Just One More Drink

My birthday had finally arrived, and with it, a new wave of temptation. I had managed to stay sober for 10 solid days, dealing with hot flashes and other withdrawal symptoms, but the ugly voices in my head were relentless. They constantly whispered, persuading me to return to the dark alley of alcoholism. That afternoon, I sat with my wife Brenna on a bench at a nearby park, our view dominated by the sparkling water of the serene river in front of us. The sun cast a warm glow on our faces as we watched each boat sail by. At that moment, I felt anything but peaceful; my insides were a tangled mess of anxiety and cravings. Gathering the courage, I tried to convince her that I was worthy of having a drink. “I made it 10 days, babe. You see? I can stop whenever.” The words spilled out of my mouth, the familiar lies laced with desperation. Her expression shifted, her eyebrow furrowed in anger and confusion as she listened to me. “Let me just have a drink tonight, under your supervision.” I pleaded with her, grasping at straws, trying to get her to relent. But Brenna looked me in the eyes and said without the slightest hesitation, “No.” I couldn’t argue. I didn’t have the strength to. The first few weeks were proving to be intense, and deep down inside, I knew it was the devil on my shoulder making all of these suggestions. I could see the leaves above us rustling gently in the breeze as I sat there, feeling like a pinball being whacked around the machine by forces I couldn’t see. The urge to drink was ever-present, and on this night, the night where I’d simultaneously have to confront both the anniversary of my birth and my sister’s death, the only thing that I would ask for is the gift of strength to get me through. The night was a rollercoaster of emotions. I experienced panic attacks, leaving me crippled and crying, curled up in the fetal position under the thickest blankets, trying to sweat out the residual impurities of 15 years’ worth of alcoholism. My wife, Brenna, could see how badly I was struggling, but she also knew it was a necessary sacrifice for the betterment of our lives. As I lay in bed, playing tug of war with the demons that were attempting to control my mind, I logged into the Quit Drinking app to watch the anonymous struggles of people I’d never get the pleasure of knowing. I clung to their unwavering support of each other and hoped that tomorrow would be a better day.

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