Wednesday, March 13, 2013

McDonald's Rage

There's a reason I refer to Walmart as "Hive. Scum. Villainy." Once in a Blue Moon I will find myself there to check out their assortment of shirts (Read: Superheros and Star Wars) and in the 10 minutes I was there today it took every ounce of my being not to Hulk Out on the masses.

I've lost a ridiculous amount of weight recently but every once in awhile I gotta indulge myself. There's a McDonald's inside the Walmart and I'd been meaning to try out their new Onion Bacon Cheddar burger so I figured why the hell not. With only two people in front of me I thought this would be quick and painless but the old lady before me wasn't quite ready and instead of letting me go ahead I had to stand and wait for her to look over the menu. Her husband wobbled over on his cane and proceeded to do the same. Whatever, their old, I can deal. I'm in no rush.

It's during this 5 minute waiting period a McDonald's employee comes out and flips the Breakfast menu sign to the normal menu. It was this moment where two individuals walked in and the change in menu was the last thing they wanted to see. The woman, lets call her "Gilbert Grape's Mom" let out a "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" and her boyfriend, who reminded me of Chi McBride of Boston Public fame, was equally displeased. Their anger echoed through the restaurant for everyone to hear. This was not fair and they were going to make their voices heard, much to all our dismay, and since they took their place in line right behind me I was lucky enough to get it all directly in my ear.

Finally it's my turn. Being ready for the past 7 minutes I ask for two burgers and am quickly told "we're not doing that let." This puzzles me as the other employee who switched the sign is trying to calm GG's Mom and Chi McBride because they are being denied breakfast. The whole situation doesn't make sense as I find myself in some sort of breakfast/lunch limbo but I play their game and cautiously asked for 2 Egg McMuffins.

Sorry Sean, they only have ONE Egg McMuffin. *Sigh* Alright, fine. Gimmie one so I can get the fuck out of here and learn my lesson to never do this again. While I'm waiting for the food I didn't even really want, GG's Mom and Chi are raging louder than ever. They don't understand why they can't get their Egg McMuffins and incessantly point at a big decal sign sticking in the window that says "2 Egg McMuffins for $3." Now I'm laughing because I know this is not going to end well for them as I just ordered the very last Egg McMuffin. The cashier lady is simply taking in all their hate and I can see it in her face she's about to crack. GG's Mom doesn't grasp the fact that the sign in the window doesn't represent the amount of Egg McMuffins they have in stock and continues to push the cashier's buttons.

The whole restaurant is looking in our direction and I'm starting to feel pretty uncomfortable. Obviously the cashier was too and she gave in.

"How many Egg McMuffins do you want?"

I did a double take. Wait..The hell? But you told me...

GG's Mom: Finally! Jesus..I want two and he wants two. That's what we came for! Look! We have our $6 right here!

Cashier: There's tax too.

GG's Mom: *Long pause. Turns to Chi* Do you have any change?


My number is called and the woman hands me my bag, "One Egg McMuffin, right?" Since I'm clearly agitated I reply, "Apparently, since I seemed to have ordered in the 5 second gap where you ran out."

The whole situation was ridiculous and I'm not even mad they lied to me, really. It's just frustrating if you act like a big enough asshole, or throw up enough of a stink, you'll get your way.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Days of Future Past

I know it's been awhile but I'm writing today because I reached a point of happiness I hadn't felt in over a decade. Seriously, it's been that long. Sure, I would pretend I was happy a lot but on the inside not so much. Sobriety is awesome, first and foremost. I'm up at 8am every day, work or no work, and between the time I wake up and the time my head hits the pillow around 1-2am I constantly keep myself busy. Can you believe on my days off, those 18 hours I'm awake, don't feel like enough time to do everything I want to do? Weird huh?

