A Sober Girl in an Alcohol Fueled World

Alcohol is the only drug we have to explain not using

I’m an alcoholic. Do I post memes about getting drunk? Yes, because they’re funny. Do I go to bars? Also yes, because I have willpower of steel. But I’m an alcoholic. I used to drink A LOT. Lost my husband, lost my kids, lost my home. It’s a wonder I never got pulled over the way I drove. I was a total mess. Then one day I was at the doctor and he said if I drink again there is a fifty percent chance I won’t wake up. Went to AA that night, haven’t had a drink since.

I still went to bars the whole first year of my sobriety. Drank cranberry and sprite or Non-Alcoholic beers. I still will have a NA beer if I am super stressed out but I haven’t had a drop in over nine years. Do I ever want to drink? Hell yes I do. Watching the whole bar cheers champagne at midnight while everyone was blackout drunk on NYE killed me. I’ll never have the bond drinkers do. I do shots of water and that’s all well and good but I miss drinking.

Seeing people drunk triggers me sometimes, upsets me. I wouldn’t say it makes me jealous (although maybe it does) but it usually reminds me of why I quit in the first place. My children. I live for them. I live for Ryan. I live for myself. I got my family back. I got a whole new life. A healthy life. I will sacrifice a “good time” for the sake of my family. I tell people I don’t drink because I’m sick and it’s true, I AM sick, but I don’t drink because I value my family above all things.

I now have the ability to be social at a bar without feeling that need. I know not many people can do what I do. I actually don’t know anyone who can do what I do but I CAN do it and that’s what counts. So when you see me posting memes about getting drunk just know I do it in jest. That’s not who I am. I love who I am now. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Thanks to all of you who have supported me all these years. I love and appreciate each of you and please, if you ever need someone to talk to please contact me.

He Asked If I Wanted To Go To The Beach

He just didn’t say which one.

There he is – Joey Oey.   Years and years ago, when I was about 17, Joe stopped by and asked if I wanted to go to the beach. “Sure, why not.” I said.

We lived in Upstate NY.  There are TONS of beaches in the area, so I figured that’s where we were headed.  I put my bikini on under my outfit, grabbed a towel and off we went.

After about an hour of driving, I started to get confused.  Granted, I was smoking at the time (and I’m not talking Marb Lights here people), so I thought maybe it was just me and my perception of time.

“Which beach are we going to?”

“Virgina Beach”, he said giggling.

“WHAT?!  Dude.  VIRGINIA BEACH?  That’s like eight hours away!”

This is how Joey was.  He was really random and he lived in the moment.  I figured I really didn’t have much else going on and I could call home when we were near a pay phone (this was the pre-cell era).  After all, I was with JOEY, everyone would understand.

So we drive.  And drive.  I see a sign for Virginia Beach.  We’re not slowing down.  We’re not getting off the exit.  We just sailed past the beach.

“Umm…Joe?  You missed the beach.”

“Yeah.  I want to check out Myrtle.”

“DUDE.  THAT IS SIX HOURS AWAY.”

“He he he he”, was his reply.

Myrtle Beach.  We arrived around midnight and found the Silver Sands Motel for like thirty bucks a night.  It had a bed and pull out couch and just so happened an episode of the X-Files was filmed in that very room, so that was awesome.

For the record, in our twenty years of friendship, Joe and I never hooked up.  We were just friends.  Family.

Three days.  For three days, we stayed in Myrtle Beach.  Same clothes, same hotel.  THREE DAYS.  I’m choosing to omit certain details for personal and legal reasons, but my pupils were HUGE for a majority of that time if you know what I mean. We spent a full 24 hours in the same spot on the beach in deck chairs we stole from a hotel. We were there as the tide came in and the water was up to our butts and we were still there when it receded and we watched both the sunrise and the sunset that day. Pretty sure I had full-on conversations with seagulls.

“Joey, it’s time to go.  I think I just got fired from my job.”

Into the car we go.  Driving, driving, driving.  Hmm….I don’t remember passing Washington, D.C. on the way there.  Curious.  What was even more curious was the fact that it looked liked we were going there.

Shit.  We’re going to DC. How the hell does this man know his way around the country without maps or cell phones?

“I just wanna check it out.” Again, more giggles.  Joe.  Jo-Jo.  Joe to the O.  Joey Oey.

