Sunshine and Sangria - when warm weather makes you crave alcohol
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
I have been sitting outside this week in the afternoons on our new Adirondack chairs down by the river before the kids come home from school. It has been beautiful spring weather. Both today and yesterday, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and it couldn't have been more lovely. I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of the sunshine on my face. I listened to the neighborhood owl hooting in the distance and the woodpecker in the tree above me. It felt relaxing and serene. Peaceful and pleasant. Yet, my mind still said, "This is good drinking weather."
I didn't actually want to drink. I couldn't have been further from craving a drink. But I was able to acknowledge that it was one of those days when I would have loved to have one way back when. I think what is important with where I am now is that warm weather doesn't trigger me in the way it used to. I don't feel anxious like I may have once before when the snow melts and the days get longer. Now, I am able to have the conversations with myself where I can be honest and reflective. I don't feel sad and angry that I don't get to drink - those feelings are gone.
Over the years, I always loved how it would stay lighter later and later in the evenings, as it felt like an invitation to sit out and drink outside more and more as summer approached. It felt like summer was the season of drinking. The time to really party and let loose, and I always loved day drinking in the sun. It seemed as if it was more socially accepted and I could always find someone to join me in doing so. People judge you less when you are sipping a cold beer at the pool, as opposed to doing it alone in your apartment at 4pm on a Tuesday.
For some reason, the idea of sunshine, springtime and warm weather brings on the feelings of drinking for so many people, not just me. I know I am not alone. Last year at about this time, I remember the cravings hitting me hard. I recall it was my first spring/summer sober, and I was completely terrified. I wanted to avoid doing all of the warm weather activities and going to all of the places that made me think of drinking. I knew I didn't want to drink, but I felt lost in who I was. I felt left out, alone and nostalgic for the person I used to be. I was still trying to figure out how to have fun without alcohol. Some of my friends weren't talking to me much anymore. I was so lost, and I was still trying to find that confidence that is not automatic in early sobriety. This spring, I am in a different place now.
Today, I feel that much stronger, and as we approach the summer season I know I have the tools to not only survive it but also to kick its' ass. I may have been white knuckling my way through every milestone last year, but now that this isn't my first rodeo I have a little more swagger.
I can laugh at those silly thoughts that pop into my head now - the little voice that likes to remind me that this is Rose season at the club. I know how good it feels now to see it through to the other side, and there is no way in hell I am going back.