How I Got AF AF

In Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive... on October 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Ahhh! The first drink of the evening…. so breezy, so relaxing….the clink of the ice, a shot or two (or three!) of good vodka- a spritz of fresh grapefruit juice. Mmmm. What a way to end the day, welcome in the evening, clear my mind! The soothing effect after the first gulp…like if maple syrup were made of peace and tranquility, slowly-so slowly- dripping from my throat to my toes. Literally saying ‘Ahhh!’ out loud because it feels so good.

A little while later- say an hour (or is it five minutes?) it’s time for drink #2. Drink #2 doesn’t have half the magic of the first. I mean- it’s good and all, but there’s no….relief. Instead it’s more of an assumption- it is loaded in to maintain a feeling that it already gone-that was gone in less than five minutes, that needs a full night/day/night cycle to return. Regardless- I keep drinking to drink #3 which is my ‘limit’…unless its say, a holiday, football Sunday, a barbecue, or (especially) a pandemic.

I’ve been drinking for many years. Not in the morning, not hard liquor straight out of the bottle, not getting DUI’s, not ruining my life (although much of the drama of my twenties, and even thirties could be attributed to it, if I were willing to look with a critical eye! If I, like most humans, didn’t make up stories in order to live!) I’ve been in on the ‘wink!’ that motherhood and womanhood is so much easier with beer, wine, mixed drinks…whatever your ‘poison’. I’ve laughed and laughed at memoirs about women dealing with life ala alcohol and quite frankly, they’ve made me feel better about myself…because if we’re ‘all’ doing it, it’s a ‘thing’, it’s acceptable.

In the back of my mind though….there was always this tiny, unsettling feeling that there was something ‘off’ about drinking. I looked so forward to my evening vodka-grapefruit that there was a sense of the rest of my life being something I needed to ‘get over with’ so I could clear my chores and activities to do the one true thing I enjoyed: Drink. And once I sat down with the nightly drink, all other things were off the docket- except maybe reading before bed.

Drinking caused me to be bloated, and once buzzed I gave myself permission to open up the refrigerator and grab a little something (or three) because alcohol stimulates the appetite and decreases inhibitions, which is the perfect storm for bad eating decisions. I’m not talking about being skinny or vain or embracing being curvy. I’m talking about being reasonably healthy and not waking up feeling like a puffer-fish. A puffer fish with a headache!

Now add in the Pandemic and we’ve got a recipe for-if not disaster, then at least the worry that when it’s all over (if it’s all over) I’m going to be emerging as a lumbering alcoholic with negative self esteem. Understand that I have nothing against drinking other than the fact that in some instances I have no off switch and so drinking is not a take it or leave it for me. It affects my diet, my sleep, my confidence and my energy level. This is not the case for many others and I envy them their casual relationship with spirits!

How did I do it? On May 7th I stayed alcohol free, put a gold star on my calendar and began reading books about people-mostly women- getting sober. I read about 20 of these books- everything from ‘Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, ‘Dry’ by Augusten Burroughs, ‘Lit ‘by Mary Karr, ‘The Recovering’ by Leslie Jamison, ‘The Sober Diaries’ by Clare Pooley, ‘Un wasted’ by Sacha Z. Scoblic….and many others. I owned some of them, I bought some, I got some from the library. I read every night for at least an hour, often more.

I’m making it sound easy- of course it was a challenge at times, longing for a drink. But as the number of alcohol free days grew so did my determination. Today is Day 162 and I have not had a sip. I sleep like a bear and have amazing dreams, eat normally and feel very in control of my life. It’s as if there is are embers glowing inside my chest, the feeling of well being so comforting. It’s NOT boring. In fact, I think that the feeling I was searching for through alcohol was actually already installed- only my drinking kept putting those embers out! Also-Bonus: no more social anxiety! Which is huge! I realize that being in quarantine makes that a little easier, but when I do go out-wearing a mask every time- I have no anxious feelings or weird ‘am I worthy’ conversations in my head. I know it’s a little early, but I honestly don’t see myself going back to booze, something I never thought I’d say. Five out of five, highly recommend.

October ’20

In Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive... on September 26, 2020 at 11:12 am

Ok, so I’ve been working on a new blog for waaaay too long and decided to set this old one to public again rather than struggling with the importing, etc. Some posts here quite dated, others not so much. I’m not happy with the moniker ‘Kick In The Cornflakes’ anymore, but blah-blah-blah. Hopefully the new one will be ready soon.

And as always- If you read anything of mine- ever!– thanks!