Pupils huge, we took a bus tour around the city.  In Arlington Cemetery, Joe decided to wander away from the group.  Reluctantly, I followed.  Naturally, the tour group moved on.  Suddenly,  we’re stranded miles from the car.  Miles and miles.  And miles. We walked those miles, all the way back to the car.  In Birkenstock’s.  Hey, it was the 90′s and we were Smot Pokers.

Well, we made it to the car.  We didn’t spend the night there but instead drove to where I had hoped would be home.

Nope.  NYC is not my home.  It’s about 5 hours away from it.

Pupils still huge, we walked that city.  We spent hours in Central Park where I watched a foreign man teach an American woman how to fly a kite, pooped in a McDonald’s that had two stories with a man playing classical music on a Grand Piano, strolled down Broadway and then SOMEONE thought it’d be a brilliant idea to walk to the World Trade Center, which was still standing, unaware of it’s tragic future.

Again, we walked.  We WALKED.  We walked until I shed tears because my feet hurt (again, Birks).  It was getting dark and those buildings were not getting any closer.  I finally convinced Joe to hop on the Subway and we eventually found our way back to the car and decided to go home. That’s a story in itself, I won’t go into it here.  Finally.  Home!

As we’re driving back, Joe suddenly says to me “Buckle up.  Sit up straight.  Look ahead.  I don’t have my license, the car isn’t registered and there’s a cop behind us.”

I stopped rolling up that piece of paper I was playing with that had pretty flowers in it and held my breath until they passed.  Then I smacked the shit out of him for taking me on a week long road trip with no license and an unregistered car.  It was the best trip of my life.

Upon my arrival home at two in the morning I ran into the apartment I shared with my boyfriend, jumped on the bed, scared the shit out of him and then explained myself. Still to this day I don’t know if I called a single person to tell them where I was.

I miss that man so much. We lost Joey almost eighteen years ago and I often wonder how different my life would be if he was still alive. I can’t dwell on the loss because I get WAY too deep in my mind. This is one of the fondest memories I have of Joey and I am truly honored to have lived a life with a man who lived life so carefree and allowed me to be a part of it. Love you, Joey. Hope you and my sister found each other. Next time I’ll tell you about our trip to the zoo!

Cops, They Love Me

That’s my cop face. I would be a hot cop.

Like REALLY love me.

I was totally lacking insperado this afternoon and was just farting around until I decided what I wanted to write when I passed a cop on the other side of the highway who had someone pulled over for whatever.  Now, I’m driving in the opposite direction with a median separating us and everyone going my way slowed down.  Not me.  That’s stupid.  First of all, the cop is on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY and secondly – HE’S BUSY.

Now I know my friend Shelly said her bro once passed a cop who had someone pulled over and said cop took the registration and ID of the guy he had pulled over and chased her brother down to give him a ticket.  Total douche move.  If I was the one pulled over and my personal info was taken on a high-speed chase, all hell would break loose.

My point is that this cop today was on the other side of the highway with a median between us.  Everyone slammed on their breaks.  Not me!  Hells to the no!  I went all NASCAR on their asses and weaved my way through the traffic.  I’m so badass.

This reminded me of a story so very, very bad I just have to tell it.  In my defense, I attempted to be responsible.  It was NOT my fault.  Nope.

Okay, so this was right after 9/11.  I worked for an airline in Syracuse, NY.  During those first few post 9/11 months, the airport was loaded with employees, police and the National Guard.  We all became friends.  One National Guardsman let me borrow a CD called “Porno Sonic”.  I never gave it back.  It was narrated by Ron Jeremy and was all porno beats.  He should have known better.

We also all frequented the same bar after we got out of work.  I’d actually have pilots who would call in (the overnight crews) ask “Is this Julie?” and when I said of course (because why wouldn’t they recognize my voice over the FAA dispatch?), they’d always ask where I was taking them.  I always had the same answer.  I also made sure they had a cab.  That bar was basically a straight shot to my house.

So this one day, I’m hanging out at our bar and there’s this one cop who has the hots for me.  Big time.  He’d been after me for weeks and it was just never going to happen.  Nope.  Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let him buy me drinks though.  After all, it’s rude to turn a drink down when it’s being offered.  It’s all about common courtesy.

