White Russian: old fashioned glass, add ice, 2oz vodka, 1oz Kahlua, finish with chilled 1% milk… glass size and ice optional, adjust alcohol to taste.
Vodka is best stored in the freezer. Colder the better.
Healthy alternative to pop: fill a glass to within an inch of the brim with club soda, then add your favourite juice.
Some Rules To My Recovery:
1. Take the pills
2. Don’t drink, or use street drugs
3. Get decent sleep
4. See my doctor regularly
I’ve been drunk everyday for the past ten days. I’ve been drinking just enough to get a decently warm buzz, generally just enough to shut my brain down for an evening, or to keep it shut down for a day.
There are two basic reasons why I’ve broken one of my few recovery rules: I’ve been having cravings for a specific drink for a month, and; I lost the ability to use this blog as a means to my recovery — I couldn’t find the time to write, so drinking made sense.
When I first moved back here, six years ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t drink. I’ve been a binge drinker for most of my adult life. I grew up in the poorest (non-reservation) region of Canada (illiteracy rate of 30%, unemployment rate of 40%), so drinking was just something we did in high school. When I started college, using the government support program, alcohol was my second largest expenditure after rent.
When I moved to Toronto in 1998 I was drunk every weekend, after a year it had spread to most weekdays. Basically my weekend binges spread to Thursday, with alternating Monday and Wednesday sessions.
At the time I never thought of my drinking as a crutch, but now I understand the only decent sleep I ever got during those years were the nights I was drunk, or the two days afterwards when I was hungover… this was years before I started my recovery.
I stopped drinking again in 2001, when I started my two year slide back into homelessness and abject poverty. No money, no drinking. I also ended up living in a “dry house” in 2002, it’s a safe place for recovering addicts. It was managed by a friend of mine, so if I wanted to keep living there, I had to be dry.
I’m not an addict. Which, of course, is exactly the kind of slogan addicts carry like a shield. But I’ve done a pretty decent impression of one over the years.
When I moved back to my home town, after hitting rock bottom for a number of reasons — none of which directly involving alcohol — I just accepted the fact that drinking and prescription pills are a stupid combination. So I said “no thanks” when my step-father (repeatedly) offered me wine at dinner. Or when a friend took me out someplace.
After three years without a drop, I finally walked up to my parents’ liquor cart and made myself a drink at Christmas. Basically it was just two fingers of Bailey’s over ice, and it nearly knocked me out.
Over the couple of years since then I’ve had the occasional drink, but this year has been different. On Christmas Eve I plowed back six drinks, at my brothers wedding in February I had eight — all White Russians, by the way. It’s my weapon of choice. Six weeks ago, at my mom’s birthday dinner, I had three more.
I’ve been craving them almost everyday since then. It got so bad that last week I finally bought the ingredients for a White Russian from the liquor store, and I’ve pretty much been drunk ever since.
Alcohol allows me to be distracted easily, but at the same time to concentrate on things which really don’t matter. And I’ve needed some distractions lately.
The need to find a release makes sense to my psychiatrist, even though he totally disapproves of my using the one generally associated with manic depression — those of us with this disease self-medicate more than those without it. He reads this blog, he knows how important a tool it is in my recovery, so he has also noticed the significant drop in my involvement in this blog.
It’s not just the drop in postings, but also the lack of responses to comments which started over a month ago.
So, when your primary recovery tool craps out as an option, the old standbys are always there, ready to take over.
Basically two weeks ago I was ready to explode. My shoulders, lower back, left hip and ankles were in constant pain from stress. I was exhausted from travelling to see my girlfriend in the hospital, and from missing so much sleep from the stress of making sure my girlfriend, and our unborn son, were safe.
That weekend I finally managed to talk to some friends about what was going on, and a lot of the stress was relieved. But I had already made the decision to buy the ingredients. And when my disability cheque came in three days later, I made a trip to the liquor store.
The next day I wrote, for really the first time, about the stress I had been under, and posted it to my blog. A few hours later, just before my Friday appointment with my psychiatrist, I poured everything out to my mother. Then, later on, I did it again with my psychiatrist.
So, after going several months gathering all of this stress unto myself without any serious release, I had poured it out to two friends, to the people who read this blog, to my mother — who was holding back tears from watching me force my life out of my head — and then to my shrink.
So most of the stress, and reason for my wanting to drink, were gone… but I’ve continued to drink.
Because the stress isn’t gone. I’ve just released my brain from having to carry it all by writing and talking about it all. It’s the same as talking things out… we never know if there’s one issue screaming around our head, or a thousand, until we actually take the time to make sense of it all.
But the stress doesn’t go away when we’ve gained some understanding of what’s going on, that’s just the first step. Now we have to actually do things to make the stress stop. Or lessen. Of course drinking a White Russian once I wake up, then another two to six during the day, isn’t going to do anything to help me confront the stress in my life.
Without even knowing about the drinking, my psychiatrist, during our appointment last week, decided I needed to have weekly appointments again. We’ve been on twice monthly visits for a few years now… the last time we were seeing each other weekly was back at the beginning of my recovery.
That’s how screwed up I was… am. I told him about the drinking during today’s appointment. It makes sense to him I’d be searching for alternative recovery tools, since I basically lost the use of this blog. But, again, it’s not a method of dealing with my life that he particularly approves of.
…the problem with having to deal with stress, is finding the time to deal with the stress. And every time I think I’ve dealt with something, some other thing pops up. My girlfriend decided staying in the hospital would be the right thing. But only after I yelled at her. I don’t yell. I cannot remember the last time I ever yelled at anyone.
But yelling worked. My psychiatrist thinks, because her entire family yells at each other all the fucking time, it’s because I was finally speaking in a language she understood. So that stress was gone. But I still had to travel to Ottawa three times last week, and another three times this week.
That’s fifteen hours and 720km in a car, being awake at 5am, getting home after 7pm and spending all day standing around a hospital.
Plus my landlord, way back in September, handed me $550 worth of hydro and gas bills he’d been hoarding since last March. So, after cutting him three cheques (Oct: $150, Nov: $250, Dec: $150), I’ve been broke like I used to be when I was on social assistance.
And now my girlfriend is home… on a “twenty-four hour pass” from the hospital. She’s here for an overnight stay so she can attend her son’s fourth birthday party. I don’t like that she’s here, but I understand why she needed to be here, and I even support it. But it’s an additional stress.
She got here just after dinner on Friday, and she’s going back up on Saturday night. I spent most of the evening doing what I could for her. We had pizza and watched a zombie movie. But she told me her father had driven like a lunatic coming here from the hospital, which stressed her out. Then they stopped at a Toy’s R Us, to buy her son a present, and she ended up walking for half an hour… which is exactly fifteen minutes more than the doctor told her it was safe to walk.
Of course they also told her not to drive anywhere.
And when she got here she got into a phone fight with her mother, and her ex-husband about her son’s party. After she got off the phone with one of them I told her no more phone calls while she was home. The party is being organized by other people, all she has to do is show up at 2pm and hug her son.
So maybe it’s best to just keep up with the drinking… my alcohol will run out by Monday anyway, and I can’t afford a refill. Which is probably for the best.