Cutting Back on Alcohol

A few weeks or so ago, I’d written about changing some things in my life. Today is Day 20 of no drinking/cutting back on alcohol. It was something I intended to do, but the losing my shit incident was a catalyst.

I started out being on antibiotics, which was a great way to begin my not-drinking voyage. I have to admit the first few days were tough, because I’d been working outside in the heat, and beer sounded great, but I knew the medication would have made me sick anyway.

Once I got through the first week, it wasn’t so bad. I started keeping myself busy working out or taking walks in the evenings. I went grocery shopping and ran errands during the times I would normally have gone to happy hour. It probably helped that I didn’t exactly have the money to be going out.

Week two was a success, however, I thought I would feel better. I haven’t felt that much better except that I didn’t have hangovers. I was tired, but in a different way; I felt exhausted. My appetite began to change, and I was cooking again, and I had more motivation mentally and could think clearer. Still, I had no energy for the most part (could very well have been due to the antibiotics). The weather brought on some allergy issues, and it felt as if fibromyalgia was full-blown for a few days. My body was super achy from head to toe, and I remembered that when I drank beer, the aches would disappear. I did notice anxiety went down a little while I wasn’t drinking, maybe because I was just exhausted. My mood was only slightly lifted, but I was still feeling depressed. Perhaps it was lack of human contact or something else, but I was craving not being depressed, which is part of the reason I quit/cut back on drinking.

On Day 15, the weather was pretty bad. I had one beer in the fridge (one that I normally wouldn’t drink, because it would have been gone by now) that I drank and didn’t really care for it. The following day (16), I met up with some friends that are getting married soon to discuss some things about their wedding that I’m shooting. It was nice getting out of the house for once and home by 10:30. I had three beers in two and a half hours, felt high as a kite, and felt like shit the entire next day. Two of the beers were relatively normal in alcohol content, but the first may have been almost like drinking two. I remembered how much I hated waking up feeling completely unrested, having to get up to pee at wee hours, thirsty and unable to get back to sleep, and basically being unable to fully function intellectually with unclear thinking skills the following day. I also noticed my allergies were worse. Three beers was almost nothing for me before; it only took two weeks for that effect.

When the weekend rolled around, I went to an event out of town, and then a new friend/acquaintance offered to meet up for sushi. At first, I was hesitant being unfamiliar with him, but I was hungry, and the timing was perfect. I started out drinking water, had a tiny bit of sake and opted for a beer that I normally really like. However, I wasn’t liking the beer much at all and switched it to something sweet. It was nice to be out having conversation and a meal with someone, and I left feeling generally content, yet tired.

The following day, I noticed my mood was off. I felt sad, even though it was a nice day. (I suppose I could have also been sad about my other male friend.) Again, my energy was low and I had little motivation, but I didn’t feel like I had a hangover or anything. I was burping up the beer the next day, which made me not want to drink it even more, especially after nearly 12 hours passed since I’d drank it… just gross. I felt annoyed all day and canceled plans to go to an art event, because I didn’t want to be around people. I don’t know if this is a result from drinking or just being tired or annoyed.

Doing two experiments of having a few drinks after not drinking showed me that it really doesn’t bring me any happiness, especially the following day. Socially, it can be fun, but I am pretty sure I can find other fun things to do.

People were asking how long I was going to stop drinking. I never had an answer, because I tried to make realistic expectations and just go with the flow with how I felt. I have no cravings to continue doing it, and after feeling as bad as I have been, I don’t looking forward to it again. Eventually, I want to get back into eating a stricter diet, but for now I’m doing one thing at a time; I’m still enjoying chocolate chip cookies for now.

Raped By a Drunk Cowboy

Call it what you want – sexual assault, sexual coercion, rape – it’s WRONG.

Submitted by: Anonymous

There was a guy in town some of us knew as “Drunk Cowboy” because he frequented local bars, wore  a cowboy hat, and sang karaoke. I assumed he was probably an alcoholic, because he got loud in the establishments and started acting pretty stupid. I’d spoken to him a few times, and we had mutual acquaintances. Most women thought he was a good looking guy, but he had too many issues for my taste and totally not my type.

One evening I went to happy hour and Drunk Cowboy sat next to me. We chatted a bit and he picked up my tab, which I thought was nice. By the time I was ready to leave, I realized I needed to call an Uber, because I was too tipsy to drive. Drunk Cowboy offered me a ride, since he was heading in my direction. I obliged, thinking nothing of it, because in a small town, people often give each other rides. Plus, I hadn’t heard anything bad about him from anyone else.

I realized I was hungry when we got to my place, so I invited him in for some pizza I was going to cook. There was nothing strange about the encounter. There was no flirting (at least I didn’t see it), no kissing, no touching. It was simply two people sharing a pizza and shooting the shit.

