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.

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?

Two Years!

heygirl

So I officially suck at blogging. Sigh. In my defense, I am crazy busy but it’s good busy! Since I was last here I turned 35, got a nasty case of food poisoning (well, that part was bad), started physical therapy for an ankle injury from my jailbird days, found out that I am getting sued (has to do with my accident – also bad, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now so I’m not stressing over it), finally moved my cat from my ex’s place into my apartment, got a promotion at work, and I am still juggling my mandatory four AA meetings a week. I also got my first sponsee last week, but now I think that isn’t going to work out. All I can do is wish her the best at this point. So yeah…I’ve been busy.

Oh, and as of today I’ve been sober for TWO YEARS.

Last year it was a huge relief to hit that one year mark. This time around, it snuck up on me. About a month ago, I had a couple days where I was overcome with anxiety and dread. It was triggered by an episode from Mad Men season seven. Don’s drunken behavior hit too close to home. Big surprise, right? Then I was going through a purse that I must not have used in eons because I dug out some old bar tabs. I quickly turned into a mess and called my sponsor. Instead of looking forward to being sober for two years, all I could think about was how this would be two years since My Accident. Since I went left of center while driving in a blackout and injured an innocent person. I guess this time of year will perpetually be bittersweet.

This blurb from today’s entry of the 24 Hour Book really struck me:

“Turn out all thoughts of doubt and fear and resentment. Never tolerate them if you can help it. Bar the windows and doors of your mind against them, as you would bar your home against a thief who would steal in to take away your treasures. What greater treasures can you have than faith and courage and love? All these are stolen from you by doubt and fear and resentment. Face each day with peace and hope.”

Progress not perfection, friends. I’m excited to see where this next year will take me.

647 Days

Holy shit, you guys! So much is happening. I’m sorry for being quiet but I went through a much needed phase of rebuilding with a wonderful new sponsor. I’ve been working the steps, redid 4 and 5, and have been making amazing progress with myself.

Jail erased all the confidence I’d built up prior to my sentencing, and it physically and mentally wiped me out. I went into survival mode there; it was all I could do. But that’s behind me now and I’m moving forward.

I have gotten a job back with my previous employer: same job title but different department. And I just signed the lease on a cute little studio apartment! I move in this weekend, begin work on Monday.

Holy shit!

My head is spinning.

In the meantime I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that I cannot stop it from spilling over onto my cheeks and down my face. I’m blown away by how fast my life is progressing and moving forward. And I am so thankful for AA! I’ve survived the scariest and most awful moments of my life without having to take solace in a bottle, to remove myself from, well, myself. I am so humbled and so proud!

Once I get settled, I will return to regular posting again. I will have my desktop at my place, and that will help. I’m terrible at using tablets and my phone for long correspondence and blogging. Not my thing.

Thanks for being patient and for following me on this journey! Life is good, and transforming from a glass half-empty person into a glass half-full person is pretty fucking great. I hope you are all well!

13 Months + 3 Days

Robin here. I finally got mail from KC today! Two letters, and she included a blog post in one of them. I’ll pass along any comments you leave. 

Hello from jail! So glad that Robin is able to post for me and that she gave you guys an update about my sentencing. Monday (sentencing day; this was written last week) was obviously awful. The victim did not show up, so unfortunately I did not get to apologize to her in person. Someone read a statement from her. She and her husband have forgiven me, but her family is still really angry. I wish we could have talked in person. I hate that I still don’t have a face to her name.

It took me some time, but I was able to read my full page-long statement to the judge/court. I could hear my family and friends crying as I read it. My lawyer hugged me afterwards. The judge acknowledged my 30 amazing letters of support/character and my achievements since the accident, but showed zero leniency. Six months in this hell hole, license suspended for three years, and three years probation. Even the women I live with here are in utter shock. I’m the only one not here for drugs. I’ve done nothing but rehabilitate myself since the accident, and now I’m taking enormous steps backwards.

My alcoholic thinking got the better of me the first two days here. It was screaming in my head, throwing toddler-style tantrums. I actually cursed my efforts to get well, all the time I spent in counseling, in treatment, in AA. Hundreds of hours felts squandered. In my head the court system didn’t give a shit if I was passed out in a gutter somewhere as they certainly didn’t care that I was a year+ sober

It’s amazing how fucked up our thinking is. I was angry at how hard I worked to turn my life around and achieve sobriety. In reality, all that hard work kept me from having a nervous breakdown these past two months. It’s kept me sane. There is no easier, softer way. This gift of sobriety is something I will have to work hard to maintain for the rest of my life. I have to take it one day at a time, just like this sentence. Looking forward only causes anxiety and stress.

The first couple days here were obviously awful. My body, heart, and mind were in shock. To make matters worse, I had to wait a full week until today (Monday) to go to commissary. All I had for a week was one change of clothes, one blanket (it’s freezing here!), a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. No comb, no shampoo, no pens, paper, snacks, coffee. Thankfully some of the women here helped me out by lending me a comb and shampoo, making me a cup of instant coffee or handing me an apple or a couple cookies. Finding a hair tie under my bed the second day was akin to winning the lottery!

My body is already bruised from my bed. We have a thin bedroll on metal. For the first time in my life I’ve been thankful for not being a petite woman! I can’t imagine how much more painful my bed would be without my extra padding. The food is terrible. Salty and processed, zero fresh vegetables. My fresh fruit is limited to an apple or small orange every other day. The air conditioner freezes us out and we all shiver at night in our metals beds with one blanket. But I have a roof over my head, daily access to a shower, food in my stomach (even if it is gross), and I have the support from so many amazing people. This sucks, but it could be so much worse, you know?

Will send another update for Robin next week. Hope you are all well. I miss you all. Enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, and a salad for me.