Ghosts of Imaginary Boyfriends Past


I’ve written before about how I had imaginary boyfriends in super early sobriety, and how I had whirlwind romances with real live guys but unfortunately they were not aware of it. It’s charming, in a pathetic way, to think of it now. I was so aching and desperate to feel attractive and loved and pretty. The only thing I could think of to make that possible, of course, was to find someone who would do that for me. I was single-minded in my pursuit of this someone, but he just kept cheating on me with his wife or was gay or was a gentleman or was a grown-up or some other bullshit. It’s very different now and I understand that this is not the way it works. However, when I was in those brief relationships with CM and then with 24BB, I became delusional despite myself – slipped back into the thinking that my own very real-life love story with a real-live dude would smooth the edges of life in recovery. No! No! Snap out of it, I say to myself!!! We all have needs and I trust in Love that they will be met sooner or fucking later. Needs, wants, desires, etc… all in good time. I want to say that I believe that I already do have everything that I need – because this is what the CKs say and rarely are they wrong. But again, I am not that evolved. I’m trying though. Well, actually, I do believe that – I’m just frustrated and suffering the human condition, and in the meantime, there are websites for such woes. Discuss.

A few days ago right after a meeting, this beauty of a man came up to me and said those four words that can cause any good alcoholic to dry-heave: “Do you remember me?” I flipped frantically through the Rolodex of my Swiss cheese memory and came up with bupkis, zilch, nyet. I couldn’t place him. And the conversation goes something like this…

What he said: Do you remember me?
What I said (nervously): Um. Hmm. From where? I’m sorry! When?
What I thought: Sweet Mother of God, will this EVER end!!! Regardless, I love you! I love you! I love you! How could I forget you, you beauty of a man?! The future father of my children! Doesn’t matter that I have no uterus – we’ll figure out some way, some how we will do this. Love conquers all!

What he said: Oh meetings, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t expect you to. But I had to come over and tell you how great you look! I hardly recognized you! I was like ‘whoa’!
What I said: (nothing. I was speechless. I was planning the wedding).
What I thought: You said ‘whoa’. You said ‘whoa’. You said ‘whoa’ which clearly means you love me. You’ve been waiting (in the shrubbery outside meetings) for me to get better. You’ve been waiting for me all your life. You’ve had a Slushkitty-size hole in your soul. Here I am. I’ve been waiting for you all my life, too.

What he said: I know it’s nice to hear that, and it’s so great to see people getting better.
What I said: Thank you! It’s been a rough few months. I had a hysterectomy. If I wasn’t sober, I’m not sure I’d have lived through it.
What I thought: I’m not sure I am going to live through this conversation. Nothing screams ‘sexy!’ like talking about your gynecologic tragedies during the first conversation with the man of your dreams, the future father of your children.

What he said: Blah blah blah blah blah.
What I said: (nothing. I was speechless. I was planning my escape from Earth).

What he said (when his phone allegedly rang): This is my Dad calling – I gotta run. It was awesome seeing you!
What I said: You, too! We should….
What I thought: The greatest but least talked about gender inequality in America and elsewhere is the fact that vasectomies are reversible, but hysterectomies are not. (That’s where I stopped thinking about that).

Anyway, enormously embarrassed, but undeterred, I thought of “IFFoMC” all night and the whole next morning. I had this sweet and persistent idea that I would write him something, a letter, a limerick, or something. I’d carry it around with me and give it to him the next time I saw him – be it in one week or in one year. I didn’t know what I wanted to say but it would not only not be creepy/stalker-y, but it would sweep him off his feet. He’s too darling and shy to ask me for tea. It would be so romantic, and we are already in love anyway, so I really have nothing to lose. It would be one more delightful story we’d tell our children.

The important thing to note here is that only one time in my entire life have I ever given a boy a love note with my phone number. It was around 1998-99 (I think?) in San Francisco at a Staples store in the Castro. His last name was “Devereaux” as in “Blanche”. He was cute as a button and, unfortunately, also a Jesus freak. I don’t know why he even called me – nice Christian girls don’t come sashaying into a Staples in the middle of the afternoon giving strangers her phone number. He did call me promptly though, and we went out twice. The second time I only went out with him because I liked his name. I guess it was as good a reason as any.

