There’s a bottle of wine on your top kitchen shelf collecting dust. You’re thinking of taking it down, rummaging through your kitchen drawer for the corkscrew. Or there’s not. There’s a beer in the crisper in your fridge, nestled in between over-ripening apples and kale you bought when you felt optimistic at the grocery store. Or forget the wine, forget the beer. There’s a bottle of whiskey, gifted by the coworker who forgot you aren’t drinking anymore. There’s the glass of chardonnay offered up by a stranger with a smile, and sometimes it can feel handed down by the powers that be. Because it’s rainy, and the boss cut out early to get her hair done but you’ve stayed late the last eight days in a row. Because your dog is getting older and you aren’t getting any younger and sometimes you just want to come home and have a drink. One drink. A whiskey, neat. A glass of wine with a book, snuggled in front of a fire. All that stuff magazine advertisements promise. All that stuff beer ads swear is down there, at the bottom of this next can.
But you know better, right? There’s a reason the wine is still on the top shelf. There’s a reason you aren’t drinking this month, or this year, or this hour already. There’s a reason everyone is drinking vodka shooters and you’re sipping cranberry soda. And it’s bigger than booze being expensive, or hangovers feeling like shit. Oh yah, that stuff sucks. You know that and I know that, but there’s something bigger rumbling deep in your gut and quaking deep down in the lining of your soul that tells you if you pick up that bottle you won’t put it down. The promise of one pretty drink turns into an ugly chased dream. Feelings and plans and bottles all spilled out and emptied. You know how you drink. Instead of snuggling in front of a fire with a glass of wine, you’re finishing your second bottle and hopping in an Uber to hit up a liquor store on the way to meet a dude from Tinder at a bar. Or you’re not. You’re finishing your fourth whiskey, at home, alone. Remembering the plan to stop at one. Reading Reddit and thinking about what a waste of a night it’s been. You know how you drink. It’s why you don’t.
...but there’s something bigger rumbling deep in your gut and quaking deep down in the lining of your soul that tells you if you pick up that bottle you won’t put it down.
There’s a bottle of wine in the top cupboard in your kitchen, and you have every reason to drink it. Life is hard and traffic sucks and someday there will be a champagne toast at a wedding. But despite these little reasons to drink, you have one big reason not to. You know, now, it won’t be enough. Every twinge of craving or flash of need or romanticism of liquor is another reminder that you are marching to your own steady, strong heartbeat now, instead of the incessant pounding of glass cups against a wooden bar. The drink is a lie. You’re moving on to the truth.
As Workit Health's Community Lead, Kali Lux leans in to the culture gap between addiction, recovery, and medicine. She's interested in finding solutions that work for substance users better than drinking or drugging does, and believes Workit is one of them. She's written extensively on her own experience through addiction into long-term recovery. You can connect with her on Twitter @kalireadsbooks.