I do like to drive responsibly and I keep my eye on the time and always switch to water by 12:00 (we never left there until around 3:00AM) and I was starting to feel a pretty solid buzz by then.  It was going to take a swift vomit followed by a McDonalds run to avoid THAT hangover.  I was about 22 so don’t judge.  Remember when YOU were 22?  Right? Right.

Well Mr. McCoppy Pants is INSISTING I keep drinking.  He’s INSISTING he will pay.  I flat out told him I’m going to get tanked and I will not party with a bunch of off-duty cops and then drive home.  My step-father was killed by a drunk driver and I’m sure we’ve all made our mistakes but that 2AM ride home is precious to me and I prefer to get home unscathed.

This is where it gets cool as hell horrible.  Mr. McCoppy Pants makes himself a phone call.  He and his officer buddies are all hanging out with me and my co-workers and friends (I knew the bar owner and all the employees – I need to look them up on Facebook, thanks for the reminder) when all of the sudden two police showed up at the bar. Their assignment?  ME.

It was about one o’clock in the morning.  I had at least an hour to kill and like I said, we usually sailed past two.  We were the elite – the airline employees after 9/11.  Their mission?  To guard me.   I now had no excuse to stop drinking.  I was told those exact words.  Save for the fact that alcohol poisoning was not in my future (but let’s face it, I’m Irish and Polish.  It takes A LOT to put me down.  Just sayin’), I got drunk.  Flat out drunk.

Don’t blame me.  I was young and the police TOLD me to.

I’m fairly sure Mr. McCoppy Pants was awful let down when I high-fived my way out of the bar with my two rookie cops.  On the way out, I asked them what the game plan was.  I figured one would drive me and the other one would follow so the driver could get a ride back to the other car.

NOPE.

I imagine had I thought of that, it would have happened but their idea?  Sandwich me.  I was like royalty.  With one car in front and one behind, they escorted me home with lights blaring above.  Frankly, I hated every second of it.  It was without a doubt one of the coolest stories I have to tell, but their lights made me dizzy and they wouldn’t stop off at McDonalds so I had to do the vomit followed by whatever leftovers I had in the fridge so I could fight the potential hangover headed my way.

The next morning I had to get a ride into work because I still had a buzz.  Yep.  I was a gate agent and I boarded the 6AM flight after about three hours of sleep DRUNK (I was 22).  I remember slamming water and it just amped up the buzz.  My co-worker Lisa said to me “NO! No, Julie!  You can’t DRINK WATER after a night like that!  It’ll just stir up all the shit and bring the drunk back!  If you’re thirsty, just get a glass of ice water and stick your tongue in it.”

So that’s what I did.

After lapping up ice water like a drunk puppy who just had a Presidential police escort home from the bar, I successfully boarded 48 people on a regional jet to Newark.

I am shamefully (because I’m assuming you think I should be) AWESOME.

Why I Go Out Every Night

So I’m fairly sure I have people in my family or friends on Facebook who have noticed that I have a pretty extensive social life, I think it’s time to tell you why.

My whole life I’ve thrived when I was around people. I love to talk, I love to listen, I LOVE to sing. Most of you know my hubs and I were briefly separated in part due to my social life but at the time I was drinking heavily, that’s pretty well known. After we got back together I stopped going out completely. That was all well and good because the kids were still fairly young so I could focus all of my attention on them.

As the years went by I started having massive agoraphobia and anxiety issues. I couldn’t go to the store, I couldn’t go to my neighbors parties, I just couldn’t function in society. I was on SO MANY PILLS and I lost all of my confidence and creativity, I even stopped blogging.

After my dog passed it got worse, I was officially alone in the house. Everyone was at work or school all day and while I am one to sleep late I wasn’t sleeping so late that I wasn’t alone the bulk of my day. There were times I was overwhelmed with loneliness and sadness, my only friends were those I had never met on Facebook who I adore and am still friends with to this day.

About a year after Tribute died I asked if we could get another dog. I was so lonely I said, and Ryan was so amazing and we got Lex the next day. That was great for me. I put ALL of my time into raising and training him and I started going to the local dog park. I was feeling better.

I continued going to the dog park for a while but even then I got anxiety. He has a lot of energy and when fights broke out he was like “YAYYYY I WANNA FIGHT TOOOO!!!” and I would stress out. I started taking him on the off-hours when nobody was there. Once again, I was getting back into my antisocial ways.