One major change I've made was finally going to the gym. With my back pain reaching its breaking point, and my job consisting of tons of manual labor, I knew I had to do something. I needed more money and I wasn't going to let the pain stop me. Why? Because my "dark thoughts" were returning with a vengeance. The half a year leading to my departure to rehab consisted of making it through a shift at work and going home and literally drinking the pain away. It was cheap and effective. Why spend money on a doctor when drinking myself stupid would numb the pain?

Drunk logic, clearly. In my defense, I was already way past the point of no return so that was just one of 100 different excuses to not stop drinking.

Which brings us to today. Working out at the gym and eating healthy has brought on results I hadn't seen in ages. I'm down about 23 lbs since September and while I still have a long way to go, I'm loving how I look and feel these days but it was after a few customer comments the past week that made me realize exactly how bad my alcoholism was effecting me.

It's hazy, but I do remember 2 years ago customers commenting on my weight loss and how much thinner I was becoming. Fuck, I even remember blogging about it, proud of my "dieting" and that the results were showing. But the means in which I got to that weight was disgusting and terrifying. Do you know how you drop 30 lbs in a few months? You don't eat food. Like seriously, nothing. You only consume alcohol. That's how. Because nothing you eat will stay down and the only thing that make you feel "normal" is booze. This wasn't my intention, mind you. The alcohol was already in control. I was powerless.

So a customer had some nice words to say to me yesterday about how healthy and skinnier I looked. She was very sweet and when I took her bottles out to her car she got very serious. She mentioned my weight loss from 2 years ago and how hard it was for her to watch me slowly deteriorate. She knew I was ill, but didn't know with what or why. It was eye-opening/heartbreaking to hear because what Drunk Sean back then wasn't thinking of was that these customers would see him every single day. And every day they watched him get worse and worse. When I started looking like Skeletor, they knew something was wrong. Drunk Sean wasn't fooling anyone, but what was anyone going to say? These are things I don't talk about often, especially the darker moments of my alcoholism because, simply, it's disgusting and depressing. But the more I speak of the dark times, the bigger impact it has on when people see what I look and act like now, especially after the past few months. Because I came back from rock bottom. I came back from rock bottom, like, tenfold.

2 years ago I could barely lift my arm out of bed to hit my alarm clock, let alone lift my own head off the pillow, without a couple shots of vodka to steady my nerves. I had no motivation to to do anything physical because, well, I couldn't. Nowadays, I'm up bright and early every morning. I get pissed when I wake up at 9am instead of 8am because that's one less hour I have of my day. Seriously, it bums me out. And since joining the gym back in mid December I have only missed 3 days so far and the results have truly paid off.

For the first time, in a very long time, I'm actually happy with where I am in my life...

Plus, they are making new Star Wars movies so how in the fucking hell could I not be happy?

*End Communication*

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It´s Over 9000

Actually it´s pretty well over 9,000. Over 13,000 to be precise. Since I´ve started this blog back in December of 2008 I have had over 13,000 hits. That might not seem like much but to me thats pretty sweet. Factoring in about a year absent: I´m including the 6 months in the sober home, rehab, and long periods of downtime cause I was too drunk to write anything. Technically it should be over a year but for simplicities sake we´ll leave it at that.

So without going into the math that I was so bored to actually figure out ( and I hate math!) I concluded that over 2 1/2 years of on and off again, a large percentage of views came from this past 16 months I´ve been sober.

That is awesome.

Before Blogger didn´t have a means of tracking views and such. Or maybe it did and I was too drunk to notice. The latter would not surprise me in the least. Looking over the numbers since it´s birth I would get about 15-20 views TOTAL per blog. Nowadays we´re looking at more around 90-100 on JUST their initial posting. That´s pretty solid.

This information means a lot to me considering the subject material. Not a lot of people are as open about their recovery as I am but as long as I am reaching people and they are getting something out of it, then I´m going to continue. I love hearing from the people who contact me about their own addiction problems. I was a coward that hid from everyone because I didn´t want my ¨Precious¨ taken away. I wish I could have made the decision to get help on my own but I was too weak.

