Drinking is Never an Option

I think it was nearly 5 years ago when I stumbled upon the notion of just ruling out the idea that drinking is an option. In the “One Day at a Time” concept of 12 Step Movements, you will just take the notion of not drinking, but just for today. “Today, I will not drink.” This is because the idea of never taking a drink for the rest of one’s life may be too much to handle. Therefore, take it in bite-size, one-day-at-a-time baby steps. Tomorrow is another story, another day.

While this is fine, and very successful, I found it questionable for my own personal abilities. You see, the “ODAAT” (“One Day at a Time” acronym) leaves open the possibility of drinking tomorrow. Advocates of ODAAT would respond by saying that you would merely resolve to do ODAAT again when tomorrow arrives. But for me, there would still be that narrow window of opportunity that would allow a drink to sneak in.

Therefore, I decided that drinking would never be an option. No matter how good, or how bad, drinking just wouldn’t be on the table as a response. In the past, I would drink when things got bad, but also when things were great. Drinking was a lubricant, either quelling the pain or heightening the joy. Drinking was always a response to something. It was an option.

What had happened to get me to the idea that drinking would never be an option, no matter what was a day in April 2004 in which I was laid off from a job due to insufficient work. As I was the last hired, I was the first to go. I was depressed, I had thought that I had finally “made it” in sobriety, that I had finally landed a job that would last and that I was putting in the final building blocks of my sobriety. The initial struggling period would be over and I would just “practice these principles in all my affairs” and just live. But being laid off shattered that notion.

I drove home, and it seemed as every liquor store in my part of the state was between work and home. I resisted the urge to go into any of them, thinking all the way “ODAAT”, and went instead straight to my old AA Home Group. I pondered stuff and I think that the topic was something about ODAAT. I decided that ODAAT wasn’t good enough for me, or rather, not suitable enough. There was always that danger that the desire to drink would wedge its way in and that I wouldn’t be strong enough the next day to do ODAAT.

So I decided to just remove drinking from the list of options. Not just for today, but forever. ODAAT preserves the notion that drinking is an option for tomorrow, and when tomorrow arrives, just push drinking off one more day through ODAAT.

My removing drinking as an option does not mean that I will resolve to never drink for the rest of my life, the scary notion that ODAAT evolved to ease. It just isn’t on the list of response mechanisms I have at my disposal. It isn’t something that I “do”, or have to ponder with never doing. I am not facing the prospect of viewing the rest of my life without drinking, it is more like the idea that murder or rape is simply not an option for how decent civilized people deal with others. Drinking isn’t there for me to choose. I do not bemoan the idea that I won’t murder or rape anyone in the future before I die, doing either of those things isn’t a part or my character. Drinking no longer is a part of my character.

I did not arrive at this idea easily. I spent the entire month of April 2004 beating this into my brain. I was helped by many AA meeting topics that kind of reinforced this. I guess the Holy Spirit was working on me.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"