23, 2005

Day #6 of sobriety

Well, today uneventful no real urges to speak of as work kept me way too busy, but I have to run. I am late to see Star Wars 9:30 with some friends. Yeah, I know, real real geeky for a guy in his 30s. Will update tomorrow much more...Stay strong all.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Day #5 of sobriety

Well, five days sober almost down.

Geez, yesterday was a rough day. My mind was all over the place - I finally felt relieved to get to bed. It was my best night of sleep since I began sobriety. I don't know if it was because my body is adapting to no alcohol, or if it was because I was so mentally drained from yesterday, wanting to drink so badly.

Today was real urges to speak of, though I did think about how cool it would be to head to the sports bar and watch the basketball game though I chose not to. With all that draft beer flowing, I did not want to tempt myself. Until I get a month under my belt, I am going to do my best to avoid places that can cause me to fall off the wagon.

I went to the grocery store and bought some fruit, vegetables, tuna, etc...Healthy stuff. I find myself with a huge appetite since I am not taking in 1000+ calories a day drinking. I need to get back into cooking for myself, as being a single drunk I have been used to a steady diet of burgers, pizza, wings and just overall junk. In addition to getting sober, I also have a goal of losing about 15lbs. I figure by not drinking and eating better the weight should fly off. That is why I am buying fruit - my body seems to be now be craving sugar (wonder why, lol), and I have been eating too much candy the last few days, so when I crave sugar I'll just eat an apple or something like that.

My liver no longer feels very swollen - I noticed a big difference last night when I slept on it. I am sure it still looks like hell but what I have been reading, it will heal itself if I stay away from booze. Kidneys feel a lot better but still need more time to recoup. My face/nose is slowly starting to get back to a normal color, and not as red/flush.

I did not got to AA today. I know they preach to go to 90 meetings in 90 days but I am not going to do that. Today I just didn't feel like going and since I had no sudden urge to drink, I decided to skip. I'll make sure I go several times a week, plus whenever I am on edge, like last night. But I am not going to go, just for the sake of going.

I plan on doing this blog for a full year. I will make sure I update everyone on my day to day progress on staying sober, and hopefully my experiences help others in addition to myself. But I also plan on updating this blog on my professional, personal and social life as well. If I stay sober for a year, it would be the first of my adult life, so I am curious on how things progress for me. I mean, I only know the before mentioned things as a drunk so maybe I will see vast improvement, who knows.....

Anyway, I am signing off for tonight and watch a little tv.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Day #4 of sobriety

Today was a rough one. From the moment I woke up, I began thinking about drinking - Make that getting drunk. I was on edge all day, impatient with things such as lines at the store, red lights, etc...I knew it was going to be a rough day.

By about 5pm or so, I was simply convinced I was going to drink, and drink heavily. The desire was simply too overwhelming. I'd figure I'd start with some beer, then switch to vodka and watch movies all night until I passed out, like I had done so many times before. The whole sobriety thing went out the window. I just didn't care.

I hopped in my car and debated what to do. Go the the liquor store, or go to AA? I drove around for a few minutes and figured I'd go to AA, and then if I had to drink after that, I simply would go to the liquor store, get what I needed for the night, and get drunk by myself. A fair compromise.

So I went to AA and as soon as I was there, I did not want to be there. We started going around the room introducing ourselves and I could not sit still. I was like "WTF, nobody cares who we are, its Saturday fucking night and we are sitting in some empty classroom". I just wanted the meeting to get on and over with. It took all my willpower to get through the first 10 minutes of the meeting...

So the meeting started and I slowly calmed down and listened to the group. We talked about being grateful for our sobriety. Like always, I heard stories of how people hit bottom, and how they fought their way to sobriety. Some people had one day sober, some ten years. Some people were there in their teens, some in their 70s. It was good therapy, listening and discussing. The last 15 minutes of the meeting, I knew I would not drink this night.

