Category Archives: Beverages

Bits and Pieces

Hi friends! Hope you all had a great weekend! If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out Alicia’s awesome guest post from Friday (below)!

My weekend was pretty good and my head semi-cooperated. Friday night Caron and I had our typical girls night at the movies – we saw Bad Teacher with JT and Cameron Diaz. It was…funny but not as good as expected. Also, Justin Timberlake is a horrible actor. Sigh. On Saturday I hosted a luncheon for some summer camp alumni friends of mine, went into the office for a few hours and then spent the rest of the evening with Leo. On Sunday Leo and I brought some of his guy friends out to Connecticut to play tennis and hang out by the pool. It was fun, but next time I’m definitely bringing some GIRLS with us! Also – if you missed the season premiere of True Blood last night, please watch – so glad it’s back!

Non-alcoholic Vampire Beverage

Other than that things are business as usual with me. Tonight is the last night I will chair at the Clubhouse for probably the next year while I serve as Treasurer. And in honor of my last night charing, Porsche is speaking for me! I am so grateful for having the chance of doing service for the past year but in all honesty I will not miss my last-minute speaker searchs. It will be a great adventure to serve as Treasurer for the next year – service helps me stay sober.

Still looking for some more fun guest posters! I would love for SATC to be a forum for anyone who has changed their lives and has something to say about it. Hopefully this summer will be filled with lots of fun, sober and headache-less summer activities for me to post about too. Additionally, I may start posting excerpts from my writing during high school and college when I was in over my head with depression and active addiction. I used to think my best writing came out when I was miserable…I’m not sure that’s true but some of it is heartbreaking to read now.

How was your weekend?

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Filed under Beverages, Fun, Recovery, Service

First Step Discoveries

Hi guys and gals! So glad to be getting in some guest posting volunteers- it’s going to be a diverse next few weeks! Please let me know if you’d like to guest post by sending an email to soberandthecity@gmail.com! I have space for many more. Today Thursday is SATC’s “Friday” as Leo and I will be at my family reunion for a long weekend. Hooray for frequent weekend vacations…I’m liking this trend. It was ASL’s anniversary yesterday!! WOO HOO!!! Congratulations my love! I am sad I won’t be celebrating with our sponsor family tonight as Leo and I will be on the road all night.

One of my first step assignments with ASL is to write out my using/drinking history in a sort of timeline and/or to write about my last night of drinking before getting sober. My last night drinking was pretty boring and lowkey as I remember it (the tail end of a relapse), so I chose to do the timeline. We haven’t gone over it yet, so I won’t spoil our time together by giving you all the lowdown on here, but I have to say it was pretty incredible to see how far it went back, and to remember all the things I experimented with an ultimately abused along the way.

It was also pretty striking to see how much alcohol was involved in my story. Although I identify myself as an alcoholic today, I view the terms alcoholic and addict synonymously. To see the presence of alcohol in nearly every season from Spring 2001 (age 15) to Summer 2007 (age 21) was really interesting. Alcohol was never really my “drug of choice” because the morning after was always worse with alcohol than with other things. I did drink to fall asleep and to check out a lot though. And alcohol was always a good chaser to any pill or drug I was taking because it enhanced my sense of euphoria. Especially when my tolerance became really really high, I needed alcohol to help speed up the process. I was a very impatient addict – SURPISED??

I still believe that if alcohol was the only thing I was abusing I would have never come into a 12 step program at 21. It just didn’t do it for me the way other drugs did and to be honest, there was nothing wrong with binge drinking where I went to college. I hated being sick more than I liked drinking, so that also forced me not to drink heavily sometimes for days or weeks at a time. After a while I learned I could just drink a six-pack or a bottle of wine (or two) to get that buzz without needing to vomit or getting a hangover the next day. It was more like a glass of milk with dinner though, it was never the main course. But it was always present and I think I didn’t really address that in my early recovery.

I love this journey of self discovery….I never know what I will remember or what I will realize next.

What does your history look like?

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Ask For Help When You Need It

Oh my goodness, where has all the fun gone? Don’t worry, it’s not gone for good. It’s just gone until my life gets back to a healthy state and I can think straight! So why don’t we chat recovery for a bit? Today I have two doctor appointments so I’m going to discuss how recovery has taught me how to ask for help.

I never asked for help with anything before recovery. For as long as I can remember I did everything myself. When I was a child I did my own homework, picked out my own clothes for school and I made my own lunch. The only things I couldn’t do was buy things and drive myself places. My parents were happy to help with those things of course. I was so independent. Too independent. My psychiatrist in college told me my independence was a huge detriment and that I used it to actively push people away. I wish I could remember the term she used. 