Jesus Christ... I am just now realizing that I was Gollum. It took me 16 months but it literally just hit me as I was writing this. Wow....

 Thank god for my friends and family.

Well I´m going to end on that realization. Ewan McGregor just acknowledged my sobriety on Twitter and I think my heart just stopped...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sober Home Living #1

The other day my friend was encouraging me to download a song she thought I would like. I knew I wasn't going to like it, I even told her so, but she insisted. No surprise, I hated it and took great pleasure in rubbing it in her face. It was a techno song that I don't even remember the title to but it reminded me of some things from my stint in the Sober House.

For six months I lived among 15-25 people at a time. Those that know me are more than aware that I can't stand people so this was a true test of my patience. The first 3 months I had a great group of friends but once they all left I still had 3 more months myself with a bunch of new people I really did not care for. As someone who tries to stick with the "winners" I found myself becoming more friendly with the staff then the actual clients themselves. It wasn't anything personal, but I can read people really well and the majority of them I felt weren't taking the program seriously.

This one younger dude Alex killed me. He was 22 years old and this was his second time in this house. The first few days Alex was without a phone so he was constantly asking to use other people's. That's fine and all, but after lending it to him twice and he proceeded to have a 20 minute conversations I banned him.

"Not cool bra," he would say.

"I am not an undergarment, sir," I would explain.

The moment Alex got a phone was a glorious day for him apparently. That was the day he became a music producer.

Say what?

We were in our house meeting and had to go around the room and talk about the things we enjoy doing that keep our mind focused and distract us from addiction. When it came around to Alex he responded with a straightforward answer, "my music" and leaned back with a cocky grin.

"Your music?" the counselor asked.

"Oh you don't know?" a random girl exclaimed.  "Oh man, Alex is a producer! He makes all sorts of great music!" Alex is pleased by this girl's reaction and smirks even more. Borat's "King of the castle" rang through my head as I looked at him.

The counselor was impressed, "I had no idea you had such talent Alex. Do you play guitar? Drums?"

Alex scoffed, "No. I can do it all from my phone."

"Well that's very impressive!" the counselor said. I looked around the room at the wide-eyed addicts, all impressed that the young man before them was an honest to god music producer. Right here, in our very home, and at the ripe age of 22. Clearly, this kid was the shit. I tried my best not to roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of it all and just went back to what I did best. Ignoring all of them and hanging out with the staff.

But sometimes avoiding would only get em so far. At this point I had seniority in the house so I had my own room to which I could retire and get away from the insanity. There was one major problem. There was a couch in the hallway of the Men's Floor. That couch was strategically placed near my door so that I had to pass it anytime I wanted to go to my room. Alex had taken it upon himself to make that couch his "studio" instead of the privacy of his own room. To the untrained eye anyone who saw him would think he was just sitting on the couch with headphones on playing with his phone. When in reality he was creating art.

The art of techno music.

Each day I would return home, exhausted from work, and just want to go to my room and relax before dinner. But Alex was always there making his music. But why should this bother me if he's not really hurting anyone? Simple. Every single time anybody would walk by he'd act "surprised" like he didn't see us, and then pull of his head phones and insist we "check out his latest track." Now, I had witnessed this happen to a bunch of people since he was perched right outside my door, so I used that knowledge to form my own strategy. Every day I came home from work I would have on my sunglasses and be listening to my iPod. This was as I walked down the hall to my room I could keep my eye on Alex while pretending to listen to music. He would call out my name as I passed but because of the ear buds I couldn't "hear" him.


That worked for about a month until he started pulling late nights at "The Studio." I came out of the shower one night, right before bed, and there he was on the couch. With no tools at my disposal to hide from him, I sucked it up and charged into the storm.

"Sean! Dude, you gotta hear this track I just layed down," he insisted, shoving the ear buds in my face.

