Behind the Silver Linings of the Enlightened Mad Men, Real Housewives, and Girls of Nashville, Downton, and Dallas

How Betty Draper Got Her Groove Back, ‘Mad Men’, S6E9

I was told the other day that it seems like I live my life like I’m a character on one of the several television shows I watch. Not by one person, but by two people at separate times. Go ahead and laugh, and I’ll laugh along with you and the two people who told me, who happen to be my friends. Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism or a way of avoiding the harsh reality of life, but I do indeed tend to draw many parallels between my life and whatever shows I’m obsessing over at the moment (see *last week’s blog* for example #1). And I do the same with whatever movies I’ve seen, in this case ‘Behind the Candelabra’ on HBO and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ which I finally saw last week. I won’t say much about either of those except that ‘BtC’ was much, much better than I anticipated, and ‘SLP’ was a dark comedy with a few cliche parts that will hit home with anyone who’s battled with depression or mental illness. Michael Douglas will win the Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie Emmy for ‘Behind the Candelabra’ and Jennifer Lawrence certainly earned her overdue Oscar for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ (I think she deserved it more for ‘Winter’s Bone’ myself). Anyway, I thought I’d have fun with the blog title this week since I’m playing along and making fun of myself in the process.

Panic at the disco party for the viewing of 'Behind the Candelabra' on Memorial Day...fun times.

Panic at the disco party for the viewing of ‘Behind the Candelabra’ on Memorial Day…fun times.

All in all, things are good. The tears from last week turned to anger–complete with yelling and cursing and throwing things–over the holiday weekend, but now I feel much more calm and at ease. I got to the 12 Step AA meeting with my sponsor on Tuesday night and met with him afterwards to begin the process of actually working the steps. That’ll require meeting two hours a week, presumably before one of the meetings on Mon. or Tues. nights. He said he could tell from what I shared in the meeting that I was much more serious this time around than I was when I sobered up last year, but he reminded me that actions speak louder than words, and I can’t say I disagree with him. So that’s where I’m at, and it’s a good place to be.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Work was cray-cray, but Memorial Day itself was relaxing with a game of tennis at the Hilton and a screening of ‘Behind the Candelabra’ that night with friends. I feel very fortunate that in a year’s time, I went from voluntarily removing myself from a built-in group of friends I had when I moved out here (lots of reasons I won’t go into here) to having a new group of friends with the possibility of many more, not to mention a church home where I meet more people whom I know each Sunday. And it really is great to be sober again. I want it to stick this time and not be having to do all this gut-wrenching stuff that comes with the first month of sobriety again in six months or less. That’s exhausting to myself and everyone around me and testing to my sanity; there’s no reason to put myself and others through that two or three times a year. The bottle’s not worth that, nor are the lies and heartache and self-hatred that come with it. So hopefully my sponsor and my addiction specialist can help me work on these things and I can move forward yet again and not look back this time. Here’s to that *raising my water bottle with no vodka in it*.

brt

Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again

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Last night was the season finale of ‘Nashville’ and it was a doozy. Rumour has it ABC forced the producers to combine two eps into one, which explains why it seemed like so much more drama than normal happened in 45 minutes. All that aside, I’ll reiterate what I said on Facebook: “I correctly predicted Mr. Kimberly Williams-Paisley would make a cameo on last night’s season finale of ‘Nashville’! I don’t know that an award exists for addiction awareness in entertainment, but to me the progression of this show over its first season ended up being about how addiction tore three families apart and how they attempted to heal from the wounds. Some scars are permanent and others can be mended if given the chance. Great finale…can’t wait for season two.” The first and last GIFs in the series above are Deacon relapsing after 13 years of sobriety. Naturally this leads to havoc and the finale ended with theĀ cliche car crash cliffhanger which ‘Dallas’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ have both used car flipping while Rayna and Deacon argued as she refused to let him drive drunk. I’m sure they’ll both be fine; as someone on Tumblr said, Connie Britton’s luscious mane of hair surely shielded her skull from any damage.

