Triggers and Cravings

Ray woke in an agitated mood and couldn’t shake it. By noon he wished he still drank, but knew if he touched the stuff he’d pick up right where he’d left it eight years ago and quickly flush everything he’d built since quitting right down the toilet. But the drink always dulled the edge on agitated moods, and he missed the recklessness.

He mostly frowned on that behavior now. He was living the suburban high life where every step was thought through and planned, but on days like this it felt more like treading aimlessly on a hamster wheel and his ranch house was his cage, stifling with frustration of a monotonous routine. Up in the morning and off to work five times a week. Exercise four times a week. Eat multiple servings of fruit and vegetables every day. Avoid cholesterol, avoid sugar. No booze, no cigarette, limit caffeine. Go to bed early and get plenty of rest. What was the point?

By mid-afternoon he wanted to cash it all in, sell the house, the toys, the crotch rocket and go on one last binge like a shooting star flaming across the night sky as it burned up in the stratosphere. But then his critical thinking kicked in and he remembered the ugly side to his drinking days, the panic attacks and the shakes, the constant planning and worrying about where his next drink was coming from. And the hidden self-loathing with the depression it brought for throwing away countless opportunities for a life with a chance at happiness.

When he headed home from work, the threat of stopping at the bar near his house had faded. He never again wanted to go through the four days of wave after wave of panic attacks that it took for the alcohol to clear his system when he quit. Hallucinations and all.

He told himself that every new day held the potential for a fresh start, a life without the frustration. He’d shop for another toy, maybe a bigger motorcycle, something to distract himself from the frustration while he kept searching for a sense of purpose that would help him continue getting up and going to work in morning. He’d heard that meditation helped with that sort of thing. If he fixed that noisy fridge so it wouldn’t distract him, maybe he’d give it a try.

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