"Alex, you should know I'm not really into techno so I'm probably not the best person to review your music," I told him.

"Oh man, you say that but I bet this shit changes your mind," he gives me the ear buds and I reluctantly put them in.

As to be expected the track starts with a few techno beats. Not getting into it I give him a look and he says, "Just wait for it." I continue to listen and sure enough after 60 seconds an additional "noise" is added into the mix, a sort of "ting" sound. So now he have 3 different noises. I reach to pull the ear buds out but he stops me, "it's not done yet. It gets better!" After another 60 seconds a 4th noise is introduced, another 60 seconds a 5th, and so on...

It all just keeps building on itself. When it's all said in done I am very polite about the whole thing considering he's forced me into a situation I didn't want to be in and I'm also still in my towel from the shower.

"That's great man. Really."

"You don't sound that impressed," he replied.

"Like I said man, techno is not my thing. I warned you I wouldn't be the best person to judge this."

"You just don't know good music"

"You're right, I have terrible taste in music. Can I go to bed now?"

As I closed the door to my room and let out a sigh of relief. Not five seconds later I hear Kevin, one of my older house mates scream, "Holy fuck Alex! I told you I don't like that techno shit! Leave me alone!"


Monday, September 3, 2012

Bad Thoughts

A few months back it was brought to my attention that out of all the friends I had made in rehab, I was now the only one who hadn't relapsed. That was a tough pill to swallow as it only proved to me how much the statistics are stacked against us. The hardest was hearing about my best friend relapsing. Luckily, he immediately went back into treatment as is doing fine now, but it was still rough to hear.

I hadn't heard from him in months until this morning. He went into more detail about his relapse and what all had happened. Apparently he had gone to a wedding. He didn't have anything while he was there but it had put ideas in his head. That maybe, just maybe, things would be different now that he had a year of sobriety. That maybe he could handle just a few drinks. Here is a summary of what he said to me...

"It was so fucking stupid man. I can't even believe I thought it was possible. You know how they say alcoholism is a progressive disease? You really don't consider how accurate that is until you relapse. After all the time I spent sober I stupidly thought maybe a few drinks wouldn't hurt me but fuck man, I couldn't have been more wrong. It was like nothing had changed and I was back to EXACTLY where I left off. Only worse. I'm fucking disappointed in myself, dude. Don't you EVER think you can handle it because you can't. WE can't. I had to learn the hard way..."

The timing of his phone call was impeccable. Last night during the Breaking Bad season finale there was a commercial for Ciroc vodka that just made my mouth water. All it was was a bunch of celebrities partying and having a great time. It just looked like so much fun and made me miss those wild and crazy times. Plus, Diddy was in the commercial and as everyone knows I, as a fellow Sean, have an enormous respect for Diddy. Who doesn't want to be like Diddy? He calls him self Diddy for Christ's sake, I mean, what could be cooler? Diddy is the epitome of cool...

*end sarcasm*

Where were we? Ah yes. So the commercial really did make me crave vodka. As I sat and watched my mind began to wander and my thoughts became just like my friend's thoughts...

"I am doing so well! I have never felt better in my life. Maybe things will be different now. Maybe, say, in a few years, I'll be able to drink like a normal person again. And have fun partying like my good friend Mr. Diddy."


Sure, these were just thoughts and I would never act on them but it was incredible to me that the night I have these thoughts I get a call the very next morning basically slapping me in the face and saying, "No. Don't even think it. Bad." But I do like how my brain was smart enough to say "maybe in a FEW YEARS." Like you aren't really ready now but in a few years you'll be strong enough.

What a crock of shit.

This made me take a look back to when I was first sober. Back when mom was sick. I stayed sober for 20 months, the difference that time being I didn't go to AA Meetings as I always knew I was going to drink again. I was absolutely shocked that first night I started drinking again and became aware that my tolerance had not changed in the slightest. I still needed copious amounts of alcohol in order to even feel a buzz, even after not drinking for over a year! So when my friend mentioned today alcoholism as being "progressive" my mind immediately went back to the last time I was sober. It's true what they say and I've already experienced it without even knowing.

