I’ve been through a lot in sobriety. No way to avoid that, just by living for 24 years, all kinds of stuff is bound to happen. In my story so far I’ve written about how many of the admonitions and warnings the good people of AA gave me went on to be true. I experienced “yets,” I was hospitalized, I put something ahead of my sobriety, and I lost it, and I drank.
The rest of my story takes place in sobriety. When I was newly sober this time, I was far from a newcomer. I had attended meetings and experienced varying periods of sobriety for six years before I was finally able to stop for good. There’s something I’ve read about, but I don’t remember vividly any one person’s experience with this phenomenon, but this happened to me. It says somewhere in the literature that there are times when nothing comes between an alcoholic and a drink but ……. I’m not ashamed to say, I don’t remember what. God? I’m not sure. I think it may be in the story in the Big Book when the guy drinks something or other with milk. Some kind of traveling salesman or someone on a road trip.
Regardless. When my baby was only a few months old, and I was approximately eighteen months sober, I decided to drink. Honestly I have no recollection of what happened before that to precipitate it. I know there was no tragedy going on in my life at the time. I know that I was an extremely dedicated new mother of the type who breastfeeds exclusively, doesn’t leave the baby even with the baby’s father, is looking into organic homemade baby food, and whatever else she believes to be currently best for the baby.
I was also having a rough time of it. I think that Erika’s birth was traumatic enough to cause post traumatic stress, at least temporarily. She also had colic and cried constantly and slept little. It was very difficult, and at times I felt I had ruined my life by having this child.
So this day that I decided to drink, I left the baby with her father and I set off to the supermarket, or so I said. I actually drove to a local deli and grabbed what was, I think, a six pack out of the cooler. An interesting aspect to having been sober so long is that many new kinds and configurations of alcohol come on the market, and you don’t get to try them. I think the beer I grabbed then may have been in some new kind of can I had never tried. I put the beer on the counter. The clerk pointed to a sign. It was a state law that no alcohol could be sold on Sunday before two in the afternoon, or something like that. The clock read about one thirty. I put the beer back.
I traveled on to the supermarket and did the shopping I had said I was going to do. The way the store was laid out, you began in the produce and continued on, the last stop being the deli section. The last thing in the deli section is beer. When I got around to it, I saw the beer, and I saw the sign that state law said no alcohol sales on Sunday before two. I saw the clock that read approximately 2:05.
And I checked out and I went home, and I have never since come so close to drinking. That’s all it took for me to change my mind. Just a little time.
That’s what’s behind some of the suggestions, like not keeping alcohol in your house. Sometimes the time it takes to procure the alcohol can make the difference between sobriety and tragedy. I so hope and pray I never face that situation again. I can’t really say it was something like God intervening, simply because there are so many awful situations during which God does not intervene, not in an obvious way to save people. But I don’t know that it wasn’t God and part of some cosmic plan.
I count all the times I narrowly escaped and shouldn’t have escaped as luck, and I never know when my luck will run out.