At least not anymore (and if you don’t know the Morrisey song “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s glorious and melancholy and very Morrisey). Anyway, if this was a typical Sunday, pre-recovery, I’d be waiting until 12:30 so I could go to the liquor store.
I would walk in and approach the counter. I’d done so enough that the guy or girl behind the counter would reach for the pint of vodka. Sometimes I’d confuse them by grabbing some whiskey, and their eyes would widen a little. Other times, I felt guilty going in, so I went across the street to the dumpy little grocery store and bought wine. It’s funny how some alcoholics can be ashamed of liquor store employees recognizing their habits but still not be motivated to change for themselves.
Yesterday, I wanted to visit this store so badly that I felt it as an ache that began in my stomach and stretched through every part of me. I felt it stirring so deep within me that I had to sit down and gather my breath. I knew no one could stop me if I decided to get in my car in go. Sure, I’d disappoint people–my family, AA friends, my recovery group and counselor, and myself.
I picked up my cell phone, ready to call a friend…and I hesitated. I put the phone away. I could feel myself slipping further and further into the Dark Room, but before I got in and slammed the door, I grabbed my phone again and called a friend who has good sobriety under his belt. Even though he was laid flat with the flu, he talked me down. No, he did more than talk me down; he empathized. He said he vividly remembered how difficult his early months were. He talked about how he had to learn to do normal things sober: going to the store, playing with his kids, cleaning the house, making dinner, going to the beach. He said I was doing just fine and he applauded me for calling him rather than stuffing my craving inside and not telling anyone.
The craving passed, only to come screaming back at me later that night. I didn’t call anyone then, but I focused on my breathing (which I often forget to do). I graded some papers and had a good supper. I drank a cream soda. I watched an episode of Game of Thrones and got myself to bed at a semi-decent hour. And I slept in this morning.
As I type this, I feel better, but I know the craving will return at some point. Rather than focusing on the liquor store, I’ll call a friend or go here:
Since I began this post this morning, I went downhill again…and again, I called a friend. It helped, so I’m going to keep reaching out. Continue sending those good vibes and prayers, folks. 48 days in is nothing to sneeze at, but I’m still quite early in the process.