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Ali Baba and the Forty Beers?

Posted Mar 25 2011 8:00am


The lights go out and I can't be saved,
Tides that I tried to swim against,
Have brought me down upon my knees,
Oh I beg, I beg and plead singing....
("Clocks", Coldplay)

I wish I was as relaxed and unconcerned as Little Baby evidently is above.
Sigh... I'm not going to lie to you. I totally screwed up. And I admit it. You don't need to chastise me because believe me---I've already done it for you.

It happened recently during a couple of days that Blaine and I had had an argument about something stupid. Blaine and I don't fight often but when we do it can get pretty intense. But the problem is that when the fight is over, Blaine goes back to normal as if nothing happened. But I'm not like that. After a fight is over, I get melancholy and sad, a condition which can last for days.

During those times that I'm sad, Blaine tries to cajole me out of it, buying me presents and being extra nice. But I feel traumatized and it takes me a few days to snap out of it. And this particular argument led me to do something quite unhelpful.

Here's how it went down:

The other night, after we had finished with the argument, Blaine had to participate in a conference call for his company. And the call went on for so long that he didn't have time to drink 2 beers he had brought home to drink after work. So he simply left them in the refrigerator and went to bed. Blaine doesn't normally leave beers in the refrigerator but this time he did....

The next day I was still very melancholy and moping around the house feeling sorry for myself. It was Thursday, my long day at the psych center. I was so totally out of sorts that I called in sick. Then I moped around the house some more, knitting here and crocheting there, watching TV but not really listening to it, and continuing to pout as if I were some sort of martyr. Finally, I got hungry and went to the refrigerator to get a couple of Laughing Cow cheese wedges and some grapes for a snack.

And then I saw them...... the two beers.....

A million thoughts went through my brain. And none of them good. I am supposed to be a recovering alcoholic and I should have done what my therapist, Jack, has told me to do a bazillion times when faced with trouble (and alcoholic temptation is DEFINITELY considered "trouble"). I should have put in a request for a "coaching call". Jack or one of my other therapists always return requests for coaching calls to see if they can help you either feel better or avoid negative behaviors---like drinking alcohol.

But did I call for Jack? No I didn't. I could have called the mobile therapist or my case manager. But I didn't call them either. The three of my therapists are always nagging us patients to call them when we get into trouble but instead I just forged ahead in my self-pity and martyrdom.

I didn't call any of them.

I didn't call any of them because I was busy thinking thoughts I shouldn't have been thinking. "Nobody will know", I thought to myself. Because it was the one Friday that my case manager wasn't coming. Nobody was coming. And I didn't have to go anywhere.....

One thought kept sneaking into my head: "You're supposed to be a a recovering alcoholic---clean and sober..." but I ignored it.

And then another thought sneaked into my head. "Blaine was mean to me in that fight we had...."

I'm sure you know what happened next.

I grabbed those two beers and put them by the couch. And I began drinking them while I sat there watching TV. I was hoping the beers would relax me and get me over my melancholy mood.

So I sat there, bundled up in an afghan, sipping the beers. I wasn't getting drunk. My tolerance for alcohol is so high that it would take an entire keg to get me drunk. But I drank them anyway. And I was feeling some sort of vindication about the fight with Blaine. I felt that I "deserved" to drink the beers.

Because, you see, that's why they call the disease of alcoholism "cunning, baffling and powerful". It will get you as soon as you let your guard down. And I had definitely allowed my melancholy mood to let my guard down.

But I didn't feel that way while I was drinking the 2 beers. I was sniffling about the fight and blaming it all on Blaine in my head. Pouting. And pouting is another one of those emotions which can cause an alcoholic to let their guard down. And I'm champion pouter. If pouting were an Olympic sport I would always get the Gold Medal.

And then it happened.

Someone knocked on the door loudly.

What the hell? I thought to myself. And then I went and asked through the door "Who is it?" And to my utter mortification I heard a familiar voice answer me saying: "It's your case manager."

Oh. My. God. A thousand F-words were swirling around in my brain....

Stupidly, I said to the voice on the other side of the door: "Are you sure?" And the same voice answered back "It's not a mistake. It's your case manager, Bo. I was wondering why you called in sick today. Let me in."

I answered: "Dammit, you're not supposed to be here today!"

But he answered back "And yet here I stand, right Bo?"

And you know, for just a moment I thought of running and hiding the beers but who was I kidding? He'd know the minute he walked in from the smell of beer. So, I screwed up some courage.....and I let him in.

He walked in, holding his ever present clipboard, surveyed the situation, gazed at the 2 beers on the floor by the couch---and then turned and looked at me standing there looking like a fool with a baleful look on my face.

"What is going on, Bo?" he asked, eyeballing the two beers on the floor by the couch.

"Um.....I drank two beers," I answered. And then, feeling like "in for a penny, in for a pound", I told him the whole stupid story.

He didn't get mad. But he did sit with me a long time to discuss things I could have done instead of drinking the two stupid beers. The most frightening thing he said was: "You know, Bo, you're lucky you didn't get the inclination to drive down to the corner liquor store to get a big bottle of vodka, which was always your booze of choice."

"It never even occurred to me," I said. And it was true, thank goodness.

Anyway, it ended up that all three of my therapists continued to talk with me about this event in following appointments during the next week and now the incident is in the past and we've moved on. But one thing for sure is that I know that I need to be very wary of my negative moods. They can do damage. And I don't want there to be another alcohol incident.

* * * * * * * * * *

At group that week, Jack asked me what I had learned. And I replied: "It's kind of like what happened in the stories of Aladdin's magic lamp--- I found that if I rubbed a bottle of booze my case manager will magically appear on my doorstep".......



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