Give me a damn drink

I love traveling, but I hate flying:  the packing, the getting up at odd hours, the schlepping of luggage, and most of all, the flight.  I am prone to motion sickness and also slightly claustrophobic, and I hate the squished-in feeling of a crowded flight (and aren’t they all crowded these days?).  I used to always sit in an aisle seat near the front of a plane (bulkhead!) and spend the flight reading a trashy novel, but now that I have kids, it usually doesn’t work that way.

Last weekend I flew to Chicago with the family, which is a four hour flight.  On the way out we got up at 3:30 in the morning to catch a 5:45 flight.  My 8 year old was so stressed out about getting up at 3:30 that she couldn’t sleep, and got up at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 10:45, 11:00, 11:20 … each time telling me, “Mom, I am only going to get (six, five and half, four …. ) hours of sleep!”  Seeing her little stressed-out face was like seeing a miniature reflection of me, and believe me it was an exercise in self-control to try to stay calm and help her relax (“Don’t think about trying to sleep just think about relaxing and how comfortable your body is … “) especially as she would ask me “Mom, are you frustrated?” looking keenly into my face through her tears.

(Through gritted teeth)  “No, I’m not frustrated.  Now … go … the … fuck … to … sleep!”

No, I didn’t say that.  But I’m sure my frustration came through.  And I certainly wasn’t doing her or me, or my husband, any favors, lying in bed practically vibrating with it, thinking much the same thing my daughter was thinking.  I’m only going to get four hours of sleep …

I used to have a drink before, or during, every flight, if I could possibly find a way to do so.  That wouldn’t have been an option for this flight, probably, even in my drinking days.  The morning was a mad scramble, and ordering wine from the flight attendant at 6:30 in the morning would have been a tad conspicuous even if I wasn’t with my family.

So, Chicago was great, but before I knew it, it was time to fly back.  This time our flight was in the evening, and we got to the airport early and had dinner at the airport.  We ate at a sit-down restaurant, and we were seated, of course, right next to the bar.  The full bar.  All those bottles.  The people at the next table were drinking wine, and the smell drifted over.

I had motive.  And opportunity.  If my husband hadn’t been there, I don’t know if I would have ordered that drink.  I feel like I might have.  As it was, I spent the meal in a state of resentment and frustration.  At this restaurant they cover all the tables with paper and give you crayons if you have kids.  The girls asked me to draw something, and I drew an alien.  And a dog.  Then I started drawing hearts to form a grid, 5×5, in different colors.  How pretty.  Except with each row of five, I was grimly chanting in my head: Give. Me. a. Damn. Drink.

I’m sure I was a delightful companion.

So all that’s over now.  That was last weekend.  Back to normal, right?  I’m not sure.  I have a feeling of being back at square one, and I don’t like it.  I think it was maybe too easy to quit before, and I didn’t develop as many tools as I should have.  The tools I did develop were this blog, being mindful, and exercise.  So I’m turning to this blog first, and writing this post.  What else?


4 thoughts on “Give me a damn drink

  1. MP – I don’t know if you are an AA member or a member of some sober group – but you might want to get yourself a sponsor or a sober friend and have her/his number plugged into your phone for just this type of event. You don’t want to go back to square one again. It’s totally not worth the drink. Best of luck and keep writing!

    • Thank you — yes, I think you’re right. That’s part of what I meant by my “What else?” at the end of the post. I need to line up my tools. I had maybe gotten a wee bit overconfident because everything was going so smoothly. I definitely don’t want to go back to day 1! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Airports, vacations and date nights are the hardest. The first time I flew after I got sober I spent as much time as possible on the phone with the hubs. If I’d had another sober friend then I would have called them instead. It was tough. But I survived and so did you…and you will again. Just get some tools in order and it will be even easier.

    And if you think you were bad, at one point I texted my husband this lovely statement…

    “If they don’t get this fucking plane in the air in the next five minutes I’m going to grab the first person within reach, rip off their head and piss down their necks.”

    To which he replied…

    “Oh my.”

    I laughed to myself the rest of the trip. And survived.


    • Hee, “rip off their heads and piss down their necks”! I’m dying.

      Thanks for your point that airports and vacations are the hardest, and you’re right, I got through it. I had a long talk on the phone yesterday with my best friend and that helped to give me a reset somehow with all the stress I was feeling.

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