I am proud of myself for saying no to a beer – three times. It isn’t really about the no, it is about what happened in my head.
I showed up and they had a cold one ready to open for themselves. We were chatting outside and I thought “That beer would be a perfect compliment to this moment.”
Then we took a casual stroll over to see progress on a project and they asked again if I wanted one for the walk and talk. Again I thought “That would be great. Sharing a beer and some interesting conversation.”
Back inside we ate some homemade food and again, more out of politeness, since they grabbed a second one, asked if I wanted one. This time I thought “If I had said yes earlier, I would be saying yes to my second one now, and in a little while saying yes to a third one.”
A few weeks ago I would have said yes. I have felt so much better not drinking lately that I just didn’t want to start that whole roller coaster again. The part that really caught my attention though, was why I thought “certain situations” seemed like they would be better with alcohol.
During our conversation, I had brought up Intermittent Reinforcement for something else, but I think that is what happened with my thoughts. It HAD been fun to have a beer in the past in those moments, a couple times, but by no means all. That ELUSIVE MOMENT.
I think starting sobriety late in life has the unique challenge of 40 years of ingrained beliefs. That is a lot of years with no other story than “Alcohol can make this moment better.” Last night I came home and watched some tv. A little guilty pleasure show. I was just quiet and content.
Each night I say no to drinking is creating a new proof that alcohol doesn’t make anything better.