All posts tagged: alcoholism

How The Walking Dead Kind of Saved My Life

It’s sort of a funny story now, the way it all went down, when I look back on it alive and sober. Because clearly I wasn’t going to be for much longer, and while that may sound melodramatic, I promise you, it wasn’t. By about September of 2011, my life had basically turned into a long string of drunken, unhappy, hazy days. I woke up, drank, wrote, slept, ate, drank, passed out, wrote some more, drank, drank, maybe saw a movie or went somewhere in between, drank, went to bed, and did it all over again the next day. Occasionally, I managed to show up for a freelance gig at an office for a week or two. With the exception of a morning “eye-opener” at home, I didn’t drink during my working hours, based solely on principle (and fear of getting caught). But the minute 5pm hit, I was dying for a drink, so I’d hit a bar ASAP before heading home to continue. Where was my husband through all this? He was there, dealing …

How I Cope When My Exes Are Everywhere

Susan putting the lime in the alcohol-free coconut and drinking it all up. (Photo: Andy Kropa) You know that feeling. Your heart starts to pump wildly and you can feel it booming at hi-fi levels in your ears. Like a corset, anxiety pulls your lungs together so tightly you can barely breathe. Your body goes into flight or fight mode and you either find yourself running for the hills or remaining frozen in your extreme discomfort. You’ve just caught site of an ex. And not just any ex, but one you loved hard and deep. The ending was bad. The parting had been brutal. And just a couple of weeks ago, I had this experience. My husband Andy and I were in the Dominican Republic, staying at an all-inclusive resort for a wedding. Shortly after we arrived, I sat in the breezy open lobby overlooking the ocean, waiting for Andy to return with beach towels — and it happened. I spied an ex on the other side of the room. My face felt hot, and …

When I Got Clean, My Apartment Did Too

“Messy Bed, Messy Head” I’ve heard this saying forever. And I get it — if your bed’s not made or your home is untidy (and you keep putting off cleaning), there’s a chance your clutter may be a reflection of something troubling going on inside of you. I never gave this slogan much credence. Because while I’m no neat-freak, I’m also not a messy person. I like things to be organized and presentable, however if a pile of clothes are left on my bed after a rushed morning, or our living room is littered with glasses and plates because of a successful dinner party, I can wait until the next morning to clean it all up. And none of that, I thought, meant I was “troubled.” I still don’t think it does. However, since getting sober, this little phrase has taken on a whole new meaning. When I was active in my alcoholism, especially during that last year when I was more or less staying in my apartment and drinking all day, messy wasn’t even …

The Cues to Drink — And They’re Not Always What You Think

Triggers, triggers everywhere. Even while waiting for the train. (Photo: Andy Kropa/ TueNight) Every alcoholic is different, and every trigger — those things that make us crave a drink — is different for every alcoholic. If you take a big fat Ketel One martini filled with olives and stick it right under my nose, there’s a 99.9% chance that I’ll be triggered to drink. Or if you force me to smell a woodsy-yet-slightly fruity merlot, then yeah, I’m going to want to taste that. And as I’ve mentioned before, there are also those outdoor cafes that used to make me Frogger around the blocks of New York City. The mere view of those lovely people enjoying lovely drinks in the sun while discussing their lovely lives was enough to make me want to say to hell with this whole sober thing. But those are pretty obvious triggers, right? Then there are those other types of triggers — the sly and insidious ones that are so sneaky I sometimes don’t even know that I am experiencing …

Walk On By: How I Spend My Summers Sober

Ready for a sober summer. (Photo: Andy Kropa/TueNight) Spring and early summer in New York City is one of my favorite times of the year. The sun is shining, it’s warm but not sweltering hot, you can just throw on flip flops and be on your way, and the streets are swarming with (mostly) happy, sunshine worshipers, walking their dogs, laying out in the park and filling outdoor cafes. But this outdoor magic can quickly become a danger for a recovering alcoholic. The people sitting at outdoor cafes, enjoying cool glasses of white wine or early evening martinis — take on a romantic, almost otherworldly glow if I choose to lay my eyes on them for too long. Suddenly what I see is much more than what is really there. I see solace. I see a refuge where all my problems will disappear. I see a place that will be a steadfast and unquestioning companion. Like that woman at that table with her Macbook and a beer. Surely I could do that? Work on my column (let’s …

You Loved Me Even When I Didn’t Love Myself: A Thank You Note to My Mom

Although I’m not a mother myself (however I am a proud new aunt!), I imagine that most moms welcome it when their kids cry on their shoulders, or come to them for some TLC when feeling flu-y, or call them when worried about a new job, or have been beaten by a broken heart. And of course there are the happy occasions, as well — the birthday parties, graduation parties, celebrations of first jobs, and a feeling (I imagine) of absolute pride when watching the now-adult child she raised to be polite, poised, successful and fun. But what I suspect a great many moms may not know about are the moments that seem similar to the ones above, but are a bit….off. A sob-filled phone call that doesn’t make very much sense, and comes from a voice that doesn’t 100% sound like that of your child’s. A plea for a visit to your daughter’s apartment to help her get over a sudden bought of the flu, which seems completely legit at first, but then doesn’t …

Scented Secrets: How I Used Perfume to Cover Up My Drinking

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa) As a freelance beauty writer, I’ve written a ton of perfume reviews over the years. Except, if you look at my portfolio, you’ll see that….well… really I haven’t. Sure, I’ve written my fair share, and I’m especially proud of this post, but on the whole, I only have a handful of perfume pieces to my name. And I certainly wasn’t cranking these stories out during the summer of 2011, when I claimed I was constantly “researching” new scents in my bedroom. As most of you probably know, perfume contains alcohol. Thankfully, I never got to the point where I actually ingested it to get high, however I did use the cosmetic to aid in my alcoholism, which in a way is sort of the same thing. Perfume allowed me to hide my “pre-game” activities. Hours before my husband and I would leave for a party or dinner, I’d retreat to the bedroom and tell him I was testing fragrances for a story. “So beware, honey,” I’d say, lying in that deceptive …

My Journals Knew I Was an Alcoholic Before I Did

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa) For many years I wrote nightly in a journal, with a pen and a bound book of beautiful empty pages, which I filled fast and furiously before bed. Then one day, I stopped. As near as I can figure, this quitting occurred around the time Wifi came into my life and my apartment. Instead of bringing my journal into bed with me, I brought my laptop. And while I’m pretty sure I simply meant to shift my personal reflections to the digital writing device I was now using so often, clearly I was an analog-only journaler. It was in 2007 — ironically, the same year I started a Facebook account — that my 20-year journaling career came to a screeching halt. I realized this a few weeks ago, while organizing boxes in my stuffed-to-the-max storage unit. I found one filled with all of my old journals; writing that began in the 8th grade and went right through my 32nd birthday. There were more than 30 various notebooks in that box, of all different …