I was wondering when I would start to get a craving for alcohol. Today was the day.
I went to my after care session at Cassiobury Court today. It’s a hike, but the thrill of walking in and out of a place I was once confined to (other than supervised trips to the shop) hasn’t worn off. It’s also great for meeting other people in recovery outside the context of AA, so I plan on going as often as I can.
Today someone shared how they were really fantasizing about booking a hotel for a weekend, pretending to be away on business and having “just a few” drinks (Ha! Like any of us can really do that). He knew that he couldn’t “just have a few”. He knew where he’d end up if he tried. But the thoughts were on him and he just needed to share them.
But damn, that fantasy of his lit up my craving centre like a Christmas tree.
First of all, I love hotels. Being in a hotel means I’m away from home, and therefore real life. Hotels are an escape, and a place where no one will bother me unless I ask them to.
In my drinking days, I would’ve jumped at the opportunity to just sit in a hotel alone for a few days and knock back some vodka, or a bottle of red wine. Let’s face it; it would be wine, then vodka until I passed out. Total isolation + total oblivion = bliss.
So as this guy was sharing his fantasy, the part of my brain that still hasn’t gotten over my break up with alcohol briefly screamed “Yes! Yes! Let’s do that!”
Then I played back the memory of my last drink and it went away. For awhile.
It was on my walk to catch my train home when the screaming came back. My first craving in a month. Not a big one, but it was there. My body tensed, I felt uneasy, and immediately panic set in. Luckily, I know deep down that I can’t entertain the thought of a drink. More importantly, I know that sometimes what I think is a craving for alcohol is actually something else.
So I do a quick scan of my thoughts. Am I angry? Am I feeling something uncomfortable that I simply want to numb away? Then I remembered the four key reasons why we get cravings for alcohol: Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. H.A.L.T.
Well, I didn’t have to get far down the list…I was hungry! Really hungry. Luckily, I had a pack of crisps on me that I inhaled as quickly as a could…and the craving dissipated almost as quickly as it came on.
BOOM! Take that, craving impersonating as hunger. I got 99 problems but a craving ain’t one.
(Swagger break…dusting shoulders…I’m good.)
I’m glad I was able to get almost a month of sobriety in before a had to battle a craving. I’m even happier that I’ve done enough work on my recovery that I could handle it.
I hope the next one – because there will be a next one – is handled just as well.
In the meantime, I’m going to go and cuddle up with Mrs M in bed and look forward to celebrating one month of sobriety tomorrow. There will be a self-high five, and a coin later on in the week. Lots to look forward to.