Today was one of those whirlwind days where I could not figure out if I was happy, sad, anxious, depressed, bored… you get the picture. The day started out just fine, productive even. I took care of what I needed to take care of in the morning and was getting ready to head to an early afternoon meeting, when out of nowhere my anxiety kicked up and my alcoholic brain kicked in. Some like to call it “Stinkin Thinkin”. I quickly went from being upbeat and happy to pissed off and miserable. For those of you that are like me and in the early stages of recovery, you know that these waves of emotion can come and go frequently. I find it incredibly frustrating annoying, and in the past have used it as an excuse to drink.
I live in New York City and as luck would have it I cannot walk out of my apartment in any direction without passing a liquor store. Not to mention there are about 20 bars to each block… So as I walked out of my apartment today I was anxious as hell, but determined not to drink (and hoping I wouldn’t) – just get to my meeting that was all I had to do. I was going to a new meeting today, and of course I couldn’t find the door to the building – but I could see three Irish Pubs all within about 25 feet! The curse of the addict, we can always find what we don’t need, but never what we really need! My mind was starting to tell me it was a better choice to go have a few pints and some nachos than to continue searching for this meeting. Thank God, it was right about then that I found the address I was looking for and walked inside. I figured this was all part of the plan and that I would leave the meeting feeling better and my day would get back on track. Unfortunately, as I started my 20 block walk home, my brain in all its infinite wisdom and glory started looking at every bar and restaurant we passed.
Brain: “Look that bar has craft beers, you can never have a craft beer again!”
Me: “Why do I have to deal with this, why can’t I have a beer again, I love beer.”
Brain: “Hey it is happy hour at that pub, you can have 5 drinks and pay less than $20, In NYC you are almost losing money if you don’t take advantage of that”.
And so on and so forth this continued, me listening to music and walking angrily towards my apartment. All the while trying to practice what I preach and remember that I didn’t have to give up craft beer for the rest of my life, just until I got home! I came home and quickly went to the gym to work out my aggression, when I received a text from an alcoholic in need. She is in the hospital and wanted to talk to me about the residential treatment program I went through! I spent the next 45 minutes talking to her and her husband about the program and how it had changed my life, my way of thinking, and given me the tools to deal with the awful disease of addiction. Towards the end of the call she was thanking me for my time and honesty, when I immediately realized that she had changed my day. I immediately thanked her – the simple act of one alcoholic helping another completely changed my thinking and my attitude, had I had a drink this afternoon that would not have been possible. While I am not yet to the 12th step – there is no reason why I cannot reap the benefits of helping others whereever possible in early recovery.
Today only helped to solidify my belief in the theme of this blog, 24 Hours is all we have. I don’t have to worry about not drinking craft beer or enjoying happy hour tomorrow, I just need to worry about doing the next right thing and it will all work out.
“There is more happiness in giving than receiving.” Acts 20:35