Monday, July 27, 2015

Its my 2nd DUI that got me sober, why not the First one?

I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “Why didn’t you get sober after your first DUI?”  These people were not alcoholics mind you; they were normal drinkers who didn’t understand why anyone would get a DUI in the first place, let alone – GASP – a second one! It’s pretty normal to hear people at an AA meeting that have had five, six, seven, DUIs – commonplace really.  It’s also pretty normal to hear people that didn’t have any DUIs and they still got sober.  I always assumed those people lived in New York City, or had another bottom that didn’t relate to getting a DUI.  I’m grateful I didn’t live in NYC, because it was my second DUI that got me sober.  I didn’t get sober because I thought I had a problem.  I mean, let me explain, I knew I had a problem – I just didn’t give a crap.  I was fine living my life like a 20 year old tartlet and thought I was totally cool.  I was 37 years old and I was so not cool.  The State of California seemed to think that my DUI was something that needed to be addressed.  So here I was, sitting on my second DUI, and I was a bit of a hot mess and befuddled with how I ended up here.  I was still gallivanting around town like a collegiate party girl.  How did this happen?  It happened because I let it happen.  Feeling very defeated and worn out, my solution was to start drinking box wine at home and not go out anymore.  This was how I was going to live my life now.  Not once did I think I should quit drinking. 

The first DUI wasn’t that bad really.  It was five years prior and I was back home in suburban Philadelphia visiting family and friends over Christmas.  I was out at my local watering hole where everyone knew my name, my own personal “Cheers”.  We were doing shots, drinking like it was Senior Week - whooping it up - a normal evening among friends.  Driving back to my sister’s house I had apparently swerved and hit a couple trash cans on the side of the road.  BUSTED!  I scurried my butt back to California and had my Dad manage this inconvenience for me as I was living 3,000 miles away and didn’t have time to address this nuisance.  I attended 6 alcohol education classes and forged a certificate to say I did 20 hours of Community Service in San Diego. Easy Peasey.  

Fast forward to five years later where that fateful night had me out drinking in downtown Carlsbad.  I chose my apartment in downtown Carlsbad because of the location, as it was close to the downtown bar scene; this way I could drink and walk about town and not worry about driving.  Unfortunately for me that evening it was a balmy 60 degrees and I decided to drive.  Too chilly for this Philly gal.  At 11.30 pm, I pulled hurriedly into the parking lot of Texas Liquor, after just bumping over a central median.  Whew that was close!  Minutes later, sirens and flashing lights screeched in behind me and barricaded my vehicle.  Struck sober, I soon realized this wasn’t going to be the highlight of my weekend. 

Upon instructions from my lawyer, I was given the task of getting a court card signed by attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  He commented to me that since it was my second DUI, they could really throw the book at me.  Okay sure, I will go to a meeting.  But not tonight, I really need to drink. 

It took over six weeks for me to finally muster enough courage to walk into that AA meeting.  I remember sitting in my car cursing myself to get out and walk into the meeting.  How hard could this be? I only went because I wanted the court to show some mercy on me.  I had no intention of getting sober.  That was never even a thought. 

What I heard at that meeting was Hope.  Hope that maybe I could quit drinking.  Hope that maybe I won’t have to keep doing the same stupid shit that I’d been doing for the past 24 years and Hope that maybe there is another way to live.  Sober. 

I ran out of that meeting before the closing Serenity prayer ended and went home where I guzzled down two bottles of wine.  I drank every day for the next week and during that drunken week I had my moment of clarity.  BAM! The green flash of sunset and stark realization came to me; everything bad that had ever happened to me in my life was from drinking and drugging.  Everything.  I had nothing to show for my life.  I was alone, financially and emotionally starved, barely able to make ends meet and living a studio apartment.  I didn’t own anything.  I had pawned all I could, while going to payday loan places just to hold me until my next pay check.  I also had a recreational cocaine problem, did I mention that?

On that seventh day, I ended up at the Carlsbad Speaker Meeting in Carlsbad where I purchased a Big Book and heard a women share my story.  I figured I should give this sobriety thing a shot.  I had no other options. I haven’t looked back since and today my life is better than I ever could have imagined.  So glad I wasn’t living in NYC that evening.  That second DUI saved me, and it got me sober.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We are not a Glum Lot.....

