Combat Baby.

by theappliedprocess

“Said it all before. They try to kick it, their feet fall asleep. I want to be wrong but, no one here wants to fight me like you do.”

Stone cold sober. I smoked my last cigarette, I drank my last shot. I started meds last Tuesday. Nothing too serious, just an annoying skin infection I’ve apparently had for 10 years and had never really dealt with. The time I’ve had it goes to show how mild it is but, like most things, there comes a point when you have to deal with it and, after delaying it for several months (I was diagnosed and prescribed treatment last August), I finally decided to man up and embark on my 6 weeks of sobriety.

I was excited to go to work on Tuesday morning. I knew it would be a busy day and I was looking forward to it keeping my mind off things. Unfortunately, with a big load of work, comes a big load of stress, and with a big load of stress comes a big load of cravings for a damn cigarette! It was a long day. I probably bought every single type of gum and candy I could find to keep my mouth busy. I’ve quit before and I’ve never felt the urge to light up as bad as I have this time. Texts went back in both directions between me and ‘Nickle’. We were fighting the same war but in different fronts. It was somewhat comforting to know I wasn’t the only one, but still a task harder than I imagined.

I got done with work and went home. I had made plans earlier that day with a friend from college to give her two more full packs of cigarettes I had found in my jackets that morning as I was getting ready to leave my place. We were meeting for dinner. My babe biked to my place and we walked to Wild Ginger. I had not seen this girl in a really long time, probably a year, and I had not properly hung out with her since… probably college. It was a great evening. She is effortlessly beautiful inside and out, and one of the easiest people to connect with. I gave her her present, she gave me some advice on not drinking. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, she’s been sober for two years. The evening continued and, as it often happens, there was a point when ‘Nickle’ went to the bathroom and she took the time to say what I always here: he’s great, he’s really nice, we look good together. Again, it never gets old.

Dinner ended and we headed home. No one was drinking so there was really no reason to go to a bar or keep hanging out (how sad). We went home, laid on the couch, and tried to watch Crazy Stupid Love. We were unsuccessful and kept falling asleep so we opted for bed. Once in bed, one kiss led to another and we ended up fooling around. A pair of orgasms later, we were both sound asleep.

Wednesday morning was another early day. It was the first morning in a really (and I cannot stress that enough) long time I woke up completely sober. No morning cigarette. No morning chugging of two bottles of vitamin water to rehydrate. No morning trying to remember what happened the night before. Instead, I was somewhat productive and went to pick up some business cards for my boss right before heading to work. Again, the stress of my day along with the stress of not smoking made my day long and arduous but I made it through. The thought of seeing the boyfriend definitely helped.

After work, we went to a charity auction in SoHo. Free drinks and hors d’oeuvres. I, of course, was sipping water, but I still had fun. I bid on a handwriting analysis, and a few day laters I was notified I won. We didn’t stay for long. We left after about an hour and headed to Mooncake Foods for a proper dinner. Sadly, my sandwich was oozing with onions and, having the pet peeves I have about restaurant food, I went into a fit, I picked through the pieces of fried tofu and left the rest. Regardless, the baby enjoyed his meal so it was all worth it.

We headed back to Brooklyn and made a pit stop at Saint’s Alp for some bubble tea before heading to The Abbey. It was one of the bartenders’ birthday so we stopped for some cake and a shot of champagne. I was a bit delirious because it had been two full days of sobriety and I was stressed and annoyed. My handsome man had been trying his best to be there for me, but still I felt alone and annoyed. A part of me just wanted to lock myself in my room and not come out for 6 weeks. Thinking back on it only makes me rant more, so I’ll stop now… In all fairness, I’m glad my babe stuck around. It significantly helped to not feel I was doing this solo.

We went home and passed out early. Another dull night. Another notch on my advent calendar.

Thursday morning was more of the same. No drinking, no smoking, and work. For the evening, I had plans of going to Elmgreen and Dragset’s play “Happy Days in the Art World” at NYU’s Skirball Center. I met ‘Nickle’ and ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ outside the venue 15 minutes before, and without a cigarette, we walked in. The play was absolutely amazing. Entertaining. Funny. Witty. Challenging. Concise. I’ve always been a fan of their work, but this just made it even better.

Still not being able to drink or smoke, we left and went for some burgers at Stand4 near Union Square. They had a margarita special that I was unable to partake in. I was annoyed and stressed. I painfully downed my salmon burger and sweet potato fries and went home with my papa. Again, he’s been the best sport. We went to bed early.

