Another college binge-drinking casualty…

All is well with my probation officer. We met up Wednesday morning, and talked about my probation-related anxiety. She was surprised at how rattled I was, especially since I am and have been doing all that I need to. She’s also tried to get me out of my probation early, but my judge said it’s a no-go. I just did an online calculation and I have 104 more days until this all goes away (at least from a legal standpoint). It’s been quite the ordeal, but I am grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned as a result of my actions.

I saw an article on Facebook earlier this week that crumpled my heart into a sad little ball. Have you heard about Erica Buschick? She was an 18 year old freshman at Miami University (in Ohio, my state), who died after a night of binge drinking. Her BAC was 0.347. A person in Ohio is considered legally intoxicated at 0.08. The night of my car accident, blood was taken at the first hospital I was at before I was life flighted. It was a 0.275. At a 0.25 BAC, “All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.” At a 0.35 BAC “Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia.” Info on BAC found here.

Wrap your brain around those numbers, and the fact that she was only 18. Because I just seem to love to feel my blood pressure rise, I read the comments on some of the articles about her death. Thankfully there were some level-headed ones too, which pointed out that many people forget how dangerous alcohol can be. This story struck a nerve with me, because I had a terrible night my freshman year in college that could have turned out the same way. In my case, I am lucky that my friends thought to turn me on my side, or I know that I would have asphyxiated on my vomit.

bottle

That’s me a couple months shy of 19 with my dorm neighbor Morgan, freshman year at college, holding the bottle that could have killed me like it was a prize. I was proud of that damn bottle! Or something like pride. I’m not really sure how to describe it.

Our incident with this bottle occurred the first weekend back to school in January after winter break. I remember thinking that I needed to stay in that weekend, to not get off to a crazy start partying like I did fall semester. I’m not sure how our impromptu party started, but Morgan came back from winter break with the booze. I ended up in her room that night, hanging out in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, Hi-C juice boxes in tow to act as a chaser. A picture of me survives from that night, and I almost posted it. I’m sitting on the floor, my fist in the air, eye squinted shut with a huge smile, triumphantly wasted. A bunch of my dorm friends are standing around me, laughing at the drunk girl.  My roomie Julie also chose to stay in that night, but Morgan and I kept drunk calling her and singing Janis Joplin.

Morgan and I did shots of that bottle in rapid-fire succession until it was gone. I’d heard that we finished it in 45 minutes or so. We spilled a little bit of it at one point, and apparently I licked that vodka off the floor. Morgan eventually got thrown into one of the showers. I was out cold in her room, so a bunch of the girls picked me up and carried me next door to my dorm. Days later when I was finally able to to be up and shower, I discovered a giant bruise on my hip and thigh. That was from when the girls dropped me (carrying dead weight is hard and at 5’10 I’ve never been a slight, little person).

I lost that entire weekend, and I’m incredibly lucky that I didn’t lose my life as well. My roommate and dorm buddies were too scared to get our RA and ask for help for fear that they would get in trouble. I could have died from alcohol poisoning! Since they could not rouse me at all, they left me. Julie popped her head in from time to time, and at some point I started vomiting. She was forced to sleep in a different dorm on our floor all weekend because of the smell. I pretty much laid in my own puke for two whole days. At one point I was able to stumble and crawl down the hall to the bathroom. I ended up passing out in a stall, on the toilet.

After all that, here I am a few weeks later smiling in that photo. I could probably blog for weeks about college alcohol tales, but that’s boring. I’m not trying to glorify the past, but hearing the news about Erica brought all this back. Her fate so easily could have been mine. Of course I didn’t slow down my drinking after that. I was in college! In another Ohio university (like Erica was at) in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do but drink (or so we thought). I tended to shy away from shots after that point, preferring to get to my needed-level of drunkenness to dance, converse and flirt with the opposite sex via beer, which didn’t make me quite as catatonic. I do feel however, that I could blog quite extensively about alcohol and sexual behavior…

My fellow blogging friends, did you have a horror night like this in college or in your 20s? Did it make you stop or did you continue on? I’m curious to hear what you have to say. And I will continue to extend my sympathies via prayer to Erica’s family and friends. Parents should not have to bury their children. Just a sad, sad situation.

Adventures of Anxiety Girl!

anxiety-girl

 

My depression and anxiety are a million times better in sobriety, but sometimes they still get the best of me. The past week has been a rough one, and I’m fighting these feelings instead of turning my worries and problems over to my Higher Power. Two years ago when I was working with my sponsor E., she would always tell me to put down the boxing gloves.