The only reason I went to a psychiatrist was because my team doctor wouldn’t clear me for athletic participation if I wasn’t seeing a therapist. My parents and coach knew I had major depressive disorder, but that was all they knew. So I reluctantly went to therapy where I proceeded to lie my ass off. Every week. I couldn’t even ask for help in an environment where I was supposed to be getting help!

Mostly I had simply resigned myself to the fact that I was depressed and that I would always be depressed. I didn’t believe anyone could help me, especially not some crazy quack doctor who compared my substance abuse issues to her love for chocolate. Seriously? I would go high to sessions and she had no idea. That woman was so dumb I told her she lost her mind, and she started looking for it. Come on, don’t tell me you forgot about Yo Mama jokes…Ok, ok, she wasn’t all bad – that’s just my resentment talking. Afterall I should be grateful – she was the one who suggested I go to my first NA meeting and where I learned that I have the disease of addiction.

Today my problems are less severe than active addiction – headaches and swollen joints – but unfortunately AA can’t directly help me with those problems. These are problems only a doctor is qualified to solve. However, I would never have thought to go to a doctor if it wasn’t for AA. First of all, I probably wouldn’t even have noticeable headaches with all the pain pills I was popping.  But more importantly, I would not value myself enough to seek help. Being in recovery has taught me that if something hurts, I do something about it because I’m worth it. 

In active addiction/alcoholism most of us would just ignore medical issues. Many people I know in recovery figure out they have serious dental issues years into recovery because they just weren’t responsible about yearly visits when they were using/drinking.

We ignored even the most obvious health issues too. Oh, this? All this blood streaming out of my nose? Don’t worry about it – I’m sure it’ll stop… some day. Your disease wants to you stay sick and miserable, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Case-in-Point (warning: this gets gorey): One night in college I was cleaning out my bathroom because I was subletting it for the semester while I studied in the UK. I was very high on that stuff and the bathroom door was shut while I disinfected everything with all sorts of chemically cleaning supplies. I was light-headed but determined to see myself in the tile floor. I must have been in there with no air flow for an hour or so.

After scrubbing the floor I went to deal with my trash can. I lived in the basement of this house and my roommates only came down to do laundry so for the most part I had the whole floor to myself. I was embarrassed at the amount of beer and wine I had been drinking so I hid all the recycling in my bathroom instead of adding to the community bin in the kitchen upstairs (I learned later that this is typical behavior for an alcoholic). For some reason I decided to be a good citizen and separate out the aluminum cans from the trash. I grabbed a Bud Light can (I was classy like that) out of the trash but I accidentally jammed my right ring finger into the lip of the can and the metal tore through my finger tip with vengeance. Blood started gushing everywhere. I wrapped it in huge wads of toilet paper but it just kept bleeding. I went through three full rolls of TP. Finally I took a bath towel and wrapped it up and held my hand above my head. The blood was still streaming. Where were all the vampires?? I knew I should get to the hospital but I was so scared/paranoid someone would find out about my drug use. I sat up in my bed with my hand up in the air wrapped in the bloody towel until I passed out. When I woke up my finger had stopped bleeding. I cleaned it and put a huge bandage on it. It took years for the scar on my finger to heal.

Now what person in their right mind wouldn’t have gone to a hospital? Or at least called a friend or a parent for assistance?  I probably needed stitches! But I refused to ask for help.

Today, I know how to ask for help. When something hurts, I pay attention. I don’t ignore the pain just hoping it will go away. I take action. I wish I could do that more often in other aspects of my life, but hey – it’s progress not perfection right?

Is it easy for you to ask for help?

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Filed under Beverages, Headache, healthy Living, Recovery

Friday Funk

Happy Friday kids! Apologies for the following less-than-exciting post, I’m in a funk today.

Last night I met up with Leo and his friend who had entered a beerpong tournament at one of the University clubs here in the city. Note: this is in no way whatsoever a sober activity. I remained sober of course, but I don’t recommend this as “sober fun.” I hung out with Leo’s friend’s girlfriend while the boys lost twice to two female teams. The females were apparently cheating but since I don’t play beerpong anymore I don’t know all the rules nor do I care to learn them. I saw a friend from high school at the tournament – newly engaged…awesome. There was free food, so that was about the only highlight of the event. Then we wandered over to a local pub and watched some March Madness. I am still in first place in my pool! Except I only have one team left in the Final Four so there is no way that I will win the pool. No fun.

It’s not easy dating someone who drinks. Some days I deal with it well and sometimes I don’t. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m jealous he can drink and I can’t or if I simply don’t like how drunk people act. Luckily he rarely gets “drunk” in front of me anymore but last night was borderline. I could ask him to stop drinking because I don’t like it, but he’s not an alcoholic and that’s not really fair of me. I also know that controlling someone else’s actions only leads to resentment. So for now, if he drinks I require him to brush his teeth and rinse well with mouthwash before he kisses me. And if he wants to go out and act like a crazy 21 year old with the boys, he can go without me!