Friday, ditto. After work, I met ‘Nickle’ and co. for an art show somewhere off Clinton and Grand near the Williamsburg Bridge. Again, drinks were passed right in front of me but this time I decided to have one. I was stressed and annoyed. A glass of cheap gallery white wine was not going to kill me, and if it did, so be it! ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ had invited us to dine with her and one of the people from Marfa who was in town. We said we’d meet her sometime around 9 pm, but plans, of course, never go as planned. Me, ‘Nickle’, and two of his friends ended up at my place where we waited for ‘The Lady of Derbishire’, then at The Abbey, later at Vinnie’s for some pizza, and finally at some bar near Metropolitan and  Union where the spastic cowboy artist was crashing a wedding. He wasn’t really paying much attention to us, and I was still annoyed and tired so I asked to leave. The girls who were with us went home, and ‘Nickle’ suggested we go back to my place. I responded with a “Let’s go back to The Abbey” because I felt like I was boring the shit out of him.

And so we did. And I somewhat regretted it. We stumbled into a really good friend of him who, do not get me wrong, I love! But, he was very drunk and got kicked out of the bar so we took him back to my place. All was fine, I would totally do that for any of my friends, any of his close friends, or anyone who really needed it… but a slight part of me just really wished we had just gone home so I could get lost on my babe’s chest as I fell promptly asleep… regardless, I was glad to lend a helping hand.

Saturday morning my love had the day off, I had to go to work. He spent most of the day running errands around my place. There was a lot of production work to be done at my job and I was busy for most of the day. The cigarette cravings were subsiding. Towards the end of the day, the new boss decided to pull out our old habits and offered to have a drink with the rest of us. I finished my beer and headed out. I wanted to see a movie with ‘Nickle’ but he was uptown drinking at The Seahorse Tavern so I opted to go meet him. I was still annoyed I couldn’t drink and I was a bit worried that everyone was already going to be of their way to alcohol induced amnesia. To my surprise, they absolutely weren’t… or didn’t seem to at least. I ordered a beer and joined in. All was fun and good times till my babe kept insisting for a cigarette. At first I told him not to think about it and just have gum (our substitute for nicotine), but eventually, and I knew exactly when he changed his mind, he came out of the bathroom with a fag in mouth letting me know he was going to smoke it. I insisted I wouldn’t be happy but, of course, he’s his own person and can do whatever. After a slight mental tug-o-war, he decided against smoking. I was very happy yet a bit perturbed. I obviously didn’t want him to have the cigarette, yet at the same time I was being weary of sounding nagging, and I also didn’t want him to resent me for asking him not to. Later that evening, he thanked me, and I was glad to have stuck to my guns.

We had agreed to go to the movies after a drink, but one thing led to another and we ended up at The Abbey. One more beer, one more shot, and then off to Sugarland, because we’d also agreed we wanted to dance. The club was empty. Regardless, we acted like complete fools and jumped and pranced around the empty dance floor to some pretty awful remixes of gay dance classics, and left as soon as it got crowded (about 8 more people than when we started). We went back to The Abbey to see if ‘Nickle’s’ friend was still there and what her plans were. She decided to stay, we had one more round and went to bed.

I started to feel guilty about my drinking. It wasn’t a lot by my standards, but I’m sure anyone would disagree that 4 beers and 3 shots is nothing when you’re not supposed to drink. ‘Nickle’ got a bit emotional as well and in his inebriated state stated he wasn’t going to let me drink or drink with me for the rest of the time I wasn’t supposed to. I took this with a grain of salt knowing we had a future Thanksgiving trip to Chicago to visit his best friend who, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is also quite the drinker. Never the less, I took his word and reminded him the next morning.

Sunday was my first official weekend day off since I’ve changed my schedule at work. Now I’m doing Tuesday – Saturday so I can have at least one day free together with ‘Nickle’. We were still not drinking and, after the previous two nights where I had decided to ignore the surgeon general’s warnings, I was ready to continue that. I felt a mix of guilt, and physical pain for having so irresponsibly overlooked the doctor’s suggestions.

Continuing my usual Dominical traditions, the babe made us pancakes. Delicious. We later had some sexy time and then took showers. The day started slow, but picked up a bit since we were hosting a sober game night later in the evening. I got a call to go to work to drop off some stuff, so we decided to kill a few birds with one stone and walk with ‘Toto’ across the Williamsburg Bridge  to the Lower East Side,  pick up some Vanessa’s dumplings, stop by my job, and walk back. It was exactly what I’d been needing. ‘Nickle’ had been such a great sport about my drinking conundrum, and I just wanted for him to be happy, and I think the activities of the day helped.

