I found a travel notebook in which I had recorded my thoughts and feelings when I first gave up drinking alcohol. It was quite revealing, even to me, even considering I only wrote it 2 1/2 years ago. How things have changed. I include it here to serve as a reminder to us all about how difficult the early days were and to reassure newbies that they are not alone with their jumbled thoughts.
It's day 5 and I have a dilemma. It's 4pm and I'm in an outdoor bar alone. It is the 3rd day of our holiday in this all inclusive, idyllic setting and my resolve is wavering. As I drink my tea and eat both the danish pastries I chose, I'm contemplating the night ahead and my options.
We're meeting for drinks in the hotel lobby at 6pm before our reservation at the a la carte restaurant at 7pm. There will opportunity, if not expectation, that booze will be had and I agree that everything is in place for an evening where copious drink flows continually. What better way to get it started than right now with a couple before I go to shower and change? After all, this is exactly the type of nights I usually arrange and that's exactly what I would do as they begin.
I want to, yet I don't. These two feelings are not compatible. No compromise is possible. Either I do or I don't and if I do, I have to live with my feelings about that decision tomorrow. It's hard.
l continue the debate, awaiting some magical solution to appear that will suddenly make it alright for me to drink tonight and start stopping again tomorrow. I consider drinking for the remainder of the holiday and to start stopping again once back home. I worry whether that would be easier or harder than it is proving right now. I wonder why I feel as if I'm 'wasting' my holiday by not drinking alcohol?
Before I reach any decision I note time has moved on. My 'me-time' is nearly over and I'm expected by my family back at the hotel room shortly. My indecision and passivity has made the decision for me. I won't drink tonight because it's true; I usually always do that exact same thing. This means there will be many other opportunities in my life for me to pick up drinking again, if that's what I decide. I'll stay sober tonight, just tonight and if it is truly awful I can always drink tomorrow night if I still want to. Plus, I've wasted this opportunity to start early and maximise the amount I can drink. It will be at least another half to three-quarters of an hour before we are at the bar and get served. The drinks are small too, I've noticed. Overall, I'll be as well not bothering.
I make this deal with myself hoping that tomorrow morning will be the same as today: where I'll wake up full of the joys of being hangover free, having scored a mental victory, and that I will remember the feeling again when wine o'clock returns again.
Disappointed by, yet resigned to my plan, I go and get changed for dinner.