Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Urge to Drink

There's this billboard between Hillsboro and Temple I am subjected to several times a month while transporting my son for his visits with his father, advertising beer with raspberry flavoring in it. The untreated alcoholic in me (whom I refer to as Britney - got everything in the world, but acting totally crazy) reads that billboard and thinks "Mmmm...raspberry... that would count as a serving of fruit, right?"

Personally, I think everyone in the Program experiences urges to drink, regardless of how long one's been sober. The BB says I have "a daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition", which means that the urge can strike at any time. Here's what I've learned to do when the urge hits:

1) Pray to my HP. Specifically, when I see the Billboard From Hell, I say to myself "Wow, Lord, I am still in as much danger today as I was back then! Please help me."

2) Tell somebody as soon as possible, preferably another alcoholic. It's my experience that cravings fester when I keep them private. I call my sponsor, any of my friends in the Program, somebody I really don't know very well in the program, whoever. I said I would go to any length for victory over alcohol.

3) Take care of any hungry/angry/lonely/tired issues. If I'm hungry, I need to eat, and I believe in eating something comforting at these moments (there's another program for those of you that get nervous about eating - I'm an alcoholic, and if staying sober means I eat my way through a whole bag of M&Ms, so be it). If I'm tired, I need to rest as soon as practically possible. If I am lonely or angry, contacting another alcoholic will do the trick if I am willing to talk about those issues.

4) Get busy. Idle hands are the devil's playground, and my idle mind is Jim Beam's playground! I get a project, whether it's cleaning the house, taking a class, putting in some extra effort at work or doing service work around the club.

5) Wait for this storm to pass before exposing yourself unnecessarily to booze. Yes, the BB says that I can go anywhere if I have a legitamate social or business reason for going to a bar, boozing party, etc. But it also reads "Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead!" On billboard days, I do not go places where alcohol is served without someone in the Program.

6) Remember that I'm staying sober today only. Tomorrow isn't here yet, so I don't need to freak myself out with thoughts of never drinking again. I only need to keep it together today (and I can shorten today by going to bed early!).

This isn't the most original post you'll ever read - it's basically what you would find in this FANTASTIC book published by AA Services.

But I hope it helps!