I crave a glass of wine, a pint of beer, hell a bottle.
I daydream of sitting in a warm, cozy brewery with a flight of their finest craft beers. I want to try them all. I see the wine bottles gifted at work and my eye catches the label, Meiomi. Oh man, that was a good one. I remember being filled with glee finding that one on sale. I remember the first time I tried it when I gifted it to a coworker who said it was her favorite. I remember falling in love with the sweet notes. I remember it being my chosen bottle for the next few weeks. I remember a guy I dated bought me the same bottle.
I head downstairs only to find that I, too, was gifted a bottle of wine. There are three bottles donned in wine sweaters and wine hats. The three of us can choose which one we want.
Not many know I’m sober.
I’ve only been here three months. I scoff at the Merlot. I see the Italian wine and don’t get too thrilled. My eye catches the Malbec. I think Argentina. I recall summer of 2013, and wine tasting on a tandem bike throughout the wineries in Mendoza. I remember crashing into a five-foot ditch because we had one too many. My coworker urges me to take it home, to give to my family, she knows I travel there next week. I know that’s not a good idea. I don’t trust myself having it at home. I leave it at work.
I have been craving wine. I have been craving beer. I have been salivating thinking about it. I relish in pride that I don’t crave liquor. I have been wondering why the hell I am sober. I have been planning when I can drink. I do the math, I crank some numbers, I try to find poetic patterns.
On Christmas Eve I will have been sober for 500 days. That’s 135 days longer than the original plan. I decided Christmas would be a good day to break the spell. Why not? I think of something I could write about, a catchy title: “I was sober for 500 days, on Christmas I gifted myself a glass of wine”…or champagne. Or beer. Or all three.
This will be my first holiday spent with my family being sober. I chose to ignore Christmas last year. I live across the country so I haven’t been home for Thanksgivings or Easter or birthdays or any other gatherings that may occur. So I realize it’s my first Christmas and my first family gathering home while being sober. My family supports me. They may not even let me drink.
But I think—well, this is romantic. I can drink on day 500 +1. I can drink a little. I won’t drink too much. Will I?
Five hundred days is a great success. It’s an even number. It’s half a grand. Stop there. That sounds good. Just do it, Kelsey. You’ve been thinking about it every day for some time now.
But I don’t. Why don’t I? Let’s think:
I don’t because I gave it up for a reason.
I don’t because thinking about it as much as I have been tells me I’m in an emotional mindset. Obsessive mind. Craving mind.
I don’t because clearly I’m searching for something in that bottle.
I don’t because what will this fix?
I don’t because I haven’t even tried to drink a fancy mocktail at Christmas yet.
I don’t because I haven’t even tried to be sober on a holiday yet.
I don’t because what’s the point?
I don’t because I am strong.
I don’t because I can do so many other things.
I don’t because I am writing this article.
I don’t because people in my life casually question, “Are you worried that you think about it every day?”
I don’t because my family tells me this past year is the best they’ve ever seen me.
I don’t because let me repeat: This past year is the best my family has ever seen me.
I don’t because I can’t get a handle on my binge eating.
I don’t because I have a step-sister who might look up to me.
I don’t because I like streaks. What about 1,000 days? That could be cool.
I don’t because I finally believe I am worth something.
I don’t because my confidence rises every day.
I don’t because I still want to figure out who I am.
I don’t because it’s the easy way out with a hard journey that follows.
I don’t because my black and white mind won’t know how to re-enter alcohol into my life.
I don’t because I never even thought about the aftermath until I wrote the sentence before this.
I don’t because it wasn’t working for me before.
I don’t because I don’t need to.
So this Christmas, on day 500 +1 of sobriety, I am gifting myself a warm cup of coffee, a mixed juice my mom loves to make, snuggles with my family (even if they aren’t the family I was born into), a new mentality, a new mindset, a new outlook on the Christmas holiday itself. I am gifting myself love. And I’m not going to find love in a bottle.