Still Experiencing Firsts

Tonight I’m in a hotel room in Toronto. I’ve been in this city, this hotel, countless times since I’ve been at this job. However, this is the first time I didn’t bring a bottle in my suitcase. The summer before I got sober, I had 3 one week stays for different training courses. 5 day courses that I would spend vacillating between buzzed and sick-to-my-stomach hungover.

I would always be on my own for these courses – alone, in a different city, with no accountability. Well, other than showing up each day for 8 hours of class and passing an exam on the final day. Other than that, I was in a private, hedonistic world. I could drink as much as my body could stomach and there was no one around to say “no.”

So here I am, 14 months sober, in the same physical space, but a very different head space.

Instead of ripping the bottle out of my suitcase as soon as the door closed behind me, I unpacked. Instead of hitting up the pop machine in search of sugary lemonade for my vodka, I made a cup of tea. Instead of turning on the tv to drown out the silence, I am here, laying on the floor quietly tapping out these thoughts of mine.

Life’s not perfect. In fact, it’s progressively gotten shittier over the past couple of months. So it’s not perfect, but it’s better.


“Do You Miss Drinking?”

“So you don’t drink at all?”


I can see the light bulb turn on for her; she realizes that I’m an alcoholic without me saying the words.

“Do you miss drinking?”

I pause and smile. I’m honest and say “yeah, I do.”

“How long?”

“Not long… 13 months.”

“Cheers to sobriety.” She clinks her beer against my club soda.

My brain is broken. That’s the only answer for why I would ever miss it. But I did that night. I was in a bar waiting for my husband’s band to take the stage. I was feeling self-conscious and lonely. For a moment, I missed alcohol. I wondered how a shot of tequila would feel after abstaining for 13 months. I thought about how easy it would be to walk up to the bar and order a vodka & soda, instead of plain club soda. No one would even know.

My brain is broken, which is why I entertained these thoughts instead of immediately remembering how physical ill I was when I drank. I did eventually remember the reality of my alcoholism, but didn’t care. In the moment, the good things in life didn’t outweigh the booze. In the moment, I missed drinking.