Then one day last March I wrote a very long post in my local Fort Mill moms Facebook page about how sad I was, how lonely. How I don’t remember what a tribe feels like and I am so scared and awkward would someone please help me?

I got about one hundred replies. I was so overwhelmed. I started scheduling lunch dates with some amazing women (I love you Stephanie!) and met about seven women. I also was bold enough to ask if anyone wanted to try the local karaoke we had on Wednesday nights at Blue Olive, THAT is where my life began.

Singing is everything to me. The first time I went I met a wonderful lady and we listened and talked but I didn’t sing. I went back two weeks later and met my now sister, Dee. Holy moly did we click. The karaoke host, Nick, welcomed us in and made us comfortable and I was talked into singing a song, it was a disaster. Won’t go into that.

So after that Dee and I decided we would go every Wednesday. My confidence grew, we started meeting people, we started making friends. Life was great.

Fast forward again a few months and Blue closes with the promise it will open again soon (still waiting Sal, get a move on.) I felt lost without a home base. Nick the karaoke host said he bartends on Monday’s at the pizza place we go to in Rock Hill, Empire Pizza. So to Empire I went.

Here is where it morphed into nightly. I snore. Loudly. It was summer time and there weren’t any house rules, kids can do as they please with sleep and play, we never saw them. Ryan mentioned how he wasn’t sleeping well because my snoring like a freight train was waking him up. My suggestion was that I stay up until 5:00 when he wakes up, then I will go to sleep. I already went to bed at 2:00, I prefer staying up at night and sleeping all day so lets give that a shot. The stipulation was I had to go hang out on the picnic tables at Empire drinking my Diet Coke until the bar closed because sitting alone on my couch from 9:00-5:00 while Ryan slept and the kids gamed was just as emotionally damaging as it was in years past, I had to surround myself with people and I HAD to have that experience to be able to get myself to stay up that late or I would be so bored I would take my pills early just so the night would end.

It’s a situation that works for the family. The kids don’t want to hang with their parents, they want to mess around with their friends, my husband wants to sleep. I sleep from 6:00-3:00 and we do homeschooling when I wake up. The kids are getting straight A’s, my husband is sleeping through the night, and I am SO FREAKING HAPPY. I have friends, good friends. I am a regular, I have confidence, I sing boldly and without abandon. In the months since I started going I’ve also started hanging out at my brother Dex’s house from 2:00-4:00. That just helps me all the more. I listen to music (you guys, I like country now), I watch LetterKenny, I listen to the different animals in the woods behind the porch we sit on.

I’m happy, my kids are happy, my friends are happy, and my husband is happy. It took getting used to for all of us I think but I am with people we all trust to keep me safe, I don’t get hit on or harrassed, I only drink water or Diet Coke, and I have good, wholesome fun.

So for all of you curious lurkers on Facebook seeing pictures of my social life thinking “She’s abandoned her family and is hanging out with girls and a guy!” *GASP!* Just know I am with people who are now a part of my family. I don’t just see these people at the bar, Dex in particular. He came over for Christmas with his mom, he took my kids fishing for the first time, and he is about to take the whole family to the shooting range for our birthday so we can see what it’s like to shoot a shotgun because he is taking Jake turkey hunting for his fifteenth birthday. He is my brother, regardless of DNA. He is the uncle to my kids. He loves Ryan. EVERYTHING AT HOME IS WONDERFUL.

So there you have it. I left out a lot of details believe it or not, I know this was a long post. I felt like it was long overdue. Since I have started this new lilfestyle I am off antidepressants, take half the bipolar meds, take one Xanax where I used to take four, and barely need sleeping pills. I’m happy, I’m healthy, and I’m fulfilled. I also have my creativity back which is why I have started blogging again. I thank all of you for reading and I thank you all for your continue support.

#EndRant

The Time We Stole The Coats From The Car

SO.  This one time, when I was roughly eighteen I went out with my two brothers, my then boyfriend, and my dad to an eighteen and over club to hang out.  Of course it was winter, since it’s winter nine out of twelve months in Syracuse, NY we all had our coats on. Walking into the club we took them off to show off how awesome we all looked (we’re a great looking group of people – I have good genes) and we put our coats in a pile at a table.

I must say I had reservations about doing that but I was assured I had nothing to worry about so on we went to drink (I looked 21) and dance and have a grand old time on our Saturday night ritual.