Weekend plans:

Tonight: Gluten Free Chinese Food and baking gluten free pumpkin pie with Leo.

Saturday: Bridesmaid dress alterations and Physique57. No plans for the evening yet, anyone want to hang out??

Sunday: Studying in the morning and then dinner at Leo’s club in the suburbs.

Last but certainly not least: HAPPY 4 YEARS of Sobriety to Nic!

What’s your sobriety date? I’m going to put together a page of anniversaries (pseudonyms of course)!

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Filed under Beverages, Food, Fun, Gluten Free, March Madness, Recovery

The Professional Non-Drinker

Um, gross. Look what I saw on my way to work this morning outside the Park Central Hotel?

I know I said I love all things NYC, but bed bugs are the worst thing ever and they seem to be an epidemic in NYC. I have been fortunate enough never to have them in any of the apartments I’ve lived in and I hope you guys haven’t had to co-habitate with them either. They show up in the cleanest places too, including fancy Park Avenue buildings. If you are moving and want to make sure your new home will be BB free – you can look it up on this registry.

Ok, enough yuck for one morning.

Aren’t you glad it isn’t Monday anymore? I didn’t do anything fun last night except for catch up on my Sunday and Monday night DVR. Tonight I have a meet-and-greet for members of the Non Profit Board I serve on though, so that should be fun! Minus the fact that it’s at a wine-tasting place.

I’ve already given you some tips on how to stay sober at a college-ish party, so today I’m going to give you some tips on how to stay sober and sane at a work/professional-ish event. Here are some modified tips:

1. Call your sponsor or another friend from the rooms before you go to the event and let them know where you’re going and what time you plan to leave.

2. Bring someone who supports your recovery with you to the event. Either a fellow AA or someone close to you who won’t be drinking. Sticking together makes the whole thing a bit more bearable. You might be on your own with this one, but if you spot someone else not drinking – perhaps a pregnant colleague? Stick with them.

3. BYOS (bring your own soda) just in case it’s a lame college party and the host doesn’t consider that not everyone wants to drink from a keg. Order a cranberry with lime, seltzer, something fun. Don’t BYOB to a work event.

4. Don’t ever let someone hold your glass for you. You never know what could happen to it while you aren’t watching.

5. If you must travel by car to this party event, never volunteer to be the designated driver (see Tip 6 for why not).

6. Always have a way out. If you start to feel uncomfortable, don’t feel obligated to stay for any reason. Make sure you have a way to get home safely at all times.

7. Call someone in your network on your way home from the party event.

Most likely, people won’t be getting ish-faced at your professional event, but they will likely drink alcohol as it’s free and can make it slightly easier to socialize with people they’d rather not spend all your time with. All professional cultures are different though, so be prepared for the worst. Unlike at a college-ish party, you have to be polite to everyone and you may get the same uncomfortable questions. When someone asks you the following:

“Why aren’t you drinking?”

But you don’t want to let them know you don’t ever drink (and therefore avoiding more questions), here are some professional responses:

“Not tonight, big day tomorrow.”

“Getting over a cold, can’t drink on the antibiotics.”

“I’m on a health-kick.”

And then change the subject to something else. Ask them how there day was, etc. Of course if you want to tell them you never drink that is totally ok too. Just be prepared for a further line of questioning. Note: don’t give the “I’m a health nut” excuse for never drinking if you smoke cigarettes. Common sense is always appreciated!

In the end, it doesn’t matter what your colleagues think about your lack-of-drinking habit. They are more concerned with themselves than you, for the most part. So just don’t spill anything on them!

The good thing is, if you stay sober, the chances of you embarrassing yourself in front of someone important are very low. Also a bonus: if your colleagues do get drunk, they won’t remember if you do or say something stupid! When I was an intern they used to purposely put us in situations with alcohol to see how we could handle ourselves. Being sober, I did just fine. I can’t say the same for those who couldn’t handle their wine.

Today, in a professional environment I just tell people I don’t drink and say “It’s not for me.” If they ask if I’ve ever had a drink I’ll say I drank in college. Honest and yet not detailed. I wasn’t always comfortable being honest in this way, but it got easier the more and more comfortable I became with myself. Nothing in my response says, “Oh my God, I was such a mess and my life totally sucked until I stopped drinking.” Remember: it’s OK to refrain from full disclosure if it will protect your sobriety and your anonymity. I’m not sure you can be fired for being a known alcoholic, but most people will judge you. So just respect your anonymity and you will be safe!

What do you say when someone inquires about your beverage choice?