connie twitter2

These last few days have been difficult and I’m not really in the mood right this minute to rehash them. Lots of crying. Lots and lots and it just never seems to stop. I’ve scheduled an appointment with the first addiction specialist I saw last year when I sobered up. He’s a yeller and doesn’t put up with any crap; he actually told me to, “quit telling [my] Southern stories and going off on tangents.” I need that kind of no-nonsense guidance right now, I think. So I’m seeing him in a couple of weeks, if I can’t get worked in sooner. I wanted to drink Tues. after going to AA on Mon., I wanted to drink last night at work, and I really wanted to drink when I woke up from a nightmare about 30 minutes ago. So I hopped in the shower and decided to blog instead. I’ve come too far in the last 16 days to turn around now.

On that note, I have some good friends and family looking out for me and praying for me. It’s always much appreciated and I feel blessed and humbled. I can do this and I can stick with it. Not because I have to or because the world will end if I have a drink. But because I want to stay sober and become a better me. To touch on the blog title: Hayden Panettiere’s character sang a song with that title at the end of last night’s ep, hence the words on the GIFs above. I think I’m also realizing I’m crying so much because I was using the 6-8 drinks a day to self-medicate and push everyone and everything in my life away from me. As long as I didn’t let anyone or anything close to my heart, they couldn’t break it, and I didn’t care. Now that I’m attempting to break down those walls, it’s tough. Really tough and even tougher to realize how poorly I’ve treated people who cared about me. That’s where the 12 Steps come in and I’ve not even started those.

My sister sent me the below Rick Warren quote this morning and I really appreciated it. The memes below it are ones that cheered me up this week and made me laugh. I still can’t crack a book since I’ve been on this medicine to save my life; my attention span is non-existent. (I think it took me two hours to watch ‘Nashville’ last night; I kept stopping and starting it because I was so distracted at work.) So Tumblr’s been a lifesaver because it’s all pictures, and there are some good quotes and mini-blogs on there which I really enjoy. Tumblr just got bought by Yahoo!, so hopefully they don’t F it up. On that note, enjoy the pics below and Happy Memorial Day Weekend–brt

Amen to this...so true.

Amen to this…so true.

I have laughed at this so much. The zoom is what makes it the funniest.

I have laughed at this so much. The zoom is what makes it the funniest.

Rinse & Repeat

I’ve been re-re-re-re-______-sober a week today and as fate would have it, I found the mix CD entitled “Six Months Sober” from 2011 in my truck as my friend Joel and I were driving around town today. As I started listening to the songs, several of them were alcohol-centric. Knowing me, I put them on there for irony’s sake, but it bothered me that I’d put them on there at all. (“Gettin’ Slizzered/Like a G6″ by Far East Movement isn’t exactly the AA anthem.) Maybe I’m too hard on myself; I dunno, it made me think about how little has changed in the last two years of my life. Like I told my mum the other day on the phone, I feel like this is the 15th time we’ve had this conversation, and I’m not going to swear on my life it’s going to be the last time. But for now I’m glad to be clear-headed and not be drinking. The first month’s always the hardest.

Salem the Robot Cat

In related news, I’ve cried more in this last week than who knows when. But it’s always like this; tears of joy, tears of sadness, all at the drop of a hat. There’s no alcohol to numb the pain or hide my emotions. That being said, I’m also not crying all the way home from work because I’m scared of ending up alone after partaking of a few beverages on the clock. I’m not drinking and driving. There’s a lot of things I’m doing right, and I’m proud of myself for that, as I always am when I “do the sober thing.” I went to an upscale bar for dinner and drinks with my friends tonight and had absolutely no temptation to drink; I ordered my Diet Coke and Red Bull, took my Topamax beforehand, and I was good to go for the night. It’s all in the internal desire to get better for myself; not for anyone else but me. I can’t do it alone and I need the support of God and others, but I have to do it for myself.

