Monday, December 15, 2008

i went from aa to aaa...

Tragedy strikes again!
But first, yesterday. I could barely sleep Saturday night, I was so excited to graduate from rehab. Every morning, we're woken up at 6:30 via a loudspeaker above our bed, with Jim the counselor proclaiming, "Good morning! It's a great day to be sober!" I jumped out of bed and immediately started packing, removing the beautiful letters and cards from my wall and stuffing my clothes in one of my many suitcases. I stripped my sheets, packed up my comforter and pillow and begrudgingly took the gorgeous white roses Hastings brought me last weekend and threw them away in the kitchen. 
My last day as Senior Peer, I led the morning check-in and reminded everyone to be back at 9:15 for my medallion ceremony because, "I'm outta here, suckers!" I spied my mom through the window running down the hallway with a dress for me, throwing it in my room so I could change for the ceremony. 
Finally, Emmanuel and Steve came up to me, each holding white roses. 
"These are for you!"
"Wow, thanks guys. Did you find these in the garbage can?"
"Er, uh. Brian found them!"
My roommate Debbie lost it. "Those were hers! They've been in our room for a week!"
Oh, rehab. The only place where men give you flowers from a garbage can someone else gave you a week ago.
Much like a bride getting ready for her wedding, the girls crowded in my room and helped me stick flowers in my hair and rub self tanner on my legs. And my roommate Debbie managed to smuggle in a tiara which she gave me, making my medallion much like a Miss Rehab pageant. 
My folks and brother were joined by KG and her husband, SG and they were all allowed to watch through the window as 30 drunks and junkies stood in a circle and I stood in the middle. Darvin the counselor gave a little speech, throwing in a Gavin reff. which I thought was klassy. Then I had to make intense eye contact with everyone as they each put their mojo into that little gold coin which is magically going to keep me away from cocktails. Finally, Johnny was the last one to get the medallion and he walked me back to the center of the circle, where he spoke unexpectedly sweetly as he gave me away. You get to pick who gives you away, and I knew Johnny'd do an awesome job. Listening to a 25 year old soldier from Texas speaking about a 30 year old fag hag from San Francisco cracked me up, particularly as he discussed my personal life, decent into booze and what he feels the future holds, plans which include some "lucky bastard" as yet undiscovered. 
Johnny and I hugged, everyone clapped and I was off! I didn't waste one goddamn second getting the hell away from my nearest and dearest rehab friends. Dad took us all to brunch and then I went home. 
Sirens! Skyscrapers! Hobos! How I've missed you.
I raced home to dump my luggage and change clothes, meeting Melissa at the mall for non-alcoholic shopping, eating and a movie. A month or so ago, Mel and I would spend a Sunday lingering over lunch with a bottle of wine, moving onto cocktails and then some lavish dinner before drinks till the wee hours at Le Club. 
Alas, those days are gone. It's just a little hard to get used to. As we ordered burritos in the food court of the Westfield Shopping Center, I remarked, "My craving is about a 7."
"Oh, really?" She seemed surprised. "Is that how you rate it?"
Everyday in rehab, we had to fill out a form, ranking among other things, our craving booze or drugs on a scale of 1-10. Movies and eating and shopping for most people mean Diet Coke. Not me! I wanted a bottle of Smirnoff and some Crystal Lite. 
Which is when Mel asked me a very good question. "What do I do if you really insist on ordering a drink."
"Oh, golly. I don't know. I guess tell me if I really need a drink, I can have one tomorrow. It's that whole one day at a time thing."
"Yeah, but what if you're really persuasive and you get all angry?"
She stumped me. I have no idea. Because I can totally see myself doing that. "Screw you! I'm 30 years old and I'm getting a goddamn cocktail, you judgemental bitch."
Quite frankly, she should just remind me of the myriad of occasions I called her in the middle of the night, drunk and hysterical, sobbing on the floor of my living room over a rough episode of Designing Women, followed by my trying to get myself to work the next morning, blaring crappy music so I'd stay awake on the freeway. I don't know if any of you fine people have ever been there, but I have and it's a place I have no desire to return. 
We went to see Doubt, because nothing perks up a rainy afternoon like pedophile priests. What a talent that Meryl Streep is! And I could be off here, blinded by some type of natural high I'm unfamiliar with, but is Philip Seymore Hoffman attractive? Just a little? I'm torn. 
Exhausted, I dropped the Missus off and came home, ate some Chinese food and watched Law and Order with my roommate and crashed. Sunday was exhausting and I delighted in snuggling up in my own bed and wondered what it's like to snuggle with Philip Seymore Hoffman. I bet you'd have to listen to him pontificate on the merits of live theater versus film, which you'd then have to pretend to be interested in and regret you ever started snuggling with him in the first place. 
"No, no. I totally agree. It's all about feeling the energy of the audienzzzzzzzzz..."
I woke up this morning at 6am. 
Well shit. It IS a great day to be sober! 
I blew out my hair, threw on my cutest little jumper and headed out into the wind and rain with my new mittens and plans to beat everyone to work, just to display how clean, sober and professional I am now. 
Which is when I discovered it. 
Rhonda the Honda, cleaned and repaired by my sweet father, had a fucking flat tire. I don't know my Bible as well as say, old people, but I'm pretty sure this was one of those tests from God. 
Calmly, I called AAA and was told I'd be rescued in an hour. I grabbed a cup of coffee, an Esquire magazine and watched my phone run out of batteries. An hour and 15 minutes later, I called back. 
"Um, Hi. I called a while ago for a tire change?"
"Oh yeah. I apologize. It'll be 60 minutes."
"16 minutes?"
"No. 60."
"Listen to me." I willed my voice not to crack. "My phone has 2 minutes left, I just got out of rehab yesterday and this is my first day back at work. I am doing my 10 deep breaths and it's not working."
"Oh my god."
"I'm trying to accept the things I cannot change but I will do anything to get this tire changed."
"Okay, hold on. Let me see what I can do."
Which is when she disconnected me. 
I marched back to my house in the rain, my bouncy hair now a dripping rats nest, and woke up my roommate, John. "I have a flat tire and I need your phone."
Actually, I could really use a Bloody Mary right now. But instead I shall patiently wait, then go purchase a phone charger, new tire and get cracking on my new cross addiction. I can't decide if I'll become a hoarder or plastic surgery addict, but any more tests from my goddamn Higher Power and I'm going to become addicted to murdering tow truck drivers...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Beth! And welcome home!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Welcome back to wonderful SF!