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Bring My Lunch to Work Challenge

I’ve decided that next week I will be embarking on a “Bring My Lunch to Work” week-long challenge. I’ve never brought my lunch to work. Ever. It’s New York City – there are a million sandwich, soup, salad, sushi, pizza shops out there where I can grab something quick and return to my desk. Not to mention the endless places where you can get all of this stuff under one roof. It’s even possible to eat healthy while eating out for lunch in NYC – you just have to make good choices. Eating healthy, or just eating well usually runs my lunch bill up to around $10-$12 per day. That’s $50-$60 a week – just for lunch.

I don’t really mind the cost all that much since my breakfast (cereal) is free every day at work. (Yay!)

(I’ll have to do a separate post on cereal soon – it really is my favorite food.)

So even though I don’t pay for breakfast, I do tend to order take-out for dinner a lot on weeknights. I don’t usually cook during the week because it’s a hassle, I’m usually exhausted by 8pm and cooking fun recipes is only fun if I’m cooking for more than just myself. I don’t plan to decrease my take-out budget, so why not decrease the lunch spend instead? Sounds good to me!

Plus, some of my coworkers have been more rude than usual lately and I need a break from tagging along to get lunch with them every day. I’ve tried my best to “be a part of,” but I need a break. Not giving up…just letting go for a bit.

Grocery shopping was my favorite de-stressing activity in college. I literally would leave my dorm room, hop in my car and drive 10 miles to Whole Foods just to walk up and down the aisles. Sometimes I bought things, sometimes I didn’t. It was just a nice place to go…maybe because everything was so nicely arranged and organized on the shelves and my life felt completely the opposite.

NYC grocery stores tend to stress me out because they are cramped and crowded, but I think it will be fun to go in with a mission.

In addition to free cereal, my company has an endless supply of free apples, bananas, fresh berries, granola bars, yogurt and other assorted snacks in the kitchen. There is also a large supply of free soda, coffee, tea, water and juice that never seems to run out.

I drink about three of these bad boys:

And three of these bad boys:

per day. I alternate them to hydrate and caffinate! I’ve gotten so used to this system of alternating that it’s hard to sit at my computer at work without a can on the coaster next to my keyboard. Ok, maybe I have a problem…

To summarize: my beverage and fruit will be taken care of, so my mission will be to concoct a main dish (salad, sandwich, etc.), a salty side and a small dessert/treat. Does this mean I also get to purchase a new reusable lunch box??

FUN! I haven’t had one of these since…well, elementary school. I’ll try to pick something that looks more “grown-uppy”

Thanks to all the healthy blogs I read that are written by amazing young women (see side blogroll)! You have motivated me to go for my own eat-in/grocery store challenge thing.

What do you do for lunch at work?

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Filed under Beverages, Food, Fun

Mocktails

A lovely lady from MV emailed me about this article she read in the NY Times about Nonalcoholic Cocktails from CRAFT. It is certainly worth reading!

Although I tend not to drink anything that might even resemble alcohol since it could be bordering on “alcoholic behavior,” I definitely feel odd ordering diet coke every time I’m at a fancy restaurant. Usually my go-to line is “Cranberry with Lime, please.” And if I ever see a wine list I just casually give it back with the menus. Read: Take that ISH way from me thank you very much!

For anyone out there who doesn’t know, “non-alcoholic beer” has alcohol in it. Period. Plus, why drink something that tastes like beer (gross) if you aren’t even going to get a buzz? Not. Worth. It. Just my opinion. I will admit that it’s hard to go out for drinks with colleagues and not have a drink in your hand. It usually goes something like this:

Why aren’t you drinking? You don’t drink at all? Seriously? Why? Have you ever? What do you do for fun?

I always find some clever way to get out of the line of questioning without giving away the truth. Anonymity is anonymity. I usually just order cranberry or a soda and be self-confident about it. It’s gotten much easier over the years. I used to freak out about what people would think of me, but the truth is: no one cares what I may or may not be drinking. Same goes for you guys!

Back to the point: If you are a non-drinker (like me, religious, medically incapable, or preggers) you have limited restaurant beverage options: soda, water, juice (with or without some sort of citrus twist). Although coffee is more appropriate to drink with dessert, sometimes I will ask for it right when we sit down because:

A. sometimes its FREEZING in restaurants.

B. I want to. so there.

Now it seems – some restaurants, like Craft, have upgraded their drink menus to include non-alcoholic treats! This isn’t anything new. Shirley Temples are delicious (although I know I’m not 12) and you can get a lot of things “virgin.” So they must just be putting the non-alcoholic drink listings in writing. Nothing to cough at though, I am excited we are being thought of in the big leagues! Although, I have yet to see a non-alcoholic martini – how would that even work?

I’m sure they will be just as $$ as regular drinks – EEK – but maybe I could try just one and then report back.

Have you ever had a mocktail??

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