Last Friday night was our annual Little League Pasta feed, for adults only. No alcohol is served, but it is bring your own and there is always plenty of drinking going on. I decided I would go.
As the day approached, it was definitely on my mind, I believe a bit more that I was letting on to myself. I was telling myself it was no problem, I was happy in my recovery and didn’t want to drink. This was all true, except for maybe the “no problem”part; as I said I ended up thinking about it quite a bit.
We were going with some neighbors, they drink, and the husband is even an old drinking buddy – but I feel comfortable with them, they seem to understand. I was thinking about how I could offer to drive and that would be a good thing. Then, I heard that another neighbor couple had kind of invited themselves. This husband is an obnoxious drunk, complete 45 year old frat boy, and he has no understanding. In my early recovery he actually said to me “I don’t mean to rub it in, but I have to go, I’ve got a cold one waiting for me.” This didn’t anger me or anything, just displayed a complete non-understanding of my situation – as if I was a prisoner under some duress being forced to not drink. Suddenly, I didn’t want to offer to drive, I have my limits and being the frat-boy mobile pilot/babysitter is one of them right now. This put me in a difficult situation and I worried about it all week. I knew I would be expected to drive and I am still at a place where it is hard for me to disappoint people. The Wednesday night AA meeting was all about what to do in these party situations, and many advocated not going – especially in the early days. I had a drinking dream as well.
I met with my therapist on Friday, the day of the party and told him the story. He works with addicts and led me to a fact that I was completely missing. He explained that I have a red dog and a blue dog inside of me, the red dog is my addiction and the blue dog is my recovery – my goal is to keep the blue dog bigger than the red dog. He explained that the only way to do this was by feeding the blue dog. Hence my revelation: I realized that I was trying to do this by fighting the red dog and keeping him small. By going to the party, not drinking, and saying “fuck you” to alcohol and the red dog. Forgetting that alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful – and is more powerful than me. Putting myself in danger, maybe not that night, but eventually in danger. I knew he was right, and I know he was telling me (without telling me) that I probably shouldn’t go to the party. At the same time he knew that I was going to attend, but I had gotten his point.
I drove to the party, I carried in a huge jug of Sangria my neighbor had made – still going toe-to-toe trying to kick the red dog’s ass. But, I would soon find out that my Higher Power had delivered Blue Dog Food to the party. The frat boy had dropped out earlier. There were two guys there that I knew didn’t drink, but didn’t know why and it had never gone any deeper. I approached both of them and spoke with both of them at length. They were long-timers and shared their support, we shared our stories and gratefulness at being where we were, and how it couldn’t work any other way. I danced with my wife, sober. I drove home without worry and went to bed without arguing with my wife.
At the Little League the next morning, at least 3 people came up to me and asked “So, how are you feeling this morning?”
I smiled and said, “I feel great.”