Day 120. Last night I had a drink. Well, really, it was a sip. An accidental sip. A sip slip. We were at a birthday party for a friend. It was a lovely event in a barn under the stars. About 30 of us gathered- in coordinating plaid-to hang out, eat food and dance.
Knowing about about my sobriety, the hostess reached out to me beforehand and told me there would be alcohol at the party but other options as well. She also asked me how I was feeling about that. (She is so thoughtful.) I thanked her for her consideration and told her I felt great and that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have agreed to come.
We arrived to the barn all dressed up in fall. Pumpkins and hay bales were stacked in front of the doorway. Twinkle lights were strung from the wood beams. Checkered table cloths, tea lights and autumn flower arrangements decorated the small, bar-style tables. There was one large table on the left side of the barn covered in a variety of food and the large table on the right side was dedicated to the ‘bar’.
The hostess greeted us right away and, after some formalities, she pointed out where the non-alcoholic drinks were. ‘There is apple cider right over there.’, she said and pointed in the general direction of all drinks.
Shortly thereafter, my husband and I grabbed our respective beverages. A Manhattan for him and cider for me. The cider was in a lovely glass beverage dispenser with cinnamon sticks and cloves as garnishes. I filled a mason jar with my drink and he used a traditional tumbler.
Because it had come from a communal dispenser, I asked my husband to try it first and make sure there was no alcohol. He did so and reported, ‘nope, all good’. ‘FABULOUS’, I thought as I took a gulp. It burnt like only hard alcohol does and before I could do anything about it, it was down my throat.
I had a choice. I could have easily chugged the whole mason jar full of the cider and not told anyone. For all they knew, it was virgin. ‘It would be FUN’, the devil on my shoulder told me. ‘WHO CARES?’, he said. ‘No one will even notice’, he assured.
But I didn’t listen to that asshole. He controlled so much of me for WAY too long. I handed the jar to my husband, told him it had booze in it and walked away. I grabbed a bottled seltzer from behind the bar and chugged it to get the taste of brandy out of my mouth.
To me, that one sip of alcohol means nothing. It doesn’t take away from the nearly 4 moths I have been sober. It doesn’t minimize all of the time I’ve dedicated to myself and healing. It doesn’t diminish the therapy sessions, sober events or retreats. That one accidental slip does not matter in the grand scheme of MY recovery. I did not continue throughout the night even though it would have been very easy to. I don’t feel more vulnerable today because of it. However, I am using it as a learning experience to be more careful in the future.
Here’s my question to anyone reading this: was this sip slip a relapse? If not, when would it have become one? If I drank the whole jar? Continued through the night? Turned it into a weekend ‘free pass’? I know there are varying opinions on this. If you feel called to share yours, please do so in the comments.
Happy Sunday, Witches