Pay Attention!

I need to remind myself to pay attention to the small details. I was pretty close to drinking a tiny amount off alcohol yesterday evening, and I am sooo glad I didn’t. I do not want to be sliding down any slippery slopes ANYTIME in the near future. The situation reaffirmed my commitment to sobriety. It also made me think about a few things.

When is it okay to have a small amount of alcohol? In mouthwash? In a recipe? In vanilla extract while baking? Never? I wasn’t totally sure. I’m weirdly glad that I was forced to think about and reflect on the subject so I know what to do in the future. Now I have a plan. I’m ready for you, sneaky alcohol.

So… what brought on this freight train of thoughts?

Well. I recently heard a friend talking about having a bitters and soda drink, and it sounded nice. The perfect foil for the hot summer days we have been having lately. I told my husband that it sounded like a refreshing non-alcoholic drink and he agreed, so we drove to the store to buy bitters and club soda. The liquor store. I guess I should have thought twice about going there in the first place, huh? It was the only place I knew that sold the stuff. After purchasing the bitters we read the label and realized that bitters has a huge percentage of alcohol. 43% to be exact. Wow, who knew? Not me!

A bitters and soda only needs a few drops of bitters, but I couldn’t do it. It just felt wrong. I immediately got online and posted a question about it in the Women For Sobriety forums. I got five or six answers right away, which really helped me make my decision and stick to it. So…if any of you from WFS are reading this… thanks ladies! I felt supported, and I needed that. I also e-mailed Belle my daily sober e-mail and asked her advice (I am a member of the 100 Days Sober Challenge- which totally rules). She replied today in her usual helpful and thoughtful manner.

Most of the advice I received said it is best to avoid anything with alcohol in it. Recipes, mouthwash, flavorings, and so on. I knew that was the right answer in my gut, but also had a little voice in my head saying, “what’s the harm? It’s only a few drops…” Listening to that little voice could be a recipe for disaster. My husband didn’t see what the big deal was either, but he came around after I explained to him that drinking ANY amount of alcohol could be a very real threat to my sobriety.

The bitters is currently hidden in our basement in a unknown (to me) location, and we are going to give it a way to a friend.

Whew. Crisis averted.

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4 thoughts on “Pay Attention!

  1. I bought some vanilla extract the other day to make brownies with, and when I got home I realised that if course, vanilla extract has alcohol in. So far I haven’t made the brownies. Part of me thinks this is crazy behaviour because I eat shop bought brownies all the time, and they probably have the extract in. It’s only a few drops… It gets burnt off whilst baking… But still, I’m reluctant to make them now!

    • I completely understand! I was worried I would end up chugging the bottle of bitters out of the fridge or something. Ha. Not really… but what if the small taste unleashed my inner alcohol Gremlin? Seems silly but not silly, too. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I would say cooked is ok and raw is not for me. If I can smell it or taste it then it’s a no go.
    I had the same issue with a mocktail when out one evening with work. It had the bitters in and I could taste it, so I brought it back to the bar and just said it tasted too sweet and they changed it for a fruit mocktail instead. I nearly had a non alcoholic beer on holiday too, I was in the store and feeling sorry for myself and found I was gazing the beer cabinet and spotted it. I thought well I can have those, but when I spotted it was .05% alcohol I realised I would secretly be hoping that 6 or a dozen might give me a little hit! Who was I kidding that stuff tastes awful, I am glad I dedcided against it and bought a nice juice tasting drink for me instead.

    • It seems a bit tricky navigating these waters sometimes! That is good that you avoided the NA beer…I definitely only drink beer to get drunk, so I’m not tempted to buy it for the “taste” either. I guess I just need to figure out what works best for me. For now I am going to avoid it all. It seems simpler that way. Thanks for your comment Carrie!

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