The first few months of sobriety were rough at times. Even though I hadn’t picked up a drink in several months, I still obsessed about drinking every day. I never stopped thinking about alcohol during waking hours. I dreamed about alcohol almost every night. If I spotted a liquor bottle in the store, my eyes would fixate on it like a moth contemplating a flame, my mouth watering. Going to a restaurant could be torturous if someone at a nearby table had a glass of wine or martini in front of them. I would stare at the glass with envy, fantasizing about the taste and sensation it created every time the person lifted it to their lips and swallowed, like watching booze porn.
I clearly remember going to a nice Italian restaurant with a friend. At the table next to us was a woman drinking a large glass of chardonnay. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The side of the glass glistened with condensation. Every ten minutes, she would lift the glass and take a teeny tiny sip, barely wetting her lips, before gently returning it to the table.
As I watched her, I became increasingly agitated and annoyed. Not because she was drinking wine, but because she was drinking it so SLOWLY! It started to infuriate me, those teeny tiny sips! Just take a full fucking swallow, would you? Pound it! By the time we finished our meal, she still hadn’t finished her glass of wine. Half the wine was still in the glass! HALF! By the time we left, she STILL hadn’t finished the drink.
I simply couldn’t understand anyone drinking so slowly. If it were me, I would’ve finished a martini and a glass of wine before the waiter even took our order. The idea of making a single drink last an entire meal was utterly alien to me. It took me a long time to learn that not everyone inhales alcohol like oxygen. Normal people (“normies”) can enjoy a glass of wine over an entire dinner, savoring the taste without the intention of pounding multiple drinks to get blind drunk. This concept was so far away from my mindset that it left me angry and bewildered to witness a normal adult enjoying a drink.
I had booze on my mind morning, noon, and night. The temptation to pick up a drink haunted me every hour of the day. Hell, every second of the day is more accurate. It seemed like I couldn’t get away from it, either. Everywhere I turned, there it was.
We’re surrounded by alcohol. Wherever you look, it’s in your face. Alcohol is fetishized and sexualized in advertising to ensure you hand over your hard-earned money in exchange for the promise of excitement, wealth, and companionship. Companionship, in particular, is used in booze marketing to capture our attention. The not-so-subtle message is if you just drink the right brand of alcohol, then you’ll meet that hot, young mate that will make all of our problems disappear. Just buy the correct vodka, cognac, or wine, and the good life is waiting for you!
Someday I want to see an advertisement that shows the car crash after the party, or the projectile vomiting the next morning, or the broken family crying at home. “Drink our cognac and watch your life fall to pieces.” Now that’s an ad I’d love to see.
Going to 12 step meetings and talking with other alcoholics helped me get through each day without falling prey to my obsessive desires. I somehow managed to string together several months without drinking and was incredibly pleased with my accomplishment.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about alcohol, no matter what! It was like going through a long, painful divorce; even though I knew the marriage had to end, I still had deep feelings for a wife (alcohol) who wanted to kill me. Not figuratively, but literally, kill me.
Then one day, after several months of sobriety, it was just gone. There were no fireworks, no epiphany or sudden parting of the clouds. One day I woke up, and the obsession to drink, for whatever reason, was gone.
Poof! Like magic, it had vanished into the ether.
It was a strange sensation. I no longer felt an overwhelming desire to drink every moment of the day. The sight of a vodka bottle or six-pack of beer didn’t cause my heart to pound in my chest. I had completely lost my desire to drink or get drunk. I was neither bothered by nor interested in alcohol.
There’s not one particular event or revelation that I can identify that brought me to this moment. Perhaps it was just the accumulation of experiences over the last few months that had washed it away. Perhaps my body was finally getting used to life without alcohol. Maybe I was finally learning how to be comfortable in my skin. Maybe God played a hand in it. I have no idea, nor does it matter. I finally felt free from the obsession to drink, and that’s all I cared about at that point.
There was still going to be many trials and challenges on the road ahead, many of them painful and difficult. But the day I had been hoping and praying for finally arrived, I was liberated. My obsession with alcohol had disappeared. A considerable part of my old life was gone, and my new life was just beginning.
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