Friday, March 19, 2010
Cindy and I - we recover from alcoholism together. We no longer run around barefoot crying (most of the time).
Hi Ding Dong Donkey Kongs,
I know it’s been forever since I’ve written a “Nice to Meet Ya” blog - but I’ve been really busy thinking about writing one - so cut me some slack. That’d be crazy if you really did cut me some slacks and I wore them to a business casual type job that I hated.
Anyway, in honor of having almost two years of sobriety, I wanted to write about alcoholism. Some people think it's sort of depressing and don't like to talk about it. But, I believe people who don't like talking about alcoholism should; black out, pee in parking lots, lose their shoes, drive drunk hoping they get pulled over so they have someone to talk to, and make out with whoever is around every day, for years and years. Yeah, try that - then maybe we can have a discussion about what's depressing, you donkey.
Ok - so in my sober adventures, I’ve talked to a lot of recovering alcoholics. We tell each other our stories and talk about how we recovered. Most of the time I just pretend to listen until it's my turn to talk. But, every once in awhile, I hear a story that blows my brain out of my skull and into a place I like to call “NO WAY”.
So, ladies and gentleman, I’d like to introduce you to the star of this “Nice to Meet Ya”, Cindy. She's in recovery and I met her through a friend of a friend. She cracks me up. She does spot on impressions of people, and every once in a while she'll reveal an outrageous snippet from her past with a hilarious flare of casualness and sarcasm. After she tells a crazy story she’ll say something like, “Yeah, whaddyagawnna do?” with shrugged shoulders and sneaky smile. Not that her past doesn’t haunt her everyday. She’s not being dismissive about what she's done, not at all. Anyone who has spent years of their life being self destructive and oblivious of the wreckage they create is always mortified of their behavior once they sober up. But, a fun part of recovery is realizing the truth, and sometimes you just have to laugh, otherwise you’ll cry yourself to death.
Cindy has nearly 15 months of sobriety and has a backstory so weird and wild, I had to stop her in the middle of our interview and say “Listen, I can’t write all of this. I need you to email me your story in ... like.... a timeline format or something.”
So - below is a combination of her and I writing out her crazy, crazies. To get you started, just know that Cindy grew up in LA, her family was wealthy, she started drinking in her teens and she had a son when she was 23 years old. She was a big drunk for more than 20 years and I think she gives the term "party on" real meaning.
Here we go now.
1987 - At the age of 20, Cindy got her first DUI. Blood Alcohol level was .17. Judge Lawrence Mira, the same judge that threw Robert Downey Jr. and Tommy Lee in jail, asked her if she thought she might have a “problem”.
1989 - Her son was born. Super cutey pie baby.
1990 - Split with baby daddy. Drinking 2 to 3 glasses of wine a night. Progressively got worse.
1994 - Ended up at St John's Hospital (chemical treatment center). She left after a week because she thought she "got it" (how to get stay sober). Her friends would no longer drink with her or go out socially where alcohol was present. So she drank alone, a half gallon of wine nightly.
1997 - She met Chris a high functioning, wealthy alcoholic. He had kids, ages 4 and 2. Her son was 7 at this time. They both drank like pigs on his 15 acre avocado ranch in Santa Paula, CA.
1998 - She moved in with Chris. There were numerous domestic violence issues and police visits.
1999 - Her son was picked up at school by DCSF (Dept. of Child Family Services). Her dad and step-mom fostered, while Cindy tried to get sober. She was told that she’d have to move away from Chris in order to regain custody.
1999 - She side swiped two parked cars while driving drunk. Left the scene, but since her tires were flat she left a solid black line from driving on the rims which led the cops to her parked car. She was charged with a hit and run and had to pay the owner of the two cars over $6000 in damages. Damn the evidence!
2000 - She drove off a cliff, the Ocean Ave Bluffs in Santa Monica. Suicide attempt. She dropped 150 feet and landed in a tree, the car split in two. She climbed out of the car window, slid down the rest of the cliff, walked across the Pacific Coast Highway, went to The Beach Club, told valet she thought she just drove off of a cliff and asked to talked the chef (she knew him). She ordered a whisky while pulling twigs out of her hair and waited for Chris to pick her up.
Chris took her to his apartment, on the way they drove past the cop cars and rubber-neckers looking over the side of the cliff she flew off. They got a glimpse of the tracks leading to the edge. When they got home, Chris told his brother what happened, the brother called the cops. Cindy got freaked out and ran, police dogs found her hiding in a bush. She wakes up in the hospital and is sent to a sober convent run by a nun. Cindy starts drinking again, the nun calls the cops and chases her around the convent. Juke left, go right! She moves back in with Chris.
Now here's where things really start to go downhill, pardon the pun. From 2001 to 2008, Cindy was in and out of hospitals and treatment centers, she lost custody of her son again, Chris committed suicide, and she drove to a police station drunk and passed out in the parking lot (easiest DUI ever handed out). Everyone cut her off and she took refuge in a homeless shelter.
Finally, on Dec 26th 2008, Cindy has her last drink. At a Sizzler! It was a glass of wine. Afterward, she went to the homeless shelter and had a grand mal seizure. One last trip to UCLA hospital, she detoxed for 12 days and her life starts over starting here.
END OF THE DRUNK LOG
Oh, and lets not forget the random email she sent to me saying at some point she did go to Betty Ford - but almost forgot about it.
I need to write something real quick to Cindy -
Jesus, Cindy! Your soul must be a burn victim or something!
Ok. That's it for now. Carrying on with my blog.
Please note- the aforementioned is only the big stuff. If you hang out with Cindy - just drive around town with her and she'll have a story for every neighborhood. Like the time she tried to run the stadium stairs in Santa Monica drunk, she fell and knocked a bunch of people down, a domino effect kicked in. She said, "Oh come on! Just tuck and roll!"
In the past 15 months of her sobriety, Cindy has a car that she drives (in between the lines), has a job lined up and, most importantly, she focuses on sobriety and rebuilding her relationship with her son, he's now 20 years old. She talks to him everyday and is a very cool, considerate mother.
I think it's amazing she was able to stop drinking. Alcoholism is a mental illness, we are wired differently then normal people and we CAN NOT stop, regardless of the consequences. And, a few of us lucky ones just stop and it's a God damn miracle. The tricky part is to stay stopped. The good thing about this Universe is that there are tools available (if they are sought) to help people live an amazing life in sobriety.
I didn't know Cindy when she was a drunk. I've only witnessed her in sobriety being a really good friend, mom and overall human. So...lets all think good thoughts for Cindy for a minute. Do it! Don't be a dick and/or a donkey. Ok, thanks.
Alright, now watch the weirdest video I’ve ever made. Cindy wants to remain anonymous so I couldn’t video tape her head. Just press play!
Posted by Amber at 10:44 AM