Last December around the time of my son’s 15th birthday, I found out my mom’s cancer was progressing and that she might need treatment.
For his birthday, my son wanted to go away with a friend somewhere fun with a pool. It was about a two hour car ride to the hotel, but it was the longest car ride I ever remember having.
I was obsessing for the entire drive about not being able to have a glass of wine (or three) when we arrived. I found myself scheming ways I might somehow sneak it without my son knowing. I kept thinking, screw this whole thing, I’m going to start drinking again, I don’t care. Those same thoughts played over and over…
At dinner, the desire has lessened significantly. My husband ordered a beer not knowing how hard I was struggling. All around me people were drinking. I ordered tea. When the boys left to go swim at the hotel, my husband and I stayed. We talked a lot about my mom and what might be coming down the road. I cried right there in the restaurant. But I didn’t drink. I could not bear to let my son down. More than that, I could not bear to let myself down.
The next day, I told my husband how much I was struggling. That night he ordered ginger ale.
I’m telling this story because at that time in my sobriety I thought my desire to drink was gone, but old patterns can pop up when you least expect it. It takes time to rewire the brain.
I had been complacent. I had stopped reading about sobriety and had stepped away from the community that was helping me.
My advice, don’t be complacent. But more importantly, don’t be hard on yourself if you do have a urge to drink. Do something else for an hour or two…however long it takes. Go for a walk, take a bath, read a book, whatever you need to do until l the feeling passes.
It will pass.
Since December, I have not had another moment like that one, but I am now more diligent about the process. This Sunday marks one year. And it’s been the best year of my life.