What is the thing an alcoholic fears most? Taking a drink. No joke. Every alcoholic I have ever talked to will say the same thing eventually (if they’re honest): they are afraid that one day, all their good intentions will pack a bag and move away and without thinking about it, they will pour and drink their favorite adult beverage.
These honest men and woman will go on to say, that if they do drink they will DRINK, and wake to the same black holed, misery they were not drinking to alleviate.
Because it is what we fear, alcoholics create myths and monsters to describe this terrible possibility. Waking Up the Ghost, releasing the Kraken, unleashing the dragon (yeah I’ve seen Game of Thrones…), listening to the devil on my shoulder, are all ways to describe the sleepwalker’s nightmare of the non-cognitive reach for plonk.
Yesterday I was at a meeting and I heard a great idea I thought I’d share (because I’m that kind of gal). A woman said she had a therapist tell her that whenever she felt like drinking, even the smallest inkling, she should “flood her five senses with positive effects.”
I’m a sucker for the turning-a-frown-upside-down school of thought, so this appeals to me (even though it might be impractical in a work setting or impossible while operating heavy machinery). But, I think most of our alcoholic, dangerous thinking happens when alone or bored, so for the fun of it, I thought about what I would do.
I’d sit on the dune at Guana beach (or any beach) and look at the water; I would feel the cool breeze (because I promise not to get a craving in Florida in June); and listen to Bruno Mars do Uptown Funk; and (here’s where it gets difficult) smell my wrist sprayed with L’Eau d’Issey while tasting frozen green grapes…
As with most things, the practical application is a bit more difficult than the imagination’s eye, but with a fast car, a beach chair and a small cooler I can see it happening. But maybe I’d have to downscale – look at a photo of a beach, listen to birdsong, eat the more portable Junior Mints…
What would you do?