Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

Last night, lying in bed waiting for the day’s exhaustion to take over, I suddenly got hit with the world’s biggest craving for wine. It had been so long since I had a craving like that that it took me a minute to realise what I was feeling; it was as if a combination of amorphous thoughts coalesced, and then I suddenly got it. Hey, this thing that I’m thinking about and feeling, this is a sodding great big huge craving for wine. I really, really want a glass of wine.

I kind of explored it from the outside, because I knew I wasn’t actually going to get out of bed, go downstairs and pour a glass of wine. So it became an abstract object, which I poked at. How did it feel? What was different about this feeling, as opposed to the occasional idle ‘a glass of wine would be…oh, that’s right, I don’t drink’ thoughts that pass through my mind? And why, on earth, now?

I don’t know the answer to that third one. But I can tell you how the first two felt. They felt visceral. I wanted the whole experience of drinking that wine; not the idea of it, the glamorous image, sparkling glasses held aloft and tinkling laughs or cosy sharing with a partner. I wanted the taste, with all its layers of tannin and fruit and ethanol, that complexity that you don’t get with non-alcoholic drinks. And the glass, and the weight, and the sipping.

And then I went to sleep, and thought no more about it. Until this afternoon, when it hit me again. I was upstairs, finishing the girls’ bedtime while LH had dinner downstairs prior to going out for the night. I knew he had a glass of red wine, and I thought about it while I was negotiating the third request for another glass of water, and I thought about it enough that for the first time, literally the first time in … whatever it is, eight months or so … I thought ‘can I trust myself, alone in this house full of wine?’. And I thought ‘I could have just one. One glass, sipped slowly over the night, to enjoy’. I thought many things, my friends, in such quick succession that the thoughts piled up on top of one another. I thought ‘nobody would have to know’ and I thought ‘and maybe I can drink now, just a glass every now and then. Special occasions’. I thought ‘I’m tired of this. I want to be normal’.

I didn’t think anything spectacular, or anything new. I’m sure nobody reading this is thinking ‘goodness, what an unusual and unique thought pattern for an alcoholic’. I didn’t think that myself. Maybe, if I hadn’t been blogging for so long, and I hadn’t read so many other stories and talked to so many other sober people, I would have fallen for it. But come on. My drinking self, my addict self, is so fucking obvious, really. ‘Oh, I can totally drink normally now’. Is that the best you can do, self? What was I, born yesterday? I’m not an idiot, and I’m not falling for it, and you, self, can fuck right off. Not actually. Because you’re myself. Which is confusing. But you know.

Try harder, addiction. Find a new script. Or better still, give up. Go away. You are not wanted, and you are not going to win.

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13 thoughts on “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

  1. Gosh, good luck! You mention you were tired both times, do you think that’s maybe a trigger? I know I’m definitely more prone to self-destructive behaviour of various kinds when tired, and have to try to remind myself that my defences are low, and to be careful. How one avoids such a trigger when caring for two small children on top of everything else, I don’t know.

  2. Great dialogue with the Beast. For me, every once in awhile enough subconscious threads coalesce to bubble up into a coherent thought like that. Usually, like in your case, it seems to be one of those Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired things. But then immediately I get a semi-nauseated, out-of-control feeling that reminds me how “ugh” it felt to be over-slogged with alcohol. BTW, I enjoyed that article you posted by the Substance.com writer and share your sentiments completely. I do what I can to help others whenever the need presents itself, but only occasionally go to a specific, very large women’s meeting when I get in to the city.

  3. Me too. I think acknowledging and talking back to the inner voice of addiction is good.
    Because I know I’d want more than one glass.
    And there would be no romance, just me on the couch.
    I guess this is why recovery is a lifelong path.

  4. god, yes, we all know those…sneaky bastards.
    I know that when I have those occasional ideas that there is always a reason. For me I have to examine it from the inside…the outside has no answers for me. Why am I craving, what is going on inside of me?
    I start with what the obvious things are to me, and use an acronym of HALT…am I hungry, angry, lonely, tired? If none of those makes sense I dig deeper, because at this point in my sobriety I fully understand that just acknowledging and kicking it to the curb is sometimes enough, but not often. If I’m honest and look at my circumstances and feelings, I can usually suss out the real reason I want the drink and address that. Somehow the craving disappears….

  5. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had those thoughts. I’m right at the beginning of my abstaining. It’s hard. Thank you for being candid about this. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone.

  6. We’re alcoholics…we sometimes think about booze. Crazy eh? lol

    I don’t get upset any more, but I will sometimes check in with myself when those sneaky thoughts happen. usually something that I’ve been holding on too long to, or avoiding something, or what not. Frankly, sometimes I don’t bother investigating it, especially when they are those fleeting moments. Now, if I am thinking about it too much, I call someone. Or write something. But thankfully I don’t get too many of those.

    Paul

  7. Reblogged this on club east: indianapolis and commented:
    Allie at And Everything Afterwards chased the wolf away, but it got close enough she kind of flirted with it for a minute. Like we all do. It’s just we’re not all as honest — or as serious about our sobriety — as Allie.

  8. Pingback: do you bite your thumb at us, sir? | club east: indianapolis

  9. Thanks so much for this post. It is refreshing to hear from others on this journey that these moments do creep up on us at various points in our recovery. Honest posts like these help me deal with my own moments, know I am not alone, and continue to be successful. Thank you!

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