Me: (overwhelmed. struggling. flailing!)

E: KC, quit fighting yourself. PUT DOWN THE BOXING GLOVES. Turn it over!

Me: But I’ve been fighting myself my entire life! THIS IS WHAT I DO.

E: And where has that gotten you?

Me: Le sigh…okay, fine. (prays, asks for help and acceptance.)

Two days later…

Me: Hey, E! I feel so much better. Why didn’t I turn my problems over sooner?

E: Told you so! That’s why I’m the sponsor and you are the sponsee. (wink, wink)

I’m struggling with a few things that I’d previously had a handle on. But as time moved on and life didn’t move in the direction I had hoped it would by my time frame, I’ve gotten angsty. Frustrated. Completely bummed out. Last fall I kept thinking, okay. This is going to happen when it is supposed to happen. In God’s time! It’s going to work out when it is supposed to. But I’ve gradually lost faith of it happening because it hasn’t happened yet. Looking back on my life post-car accident, I’ve been able to see that everything has happened when the timing was right.People, places and things worked out when they needed to. When I kept doing what I needed to in the program, when I stayed in the middle of the bed (so to speak), the magic happened.

Note to self: pray, turn it over, help another alcoholic, have faith. You’re gonna be fine!

An unrelated source of anxiety is my probation. It officially ends on June 9. I’ve lived in perpetual fear since being released from jail that I would make one wrong move and/or forget to do something, and I’d be immediately booted to prison. Since moving back to Akron and getting my probation transferred to a much bigger county with more crime, I am small potatoes here. Instead of seeing my PO each month, I go to the police station downtown and check in to a kiosk. I’ve only had to see my PO when I moved down here, and when I’ve needed to fill out paperwork that grants me permission to travel out of state.

Despite marking each month’s probation check in multiples time on my Google Calendar, in the past couple years I have woken up several times in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, heart racing, thinking that I missed my check in day. And being terrified of getting shipped to prison. Even jaywalking terrified me for a while! My judge is no joke, and I know that if I even sneezed wrong around that guy, he’d want to ship me out. I promise that I am not overreacting. My anxiety of jaywalking is, however his seriousness is not.

I had to check in yesterday, but the doors were locked. Government offices were closed for President’s Day. I immediately emailed my PO, and told her that the doors were locked, I didn’t see anyone, and that I hope it was okay if I would check in today. My anxiety rose on the bus this morning as I neared the police station (which is conveniently located where I exit the bus every day to walk to work). Worse Case Scenario Girl imagined me checking in, then promptly getting handcuffed and carried out when a buzzer went off. SHE DIDN’T CHECK IN WHEN SHE WAS SUPPOSED. SHE FINALLY FUCKED UP!

My PO told me once that if I was unable to check in on a certain date, to let her know ahead of time. Well, I wasn’t anticipating not being able to check in yesterday but at least I notified her ASAP. Tomorrow I will see her to get some work travel cleared, but I’m still freaked out. Deep down I know that I have nothing to worry about. I’m not a threat to the system in this county. She likes me.But I will still be on edge until I am done talking to her tomorrow. Until then, I know that I need to pray and turn it over. And calm the fuck down! (wink, wink).

I’m Still Standing

Hi all! World’s worst blogger here, but I am still sober. I just looked online to calculate that I am on Day 1374. Not too shabby!

I know I have mentioned this before, but I often think of my blog and feel guilty. My life is great, but I am incredibly busy these days. My blog also didn’t go in the way that I had planned, and that stalled me for a while. I’ve been out of jail for two years now but I had intended to blog about my experience there. I had written for my blog while incarcerated, but the person who had agreed to help me only published once and never gave me the rest of my writing back. You can only depend on yourself, right? Right.

Last year was an incredible one for me personally and professionally. I got to travel to the Outer Banks, Virginia Beach (for a work conference), and Boston. I started sponsoring in AA, and gave a bunch more leads (speaker meetings). Giving a lead still terrifies me, but the payoff is so worth it. In June I got engaged to my best friend! We are getting married in October. Life is moving along at a dizzying pace, but I can remember all of it! No more hangovers, no more guilt, no more shame. Sobriety is and will remain the best thing I’ve ever done.

