After juggling several part-time jobs since grad school, I started a new full-time job a year ago. It was definitely a moment to celebrate, and true to form, I celebrated (er, drank) with gusto. The Saturday after being hired, I went out with a good buddy of mine to celebrate (er, DRINK!). S. and I were usually able to keep things calm during an outing together. We could manage dinner and one or two drinks. Amazing, right? However, nights when S. and I joined in with the rest of our little group (“The Four Musketeers”) , all hell would break loose. Those were usually blackout nights.

This particular night started off low-key. Dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant with one martini. We decided to hit up a dive bar after, and our bartender obviously enjoyed the two cute girls at the bar as he was practically handing out drinks to us all night for free. Naturally, I don’t remember leaving the bar that evening. At some point, it was in the back of my mind to call a cab…but I never did. I’m assuming I felt that all would be fine in the 2.5 mile ride back home.

When I woke up that next morning, I felt like hell and had a feeling that something was wrong. I discovered that my car had leaked out all its transmission fluid onto the driveway. Oh, and the driver’s side tire was pretty much gone. Awesome! What should have been a $10 cab ride turned into a $2400 car repair. OUCH. This from someone who was already broke before the car incident. Sigh. Of course I have no idea what the hell I did, and I was so ashamed and upset at myself. But not enough to quit drinking. I made a mental note to cut back, but you all know how that goes.

Fast forward to April. One of my favorite bands, The National, had released their first single off their new album that was coming out in May. The first time I listened to “Demons”, I had to immediately listen to it again. Then I cried. I felt like the song was written for me.

When I think of you in the city
The sight of you among the sites
I get this sudden sinking feeling
Of a man about to fly
Never kept me up before
Now I’ve been awake for days
I can’t fight it anymore
I’m going through an awkward phase
I am secretly in love with
Everyone that I grew up with
Do my crying underwater
I can’t get down any farther
All my drowning friends can see
Now there is no running from it
It’s become the crux of me
I wish that I could rise above it But I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons

Passing buzzards in the sky
Alligators in the sewers
I don’t even wonder why
Hide among the under views
Huddle with them all night long
The worried talk to god goes on
I sincerely tried to love it
Wish that I could rise above it

But I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons

Can I stay here? I can sleep
On the floor
Paint the blood and hang the palms
On the door
Do not think I’m going places anymore
Wanna see the sun come up above New York
Oh, everyday I start so great
Then the sunlight dims
Less I’ve learned
The more I see the pythons and the limbs
Do not know what’s wrong with me
Sours in the cup
When I walk into a room
I do not light it up

So I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons
I stay down
With my demons

I wondered if I would always “stay down with my demons”. Their album “Trouble Will Find Me” was released right after my car accident, and I spent many hours listening to it and reflecting on my life. From the song “Sea of Love”:

If I stay here trouble will find me
If I stay here I’ll never leave
If I stay here trouble will find me
I believe

I knew I couldn’t stay where I was, doing what I was doing. Trouble had already found me, so much more so than the time I passed out in the park…or when I wrecked my car after getting my new job, only to total it and almost kill myself three months later.

Listening to the album still wrecks me emotionally today, but it’s different. I am no longer that person down with their demons. I’m still struggling, but I am in such a better place right now. It’s amazing how much life can change in just one year.

198 Days (!!!)

198! That feels pretty damn awesome. And I am feeling good with my sobriety (though that voice in my head still acts up…like it did at a concert two weeks ago – but I drank Cokes instead of pints and still had a great time). My IOP has changed me in so many ways, and my counselor has been incredibly helpful. I have learned more from her since mid-October than I have from any of the myriad of counselors I’ve seen since college. My last day is Monday, and that does make me a little nervous, though I am stoked to have time for myself again. I’ve been so busy with IOP and work and AA meetings on my days off that I haven’t even had time to exercise or cook. The past month and a half have been a giant blur, but I currently feel much more confident in myself and my sobriety.

As of Friday I officially have a sponsor, and I do believe that I’ve found my AA home group. Last weekend I had a moment of, “Oh my god, I am 33 and in AA. How the fuck did that happen?” But it’s better than being 40 and dead, or not making it to 40 at all. I’m going to keep this post short and sweet though, as I want to talk about the holidays in a day or so. Until then…

155 Days

No, I don’t keep track of the numbers, but I felt it necessary to calculate the days I’ve been sober for my first post. A lot has happened since day one. Day one found me in the ICU unit of a large hospital, family members circled around my bed. I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. Turns out I was life-flighted there from another hospital. I don’t have memory of that either. Or of the car crash. And for that I am thankful. But still, 155 days.

My life has been turned upside down in that time. I’ve been scared. Lonely. Angry. Depressed. Have I mentioned I’ve been scared? But I’m getting through this, day by day.

Reading sobriety blogs and memoirs have been a tremendous help and a huge comfort to me. Because of that, I decided to start this blog so I can get some things off of my chest, to remind myself of where I’ve been, and to possibly bring comfort to others.

Okay, let’s do this.