Unfriending Facebook

In Should I Even Be Talking About This? on April 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm

A lot of people still feel like kids around their parents, regardless of age.They slip into old roles- like assigned seats- despite being full-on adults. The same thing can happen with old friends, and it’s surprising how those roles are as easily worn as a 70’s wrap dress or a soft pair of sweats.

Facebook and other social media sites make it even more pronounced- sans nuance, no one can be sure about intent- sarcasm comes out mean, humor comes out mean, mean comes out funny, and on and on. (Fact: people fall for ‘The Onion’ everyday regardless of how preposterous the headline)

After taking a year long break from Facebook, I decided to re-up one day on a whim. Maybe I was being too hard on poor FB? I mean- everybody’s on it, right?

Soon, very soon, I was back on that black cloud. There’s something- an ‘essence’ or ‘vibe’ that makes it a downer. Of course, this vibe doesn’t kick in right away-otherwise there would be no Facebook. Rather-it builds up slowly, and comes on silently- like being poisoned with carbon monoxide through a tiny hole in the duct system. It takes a while, but by the time you’re sleepy, it’s too late. You’ve been poisoned.

On Facebook, everyone’s talking, but no one’s saying anything. Old friends demonstrate why they are old friends with rampant, raw racism (so much of that! Apparently, many of my middle and high school friends were hiding white hoods in the back of their closets! Hand to god, it’s shocking!) twisted politics (example: people who get any kind of government assistance complaining about other people getting assistance, people who don’t have jobs posting anti-Monday sentiment and all manner of blatant hypocrisy) Exhibiting the spelling skills of second graders (often while simultaneously  bragging about the local school system) Posting platitudes that I,  far from a genius, can mentally pick apart in two seconds (“Follow Your Bliss’- what if mine is hookers and cocaine?) along with photos of food (the eternal wtf?) not to mention the incessant humble-bragging (as if no one is cracking that code!).. it’s all such nonsense! I thought we were better, smarter and a hell of a lot more humble than that. I was wrong.

(I imagine if there is any real FB honesty it’s in the private messages people write behind each others backs, or the lurking on a mutual’s page with intent to pick it apart)

Facebook pages are curated like museums-and even though this seems ridiculously obvious to some of us, an incredibly large number of people buy into it! Some even  suffer from gnawing jealousy and/or obsession with certain ‘friend’s’ Facebook pages. To be clear: this envy is of lives that don’t even exist in the first place! Sadder still is the sweeping human instinct to actually curate a fake existence in a conscious attempt to make others feel less than. Social media has turned what was once deemed a character flaw into a sport. Keeping up with the Jones’s can now be mainlined every day, creating ‘junkies’ for the  edited, virtual world others are creating out of sheer spite. How difficult is it to cherry pick the sizzle reel, while hiding the untoward? Easy Peasy Lil’ Weezy!

Why does human nature propel people to knowingly try to inflict pain upon one another? Why would anyone want to be the source of someone else’s misery? Jealousy-if that’s what you’re going for (and you are!) feels bad! Why do so many people want their pretty (posed, airbrushed) pictures and (leased, debt-incurring) possessions to make other people feel like shit? Isn’t that a nasty sentiment? Do you feel like I do- that if we could get to the bottom of what drives people to be like this, we could improve the human condition by leaps and bounds?

I know a few people who regularly check the pages of those who make them feel ‘less than’. They buy into the hand picked Facebook ‘stories’ posted by calculated ‘keep-up-with-the-Jones’-types. They come away from these sessions depressed and slumped over. They can’t seem to stop this self-inflicted habit. Why? There is such power in not ingesting the poison! Don’t drink the Kool-Aid! Stay away! Not to mention, privacy is the real precious gold- and it is becoming as rare as the Hope diamond!

Facebook is the long-winded Christmas letter that won’t stop arriving. A boon for the blowhards, an albatross for those who buy in.  I say- if something makes you feel bad, feels inauthentic or is mean-spirited, leave it alone! Life is too short to spend it engaging with toxic people who want you to feel bad about lives they are inventing! It’s all smoke and mirrors! Block Facebook, the news, the political maelstrom, the frenemies- stop letting this negativity color your life and your mood. Stop inviting it into your day-to-day!

Then- and only then, can you appreciate your  life and the good things in  your own backyard. And who isn’t happy- relieved even!– to be the kind of person who doesn’t have to rub someone else’s nose in the dirt to feel good about yourself? Or feel compelled to post scenes from your (edited) life onto social media to validate your (invented, cropped, filtered) existence?  The world needs more people who are rooting for other people, not bashing them! And we all need a break from ridiculously fragmented, out of context narratives, written in poison pen, for spite,  these frenemies coiled up on your ‘friends’ list, waiting to strike.



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