So, back to IFFoMC.. The day after the meeting when I was thinking of writing him a love note, I stalked him on Facebook. I searched his first name figuring we’d have mutual friends, and alas, we do. Found him right away and remembered him right away – he was one of my very first Imaginary Boyfriends! I hadn’t seen him in well over a year and I completely forgot about him! I am surprised by this because I had it sooo baaaad for him. One time, we went to the same meeting – it was in a church and he came in late. Naturally, like all my IBs, he sat next to me even though there were a hundred free seats he could have chosen (that may or may not have been true). We sat in the actual pews at this meeting. The backs of the pews had these built-in magazine racks – ha! – I bet they were meant to hold Bibles and shit, not “People” or “Cosmo”. And they also had little pads of paper with those little pencils you get at mini golf places. I spent half the meeting composing a love note to him – I didn’t know what I wanted to say but it would surely sweep him off his feet. And then half-way through the meeting I noticed that he had picked up a little pencil and a little piece of paper and started writing something, presumably a love note to me! I spent the rest of the meeting in breathless anticipation of his love note. He was The One – I knew it.. finally! All I had to do was get sober and my dreams would come true! It took a long time – five months!!! – but he was worth the wait. He was going to pass me his love note when he held my hand for The Ol’ Prayer at the end of the meeting, I was sure. But when it was time, he walked clear across the church! I couldn’t believe it! He didn’t even say goodbye! WTF?! I was heart-broken but also relieved that I didn’t pass him a note. I hear the fellas like a chase. I’d just slip him my number next time I saw him.. which ended up not being until a few days ago and I’d long forgotten him. I am also relieved that I didn’t do anything drastic the other day when I saw him. Upon further Facebook stalking, it wasn’t hard to tell he had a girlfriend and they were going 2 B 2-gether 4-ever. You know someone is seriously unavailable when their profile picture is them kissing their girlfriend/boyfriend. I know these things. As quickly as I was smitten by IFFoMC this time, I just as quickly shrugged him off as a fun twirl in hasty, misguided love. I think this is a little slice of evidence of recovery. But isn’t it strange that only once in my life have I given someone a love note, but I wanted to give IFFoMC a love note two separate times, not realizing it was him both times? I wonder what that means? Curious.

I said that I only once in my life gave someone a love note, but I confess that I do have the makings of a love note for FH at home and have for quite a while. I don’t know what I am going to say, but it will not only not be creepy/stalker-y, but it will sweep him off his feet… if I ever get up the nerve to write anything, which I probably won’t. But if I do, it surely won’t be hasty, definitely not misguided, and it will always be curious with love to my boyfriend, imaginary or not.


Anniversary Season


I’ve been trying to write this post for about three weeks, but whispers of “restraint of pen and tongue” keep reigning me in. I’m not miserable and angry all the time – it’s just lately these bitter feelings have been sharply pointed at specific people and I am disappointed in myself for that. I am heart-sick and furious. But my sweets Nay-Nay and Heaven have been saying that these feelings are not who I am, that they are what I am feeling, and I have reason and rights to feel my feelings. I have been yelling quite a bit – the hot-blooded Italian in me emerges! But it is better to yell than to bottle this bitterness.. in the bottom.. of so many bottles.

So much has been going on! Beyond my derailment by the hystie and hormones and sadness, I am also experiencing something that I have heard other COOL KIDS talk about but have not experienced myself: sensory memory! I am in the midst of Anniversary Season. My birthday (41 years!) was a couple of weeks ago February 18th, Slushkitty Lives!’s anniversary (1 year!) is March 20th, and my sober anniversary (2 years… in CK anyway with a couple unfortunate drinking episodes!) is April 13th. When I think about how different things are now than they were two years ago and how different things were one year ago, I want to drink. Just kidding! Bad joke for this audience. Every single thing is different and I am so grateful for even having feelings, but some things simply hurt so much more. I don’t know where a sensible place to start is, so I’ll dive into the Winter of 2010-2011 when I lost my very last marble and found God. Kidding again! Well, kind of. I found Love.

Tragedy and horror aside, my last days of drinking were a knee-slapping, side-splitting laugh riot. After 20 years of shamefully and violently belly-flopping my way through life as an addict and alcoholic – friendships, boyfriends, roommates, restraining orders, therapists, medications, cities coast-to-coast, naps on busy sidewalks and on strangers’ lawns, jobs, psychiatric wards, etc… – it took only a few relatively minor events within the matter of only a couple of weeks, and a huge mean-spirited shove from my EX-boyfriend “The Prince of Hell”, that made me finally sell out and surrender my glamorous life in exchange for the boredom and gloom of COOL KIDS. I kid. That is what I thought of COOL KIDS then. Now I know it’s the best place on Earth. Kiss kiss and xoxoxo.

The Prince of Hell has starring roles in a couple of these events, so I need to set the stage. I want, and will attempt, to be a graceful, sober-hearted, and sympathetic member of COOL KIDS and try very hard to contain the blinding rage I still have for him. I’m going to stick to the facts. I’ll try to be fair – even monumental assholes deserve a fair shake. (Oh, lighten up).