Roughly two hours later we went back to the coats, I think my boyfriend wanted a smoke, only to find them gone.  In a panic we all spread out to go look for them. Someone asked the door guy if he had seen them and he said he hadn’t.  We then decided to take the search outside. Well that didn’t take long! The very first car we saw, parked RIGHT OUTSIDE THE MAIN DOOR was full of coats!

We talked about ways to get in there, smash the windows?  Jimmy the locks? Then my brother discovered something – the doors were unlocked.  The thieves must have been working quickly and didn’t want to have to worry about unlocking the car every time they jacked a coat.  After popping the trunk we found all of our coats sitting right on top and helped ourselves to them. We were young and dumb and pissed so we also helped ourselves to a few others (I got a great leather jacket out of the deal).

I thought we were done at that point and were going to get in the getaway car my dad had ready for us all warmed up and ready to go but no, my brothers had a totally different idea.  Again, they were punks and we were young. One brother brought a knife out and slashed the tires and the other kicked the windows in. I must say that was pretty badass, he jumped off the ground and his feet went through the windows and he didn’t land on his ass.  He was a total ninja.

NOW we jumped in the getaway car and sped off.  I can’t remember for sure but I think one of my brothers told the bouncer someone had vandalized a car on our way out.  Ballsy. From what I understand, the bouncer was actually in on it so it was good that my brothers run fast or this story might be way longer.

Now comes the part that cracks me up.  We were all pumped. Adrenaline flowing through us because we basically committed a crime (Statue of limitations has passed, I can totally tell this story lol) and we headed to a nearby gas station to buy some beers.

My father is a pretty straight edge guy.  Been my role model since birth, I’ve never seen him do a thing wrong.  He didn’t touch that car he simply drove his punk kids away from it, happy to have his coat back.  That made what he did once we got to the gas station that much better – he jumped in a parked car next to us in the parking lot and stole their car lighter from their car because his was missing.  I don’t think there will ever come a time when I won’t find that absolutely hilarious.

So there you have it!  The time we stole the coats – our own coats.  Needless to say we never went back to that club again, we found a new one to frequent and we learned to keep our coats locked up in our cars and just dealt with freezing from the walk to the car to the club.  Ahh…my childhood. Thank God for therapy!

That Time I Met the Guy From Train

Okay, so you all know I lost a little over one hundred pounds using the Wii Fit.  If you don’t, there’s a link at the top of this page that will direct you to it. Well back when the story launched, I became VERY popular.  At that point it had only been sixty pounds but the Wii Fit was new so this was a huge story. I was interviewed by both local and national news channels and was featured in TV segments, radio interviews and had a ton of print press on how I did it and all that good stuff.

So one day I was asked to join our local Fox News morning show for some weird cooking segment that had absolutely nothing to do with the Wii Fit (I still talked about it but cooking?  Weird.) and being me I naturally said “Umm…Yes.” and a week later at six AM I was shuffled into the Fox headquarters to be prepped for my interview.

This is where it gets awesome.  Being completely vain and arrogant as I usually strive to be, I assumed I was the star of the show.  There I was sitting in the green room with this dude who I thought looked like a janitor who I assumed was put there to entertain me while I waited to be introduced.

Janitor guy and I chatted it up a bit and I thought he was super nice and when I was called on set he was still sitting on the couch so I thanked him for keeping me company and proceeded to go ahead with my interview.  Seconds after it was finished I was pushed in the back hurriedly and told I needed to get off set and out of the building as quickly as possible. I saw a crowd of people around the janitor hustling him on set and I jumped up and down asking why everyone was so interested in the janitor. I said it just like that.  The janitor.

I have never had anyone look at me the way the guy in front of me did.  I was clearly the dumbest person he had ever met. Pointing at the janitor sitting on the stage holding a children’s book was Pat Monahan, the lead singer from Train.  Pat was my janitor. I was SO PISSED. If I knew he was the singer of “Soul Sister” I would have been humping his leg or at least asking for a picture because I love the shit out of that song and have even sung it at karaoke a few times.  I can’t help jumping up and down squealing like a teenager every time I hear it.

So off I went, head hanging low because I was not in fact the star of the show and feeling like a total idiot for assuming the lead singer of train was a janitor sent to amuse me.

At least he succeeded!