Early on in recovery I was advised that whenever I encountered a desire to drink that I should "Think the drink through". The idea was that I would then recall the misery, the trouble, the suffering and humiliation that taking that one drink always led me through and then I would be able to effectively scare myself 'straight'.
Imagine that. An alcoholic so scared of alcohol and the consequences that he just does not drink - no matter what. Well guess what? Alcoholics DRINK no matter what! We don't get "scared straight".
Let’s take a cue from the former Democrat governor of New York, Al Smith, whose famous trademark phrase in his era was, "Let's look at the record."
Before joining my extended family here on lovely Cape Cod ten years ago and I was still running around New York City on Wall Street playing the big shot Investment Banker - actively engaged in the drinking life - I used to "Think through the drink" all the time. Maybe even every time I drank. In my head the outcome was always pretty similar.
"Let's see now . . . I will drink this drink and get a little tipsy . . .. then I will drink more and get just a little messed up . . . . .not too much . . . . don’t want to be slurring my words or pissing my pants. . . . then I will call up my limo and head up to D’Bronx . . . . Amsterdam Avenue . . . to get me a nice size package of blow . . . . not too much or I‘ll end up staying out all night . . . . but the good stuff . . . . from the Colombians. Then I’ll come back downtown and go to 21 where some gorgeous blonde in a miniskirt and fishnet stockings will hook up with me at the bar . . . and want to wrap her legs around me while we party and drink and snort and have a ball. . . .. then I can go home to my wife - at a decent hour . . . . . . . maybe by two AM . . . like nothing happened . . .. get a few hours sleep and then go to work in the morning - refreshed enough to get through the day and as Oliver Hardy used to tell Laurel, "and no one will be the wiser, Stanly. Ummph!"
Yeah . . . . that's the ticket!
That was the type of script I always wrote in my head when thinking the drink through. Too bad that it never seemed to work exactly the way I thought it should. I just thought it might - and so I made sure that I drank - just in case it would work out. I wanted to be ready.
What usually really happened was I would end up in Chinatown somewhere with a six-pack in the back of the limo, bar hopping and blowing chunks out of the back door at every other red light, scaring the freakin' bejeebers out of my driver - ending up back home in Queens with no money and a bloody shirt - to face my wife Nancy, who by now was in tears, waiting on the living room couch. “You did it again!” she would cry. "Why?"
"I don't know." It was my only honest answer. And then we would both cry together. That is MY record.
I am reminded of this from AA's book, "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.
The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us." (Alcoholics Anonymous" 24:1)
I guess the experience of the alcoholic co-writers of the above quote pretty much jives with mine. As with most "Stupid Heavy Drinker Tricks" like this one or even "Keep it Green" or "Call your sponsor before you drink" or whatever other lip flapping , non-AA, Pop-Fellowship sloganism you want to use - that might work well for non-alkies - but accomplish the exact opposite of their intent for the real alkie - "Thinking the drink through" always ensured that I would drink - not prevent it.
I do not really know of any real alcoholics whose "thinking through the drink" did not always produce a happy ending - albeit a fictitious one. Man, not only are we insane but truly we are strangely insane. Some folks just don't get us - do they? Some of ‘us’ don’t even ‘get us’.