Today I celebrated 11 months in sobriety. It’s a major accomplishment for me but I like to reflect on how far I’ve come since them. So lets have story time shall we.
Sometimes people in my life have a hard time believing I was an alcoholic. I was REALLY good at hiding it…most days. That was until I slipped up in front of them or needed their help after a slip up. Otherwise, I could usually get away with drinking profusely or having a bad night so long as no one close to me caught it.
Here’s a fucking gem of a story. This one I’ve told to close friends and family before but I haven’t told a drunk precautionary tale in awhile so here goes…
Precursor to this story….I don’t tell these for sympathy. I really just tell these to shed light on what alcoholism looks like, perhaps help someone see the errors in their own way or help someone in some way feel less alone.
I was not really a daily drinker, I didn’t NEED it as soon as I woke up. That’s what I always thought an alcoholic was. I was a binge drinker, meaning I lost all control as soon as I had one drink – I couldn’t really stop. I could go days and even week without drinking at all. But once I had a one drink, I was going to have as many as I could stomach before puking and/or blacking out. So anyway…on to the story.
I went on a date at this local bar that was lumberjack themed. If you live in LA, you’ve probably been to this place before. It’s unassuming from the outside, but you walk inside and you expect the place to smell like a damn forest. It doesn’t…sadly.
Anyway, I was on this date and saw a flyer for Repeal Day – The End of Prohibition. They were going to have $1 old fashioned cocktails all day long! So my alcoholic brain makes a mental note of said celebratory libation discount and I returned on that very faithful day of December the 5th to celebrate such a momentous occasion.
I started drinking alone. After unsuccessfully getting anyone to come with me, I went by myself. I did this often. I had regular spots I would go to. I’d uber there and uber home – no one was the wiser. Unless I got sloppy and drunk texted. That always got me in trouble with those close to me.
So I walk to the bar – yes it was WALKING DISTANCE. That already spells trouble cuz I could always just walk home if I drank too much (which I was FOR SURE about to do). But trust, I didn’t walk home after $1 old fashioned day. No no no. But I will get to that in a moment.
I have about 3 of these bad boys and I decide, I’ll have one more then walk home before it all hits me. Seemed like a perfect plan. I’d be tipsy and then by the time I got home, I’d be nice and drunk and go to sleep. Sweet.
Yea…. that’s not what happened at all.
I go to close out my $4 tab with the bartender. I pay the bill and tip him $10. As I’m finishing my drink, two gentlemen strike up a conversation with me. They offer to buy me another drink, which quickly turns into 2 more. By this time, I’m having trouble talking and keeping track of the conversation we are having. I’m half inside my head thinking I should probably go home and the other half of me says party!!!!!
I shoot off a few really confusing text messages to people and I’m standing outside – it’s dark now and it’s too cold outside but I’m standing there talking to some dude about going to an illegal casino. I’m confused because I have no fucking clue who this human is or what I said just before coming out of my blackout for a moment.
I just remember him talking about this casino and trying to gather some folks together to head there. They had free booze and drugs but you had to gamble. (For the record, I HATE and by hate I mean LOATHE gambling). But the thought of free booze sounded awesome so I think I was probably in agreement with the plan.
If you’ve never blacked out before, it’s a terrifying and confusing experience. Sometimes you come out of your blackout momentarily and it can be disorienting. Sometimes I won’t come out of it at all and remember nothing from a night out. Other nights I’ll have bits and pieces of a story or remember something that happened during a drinking night days even weeks later. It’s scary stuff.
so there I was blacked the fuck out. From this moment I can only remember holding one more drink in my hand before my uber driver shouts at me to wake up. Fuck, I fell asleep on the short ride home, that’s weird. I really must’ve drank too much. Damn! I grab my things and stumble out of the car.
The driver speeds off and I remember smelling salty sea air as I was digging in my purse for my keys. Wow, what a familiar smell. It reminded me of my old home in Newport beach. Man I missed that place.
The air smelled exactly like this there….as I looked in front of me I realized….I was standing in front of that Newport Beach home with the smell of the sea air I so fondly remembered. I was in Newport Beach, not Glendale!
Did I put this address into my phone while blacked out because it was the only one I could remember. Or was it The setting in my uber app that still had THIS address as home and I kept telling myself I’d change it but never got around to it.
THIS home was 70 miles away from where I currently lived. That ride just cost me $80.
