I had a dream last night that I relapsed. There was a guy in my homegroup, E, who disappeared before I left for China. I was sad to see him go, or rather to no longer see him at meetings, but he was awfully young, and I know from experience how difficult it to honestly take the first step when you are 22 or 23 years old. My first experience in AA was in my early 20’s too. It’s hard because you haven’t tried it all yet. You haven’t yet tried “switching from scotch to brandy.” You haven’t yet tried drinking only “all natural wines.” You haven’t really, really, really tried everything imaginable to find some way to keep drinking sustainably. By the time you hit your 40’s, you’ve really put in the work, and the data just can’t be interpreted to mean anything other than that which it obviously indicates. I have tried everything, so the first step gave me no trouble this time. I’m an alcoholic, and I’m powerless over alcohol, and it makes my life unmanageable.
Anyhow, in this dream last night, I was hanging out with the aforementioned E. And I was here, in my Shanghai apartment. I drank three beers. It was horrible. I was so angry at myself. When I awoke maybe 30 minutes ago – it’s 7:30 AM right now – I felt awful and was so angry at myself. Goddammit, Eric, what the fuck?! Why did you have to do that! You had 70 something days, and now you have to start all over! You should have gotten to that meeting on time last night. If you had gotten there on time…
Wait. Scratch head. Did that actually happen? Ah, whew. Just a dream. And a useful dream at that! Remember that feeling of despair Eric, because that’s how it’s going to be if you take a drink.