Avoid Temptation or Exist Amongst it?
"If you keep going to a barbershop, you'll eventually get a haircut."
People tell me this a lot when I talk about how I am around alcohol 24/7. I had a counselor tell me to quit my job because it is the only way I'd stay sober. She operated via the 12 step system. While I believe avoiding temptation is the best route for some people, I do not think it is true for me. I have to exist with alcohol in my hands all day, every day at my workplace. Wine, liquor, beer, smell, touch, sound...it is all within inches of my face. I have no option to avoid it. I could quit the job I love, but then alcohol would be controlling me in a different way.
So, this is where I feel that there needs to be a reality check for people. Maybe avoidance is the key to not using heroin. Illegal drugs, yeah, I get it. I do not do illegal drugs. I am a rule follower. How is alcohol different than illegal drugs? IT IS EVERYWHERE. To avoid alcohol would mean to clear the menu off the table at a restaurant before sitting down or to not visit your family and friends. It would mean that you cannot walk by the Eiffel Tower in Paris where they walk up and offer you alcohol on the streets. It is impossible. There is a mini-bar in every hotel room. There is a bar in the lobby of every hotel. I could have a drink at any minute of any day within seconds...if that was my choice.
So, for those of you who can restrict your outside world to avoid temptation, I am impressed. I have to be exposed to alcohol. I had a strong resolve when I decided to go into recovery. They asked me to give a percentage of how much I wanted to quit drinking when I entered rehab. I said 100%. It would've been easier to keep drinking. I was not ever going to be able to change how often I am exposed to alcohol. My insides had to change. My heart, my soul, my being had to come together and develop a strong value. I wake up and pour whiskey into a cup for other people. I sleep with my head next to a refrigerator filled with alcohol. With the decision to give up alcohol, I have developed a tolerance for temptation. I am not saying that it is the way for everyone to live an alcohol-free life. This is how recovery is so incredibly personal to each person.
Everyone has her own toolbox to deal with temptation. I put a jackhammer in mine.