So the meeting came and went, I hopped in my car and the desire to drink had fully ceased for the day. I don't have any anecdote higher power story of how I sat outside the liquor store for an hour and fought the temptation off and drove home.

Nope. All I did was think about getting drunk all day, went to a meeting, and came home sober. It's that simple. Or it was that difficult. I don't know.

I do know this: I didn't drink today, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Day #3 of Sobriety

Well, uneventful day today. I guess when you are trying to get sober that's the way you like 'em.

I just got back from an AA meeting. Its been a while since I have been to one. They provide good therapy...I sometimes don't always agree with the subject matter, but that's ok. For instance, tonight we talked about higher power stuff. I never understood that from AA. Its up to each individual to control their drinking, not God. I mean, its not God's fault when you fall off the wagon, it's your fault - God forgives our sins, but does not prevent them. But anyway, just a different philosophy is all, don't mean to bring theology in this. The fact I was pontificating to myself about AA subject matter and not out drinking, means AA served its purpose tonight....which is the point anyway.

Last night was an odd night. I woke up in the middle of the night like 5 times. Usually I wake up only once, to get some water since I am so dehydrated from the pint or so of Vodka I had earlier that evening...I will say this though, even though I woke up a lot in the middle of the night, I don't think I yawned once today. Just felt refreshed...

My body still kinda aches from my last bender. My liver still feels swollen and my kidneys are still sore, but I know those should recoup on their own if I stay away from the booze. My body, I can tell, is giving me clear warning signs: Stay away from alcohol, or else.

On another note, I got my loan today and will pick up the check Monday. This gets the landlord off my case. I should be able to pay this $1,500 back next month when I get my commission check, so that's good. You know, if I stay away from the booze, I won't gamble, which means in a year, in theory, I should be out of debt and have a nice savings account built up. Of course, it's tough to think a year down the road when I am on day three of sobriety.

Yep, one day at a time.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Day #2 of sobriety

Geez, what a mess I have on my hands. I told everyone in my prior posting about my gambling escapades. I was trying to become a poker champion while simultaneously being an alcoholic. A recipe for disaster...

Well, of course, I am flat broke after wasting an obscene amount of money on the poker tables (probably $35K in the last year). So anyway, I come home tonight and find a letter on my apartment door from the landlord, asking where the rent is. Whoops, I forgot to pay it. Of course, I have no money now, so I can't pay $1,100. I will have money in 20 days when I get a healthy commission check, but that is 20 days from now, so that does not do me any good today.

So I guess I need to go to one of those loan places and get a short term loan for $1500. Hopefully I can get that without a problem, if not, I'll figure something else out.

So anyway, I was extremely stressed about that letter earlier tonight, but I have calmed down. I was dying for a drink when I got home, but was able to resist. I think I will start heading to AA meetings after work, to help ease my urges. There is a group I have been to before that seems to help, when I attend...

Boy I look like shit right now. I am waking up tomorrow morning to exercise. I could not be in worse shape. My nose is still pretty red from my last bender. You know, I just look like a guy who has been battling a drinking problem.

Oh well, I am pretty beat right now. Think I will just turn in early so I can wake up early. Man, I wish I could just fast forward 1 year and see whee I am with all this. Anyway, I'll touch base with you tomorrow....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The battle of the bottle

I never thought it would come to this. Age 36, broke, alone and a alcoholic. Expectations were high for me a few years ago. I was president of a Republican group in my city, actively involved with the Chamber, and successful in business with lots of friends. There was talk of me running for local office and I thought things could not get better....

I had always been a drinker. Ever since the age of 17, when I first discovered alcohol, I enjoyed it. The first drunk I ever had I knew I was on to something. Drinking gave me confidence I had not yet had in life. College soon followed and it was a blur, to say the least. Drinking to blackout stage was pretty common, but then again that's what you did in college, right? I mean, we all saw Animal House and drinking was considered a prerequisite to having a good time, or so I thought.