One of my best friends just joined the program, which was an answer to my prayers. I shared my blog with her, and in doing so, got to go back and relive these entries. I am still grateful for all of you who traveled on this journey with me, and offered encouragement during those early days. The pain is palpable in so many of those posts, and it is a relief to be more settled in sobriety, to have overcome the unimaginable in my life.I hope to be here again on a regular basis, and I will do my best not to let you down.

3 Years

A brief note to let you all know that I am still around and still sober. Three years today! I still cannot believe it, but even better, I am amazed at my life now. Obviously it hasn’t been a cakewalk, but every moment has been worth it. I hope you are all well, and that you are working hard. I lost a member of my support group to suicide on Monday, and it’s left me pretty shaken. At this point, it still doesn’t seem real, but it will be downright painful when we celebrate her life Saturday. This disease is no joke! You’ve got to work your ass off and become uncomfortable to change. You need to reach out and ask for help! People are dying everyday from this. I promise you, your efforts will be rewarded. Don’t leave before the miracle happens.

Much love to you all,

KC

Amy

AMY

I saw the Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy” at an indie theater here in town on Saturday. Obviously, I knew how her story would end, but the film managed to break my heart anyway. Amy died in the summer of 2011, a little less than two years before I decided to choose a life of sobriety. It’s life or death, this whole sobriety business. And it’s hard work. It’s hard work for the rest of our lives, at least I know that’s how it will be for me. My disease lies to me constantly, telling me that it’s really not that big of a deal. But it’s a big fucking deal, and I can never safely drink ever again. Did I ever safely drink to begin with?

I am a fan of Amy’s music, and I find her to be incredibly talented. Her death leaves the mystery of what could have been, same with all the other members of The 27 Club. I remember reading about her disastrous nights out on the town, brawls with her husband, the complete downward spiral of her addictions. At the time, I was probably thinking the same as so many other people. What a waste of talent! Hot mess! Why can’t she get her shit together? Does she want to die?

Through the lens of sobriety, I was able to both sympathize and relate to so much while watching the documentary. Don’t get me wrong, our stories couldn’t possibly be any more different. But as addicts, we all have a lot in common. And I watched in horror as so much of her tragic story could have been prevented. As a celebrity, I cannot fathom how much harder life is. To be scrutinized constantly, followed by paparazzi. That is not normal life. Eventually she wanted to disappear, and I don’t blame her.  And she did disappear, thanks to the help of alcohol and drugs.

Towards the end of her life, she managed to string a month of sobriety together. She picked up again three days before her death. All I could think of while watching was “People, places, things!” That ALL has to change for a sober lifestyle to be maintained. Amy tried, but that piece of the puzzle was never there.

Amy, I hope that you’re at peace now, wherever you may be. Of course I hope the same for the countless people who die everyday from this horrible disease.

Have any of you seen the film? Thoughts?

790 Days

As you’ve all figured out by now, my life has gotten a wee bit hectic. June was a blur, and sadly, it took me a while to figure out that I was neglecting myself. I had no Me Time, no balance. It’s just been go, go go! No wonder I’ve spent this week white-knuckling sobriety.

It’s scary how fast I can go back to being completely self-centered, resentful and ruled by fear. Tonight I went to a meeting that I normally don’t go to, due to the fact that it’s filled with chatty and oft obnoxious millennials. Of course the discussion revolved around my current struggles, and it was a really fantastic meeting. I left feeling five pounds lighter. I now have a clearer picture in my head of what I need to be doing to take care of myself, along with what needs to be done to aid in my recovery. In addition to all this, I hope to utilize this space more. I miss it, and writing here and connecting with others has helped a whole hell of a lot in the past.

How do you, wise readers, seek balance when life feels like a circus?

One Year Ago

My sentencing was one year ago today.

That morning I was escorted out of the courtroom amid the sniffles and sobs of many family members, friends, AA contacts, and colleagues. It was the worst day of my life.

This anniversary has been weighing heavily on me in many ways. I’ve been dreaming about my time in jail constantly, I think I see corrections officers on the street or around campus while I’m working. My time away continues to affect me in weird and profound ways, and I plan on documenting my experiences here.

I had hoped to write about the events of June 9, 2014 here today, but my schedule is wonky. I had to work late, and I have to open the library in the morning (I hate opening shifts – I’m so not a morning person). And well, the Cavs are on (ha). But I plan on doing so in the next couple days.

Until then…