Tag Archives: urge to drink

The urge left me–NOT

25 Jun

12:03 pm

There was this guy at meetings–older dude, and sort of the “king” of AA down here. The ringleader. NICE man, lovely man. However, he always shared along one of several themes, and one was how “the urge to drink simply left him–just vanished–when he stepped foot in the rooms.” UH HUH.

This post has nothing to do with AA, but everything to do with that URGE to drink, and how it doesn’t just vanish. I would say that that is neurologically impossible, but even I know that nothing is impossible. And, what do I know, which brings me quickly to a point:

Everyone’s drinking problem is unique. The one thing that I left AA certain about was this fact. Everyone has different reasons for drinking, and different patterns of craving. Everyone might drink alcoholically–that is to say, compulsively–but they might not “be alcoholics.” Whatever that means. And, everyone’s recovery process is different, takes different amounts of time, and can’t really be compared to another’s. As with drunken war stories, you can’t compare notes. There is, in fact, no one-size-fits-all.

After a year (more or less) of sobriety, I still have cravings. I still WANT TO DRINK, YES I DO! What is different now–finally–is that I don’t believe it’s going to be all that great, or that it’s what I really want. In fact, I’m almost too tired and too busy to think about it. I know the process will likely result in my downing of at LEAST two bottles of red wine in one sitting, and then doing or saying something idiotic (or irreparably stupid) in a blackout, so…NO, THANKS. Maybe later, wolfie, like, tomorrow. Better yet, let’s set a date for next week, mmm-kay? Hmm…I think maybe next month, actually–you’ll need some time to heal after I kick you in the face and put a large boot against your skull. What? What’s that? Were you trying to say something? FUCK YOU, WOLFIE!

What’s struck me lately is how I notice other people’s “drinking problem” and/or literal, drinking problems. For instance, I went over to a friend’s house yesterday, after a swim. He’s nice, but I don’t think his wife likes me. As conversation passes, I notice that he’s drunk (well, he did have a few beers, but I realize he must have had more before meeting my boyfriend and me at the beach) and his wife is…fidgety. Maybe she’s drunk? I know she drinks (“she can hang,” as it were)–we got drunk together once, and it did not end well, for me anyway.

Maybe she’s feeling that pull? OH, do I know that pull, I thought to myself. That irritation, that want want want to drink another right now, even though there are people in my house, I don’t care about them. That FOCUS on the wine. THE WINE. That anxious flurry of activity, of bodily movement in no particular direction because you’re either already tipsy or you just can’t sit still. And, you don’t really notice it. But, I do. Why? Because my body has finally relaxed into a position of attention, of self-awareness, of calm; I am not thinking about drinking, I am thinking about YOU, about this conversation, about what’s going on in this moment. My already sharp powers of perception (ONE good thing about being an introvert all these years) are even sharper now that I’m sober enough to embrace that calm. I wonder, do I have a calming effect on her, or is she too wrapped up in her head to notice? Am I pulling out my sober card? Does she see it? I don’t think so; I think I’m imagining this…but it sure does feel like I have some super-connection with people who are struggling, who want to quit, who know they drink too much. Maybe it’s that I made an ass of myself that one time we drank (I know I did later, with my boyfriend, but I was semi-blacked out when she and I hit our stride that day)? Ah, me. What DO I know?

And then there are the problems caused by drinking. I got an email last night from a friend who had a rough drunk episode last Saturday–three hours of blackout during an event in which, from what I could tell from the pictures on Facebook, she went a little bit crazier than usual. I mean, I had developed such a–how to put it?–hollow, steel-lined hole in my heart from my blackouts in the big city, and all that they entailed, that her story made me cringe. Jesus, so many avoidable problems come up when you drink too much (like those unnecessary flashbacks from the movie “Saw,” for instance)!? It made me appreciate my now-calm life: I’d so much rather be cooking lasagne with my boyfriend after a day at the beach than spending time making out in a stupor on the sidewalk before passing out in my own vomit; only to be driven home and pass out, lose my phone, and wake up in what’s now a murky stupor and wander over to a neighbor’s to make out with him. I can hear the echo of deep space in my heart–it’s a memory that seems to have seeped into my bone marrow, stained it a shade of ink–and it makes my soul ache. (And, I’ve done MUCH worse, so I’m just using her story as an example here, not as a lesson.)

Problems, indeed.

Me? I’ve got today, and I’ve got a calm, full heart. The urge may not have left (yet), or even the compulsive behavior–I know it probably won’t, for me. What has gone, though, is any romantic notion of how fun, or fulfilling, drinking actually is.

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