Springtime and the Drinking Pangs
Aah, spring… What an amazing time of the year! The sun is finally spreading its warmth. The little flowers are springing up from the ground, and the birds are happily chirping. Kids are again playing outside and the air is filled with their laughter. It all gives me some kind of a strange euphoria! Nature, and life appear to have awaken again… and so did my drinking pangs.
I do not know what it really is that makes spring time a drinking trigger for me. It seems like maybe some misdirected energy; while others are cleaning their yards and planting gardens, I feel like drinking… I feel like I should be sitting on my deck and sipping on a lite, refreshing wine and juice cocktail, with a splash of soda and a twist of lime. These feelings take me back to the time when I actually enjoyed drinking. Of course this was way before my drinking took off and became crazy and unpredictable. I used to live in a condo, on the third floor, and my balcony was surrounded by tall trees. It was great because I could not see any other buildings around me. I would sit and drink on that balcony for hours, while listen to the buzzing of the life out there. It felt so very peaceful and calming; it was definitely one of my favorite things to do. Little did I know that I was already disengaging from the world.
I also quit drinking during the spring time, which seems a bit like an odd coincidence. But maybe not. I remember it being one of those really beautiful days, without a cloud in the sky. I was happy and had no worries in the world! I had that same feeling of wanting to just drink and enjoy the buzzing of the life out there. I was actually about three months sober, yet, I remember thinking that I definitely could have a drink, or two, and be OK; I am not mad, I am not angry, I am not sad. I am happy! There is no reason for me to get plastered, I thought.
But I did. I totally did. What was supposed to be a drink, maybe two, ended up being several boxes of wine! It was horrible. It was so bad that I was in a blackout the entire weekend and woke up early Monday morning, face down on the kitchen floor. I was terrified. I was… well, I cannot even describe the feelings adequately, but that was the moment, when I truly realized that I could not control my drinking at all. I finally understood that it didn’t matter what was going on in my life, good or bad, I drank.
Today, again, I have to remember that I did not drink to be happy or to relax or any of the other reasons that normal people drink. I never needed a reason to drink. The difference between me and normal drinkers is that there is never a good time for me to have a drink. All the times are bad. So I have to be even more diligent this time of the year, and direct my spring time energy towards staying sober, and connected to my sober network. I need to keep busy moving forward. Although it is essential for me to keep the reality of my drinking in the forefront of my mind, there is also no reason to sit around and reminisce about the “good” old days. It’s time to make new memories – I am planting a garden!
How about you?
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles. You may also find some great inspiration, support and resources at the bottom of this page.
*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using. (Ref: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders)