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Grapevine : December 2011
not in it. We drove around for a while and saw some fantastic homes. they were all lit up and pretty and not a soul was around. Just the lights. It seemed so sterile, and after a short while, I suggested we return home. the next day, my husband sug- gested again that we go out one more time to see the lights we didn’t see the night before. Again we put on our light sweaters (it was a warm night) and off we went, driving around un- familiar streets looking at the lights, and I once again suggested we go home. Somehow we happened upon a large street not far from where we live and there were a lot of lovely homes there with pretty lights on them. We parked and walked down a long time. when midnight got closer we all gathered in the kitchen and each got a glass of sparkling grape juice, preparing for a grand toast to the new sober year. we started to count down ... five, four, three, two, HAPPY NEw YEAR! Then we all clicked our glasses together and drank. when I finished I broke into a cold sweat, my head was pounding, my thoughts went to a different place, and I was overwhelmed with an urge to drink. My alcoholic brain was talking very loud, telling me: “See, you CAN drink. we should leave now and head for a local tavern and REALLY toast in the New Year!” I must have looked strange, because people were coming up to me and ask- ing if I was all right. Some commented on my wet shirt and forehead, some on the strange look in my eyes, and some on why I had gotten so quiet. I finally told someone that I was having urges to go get drunk, and I was very scared. One of my friends sat down with me and helped me talk through what my head was saying to me. I know now how patient my disease is, and what lengths it will go to, to return me to drinking. I really never felt better the rest of the evening, but I got through it with some help from my friends. I learned a big lesson that night. I knew that it was not only the thoughts that will get me, it’s also the behaviors that will get me. There are some behaviors I can’t afford to subscribe to, if choose to remain sober. From that day to this day, I have not found it necessary to toast to anything. I can be glad and happy about whatever it is, but I don’t need to toast. My wife (I got married nine years ago) understands this problem, and usually acts as the mediator when people expect me to participate in a toast. I am open to celebrate with anyone over whatever they are jubilant over, but not the toasting. I learned my lesson. Bob F. Wickliffe, Ohio aagrapevine.org 23 GRAPE_20-24.indd 23 10/28/11 2:23 PM