We got back to my place around 6 pm and started making food. People showed up about an hour or two after that. The night, which was completely atypical to say the least, was actually fun. I was very weary about boring my guests and, more importantly, my love, but they were all great sports. Other than ‘Mexican Paddington’ and ‘The Queen of the Dammed’, no one drank a drop of alcohol. ‘Fixie’ and ‘Viquers’ were actually mad at me for having slipped the past few days. To my utmost surprise, ‘Jose Maria’ was completely sober, and ‘Occhio’ and one of my coworkers, who weren’t really getting in tune with the rest of the crew, were sober as well.

At around midnight and after about five rounds of Apples to Apples later they all went home. Me and the bf hit the sack and passed out rather quickly. I think I was starting to get used to falling asleep sans ethanol.

Mondee, without me knowing, would turn out to be my last officially forced sober day. We woke up rather early, and being completely sober and without a hang over, we enjoyed another round of sexy time. I love morning sex and I’m glad ‘Nickle’ does too. There’s no better way to start my days. I received a very early message from ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ to go meet her at school so we could film the last interview of the documentary we’ve been working on. It was a bit last minute but Mondays are my day off so I had no reason not to be able to do so. After cumming, I showered and headed to CUNY. We picked up the equipment needed for filming and took the A train south to Chelsea. We met the people involved with the Marfa project at Hotel Americano somewhere on the high 20’s between 10th and 11th ave.

This time, the interviewees were the artists behind the project. They were unbelievably nice and helpful. The filming went flawless and after we joined them for lunch. I didn’t have to officially work, but I did have to stop by at some point and open the place for other people who needed to be there, so at around quarter to 2 pm, I left 40 bucks on the table, excused myself, and headed to SoHo.

I arrived 5 minutes late, and people were a bit annoyed, but I ignored their moodiness, open the doors, and decided to stay the day and work on personal projects. I updated the blog, and scheduled a few other fun sober nights for me and ‘Nickle’. We are going to see Warhorse on the 15th. I also waited for him to get off work so we could have a quiet night. We were going to cross the Williamsburg bridge together again, rent a movie, and have a night in. I, however, stupidly suggested we go to Beauty and Essex for dinner to have some grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings that I had heard they served but had never tried. His response to that was happy hour oysters, dumplings, and then a hamburger pizza. A bit gluttonous for my taste, but not something I wouldn’t normally be fine with, except my stomach was killing me. To that point, I’d been having a bunch of side effects from the medicine and was not feeling sexy or in the mood for indulging too much.

He picked me up and we did walk to the oyster bar. Within minutes of getting there he asked if I was OK with him having a beer. I lied and said yes. The reason I say I lied is because, normally, I wouldn’t care, except he had promised a couple nights earlier he wouldn’t drink in solidarity with me, and now he was instantaneously asking for a beer the moment we walked in. I didn’t say anything and just let myself get in a weird mood.

After a few minutes of mentally debating whether I should speak up or not, I finally did. It didn’t create much of a problem but it did put a slight damper on my already psychotic state of mind (it was harder than I thought to quit smoking and drinking at the same time). At the end, I think he did understand my point. We left and went to Beauty and Essex, had a few appetizers, talked a bit more about the night, and worked it all out. The thing I love about us is how vocal we are and how we will talk it out till it’s sorted out.

Sometimes I feel really controlling, crazy, and demanding when I let these things get to me, but I just feel like I shouldn’t need to point them out because, first of all, I am incredibly giving and I do things without others even expecting or suggesting me to do it; and second, because he did promise me something, and to me promises mean so much that sometimes I’d rather people not make them because I hold them in a higher regard than I think most people do.

I snapped out of my mental jam, and became a bit more accommodating to his needs. We left the restaurant and walked over to Rosario’s for his slice of pizza, and then across the bridge. I wasn’t feeling the best stomach wise, but the physical activity helped. We rented “Paris is Burning” on the way home. We didn’t get to watch it, we had food coma and just wanted to go to bed.

Like I mentioned a few paragraphs above, this was my last day of forceful sobriety. It was a tough week. I kind of wish it would’ve lasted longer, yet at the same time, I was glad to have done it, even if it was just for a bit. I was losing my mind and I was taking people down with me and did not feel like continuing to do so. I’m not making excuses for myself, I really didn’t know how hard not drinking was going to be. Maybe one day in the future I’ll give it a second shot? I guess, for the moment, I’m just not as strong as I thought I was.

“Combat baby! Come back baby!  Fight off the lethargy, don’t go quietly. Combat baby! Said you would never give up easy”