…said my formerly non-sober brain-on day one of a week long break from work (I am grateful to be in the dental industry which is considered essential). I typically take 1.5 extended breaks from working, all year. One break will be for only a few days, and the second break will go for a good 10-14 days. This one fell somewhere in the middle due to COVID-19, and, I hadn’t taken even a single day off since 2020 began.
I have been so diligent with my sobriety, so I thought. On a Thursday afternoon, however, it hit me. I realized that I had not factored in ‘vacation time’ as a trigger. Not Even A Little Bit. As I logged out of my desk, silenced my office phone and sent out some cheerful, ‘see you next week’ notes, thoughts of alcohol kicked open my mind’s door! It was like an excited frat boy in full school colors, a painted face and 12-packs of booze under each arm screaming, “Wooooooooo! Who let the dogs out?! Let’s get naked and DRINK!”
“Whoa! Sit your adderall-fueled ass DOWN!” my sober bouncer insisted. And so my frat boy did…kind of. He took a seat but then started, nervously, bouncing his legs and giggling. A big, shit-eating grin was across his face as he looked down at the cases of booze, now on his lap. As I was continuing to wrap up my work week, I could hear him mumbling, “…ain’t no party like a west coast party cuz a west coast party don’t stop!” and then giggle some more. I shook my head, squeezed closed my eyes and let out a loud, “Laaaaaa, la, la, bleh, bleh, bleeeeehhhhhh, bluuuuueeee, mmmmmm, go AWAAAAAAY!” He (let’s call him Connor) literally laughed at me, with me.
FML!! What Is Happening??
Well, this is interesting. Very frustrating but interesting. I decided to just let the feelings have their moment. I figured trying to pretend that I didn’t just think my own thoughts would be futile. But Connor was relentless. On that same afternoon, a friend of mine came over for some socially distanced conversation. (She is also one of my favorite, former drinking buddies.) As we sat out on the back lawn with our diet cokes, Connor chimes in, “Uh oh! Uh oh! Look who came to see you! It’s our girl! Yeeeeaaaahhhhh!!” His cheering is now over my thoughts as my friend is describing her day to me. It is taking everything I have to stay focused. I start to stare at her mouth in an attempt to lip-read as Connor is now dancing to his own rap about getting day drunk.
I manage to get through the clandestine covid social and am now left to deal with the out of control squatter in my head. He’s now pitching ALL of the reasons one night of fun won’t be as bad as I think. “Just one night. Just tonight. That’s it. A few hours, then off to bed. No harm-no foul. We can dance in the living room. No one else is home for the rest of the night. We can get naked and DRINK!” I shut him down and try to watch T.V.. And then I hear him knocking on a wall to the beat of ‘Cheers (Drink to That)’ by Rihanna. “Yeah-ee-yeah! Cheers to da freakin’ weekend. I’ll drink to that!” I turn up the volume. “Don’t let the bast-ads get cha dooown!” he yells even louder. It was going to be a long night.
I made through the night. And the next night. And finally, through the weekend. But Connor was a very persistent and funny visitor. He kept popping his head around corners, cheerfully asking if I’d changed my mind. “No, Connor. I’m not changing my mind!” I laugh as I answered back. “I made a commitment to myself and I’m going to see it through!” Connor finally left my head and then it was just me with my thoughts of resolve.
And then I found Tik Tok this week. Connor, Who?