“Have I ever wanted a drink during these years? Only once did I suffer from a nearly overpowering compulsion to take a drink. Oddly enough, the circumstances and surroundings were pleasant. I was at a beautifully set dinner table. I was in a perfectly happy frame of mind. I had been in AA a year, and the last thing in my mind was a drink. There was a glass of sherry at my place. I was seized with an almost uncontrollable desire to reach out for it. I shut my eyes and asked for help. In 15 seconds or less, the feeling passed.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” Ch 9 (“The Man Who Mastered Fear”), p 285.
Today, this excerpt from the Big Book is a reminder that, ironically, my life has been relatively good if and when I have been tempted to drink and, second, what the sight of a drink does to me. That the temptation sneaks on me when my life is relatively good begs the question if I still harbor self-destructive traits or if my ego is such that I think I “deserve” a “reward” of a drink. And when I see a CC and Coke or whiskey sour or a drink that has a soft inviting golden glow, do I think about the “good” times I had with drinking? Or do I remember that a drink has always led me to waking the next morning to that same golden color – in my vomit – or the headache so overpowering that it is beyond the aspirin cure and a stomach churning so violently that the smell of coffee is enough to trigger the dry heaves? Do I remember that the sight of a drink represents another DUI arrest and maybe another night in the county jail’s drunk tank? Whatever! If and when I am tempted, I can and must do what I have to do if I don’t want to take that first drink: “shut my eyes and ask for help.” Today, I will be strong enough to ask for help, and I will not forget where the first drink will take me. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014