Never Dull Your Sparkle

I, like every other alcoholic in the world, went through all of the general alcoholic "I can control it" feelings.  Cue Step One from Alcoholics Anonymous into play.  Step One.  "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable." 

About 5 years ago, I started making rules for myself when I realized there were aspects of my drinking that would get out of hand.  I had so many attempts to control my drinking.  I look back now and can recognize the attempts were so blatantly obviously alcoholism that I cannot believe I thought I was creating control instead of highlighting my lack thereof.  

Exhibit A:  I started drinking as a social drinker, but over about 15 years of hard drinking, I developed into an antisocial drinker.  My favorite places to drink were at home-alone or in my hotel room in bed alone.  ALONE.  It was my peace.  For years I would drink at least 2 bottles of Cotes Du Rhone a day in my house.  Friends and family started telling me it might be a problem, so I decided I would limit my drinking at home.  I thought I was in control.  Being the winner that I am, I would undoubtedly be able to control myself.  Controlling myself and following the rule of "not drinking in my house" turned into drinking in my car...in the garage.  It was technically following my rule.  And, it also gave me the seclusion alcohol desires. Win-win for alcoholism.   But, nonetheless I was powerless.  I could not just stop. 

Another attempt to control my drinking roots from the statement I declared many times ..."I do not have a problem over-drinking with anything aside from red wine."  This was a lie to myself and to everyone around me.  So, I gave myself rule #2.  I would not drink red wine.  And, I did not.  This started a love affair with sparkling wine.  Champagne, Prosecco, you name it.  As long as it was not sweet, it was perfect.  I miss sparkling wine.  Sparkling wine took me on amazingly dangerous and embarrassing journeys-most of which I barely remember.  Ultimately, sparkling wine took me into rehab. 

We all have our journeys to sobriety.  I would like to claim that these were the only two attempts at control I tried before waking up to birds singing and rainbows shining pointing me to recovery.  It did not happen that way.  These were only 2 attempts.  I rode a roller-coaster of ups and downs for many many years.  Some years I did better than others.  Some rules worked better than others.  Ultimately, the thing that that all of my April made rules had in common were, they did not work.  I was not in control.  

I can honestly say that today, just shy of 60 days sober, I do not crave most alcohol.  I do crave sparkling wine.  I craved it really badly last night when my lovely crew went to have drinks at the hotel bar.  I am not ready to go to a bar.  Maybe I never will be.  And, even getting the invites send me into a craving.  I lose friends.  I lose comradeship.  But, I do not lose myself anymore.  This is a particularly trying layover as it is unusually short.  We do not leave the airport to go to a hotel.  There is nothing in the vicinity, nor does time allow for any train rides for exploration.  So, the only thing to do is go to the hotel gym or the hotel restaurant (bar).

What a view...

What a view...

My solution to the craving right now is, I drink sparkling water.  I try every flavor and I drink it from a wine glass on occasion.  I put fruit in it and create mocktails.  Although it does not feed the part of my brain wanting the alcohol it certainly gives me a feeling of success when I drink it.  My Step One: Admit you are powerless over alcohol, but NEVER dull your SPARKLE.