Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coming Clean: Part I

 Men are not punished for their sins, but by them. ~Elbert Hubbard

Day 207 of Sobriety

I promised I would always be honest and I have a confession to make.  You might have noticed that lately instead of putting “Day # of Abs” up there on my day count I sneakily changed it to “Day # of Sobriety” and that is because I have drank in those 207 days.  Early in my sobriety, I think it was  in the first two or three months, I took four little sips of beer at four separate times.  Gasp!  It was early in my sobriety and I can remember that the days when I chose to imbibe in my four little sips were sunny and bright and warm, the kind of days for which cold bracing beer is just made and I just wanted that taste on my tongue for just an instant.  And that was it, that was enough.  I didn’t confess it to ya’ll at the time because I truly didn’t think it was significant, but then I read a post from a fellow traveler on this journey and he had taken a toast at a friend’s funeral and he was feeling very torn about whether to reset his sobriety date in AA and he was questioning the other members of the message board about what he should do.  From the responses he received, I realized that even though I might not attach much significance to those 4 little sips of beer, others do, and because I want others to recognize my sincerity and integrity and commitment in this vital venture of mine, I changed my Days to Sobriety Days instead of Abs Days and more importantly I quit taking sips of beer, or anything else.

So why did I not think those 4 little sips were significant?  Because at none of the times that I took those sips did I believe that I was jeopardizing my sobriety. I didn’t and still don’t, believe that any one of those 4 little sips would send me spiraling into a relapse.  And they didn’t. The Catholic religion believes that the difference between a venial and a mortal sin is that when you choose to commit a mortal sin you willingly and knowingly turn your back on God.  Those little sips were venial sins against my sobriety, I didn’t turn my back on sobriety.  I believe it’s the significance that we place on things that give them their power.  If I had believed those four little sips would trigger a relapse, they could have.  If I believed cooking with wine could steal my control and have me pouring a glass while I cook, it might.  If I believed that if I continue to go to bars and parties, I would eventually, inevitably drink, I probably would.  But those are the beliefs of others, they are not mine, and that is why I have not joined with some of the established establishments in this field, because if I started attaching the importance they feel I should on some things that I don’t think are all that important, I may start to believe, as they do, that I am destined to fail. And I will.

Where do I draw the line?  What is the difference between a sip and a glass or two of wine if I don’t attach any significance to them?  I don’t know, I just know for me there is a difference. Why, if they were not significant, did I wait so long to write abou tmy 4 little sips?  My surface response is that I always thought there were more important things to write about, but I’m sure down deep under the surface there is some avoidance of the issue involved.  I don’t want to spend a whole lot of effort justifying those 4 little sips because, then again, I’m attaching too much significance to them and giving them too much power.  

You might have noticed this blog is just Part 1.  There was an incidence during my birthday weekend that I feel jeopardized my sobriety more than those 4 little sips but in my commitment to be more concise, I’ll save that for my next blog. 

So today I’m just out there doing my best to avoid the near occasions of sin, no matter the significance or insignificance attached.

P.S. Sorry for the confusion to the early readers of this post, I forgot to put my title in the title slot. Lo siento.

P.P.S.  I just read through this post again and noticed all the errors that were there.  It's kind of a confusing post anyway and it was even more so before I corrected it.  My excuse is that we had to run into Merida early this morning and I wanted to post this before I left, knowing that by the time I got home I would have brain drain.  Instead, my brain hadn't had it's fill of caffeine or daylight yet and was still on snooze mode.  Readers of  the earlier non-improved post probably thought I'd started sipping again. Ja Ja Ja

1 comment:

  1. For me, this journey is about sobriety. It's not about freaking out over infinitesimal amounts of alcohol. I have had long-ish periods of sobriety and always allowed myself sips. The sips were just like yours...a quick taste, and done. I didn't sip every five minutes. I didn't sip twice in the same week for that matter...not that it was forbidden in my books. It just didn't happen.

    Some might say that the sips teased the monster and caused me to relapse. Alternatively, some astrologers might say I fell off the wagon because Mercury was in retrograde. I don't think Mercury or the sips had anything to do with it.

    The motivation behind sipping had nothing to do with getting drunk. It was because DH was trying out a new beer, or my mother was mixing up a funky new drink, or my friend had a glass of wine that I was curious about. In this sense I think it may have even helped my sobriety because I didn't feel I was missing out. I was sober, but I still got to taste. That's it, that's all, I tasted and I was done. The sips never left me with the feeling that I wanted a whole glass or that I wanted to get drunk. It was, oh, I want to taste I know what it tastes like, thanks, see ya later, moving on.

    I drew the line at having my own glass. I could take a sip from my husband's glass but I did not want even a little of it in a glass of my own. That would have been crossing the line, and that would have woken up the monster. (I know this because I tried it. Epic fail.) I didn't go looking for things to taste either. It only happened if something new presented itself.

    As for toasting with champagne, I don't think I would. Maybe others can do this and put the glass down, but it violates the glass-in-my-hand rule. I'll stick to water.

    You know what wakes up your monster, Kary May. I think by now you probably have a keen ear for your own BS as well, so you won't kid yourself about whether taking sips is dangerous for you or not.

    You've done beautifully and I'm grateful that you have shared your journey.