Read This When You Want to Drink
Because no one is on the journey of recovery alone
In my earliest days of recovery, when I was the must gung-ho about turning a new leaf and writing a new chapter, there was a voice in the back of my head that kept telling me I wouldn’t succeed. It wasn’t telling me it was only a matter of time before I picked up another drink, but rather telling me that I would get this under control and be able to drink again one day. It romanticized my drinking and made me think of nights spent reading by a fireplace-glass of wine in hand, sitting oceanside with a tall, tropical drink I had yet to try, watching a baseball game, beer in hand, surrounded by laughing friends, and having (truly) just one Bloody Mary with the rest of the family Christmas morning.
Lovely, right?! If only my drinking was that picturesque.
What that voice failed to bring up was that I never once had those moments to look back on, yet alone fantasize about. Instead of a glass of wine while reading a book, it was a bottle and forgetting to shut off the fireplace before I went to bed (see: passed out), or forgetting to open the flue before lighting said fire, and waking up to smoked detectors going off. When I sat oceanside, it was with a surplus of Bud Light Limes—and while delightful in my own world, it wasn’t nearly as glamorous as a Mai Tai. What that voice failed to remember was the amount of times I went to baseball games with friends (and an excess of drinks) and either:
- Spent the majority of the game taking bathroom breaks—after I showed up late because after all, we had to get a pregame in.
- Got in an argument with said friends/strangers/fans of opposing teams
- Left the game not knowing the score, let alone any details of it.
What the voice in my head didn’t remind me was that Bloody Mary’s aren’t intended to be made with a heavy hand—especially when enjoyed in the company of your family. It also failed to mention how great Virgin Blood Mary’s are... because let’s be honest—the best parts of a Bloody Mary are the accoutrements, anyway.
In the very beginning it was easy to bring up the negatives—because they were all so fresh. As time went on and my journey in recovery strengthened, I was shocked the voice still lingered. It changed, however. It went from a soft whisper to the level whisper of the person you know that thinks they can whisper, but really everyone else can hear (that's me, I'm that person). It’s a siren voice, that is only scary because it sounds so sweet and enticing. Entrancing, really. It’s comforting and kind and for a second you believe it and almost succumb to its sorcery—and that’s where I leave you with this. A note I left to myself, whenever that voice decided to rear its ugly head. Read it as much as you need to. What’s mine is yours.
If you’re reading this, you’re struggling to quiet the voice that’s telling you you’ve got this, and that’s okay. It’s part of the process. I hate to tell ya, but that voice is never going away. Much like the fact that you, in fact, do not have this—is never going away.
Maybe something bad happened that feels REALLY bad. Maybe something good happened and you are feeling great and just want a day to celebrate. Maybe you’re worried, maybe you’re not. Maybe you just want to relax. There’s always something going on, and always an excuse to drink if we try hard enough to come up with it.
I’m going to ask you(me) a favor, just for today—don’t. I know you can do that, look how far you (we) have come. I believe so hard in you (me) and couldn’t be prouder of you (myself) if I tried.
So just for today, remember that you(I) made the choice to quit drinking- for your(my) own good—and you(I) know that at any point if you(I) want to, you(I) can have a drink again.
But you(I) don’t. Because you(I) have accepted the fact that once you(I) take that first drink, all bets are off—and that’s no longer worth the risk now, is it?
I know right now this might sound lackluster and you’re(I’m) likely not agreeing at this very second. Just please, for today- hang on for one more day.
I’m proud of you(myself).
“There but for the grace of God, go I.”