Drunk Cowboy decided he was too drunk to leave, so I agreed for him to sleep on the other side of my bed. I kept my clothing on completely – long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. I recall falling asleep quickly, as I was exhausted and the alcohol made me more tired. At some point – and I’m unsure of how long I’d been asleep, I awoke to Drunk Cowboy feeling me up and attempting to take my pants off. I tried moving my body around, moving his hands away, saying no. I recall saying “no, no, no, please no” over and over. I know he heard me, but he ignored me. I had no intention of having sex with him or anything else. I wasn’t turned on. He wouldn’t stop, and I was too weak to fight him off. He was on top of me holding my legs down with either his legs or hand, I coudn’t tell. He entered me, had sex with me for a few minutes, came inside of me, rolled over, put his clothes back on, and went back to sleep.

At first I thought I was having a nightmare, but it was real, and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I lay there stunned and not knowing what to do. I felt like a wounded animal and blamed myself for allowing someone I barely knew into my home and bed. I blamed myself, because I was too drunk to fight back.

The day after it happened, I didn’t leave my house. I couldn’t take a long enough hot shower to wash away the awful feelings. I worried about having an STD. I had bruises on my inner thigh that appeared to be a handprint. I felt like total shit. I canceled a date a day or so later that I had been looking forward to, because I couldn’t face anyone or be myself. I felt numb. I stopped shaving for a few weeks until I couldn’t stand it anymore – but I knew no one would be feeling my legs or anything else anytime soon. I wanted no one to touch me. I was just healing from other issues in my life. This set me back again, I felt. I told one trusted friend, because I had to get it out, but no one else until now.

I haven’t seen or heard from Drunk Cowboy again, although we don’t have each other’s phone numbers either. I have avoided the last place I saw him and any other places I may see him. I really have nothing to say to him, because I’m pretty sure he’s the type of guy that would either say it was consensual or just deny it. I really don’t care if I ever see him again. But I do wonder if he’s done this to anyone else in my town.

Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – Chapter 7

Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – Chapter 7 – told from a child’s point of view

Marcus makes up lies about everything. At first Mom doesn’t believe him, but he has a way of manipulating and convincing her that the sky is green, even though it’s blue. If she doesn’t believe him, they fight all night. It is a never-ending battle with him.

“See? See? That kid is making us fight again!” he tells her.

When I was eight years old, Marcus accused me of calling him a son of a bitch, which was a lie. He claimed he’d heard me say it when he was in his garbage truck one day when I was on my way to school with Rebekah. Passing him on our bikes and waving, we yelled, “Hi Marcus!”

But he ignored us. Instead, when I got home from school he claimed that one of the guys on the truck heard me call him a son of a bitch. No matter how much I swore that I never said that, and his story changed from one of the guys hearing it to hearing it himself, I was still in trouble. It didn’t matter what the truth was.

The truth was this: I hadn’t called him a son of a bitch at all; I actually called him an asshole, and it was under my breath so that no one could hear me. But I wasn’t about to tell him that.

* * * * *

I walk in from school and go to my room. I notice something on my bed – on my pillow. A gift? I am excited until I realize what it is.

“What is that on my pillow!?” I storm out of my room, down the steps.

I look at Mom.

“What’s on your pillow?” She is clueless.

“There’s a maxi pad on my pillow!” I yell.

Mom thinks it’s a joke, looks at Marcus.

“Did you put a pad on her pillow, Marcus?” Mom asks, puzzled.

“You left it on the bathroom floor. I stepped on it and blood came gushing out,” he lies. “I almost got sick.”

“You’re a liar!” I scream. “A big, disgusting liar! I hate you!”

I storm back to my room. He is the biggest liar I’ve ever known. There is no blood on it at all, but it doesn’t matter what the truth is even if the evidence is in plain view. I don’t think Mom believes him, either, because she knows I am not on my period. But instead of speaking up to him, she tells me not to worry about it.

unheardcover

Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – Chapter 4

Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – told from a child’s point of view

I liked visiting Nana, but I didn’t like Grampa because he was grouchy and said weird things and repeated himself. Every time I saw him, his funny white fuzzy hair on top of his head looked like he just woke up. He wore plaid shorts and either a white t-shirt or a button up collared shirt if he were going somewhere, and he always had a glass of beer in his hand. I don’t think he liked kids much, either, because he yelled at me a lot.

“He’s a drunken jerk,” Gramma said.

He wasn’t her real father. She never knew her real father.

On our way back from Nana’s, Gramma took me to visit my Great Aunt Gabby. She owned a neurotic poodle that always jumped up and scratched my legs, barked incessantly, and peed on the floor. She was a very intelligent woman that enjoyed crossword puzzles and playing her piano, but she was always nervous and she seemed to shake a lot. Gramma said Aunt Gabby never left the house after dark because she was afraid of getting raped.

Aunt Gabby seemed very tall compared to Gramma, and she always wore white flat old lady shoes and flowery dresses that looked like nightgowns. I thought she might be pregnant because her belly stuck out even though she was skinny everywhere else.

“Is Aunt Gabby going to have a baby?” I asked Gramma.

Gramma laughed, “Noooo….”

“Why does her belly stick out like that?”

“That’s what happens when you get old.”

I overheard that one time Aunt Gabby had a baby and lost it, and I figured maybe that was why her belly still stuck out. It was lost somewhere in her belly.

unheardcover