I awoke last Saturday morning at 6.30, after really wanting to sleep in but not being able to, because my need to write was stronger than my need to sleep.  In pondering what to write about, I was thinking I should write about the 70,000 attendees I just shared space with at the Int’l AA Convention last week.  That’s what I should write about – but naw, my first thought was, we are not a glum lot.  So that’s what I’ll write about.  No need to get down and dirty about the convention.  Other writers have written about it this week and I couldn’t have said it any better.  What I do need to recognize is how full and amazing my life is because I am sober and because I say YES to life.  I said Yes over 11 years ago to “check out that meeting” and for that I’m grateful as I know I’ll never be able to fully pay back what has been so freely given to me; but I can try to, little by little, smile by smile, and maybe be a tad nicer to others that walk the earth with me.  What’s that bumper sticker? “Practice random acts of kindness” – Sure I’ll try that.  I see this lasting about five days or so. I’ll let you know how that turns out. 

In getting back to work this week I think I had some post partum depression from my last two weeks of gallivanting to San Diego and Atlanta.  I worked three days in between these two trips (someone needs to get paid), and my mantra walking away from these trips is that we are not a glum lot.    

My first trip away was a five day visit to my homeland of San Diego – Encinitas to be more accurate.  I call it my homeland because that’s where I got sober, and that’s where I feel most at home, that’s where my peeps are.  My posse, my tribe, whichever you wanna call them.  One of my girls got married and we were all able to be in attendance at her wedding and we were all sober and it was a drama free trip.  Imagine that - drama free! It took about six years of being sober before my life started moving into the drama free zone.  That shit didn’t happen overnight.   My husband and I stayed with friends during our visit and in years past I normally got us a hotel so it could feel like more of a vacation - but this time around we decided to bunk, rub elbows, and share bathrooms with children, pets and the like.  And ya know what? Its way better doing it this way. I can have those special moments of going through her closet or sitting outside in their backyard while she smoked or watching that lame ass show on HGTV with her; these were the moments I relished.  My friends are awesome and they get me and they want me to stay with them (or so I think they do).  Lucky me gets to go back in four weeks for another friend’s wedding.  After this trip I don’t know what else I’ll be going back for since we’ll all be married by then. I guess they’ll have to be trips to just visit.

Trip two was the International AA Convention to Atlanta.  This trip was so overwhelming I’m not even to go into the details and logistics – but I will sum it up with a couple of sentences.  If I only went to the Big Meetings on Friday and Saturday evening, that would have been enough.  If waiting in line was an Olympic sport, I could have received the Gold or Silver;  Saying the serenity prayer with 70,000 other drunks could was pretty spiritually profound – it was definitely in the Top 5.  The Top Five is what I call the five most amazing things that have ever happened to me in my life. Ever. 

Now I feel compelled to share that list;

1.      Getting sober. 
2.      Meeting Bob Weir (and smoking pot with him-not very AAish of me, but this was pre 2004).
3.      Getting married to my husband (and still being married!).
4.      Rescuing Lucy.
5.      Having a god in my life that shows up, keeps me sober and gives me amazing gifts:  Saying the serenity prayer at the IAAC, publishing my Memoir, giving me a career and amazing family and friends that love me.

So theoretically, its really the Top 9. I can work with that.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hard copies (pseudo book version) of Last Call are now available!

"Last Call" is now available in hard copy format - I don't have a publisher (yet) so its not in "book" format, but I'm able to manage this via Office Depot and it is a bound copy. I have had numerous received requests for this. Specifically for people in treatment centers that aren't allowed E-readers or devices - or just plain folks that like to kick it old school and have a book (soft copy) version. 

You can purchase this here on the blog .... Let me know if you'd like a signed copy and thanks for your support - soooo appreciative of all. 

Feel free to also purchase the E-version on Kindle.

Guest blogging this week!

Hey there - exciting and fun news this week as I am guest blogging on Bouncin Barb's site - Barb and I follow each others blogs and she is also a Floridian, so for many reasons I usually visit her site weekly and see what she's up to.

Check it out:

I'll be blogging later this week with a new post "We are not a Glum Lot"!

Thanks much for reading - have a great week everyone!