Playing with Fire

The last couple of days have been tough for me.  My partner is out of town at her parents’ and I’m alone, with nothing but time on my hands.  I’ve never been very good at dealing with this much down time.  I tend to get stuck…I don’t know what to do with myself, so I end  up wasting the day watching TV or mindlessly surfing the net looking at cat videos.  So Thursday was my first day alone, and by evening I was restless.  I thought of the bottles of booze still in the cabinet, and my drinking brain kicked in.  “No one would ever know if you pulled that bottle of bourbon down and had a drink.”   I paced around the kitchen,  my sober brain arguing with my drinking brain.

“But you have over 3 months sober, you don’t want to blow that.”

“So what, it’s just a blip, you don’t even have to count it.”

“You know how hard this is, and you know you won’t stop with one, and you’re going to hate yourself.”

I stopped in front of the cabinet, opened the door, and looked at all the bottles.  There are bottles of the stuff I like, like the nice silver tequila, some rum, and two kinds of bourbon. And then there are some bottles of stuff we bought for guests, or that I tried and didn’t care for…there’s my partner’s Canadian whiskey, the vodka (the one liquor I never acquired a taste for), some old stodgy bottle of single malt scotch (yuck, people actually LIKE this stuff?) and various bottles of amaretto, brandy and a cheap bottle of dry sherry for cooking.  I reached up and took out the good bottle of expensive bourbon, which probably had one good stiff pour left in it.  I looked at the bottle, and thought for a moment.  What am I doing?  Why am I holding this bottle?  I did a quick check of my inner resolve.  I know I’m not going to drink it.  But I haven’t even smelled liquor in over 3 months.  I paused for a moment, and then I worked the cork out of the bottle.  I brought it up to my nose and inhaled.

It smelled like something I should clean metal with.

I put the cork back in the bottle and put it back on the shelf.  I thought about how I used to inhale the bouquet of that fine bourbon before taking a drink…getting instant comfort just from the smell of it.  And now it smelled like poison.  I made myself a cup of hot chocolate and went back to my evening.  That was Thursday.  Yesterday was my second day alone, and I had no desire to go to that cabinet.

When I first decided to quit drinking, I poured out my go-to drink of choice, my white wine.  But my partner still likes to make an occasional margarita or a 7&7, so I didn’t get rid of the liquor.  Up until the other night, I haven’t given any thought to it.  I liked bourbon, and margaritas,  but it didn’t call to me like wine.    Wine was always my downfall.  But I realize now it’s probably a good idea to get rid of the other stuff too.

I’m sure there are some who will read this and say that I never should have tempted myself in this way.  I was playing with fire.  I suppose I was, but I’m also glad that I opened that bottle and got a whiff of the poison I had been putting into my body for so long.  It was total validation and vindication of my decision to quit.  My drinking brain likes to romanticize the whole drinking experience, including the smell and the taste.  I know for sure I’m not missing out on anything.  This stuff smells awful.  I’m not going so far as to taste it now after 3 months of abstinence, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t taste great, either.   This was a full-on stare-down with Wolfie, and I won.

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