Thursday, December 29, 2005

3.......

i guess i haven't been blogging much as i have wanted lately. i've wanted to finish this stream of thought i had started, almost a month ago now. the whole idea behind this exercise came from a friend in duluth who asked me what its like to go to bars now. the first and second posts which ended up being a very vague, yet self exploratory, version of my story. it got a bit off topic and rambley. funny thing was 2 or 3 days after i started this i was actually telling my story to room full of gay drunks at a meeting, weird huh?

well after i left minneapolis on halloween 2002 i though things could only get better. for a very brief time they may have. i was the new housemate of a friend i have known now for almost 20 years. the loose plan was to just chill out and get my bearings straight again. i was laying low and started to go out a little bit here and there, but before i knew it i was wasted again and a lot. in a small town word gets around and i started to get funny looks from people. the frequency with which i heard "i saw you last night man and you were wasted. did you remember running into me at such and such bar?" i more than likely shook it off and said sure, but more than likely not. i was starting to spin out of control again. not aided by the extra ciricular things i was doing in minneapolis i seemed to get drunk faster and harder. within a months time i came home and fell onto an antique end table shattering it, fell asleep with a pizza in the oven and had alienated another long time friend. with a little more time i would loose another job and freak out more people.

things went on like this for almost a half a year. i would try and hide my drinking better, but when you're 265 pounds and blowing a .3 its like elephants in ballet point shoes. i was doing things i wasn't even aware of. things like respirating and sweating so much alcohol that i was detectable from across a room and the distance between blackouts was shortening. at some point i should have learned to cool it, or stop on my own. even ultimatems like choose me or alcohol didn't even phase me. in retropspect i see that my alcoholic was trying to keep the party going, so turning my drinking problem back on someone else seemed ok. at about the six month mark my friend asked me to move out and not call until i got help. i was seething with "this is your fault and has nothing to do with me" and still kept on going.

as far as bars go i was 86'ed from one, had a huge bar tab at another and started to get a bad rep from the cabbies that would scoop me up everynight. at some point hanging out in bars became a part time job. i would work until 9 or 10 and then drink as much as i could as late as i could everynight of the week. i continued to blackout more and more. a friend described my nights like i could drink and drink and drink-they'd turn their back and-bam-the lights were off. at one point i was passing out at the bar, and bartenders were calling friends trying to figure out what to do with me. i didn't even know what to do with me, how would anyone else? i would usually wake up the next day and check my phone for out going calls to try and piece my nights back together. followed by checking my wallet and pockets to see how much money i had left, assess my health, throw up, spend the rest of the day trying to feel physically better, go back to my real job to make enough money to go back out again and do it all over again and again and again......

within one year i had burned through numerous friendships, three apartments, detox twice, outpatient treatment for one day, fired from one job and getting closed to be fired from the current one and having to make up another lie to move into my mom's house at 29 years old, something to the effect of my housemates hate me and blah blah blah. the "idea" was that i would save up enough money to do another geographic rehab. as far as minneapolis to duluth went i kicked what i had been doing so much and so often in the one city, but way over-compensated by drinking even more. thankfully i never made it out west.

living at home should have been enough to get me to stop drinking but it didn't. [at this point scroll to top of this post and repeat]. it wasn't until almost getting kicked out by own mother that i decided to get some help a few months later. january 25, 2004. thankfully i haven't had a drink since then.

as far as going out is concerned i don't think i went out or into a bar until i had been sober for 6+ months. it was a well thought out plan with other sober peers. we had a plan to watch out for each other, stay close by, to support each other and had an exit plan. the exit plan was very simple and i still use it today. if at anytime someone or myself is uncomfortable we/i leave. no let me finish this or 5 minutes, NOW. basically if i'm in a good condition i can be anywhere i want as long as i have a reason to be there. i went out with peers for along time and very rarely, if ever went out alone.

i started to go to more sit down concerts versus bar shows. the patios at coffee shops versus colas at a bars. not going to places i have no business being at, hanging out with people i know i shouldn't be with and basically changing how i felt about the whole scene. downtown on weekeds are still pretty dicey and house parties kind of make me a bit nervous as their are so many variables to take into account and if i'm unsure or have doubts i WILL NOT go. i have my own boundaries and i respect them for what they are and why they are there to begin with. dealing with drunk people really doesn't bother me that much as i have been there and worse plenty to know whats going on. two big and pretty obvious things that you may not do, ecspecially if you know i'm sober, one is push/offer booze to me joking or not and the other is to tell me you wish i still drank. these seem self-explanatory.

i had a pretty big "ah-ha" moment this last summer when i was just out to hang out with some friends at a gay bar up north. i wasn't feeling on edge or in danger, was having an ok time but really just wanted to be at home reading my book. so i said my goodbyes and i left. for someone who didn't remember leaving a bar most of the times he went in one this was pretty huge. my life is really focused on getting up earlier than it is about staying up and out as late as possible.

it reminds me of a time i saw an awesome live show at a beer bar in duluth while i was still drinking. the band wrapped up around midnight and i had just started to get going. i asked a friend if he was going to a liquor bar up the road for last call. he said "no, that their wouldn't be any magic there" like he had just experienced at the show. "what?!"i thought and headed there anyways with a brisk clip, and continued to get as drunk as i liked to back then. it was a big let down compared to the previous high energy show, but that was ok because i was drinking. at some point the going out and having a few became less about fun and more about being necessary. i had stopped doing the things i had done and once loved. family, friends, art, exercise, living and all for a seat at the bar........

