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  • Writer's pictureJeff Graham

I'll have a Cotton Candy please

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Playing the tape out, envisioning and accepting how the movie ends are important tools for me when those moments of cravings hit. It's hard sometimes when the 'romance' of the moment presents itself to remember the reasons why taking a drink or 'joining the crowd' that all seem to be drinking, is a bad idea for me.

Yesterday at a college football game with some family and friends there was a lot of drinking going on. I'd be lying if I told you that the thought of having a beer didn't enter my mind. The temptation was minimal at best, but the memories of drinking at those events always pop easily into my mind, and my mental muscle memory seems to make sure that I notice the beer stands or the groups of people standing together drinking and laughing. These can be challenging times for me and US, but my ability to play out the tape, to envision not just the 'now' moment of drinking, but to be able to see what WILL and always happens next for me if I drink, is critical to my sobriety. The ending is always the same, and if my mind wants to show me the fun parts or drinking, it's only fair to clearly see and understand the other side of the coin. For me, the good of drinking always brings with it the bad results of drinking, whether I want them or not. I can't have one without the other, and I HAVE to remember that drinking is a 'package deal' at moments like these.

So fast forward to why I quickly said "no" to any internal urges to drink yesterday. After the game we walked (surprisingly in a straight line) to a restaurant nearby. We had a fantastic meal, engaged in some great conversation, had some awesome laughs and then I drove everyone home. We got home last night and I completed some work related computer tasks, talked with my Dad over the phone about the game, stopped at my daughters house to see the grandkids and then came home to watch tv with my wife and go to bed. And to play out the tape even further, I woke up this morning after a fantastic 8-1/2 hour sleep, walked the dog and am now getting my day started with a clear head, free of ANY guilt or remorse from yesterday.

If I had 'joined the fun' yesterday and had consumed just one lousy beer (which would NEVER have just been one) the previous paragraph would have been completely different. My drinking and the results of my drinking would not have ended after enjoying that 'one' beer with friends at the game. It may have given me some brief enjoyment, but it would have started a ball in motion resulting in a huge list of things that I have no desire to write about or live through ever again.

Thankfully for me, I am now able to remember how this story ends before it begins again. The buzz or fun I would have received from drinking yesterday would today be long gone, But the shit show of memories from what happened from giving in to an ill-fated desire would have lasted for a long long regrettable time! Not only for me, but for my family as well. My drinking would once again not only have affected me, but also a lot of innocent victims.

Bring on the Diet Pepsi, a Cotton Candy and some damn pleasant memories that me and a bunch of other very special people will carry with us forever!

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