I have to always remember...

"Alcoholism and addiction are progressive diseases, and unless the user stops completely, the disease will always worsen in severity over time. The intensity of this progression varies considerably, and while some people may drink or drug for many years before things get noticeably worse, they ultimately always do."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Using Dreams

I´ve been having a lot more ¨using dreams¨ this past week than I have in awhile. At first I had no idea why but as I sit here at work, stressed, it made more sense. I´ve worked more this week than I have in awhile which is not good for me physically or mentally. I didn´t get to go to my normal amount of meetings this week because we are understaffed and my co-worker and myself were basically the only two people able to work. Only having two guys doing this at our job is fucking ridiculous and it´s starting to take it´s toll.

What I´m concerned with was my lack of sleep. I am not used to working the hours that I did this week because as I stated I am physically unable to do so. Also, I don´t work afternoon shifts so that I can get to the AA Meetings I so desperately need for my sanity. So while preparing myself for the busy work week I had ahead of me I figured I would at least be so exhausted from physical labor that I´d at least get some good sleep when I got home.

Apparently that wasn´t the case.

Now this isn´t even counting the fact that I started this crazy week going into the store at 2am for an installation process that took 3 hours, the night before I´m supposed to pull an all day shift at work. But thats a story for another time.

So let me first explain what a ¨using dream¨ is like for the unfamiliar. It´s exactly what it sounds like. A dream in which I ¨use¨ my drug of choice, in this case alcohol, and the experience is so vivid you actually believe you have failed. It´s the absolute most horrifying thing for me in recovery. I don´t know how realistic other peoples using dreams are but mine can be intense. Luckily they don´t happen that often. Maybe once a month, if that.

But this week was different. I had 3 in a row, which is a new record. Maybe that doesn´t sound too bad to some but let me go a little deeper. My dreams are so vivid that I wake up in the middle of the night, scurrying around in the darkness looking for the empty bottles of vodka that I finished drinking and hid... in my dream. Because Dream Sean actually hides the bottles. He´s covering his tracks so no one will find out he´s drinking again, which dives into how realistic the dreams are. Dream Sean isn´t out partying and going crazy. He´s doing exactly what I used to do during ¨The Downfall¨ which was hiding in his room, drinking in secret and disposing of the evidence and eventually blacking out. Its at this moment reality kicks in and I jolt awake believing everything I just experienced was true.

To give you an idea of the anxiety this brings on I always compare it to when you are napping during the day and you wake up at say, 8:00pm, and you have the quick panic attack where you think you´re late for work so you scramble to shower, get dressed, etc only to realize, OOPS, it´s night time. Whew! Crisis averted.

Take that feeling and multiply it by about 50. The reason it´s so painful to experience is because during that moment, however brief it is, you really do believe you failed. You were weak and you caved and you threw it all out the window. I don´t wish that feeling on my worst enemy...

As painful as these nightmares are they are few and far between. This is not a regular occurrence. Sure, it sucks total asshole, but although my subconscious still latches on to the disease while I sleep, I´m in control when I´m awake.

I fear The Disease. Downright fear it. The Disease knows that it´s at it´s weakest when I am awake and in control so it lays dormant during the day. For the most part that is. He sends in his associate, ¨The Craving,¨ every so often to fuck with me at random times. The Craving is a dickhead, plain and simple. He´s the obnoxious friend you have that always chimes in at inappropriate times and you wish would just shut the fuck up. ¨Hey look at that beer on TV. Remember when you were able to do that? Remember that? Huh? Huh? You remember? Remember?¨ He states the obvious just to get under your skin.

