"If you only knew how different you are when you're sober," Rosa told me early this morning as we were walking back from Merl's Diner after eating our breakfast.
"I can't see it," I replied. "I feel the same as always."
"For one thing, you are not selfish. You will think about others and take their feelings into consideration."
"I wish I could tell you I will stay sober just for you," I said. "But I can't. I can only stay sober for myself."
"Whatever works. Go with it," Rosa replied, looking determined.
Rosa has been very active in Narcotics Anonymous lately so I knew she would understand. We were growing apart because drinking became the focal point of my life. Rosa being over all the time interfered with my nefarious habit. I withdrew and encouraged her to stay home. It has been good to get things back to normal.
I found myself wondering how long I can keep this up. I do so well for awhile with a renewed determination. It is so easy to slip back into my old ways, though. Old habits die hard as they say. As we were walking up the hill by the shopping center, I fondled the little white poker chip in my pocket -- the chip upon which was written my new sobriety date. "One day at a time," I muttered to myself. I could see Clara sitting out in front of the grocery store drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. For the first time in a long time, I didn't feel left out and didn't want to longingly join her.
"I know what you are thinking," Rosa said as she saw me looking that way. "Don't even think about it."
I smiled and grabbed her hand, and before long the shopping center was behind us -- a major hurdle had been overcome.
Lunch was just some turkey sandwiches and a couple of oranges which were sweet and delectable. We both sat quietly eating as a myriad of thoughts crossed my mind. My hands were shaking a little bit as I perched my turkey sandwich on the threshold of my lips. Rosa noticed.
"When I went into to detox and then rehab, my hands shook for weeks," she told me knowingly.
"Do you think about using again?" I asked, peeling my orange.
"Not a day goes by that I don't think about getting high. I wish I could tell you it gets easier."
Not very comforting words I remarked. I don't want to spend the rest of my life struggling over drink. I have heard old timers say it does, indeed, get easier over time. The inescapable urge to drink eventually goes away. Until then, I have to bide my time.