So college came and went. I pretty much eked my way to graduating. I really did not take my course work seriously since it interfered with my near nightly drinking marathons. I guess the biggest accomplishment in college was meeting my future wife. She was a good woman, though we promptly divorced two years after college. We did not really get along like we did when we had no responsibility in college, so we simply decided to end it before we wasted any more time in something we knew was doomed.

During my 20s, my drinking began to escalate to near nightly drunks. At that time, Rum was my drink of choice and of course beer. Weekend nights were welcomed, because I could really get hammered and not have to worry about waking up for work. Drinking alone was a common occurrence, and actually preferred.

While I knew I had a problem at this time, I still could function without a problem. I became used to hangovers, could drive well buzzed, and was able to conceal my alcoholism. I became active in my community, and people generally liked and respected me. I was becoming a "player" in the political arena, and I was considered an "up and comer".

By the age of 30, I discovered two new things: Daytrading stocks and vodka. The thought of becoming an instant millionaire on the internet trading stocks was just an incredible draw. My entire focus in life became daytrading, and of course drinking vodka. Every spare moment, both at work and away from it was on the internet researching companies. Politics all of a sudden became unimportant - Rather quickly I withdrew from all community activities. People were taken aback when I quit showing up to events, but I did not care. Just find the right company, invest heavy and retire....that was the priority.

So I found as many low priced internet companies I could, pumped my entire savings into this garbage and within two years I was completely broke. Everything I invested in went south the day I put money into it, and I may have been the only "investor" to not make money in the late 90s. When the market crashed in March 2000, I was devastated as I had a mountain of debt and nothing to show for it. The millionaire dream was crushed and my addiction to Vodka had reached new levels. Every night I was getting smashed by downing a pint of Smirnoff on top of several beers. I was depressed, but still able to function and conceal my alcoholism.

Luckily, I have always been a natural in sales. So what was a bleak financial situation began to remedy itself. I pledged not to daytrade anymore, and slowly but surely my debt was eliminated and I was getting back on track financially.

About the time I eliminated my debt, I went to Las Vegas for the first time on a sales convention. It was the first time I had really gambled in a casino, and the mix of drinking and gambling turned into a rush for me. Now, when I am sober, I would never consider gambling as I know the negative odds will always catch up to you, but when I am drunk it makes sense to gamble.

So for the last four years, I have made the worst combination possible: Alcoholism and degenerate gambler, especially poker. When I am at the tables, my drinking reaches incredible levels. People comment that they are amazed I can still function playing cards as much as I drink. Frankly I am amazed too.

So here I am now to present day: I am flat broke due to gambling, a hard core alcoholic, 20 lbs overweight and pretty alone since its tough to meet people while intoxicated or in a card room. Luckily, I am still employed, but I know rumors are beginning to swirl about my drinking. I think people can just see my appearance which looks like a guy who is a heavy drinker. I mean, a red nose typically either means you are a drunk or have a cold. Well, nobody has a year round cold....

So what's the point of all this. Well, I am pretty sure I am about to leave the middle stages of alcoholism and begin entering the final stage, which is typically one of three things: Prison, institution of on the path to death. I mean, I have been so lucky I have not killed someone behind the wheel, or went to bed one night after drinking a 1/5 of Sky Vodka and not wake up. But the longer I continue, I know I will end up in the final stages of being an alcoholic.

So what to do? Well, I have got to quit drinking if I want to make it past age 40. I am not worried about the gambling problem I have because if I don't drink I won't gamble, so I am not battling two addictions, just one. Now, I have tried quitting drinking many times before, but I return to the bottle after a few days. I am hoping this blog will help me stay sober. You know, maybe by writing to you will make me accountable. I don't know, at this point I will try anything. I am desperate. I don't want to die young....I want to begin living life again, and live it sober.

I'll update this blog daily on my progress in beating this addiction.