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  • Writer's pictureJeff Graham

Give me a Break

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

I know I’m not going to drink tonight and I’m pretty confident that I will be good tomorrow night as well, but after that, it probably depends upon what I do today and tomorrow in my preparations. But as I travel this road called Sobriety, I can’t help but notice the bumps that shake my steering wheel now and then. I don’t get cravings for alcohol like I used to, and I really have a solid plan of action for the occasions when those ‘thoughts’ try to sneak in through a crack in my defenses, but I still catch myself wishing I could catch my breath now and then, and just take a quick little break.

Sobriety takes work, and sometimes work can be hard. And like any period of work or extended effort, every once in a while I just want to take a breather, recollect my thoughts, focus, and maybe step off of the treadmill of life and just ‘take a break’. I don’t want to quit working, I just want to sit down and rest my mental legs, turn the on switch to the off position and re-charge before getting back at it. My desired ‘break’ from work is not for a lengthy period, just long enough to change some scenery, and build up my strength to get back at it once again. Fortunately, I have a pretty good idea what taking a brief break from sobriety would look like for me. I’ll give you a hint, it wouldn’t be good!

Like any long distance runner that likes to slow down and walk every so often, I get those same feelings in my sobriety, and it does scare me a little. My program is strong, I train hard, I am doing everything I believe to be necessary to make this thing my new me, but I can’t deny that every so often I get tired. Sure it’s a fleeting thought, but it is still very real, and it does cause me to dig deep into my bag of tools. I wish it wasn’t there, but I’d be lying to you and I both if I denied it. So why? Why does the thought of just ‘checking out’ and ‘getting it out of my system’ cause me to momentarily pause in my day, triggering a flashing yellow light warning that “it’s back!” and we need to get to our battle stations? Why does the thought of just turning off the world, turning off the phone and turning off my family and work occasionally sound as good as just scratching that itch ‘one time’ believing I will promptly put the bandaid back on to let the healing resume.

I know it would turn out bad, it always has and it always will, but every so often, I hear my subconscious inner demons say ‘just this one time, no one will know the difference’ like a drowning man gasping for a breath.

Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe that thought is the reminder I need as to why I attend the meetings I do during the week. Maybe I need to be reminded why those phone numbers on my speed dial are so important to not only have ready, but to actually push. Maybe it’s what I need to ensure that I never forget how damn tricky this ‘situation’ that I have can be. Who knows, if I didn’t have those thoughts now and then, maybe I would commit sobriety suicide by thinking ‘I got this’ only to be blindsided and unprepared when ‘it’ finally hits the fan. Maybe I should be glad that I am fortunate enough to be given reminders of the reasons that caused me to get sober in the first place. After all, if I forget why I am doing this, I am in trouble!

What I do know is that I am not going to drink tonight, and I’m pretty damn sure I’m not going to drink tomorrow. Maybe I can talk about it with my friends that ‘get it’ when I call them tomorrow! God help me if I ever decide to not make that call. I wonder if I ever did ‘take that little break’ would I ever get back to where I am now. That is one question I have no intention of ever having to answer!

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