But it´s when the lights go out and I´m at my most vulnerable when The Disease creeps out of hiding and begins whispering in my ear as I sleep. I never want to go back to the way things were during The Downfall. If I shared all the stories from those times, which I may some day, you wouldn´t be surprised as to why I am so terrified of succumbing to The Dark Lord´s will.

Sobriety has it´s ups and downs but the positives far outweigh the negatives. At the end of the day I´ll take the occasional nightmare over the ACTUAL nightmare that was my life just a short time ago...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fun at work

So today I knew I had a long day ahead of me at work so I mentally prepared myself to have a lot of fun albeit at the expense of one of my new employee's. It's nothing mean or rude or anything like that towards him. No, what's fun to me is just fucking with someone without them even knowing that I'm messing with them.

Often times when there is a new employee, usually a younger high school kid who doesn't know any better, I slip into a certain "character" when I work with them. This character doesn't have a name. This character is me. The only difference is that it's an extremely ignorant version of myself. I love pretending I'm ignorant. Don't ask me why, I just find it incredibly hysterical. Luckily I have acting skillzzzz which enable me to keep a straight face even during the most ridiculous of conversations. What follows is a series of vignettes of my time today with one of our new hires, Danny.

Listening to Black Eyed Peas "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night"

Me: You know, tonight IS going to be a good night!
Danny: Oh yeah?
Me: Of course. There is a special on Doctor Who tonight on BBC America at 9:00. Then after that is the Nerdist Show on Time Travel. I'm fucking pumped. *singing* Cause tonight's gonna be a good, good niiiight!"
Danny: I thought you were gonna say you were gonna have sex tonight.
Me: *serious* What the fuck did you just say to me?
Danny: That's what this song is about. It's about people having sex.
Me: I do believe you are wrong, sir.
Danny: What?! You don't think the song is about them sitting at home watching Doctor Who, do you?
Me: Of course not, don't be ridiculous! The Black Eyed Peas are smart enough to enjoy the genius that is Doctor Who.... No, I'm sure they're singing about watching themselves on MTV Cribs.
Danny: "Let's live it up. I got my money" That's about buying whores.
Me: Noooooo, it means they are going to splurge and indulge in some Pay-Per-View. A Boxing Match, perhaps?
Danny: Are you kidding me?
Me: Are you kidding ME? I think you have sex on the brain, my friend. You are reading way to deep into this.
Danny: Why would anybody write a song about staying home and watching television?
Me: Why wouldn't someone write a song about watching television? It's peaceful, it's relaxing, it's a fucking delight!
(Break from arguing to help customer and as soon as the door shuts I get right back into it.)
Danny: Movel Tov!
Me: What's your point?
Danny: How does it fit in with your "watching TV theory?"
Me: I'll have you know I have a number of Jewish friends that love to watch television.
Danny: You're serious, aren't you?
Me: Danny, if there's anything you'll learn from working with me, it's that I'm always serious.

Some Selena Gomez song...
Danny: You can't tell me you like this.
Me: Selena Gomez has the voice of an angel
Danny: The voice of a--
Me: Shhh! You don't speak while Selena is speaking...
*For you Seinfeld fans, I basically acted like Elaine's boyfriend Brett who was obsessed with the song "Desperado"*

And here are just the random things I would spout out in response to his criticisms...
"Vanessa Carlton has more talent in her pinky than all the tool bags of Linkin Park combined"
"Colbie Caillat is a dream! How dare you!"
"Demi Lovato is the Pat Benatar of this generation!"
"This is the original 'rapcore!'" In reference to "Bye Bye Love" by The Cars
"You are out of your fucking mind if you think Linkin Park is better than Carly Rae Jepsen."
"Who doesn't go GAGA for Lady GaGa?"
"I'll have you know listening to JoJo got me through some really difficult times in my life."

There were more but I can't even remember. I had about 2 extra large coffee's today and an Energy Drink so I was pretty off the wall. Poor kid was stunned I had a response for everything he threw at me but hey, I gotta get my kicks somehow, right?