Friday, December 09, 2005

part two....

so that summer of being unemployed or unemployable, or able to stay employed, was a wicked hot summer. i had a cute studio+, a block from the walker art center, in the kenwood neighborhood that i couldn't ever really afford. my east facing windows were just above the next building enough to be flooded with light everyday early. which also meant my little hot box of an apartment started cooking then. i would often find myself trying to fall asleep/pass out at this time and would alwyas wake up drenched in sweat, dehydrated and hungover. to move at all in the heat meant sweating, so as a bloated alcoholic filled to the gills with vodka from the night before i was consistently excreting a river of toxins. evening time wasn't much of a reprieve but i did spend many evenings in the air condition comfort of the local bars.

things were in a steady decline at this point. i kept losing jobs, friends were uninterested in hanging out with me, even in the rare sober moments, and my drinking buddies were only around if i had $$$ to be around. i had been to housing court once and almost evicted, but managed to talk my way out of it. my place was even much of a home. i never moved in entirely. no bed, nothing on the walls, no furniture, no working phone-i think you get the idea. i was just there to pass out, bathe, change clothes, ect. i spent alot of time out at the bars or out and about, as my place never was inviting. i never really invited friends over, it was quite embarrasing.

i was still on the dole at this point and would live high off the hog for a crazy, insane few days and then be out shoplifting dinner at a gas station and trying to figure out how many beers my money would buy me and would it be enough. with a budget and and without the monster monkeys on my back i almost could have made the ends meet. instead i would call up my folks and hit them up for rent $$$ with some lie or another, and then sometimes not even pay rent with it.

somehow i got the wait job i had lost back. i played it cool for awhile and before i knew it, it was business as usual. keeping with that i was fired again. the steady decline was more like a nose dive at this point. i was going to be evicted again, but my landlords gave me the option to move out-"to just go". at the same time an old friend of mine offered me housing in duluth and i thought i had hit bottom. in a shaky, teary blur i packed up the things i felt i couldn't leave behind. mostly photography, art, clothes, the cds i hadn't sold, a half a set of dishes (the other half i left dirty in the sink) and asst. odds and ends. i could only take what would fit in a ford taurus. i left that place in such a shambles. 3 or 4 lawn bags full of bottles and trash, half of my wardrobe and a bunch of mystery items which i still in vain sometimes look for and can't remember where i put. this was it things had to give. a new life removed from all the other crazies who were letting/making me drink and party so much. i felt i was coming back home with my tail between my legs and thw only way to go would be up. it couldn't possibly get worse right.........

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

bars and stars:what it was like....part 1

i started going out to the bars a few months before i turned 21. i had recently relocated to duluth and the only "real" outlet for gay culture was the one bar at the time. i got grandfathered in because on my first night there i had a fling with the bartender and was welcome back any night he was there. i discovered this only worked on his nights on, other less attractive bartenders weren't so nice about it. up until that point i really didn't drink all that much. having had some bad experiences previously and knowing the history of my family kind of kept me in check, as far as alcohol went. i over did other things at the time. that autumn and the following winter were probably the first spree i ever had. so i found myself living in duluth again with my best friend at the time and she and i were miserable. we had few friends remaining there and things just seemed bleak. ice, drink, repeat. we weren't even cocktail drinkers. just a few shots too many here and there. thinking back on this time things weren't all that bad, but the misery and loneliness does stand out.

the next year i moved back and things just kind of snowballed from there. i remember going out for just a few cocktails at this german place with a killer patio. seriously just a few, but almost every night. 2 became 3 which begat 4 and so on and so forth. i can't really pin point a time or a reson, but i liked the taste and feelings of drinking and being out and about. at some point my life bagan to revolve around this schedule. i worked afternoons and evenings and got off in enough time to go out for a few hours every night. things really strted to progress in this hazy period as my blackouts became more frequent. sparadic but the pattern began to form.

i was really buying into my own line of crap that i was a budding socialite and i had an audience and appearances to keep up-so the going out and drinking was justified. ha! right? i was constantly morphing the people i hung out with so that i was in the company of people who liked to party like i did, which was alot. kind of like trading up, but not really.

somehow i really began to party and the person i once was had been replaced by the socialite. i was out on the town every night. staying in was the exception. i was on some guest lists and knew bartenders and was getting hooked up all over town which really fed the entitlement issues i was having. i dissed people hard and basically did what i wanted. i one night consciencously made a decision to regret nothing, which i would really come to regret.

i traded in a job i liked in the arts, with salary, so i could wait tables and basically party all night. i really couldn't be bothered with actually being at work at 10 or 11 or 2 sometimes. i thought i had it all figured out and felt completely invincible and infallible. here was a job were i could drink and party at work and they would never fire me because i was such a character and a customer favorite. of course this wasn't all true. i discovered that when i was fired.

somehow i managed to scrimp and scam enough to keep this little lie of a life going. of course no one else really knew what was going on. the shambles of my life was a well kept secret and not some wickedly ugly drama that was unfolding in the laps of people that still cared about me, the old me. yes things were kept well under wraps, or at least thats what i thought......

Saturday, December 03, 2005

did i mention....

oh yeah i am-err i was in duluth for the last few days. details forthcoming. just busying myself with unpacking and getting caught up around the homestead before i have to go back to the big lil' bakery tomorrow. damn sunday brunchers....