I mentioned in earlier posts that after my cancer scare a few years ago, I started on-line dating (my face now red) and having no standards, I went out with every chump who believed the sugar-coated life I whipped up for my profile (ha ha! Kind of like the employer chumps who believed the sugar-coated “contract work” I whipped up to fill in the chunks of time on my resume when I was in reality unemployable). TPoH was the last chump that I went out with. So, a couple of glaring clues from Date One with TPoH that could have perhaps spared me some of his emotional brutality down the road completely escaped me. Clue #1: his profile picture was of him and his most recent girlfriend “Saint Kind and Compassionate” with half her face cropped out, presumably the good half. Hissss. He looked so very (and uncharacteristically) happy in that picture. He never looked happy with me and I was Hell-bent on changing that. Clue #2: he was texting St. KAC during our entire date and showing me pictures of her new hair cut, of her cat, of her feeding the hungry and healing the sick in Guatemala, etc…. Later, he would tell me that back in the mid-90s when I had my lips wrapped around a crack-pipe, she was washing the feet of Jesus Christ Himself. I’m exaggerating but only a little – he did compare us all the time and he wasn’t entirely wrong about the speed-freak v. saint comparison. Anyway, I told him he was being sort of rude texting her in front of me, to which he replied, “Jealousy is ugly”. I was ashamed of myself. I agreed – jealousy indeed is ugly. How could I criticize this forthright and honest man, this good man! Slushkitty is catty. He will help me change that. He will save me.

As if Date One wasn’t bad enough, how’s this: I had to skip Date Two we had planned for the following weekend because I was in a psychiatric ward. I couldn’t even call him to cancel because my phone was dead and the psych warden wouldn’t give me a phone charger because I might’ve hanged myself with the cord. I guess there’s a first for everything. I don’t remember why I told him the wicked embarrassing truth about why I couldn’t make the date. It may have been because I wanted to be honest with this forthright, honest, kind man – wanted to open up and surrender that last speck of self-esteem I had left to him. It may have just been because I couldn’t come up with a clever excuse. It may have been because it was a totally normal event in my life – I was due for an involuntary vacation anyway. It may have been because I thought if he could accept me for who I was — former speed freak, current mental patient, do not call me an alcoholic — then maybe this could have been the beginning of a beautiful and healthy relationship. He will save me.

On Date Two, he picked me up at an out-patient program that I had to go to as a condition of the psych hospital releasing me AMA (that’s “Against Medical Advice” to those of you not in-the-know). There are so many things wrong with that.

Date Three lasted about eight dreadful months and ended with me half-dead whimpering in a church basement on April 13th.

Now, here’s where the “restraint of pen and tongue” law confuses me. The point of describing this relationship is not to disparage TPoH (no! really!), but to illustrate what a sick cookie I was, to illustrate how different things are now, to illustrate that the program works. But I am seeing very little improvement in this area so I am contradicting myself!!! I have dipped my toe in the pool of love twice in sobriety and both times pool sharks chewed my foot off. You know the pool sharks, right? They’re like dented cans. The funniest thing I ever heard at a COOL KIDS meeting was advice someone was given on dating other COOL KIDS. The advice was “don’t shop in the dented can aisle”. That slays me! But despite myself, I fall in love with dented cans allllll the time still. Read “Imaginary Boyfriends” – not much has changed. You can read about the first relationship at the very beginning of Slushkitty – my dear CM. The other relationship was with “BB24” but I am being reigned in by the “restraint of pen and tongue” law again, so I’ll stop before I start. But actually, now that I think about it, there’s a lot of improvement. Neither lasted anywhere near eight months.

So, the relationship part of Anniversary Season has me in a bad mood. I started making a whole-hearted effort on my 4th Step several months ago – I dragged my heels and then I unexpectedly got swept away by my gut-wrenching (literally and emotionally) adventures in Hysterectomyland and put it aside. With the relationship season memories, I am reminded of being heart-burned by guys who were at “best” abusive to me, and at least not available to me in the way I need(ed). I am not sad anymore that things didn’t work out, but I am being relentless in beating the shit out of myself for, in sobriety, still not being able to see what was happening in front of me, settling for so much less than I deserve/want/need/blah/blah/blah. With the 4th Step stuff, I dragged up some recent and ancient and always agonizing relationship memories and heartaches, and I find myself sponsor-less and naked from the ankles down (gasp! So racy!) and the pool sharks are circling.

But alas! If I start getting down about my (lack of) romantical love and my (not) doing 4th Step work, I need to remember that I certainly do not have a lack of Love in my life. I know this may sound trite, but even though I feel like I am re-living all these rotten relationships, I am NOT. I’m right here and am right where I am supposed to be (I both hate and love when the clichés are appropriate). I can think of at least seven people that not only did not back away from me slowly when I was yelling but circled around me closer. I’ve been full of frustration and hatred for weeks and finally detonated. I know my mostest and closest know how scared I am, but maybe they don’t know how scared I was thinking that if they knew the level of bitterness I harbor, they wouldn’t like me anymore. When I was drinking, I would harbor resentments, for sure. But when I was drinking and would detonate (especially towards the end of my drinking career – this time of year two years ago), I certainly most assuredly would lose “friends”. Now my Friends with a capital F invite me over to watch “Fashion Police” and call and text and IM and cheer me up… because they like me!!! Imagine that! And I like them! I’d go so far as to say we love each-other and we want to see all of us happy! I didn’t have anything like this this time of year two years ago. It’s anniversary time! Happy Anniversary indeed!