Sitting in the back of an Uber watching the Boston skyline pass me by, I’m considering how easy it would be to have just one drink once I made it to the airport. A cool glass of white wine would take the edge off the discomfort I’ve been feeling for two days. It would ease the pain I’m carrying after a stress-induced muscle spasm set up residence in my back and neck. That one drink would open the door to relaxation and allow me to stop caring about the heavy work load and lack of sleep I’m up against.
It would be so simple. I’ll slide into an airport bar in a city where no one knows me. Move in quickly, finish my one glass and move on without anyone being any wiser. I don’t have to tell a soul. It could be my little secret. What harm would just one drink do anyway? It will make me feel better long enough to get through the flight and back to the comfort of home. Sleep on my own pillow and a soak in my bathtub are a few hours away. If one glass of wine can bridge the gap to that place, then it might be worth it.
Stepping onto the curb and making my way through the airport check-in, I can see that glass touching my lips. The one drink that will make everything more bearable. I am going to go for it. Yes. I’ll have that one drink. It’s only going to be the one. I’m attending She Recovers in a week. Do I feel guilty? A little - but forget about that. It’s not like there is some law that requires an announcement that I cheated. Do we call it cheating? No, I think we call it relapse. Oh, come on. Is it a relapse if it’s only one? For crying out loud, it’s only one drink, I can live with that. Will I have to change my sobriety date? I don’t want to start over. Not if I keep my mouth shut. That probably isn’t a very good thought to have, but I can’t even lift my bag to my shoulder. One drink will fix that.
Collecting my bag at the end of the security line, I can see it. A bar to my left and an open stool in between those people laughing and sipping on their cocktails. I can be one of them, anonymous and happy at the airport bar. Yes, that is was I need right now. It’s been so long that just one drink will probably kick in fast and maybe even a little hard, if I’m lucky. I remember the feel of that buzz in my body, but there must be another bar closer to the gate.
There it is. The bar at the end of the corridor and my gate right behind it. This is it. This is the one. I’ll venture in and back out so fast that I might not have to even consider what I’ve done. I’ll have my drink and perch myself in a chair to enjoy the ride until boarding. This is my chance. I can be like everyone else and have a drink at an airport bar. I know this will be temporary, but that’s all I need right now. Just a moment to make me feel better. Am I going to regret this afterwards? I can pretend like it never happened, can’t I? Just one drink. A quick fix until I make it home. It’ll be like taking an aspirin. Won’t it?
Stopping first into the store next to the bar makes the most sense. I need water for the flight and don’t want to run out of time. Water first, then my one drink. That giant bag of Sour Patch Kids looks awfully enticing. I’ll take those, too. I’ll take those all the way to my seat at the gate. Legs, please keep walking.
This was me on Wednesday and all the ridiculous chatter that was going on in my head over the span of about 20 minutes. This is the kind of internal dialogue that people in recovery battle. Yes, I am nearly 7 months sober and here I was, wanting a drink in such a strong way that I considered going against everything I believed in to get it. I wanted to be like everyone else and have my one drink because it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The reality is, it happens to be a very big deal for me. It likely wouldn’t have been just one drink. I know where this path leads and it isn’t one that I want to ever find myself on again. Fortunately, this scenario doesn’t happen often at this stage in my sobriety, but it does still happen. It may continue to happen for the rest of my life, but if I’m lucky, I’ll continue to choose sugar when it does.
Thank you to the makers of Sour Patch Kids for supporting my recovery.