I must’ve clicked home while drunkenly trying to order an uber – or the guys pressed home – or the bartender – or some other random fucking stranger because I couldn’t communicate my address. That wouldn’t be the first time I couldn’t tell someone my address and somehow managed to get home safely.
Fuck, fuck, FUCK!!!! I just spent $80 to sleep in an uber to be driven 70 miles away from my bed. Also I had to pee so damn bad. I didn’t know anyone in this neighborhood anymore, everyone moved away. So….like the classy girl that I was at the time….I peed in the alley where I used to live. Yup, just coped a squat and took a piss right there. In my defense, the next door neighbors house/yard smells so bad like cat piss, that no one would ever notice.
So as I’m taking my shameful piss in my old alleyway, I order an uber to take me back home. The lady picks me up and I immediately fall asleep in her car and wake up to her yelling at me to wake up. I’m jolted awake, grab my purse and get into the house as quickly as possible. I was home, finally.
What I thought was going to be a $4 bar tab was now $160 in Uber trips and I was starting to feel sick from the drinks.
I get inside and collapse onto my bed. I grab my purse that had fallen on the floor and I dig for my phone. Weird….I don’t feel it, maybe it fell out on the floor. Then I begin to panic. It’s not here! Immediately I open my laptop and fire up the find my iPhone. I’ve dropped my phone right outside of my room or outside of the house before. Maybe I did that again.
After having to reset my damn password in my drunken stooper, I finally start tracking the iPhone. Yeaaaaaaaa it’s nowhere near me. It’s heading on the freeway back to orange county. So I start calling it, sending notifications, setting offer alarms whatever the damn thing will let me do. No response.
So I put in my boyfriend’s number in the message on the screen even though it’s unlikely this driver is going to see this message because…the phone has only 3% battery and it’s about to die.
I promptly pass out.
When I wake up in the morning, I’ve forgotten about the phone situation until I go to look for the phone again. Then I remember. That shit wasn’t a dream, I really lost my phone. I checked the findmyiphone screen on my computer and the battery is now dead.
I….am…..fucked. I send a support ticket through uber.com and hope for the best.
I have no phone, no one can get ahold me and I have no idea who I reached out to or sent some weird message to or if someone is trying to get ahold of me at all. I had a really nasty habit of sending drunk texts that were half informational, half sexual and 100% confusing.
So I had to do the thing I hate doing – post on Facebook that I lost my phone.
Immediately my boyfriend at the time messages me and is clearly very upset. The uber driver had called him and she had my phone. Bad news – it was all the way in Huntington Beach.
Oh yea, did I mention that I had been living without a car for the last 3 months because of a car accident I had gotten into? Another series of poor life choices and drinking had led me to losing my job, then my apartment and then my car when I got in an accident while driving for Lyft (no I wasn’t drunk driving and I don’t have a DUI thank goodness) but I kept drinking and doing blow cuz at least I could numb myself out and not deal with all the bullshit.
My boyfriend begrudgingly agrees to drive me to go get the phone while lecturing me the whole way about how he believed I had a drinking problem and was really concerned about it. All of which I brushed off – because no way did I have a drinking problem. I wish I would have listened to him. He said what he said out of love, but I couldn’t hear it that way.
It was just one bad night. It wouldn’t happen again. I was wrong.
That was Dec 5, 2017. There were going to be lots more nights just like that, some even worse. This was just one of many that would be in my arsenal of stories until getting sober February 19, 2019. I was going to go through another year of these types of nights all leading to the worst night of drinking I ever had – the night that pushed me to finally get sober.
I think back about this night and I’m grateful for my uber drivers. They were both women and got me to my destinations safely. I could’ve gotten into a car with anyone that night but I didn’t. They were my drivers and they took care of me. Bless their hearts, they didn’t deserve what I put them through, but I got there and back safely.
I’m grateful for whoever put me in that first uber. Even though it took me to the wrong place, it likely took me away from danger. Who knows what those men may have done to me that night had I gone with them or someone else from the bar.
Anything could have happened to me. The night could have been so much worse…but it wasn’t. I….got….lucky.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, understand that you are not alone. Reach out to someone, talk about it. I got lucky this night, but other nights I was not so lucky and I have to carry that shame, guilt and pain with me.
I urge anyone who can relate or is struggling with addiction to reach out for help. Tell someone and get the help you need to get your life back. Recovery is possible and I’m living proof of that. I’m 11 months sober today and grateful for each new day that comes.