Here’s another fun GIF from ‘Veep’ to end things this week. This show is getting funnier and more ridiculous each week, and HBO just renewed it for a third season. Hope everyone’s having a great week!

brt

Bootleg Rehab

Lohan from 'The Bling Ring' movie trailer

Lohan from ‘The Bling Ring’ movie trailer

I’ve been court-ordered to do it six times. I could write the book on rehab. Constantly sending me to rehab is pointless. The first few times I was court-ordered to rehab it was like a joke, like killing time.”–Lindsay Lohan in a pre-rehab interview with Piers Morgan last week

I’m about to check out of my Palm Springs/Desert villa (thank you, Marriott employee rate) after some much needed R&R these last few days clearing my head, taking it easy, and doing my best to take care of my spirit, body, mind, and soul. According to Googlemaps, Lohan is about 4.8 miles away at Betty Ford. This is assuming, of course, that she’s not run away overnight or gotten in a fight with a nurse like the last time she was there, etc. etc. etc.

All this to say that I’ve been on some medicine for about a month and a half to keep me from drinking. The people closest to me know this; there’s some side effects that are laughable at times, but as long as I take the pills the cravings for alcohol are non-existent. The key is to take the pills, much like the key to staying sober is to not drink. Here’s the point in writing this blog entry where I realize I sound like a broken record, or like I’m explaining sobriety to a second grader or to myself. Those of you who’ve been reading for awhile are thinking, “This all sounds familiar.” And as I type it, I realize the same thing. But hear me out. Or quit reading, I honestly don’t care; this is therapeutic for me.

This week's requisite Salem

This week’s requisite Salem

Addiction is a fiery hell filled with demons that no one would willingly trudge through. But those struggling with it can’t seem to find the way out, even with all the people and resources in their life trying to help them out and pointing to the fire exit doors. I’ve thought so many times over the last three years that I found the way out; that I was out; that I wasn’t going back in! Then one drink led to five led to fill-in-the-blank. My doctor told me that as great as this medicine is, I still have to face my demons (her exact words). And here I thought it was a magic little pill that would keep me sober. Then I realized I’m back at square one two, dealing with the whole “dry drunk” phenomenon all over again (I wrote a *whole blog* on that, which also referenced Lohan, fittingly enough). My bright idea the last several months that I could be a “social drinker” was laughable, and I knew it all along. But it was a good excuse to drink again, even if I still didn’t drink much at all when I was out with my friends. Because drinking has always been my dirty little secret that I did alone. I didn’t want to share it with anyone else. It was something I had control over when I had control over nothing else; when all the plates were spinning out of control, as I blogged about last week.

The point I’m at right now is realizing, quite frankly, how important my sanity is to me. If I indeed don’t want to end up alone–and no one is ever going to put up with a crazy alcoholic–then I need to get my act together. And there’s no time like the present, and I have all the tools I need. I’ve been meeting with my pastor, as I also blogged about last week. He refuses to let me call him my therapist, so I’m referring to him as my mentor. Between him and the medicine, I’m all set. And God, of course, whose grace is just beyond my comprehension. I’m my own worst enemy, hence the medicine as a safety net. I don’t trust myself not to drink, and believe me that I’ve skipped doses of meds to do just that, only to vomit profusely once I take a pill again. I’ve thrown up more in the last month and a half than in the last 10 years. I think they actually give this stuff to patients in rehab and make them drink a shot to make them not want to drink when they get out. Or perhaps that’s Antabuse, I’m not sure. Either way, I’m living and learning and I feel like I’m getting towards the fire exit again. Instead of two steps forward and one step back, hopefully I can be taking three steps forward. (Is that even humanly possible? Maybe I shouldn’t try to overdo it.)

I wish Lohan well on her 90-day journey at nearby Betty Ford. I know three days is a drop in the bucket, but I don’t have $50K+ to spend on “real rehab,” so this bootleg version will suffice. I’ve held it together this long, so God willing and by his grace I’ll continue to do so. To end with a chuckle, here’s a GIF from ‘Veep’ which seems semi-fitting. Thanks for reading, and those of you whom offered all the free therapy the last several days. You all know who you all, and you’re all great friends. It shouldn’t surprise me at this point, but the support touches me every single time I’ve sobered up. I realize I’m the boy man who cries “Wolf!” But for now, I’m headed towards the exit door again. I wish myself well.

brt

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