Anonymous said...

Oh hey, if you were wondering? You're still really funny even though you're really sober. Bravo on that.

- Clemens

Spots said...

And Clemens, I look forward to Shirley Temples soon...

Anonymous said...

I've been lurking on your blog for a couple months now and this is my first comment. Congradulations!

Anonymous said...

Not hoarding or plastic surgery -- cats! Lots and lots of cats.

shayera said...

Congrats and welcome back!

SF Runner said...

I've been lurking, too, but I wanted to say that congratulations are certainly in order!

Anonymous said...

How about painting "The Bob Ross Way"

Congrats & welcome back.

KG said...

It is good to have you back!

Clair said...

How about endurance athletics? It's much cheaper than plastic surgery, and then you could hoard athletic equipment.

chestery said...

Was just listening to this today: Philip Seymour Hoffman being interviewed on Fresh Air about Doubt (and Capote...and stuff).

I don't know what it would be like to cuddle with him in bed, but I'm pretty sure it would be pretty noisy. He, apparently, is one of those people who breathes audibly all the time.

Anonymous said...

I think that I will suggest cultivating a few more eccentricities. How do you feel about cigarette holders?

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Spots!
Advice to Mel: You're not responsible for Beth's happiness and you can't make her decisions for her. Support her, but her decision not to drink (or to drink) is her own. You're a terrific friend and she's lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

hilarious and important as ever

Brock said...

PSH is, oddly enough, hot looking in Doubt. It delighted/freaked me out too.

Sweet Melissa said...

Fingers crossed for an addiction to cooking for your best friend! Or gambling. I've never been to Reno.

My god, it is so f-ing great to have you back.