Day 9: Letting My Guard Down.

I had a good day today. So good, in fact, that for a moment I almost let my guard down to grab a drink. It was a reflex, like some subconscious machine inside of me extended my hand toward the fridge to grab a drink. “You’re happy, let’s make this feeling last.” It was so natural, so nonchalant, that I honestly failed to remember for a split second that I wasn’t drinking anymore. The moment left me momentarily puzzled, but otherwise unshaken. I continued my evening as happily as before, even without that drink.

It’s strange how easily I forgot how seductive a good day can be when it comes to drinking. This made me think: What are other emotions or other scenarios that pull me towards booze? Is there perhaps some way I can prepare for these moments? The thing I realized is that, for me at least, drinking is an equal opportunity fellow: Have a rough day? Have a drink. Run into an old friend? Let’s grab a cocktail. At a wedding? Toast the happy couple. At a funeral? A round in honor of his memory. Just want to veg with some reality TV? A few beers makes that so much easier. Cooking Italian? How ’bout a bottle of good red to go along with that. Drinking has been such a big part of what I’ve done (and who I’ve been) for so long that I can imagine pretty much any scenario in which a drink in hand would be the norm. If I really wanted to plot out all my triggers, it would almost be easier to think of all the scenarios or all the emotions in which I wouldn’t drink!

But, one day at a time, right…

As I continue on this journey I expect I’m going to have all sorts of surprising days like today where my natural reflex will be to drink. And, like today, some of the reflexes might be so subconscious and so subversive that I’ll be surprised at how easily I’ll forget that I’m not drinking anymore. Besides being vigilant as well as more cognizant of my actions in general, perhaps the key is doing what I did today: notice the impulse, recognize the temptation, remind myself that I’m not drinking, recall why I’m not drinking, and then let it pass. Oh, and then celebrate one more day of sobriety.

One day at a time…

Art: Midday Rest, by Vincent van Gogh