I wouldn’t have known that I cared, but this has been one of those years.
I was used to going to recovery meetings a couple of days a week for most of my recovery. I don’t usually associate with heavy drinkers and am out of the bar scene by a long shot. We don’t have alcohol in the home and don’t attend wild parties.
I am cautious around alcohol. I know in sobriety I have a daily reprieve from alcohol based on my spiritual condition. A drink can sneak up on me if I’m not on my A-game and practicing daily meditation, continuing to rid myself of resentments, and being true to myself.
I attend meetings on Zoom. I journal. I pray. I stay accountable to friends in recovery.
My mom died of alcoholism at 55 after a long battle.
I am triggered by hearing about others drinking. Not just a drink here and there, but, rather, I am triggered by others glorifying drinking and active alcoholism.
I work hard to create a connection with my higher power. I work hard to exercise and eat right. I am grateful for the connection I have to my spouse and children, which I have achieved because I am a sober person.
When I hear people going out to the bar after work on a Friday and discussing what beverages they will order and be partaking in, my heart starts to race. I lived for that feeling and adrenaline rush. The anticipation of my next drink or drug.
I heard the words raspberry cider and I thought, hmmm, that sounds good. My mouth started to feel dry and salivate at the same time. I started swallowing hard. The same way my nostrils flare and tickle when I think about cocaine or meth. I should have walked away, but my alcoholism put me in a trance; I was glued to their conversation.
I’ve been sober a long while, but I can easily still crave alcohol.
I share my struggles in meetings. I talk to others who can understand. I take the thought of drinking all way to the end: being drunk, making a fool of myself, saying things I regret, being loud and angry, loud and emotional, dancing on tables, driving drunk, winding up in bed with some stranger.
Being hungover, killing my years of abstinence from alcohol.
I have lived so long being proud of having broken this cycle of alcoholism that runs in my family line. I think of my children and how I want them to look and think of me.
I think of my marriage and my job. I think of my self-esteem and how I no longer do things I regret and feel sick about.
I remember how good it feels to wake up sober and hit the gym. I think about my clear conscience and how many other things I can do in my life to “have fun.” I think about the trust I have established in my marriage.
I think about the powerful addiction that grabs hold and doesn’t let go and how my whole life revolved around my next drink or drug. I remember how much money I spent on alcohol and drugs, and the black and bloody stools that came out of me after a weekend of too much use.
I think about all of the damage I have caused my brain cells and organs. I remember how it feels to have energy and emanate health.
I think about how I can finally look people in the eye and build connections.
I think about how I see the positive now versus the negative, and how I can feel empathy when I used to just feel pain.
I think about how I have excavated all of these deep, dark emotions, brought them to the surface, and healed them; how I no longer walk alone with a hardened heart and a high brick wall encompassing my vulnerable places.
I think about how I feel safe asking questions and speaking up. How I’m not as paranoid around other people; how I walk tall and feel good about who I am as a human.
I think about how I remember just about everything I have said or done for the last 23 years of sobriety.
Is a drink of alcohol really worth throwing that all away? For me, one drink leads to more and more leads to destruction.
I will brave through these sober days one day at a time. I will lead the way for others on this journey and show them it is possible to put together long-term sobriety. It is possible; we just have to be stronger than the craving, stronger than the voices in our heads that tell us it’s a good idea.
I wish you the best as we trudge this road together. I am proof it is possible. One day at a time.
I am passionate about sobriety and recovery. Please reach out if you are struggling with substance abuse. I am happy to offer resources.