3:00 AM

3:00 AM. The ungodly hour I wake up at—religiously—every time that I drink. The time I lay in bed, staring at my alarm clock, feeling like absolute hell. The time that I know it’s no use trying to go back to sleep.

My brain clicks on. I silently say the most hateful things. I’m a terrible mom, a lousy wife, an excuse for a Christian. I’m a liar. A weak-willed ingrate. A horrible role-model. I will never change.

I. Will. Never. Change.

I “relive” every cocktail, every glass of wine, every beer I’ve had this night. I see the ice cubes floating in the amber-toned whiskey. I hear the clinking toast of a round of tequila shots. I taste the flowery peach in the sauvignon blanc. I smell the acidic orange in the Blue Moon lager… And I feel the vicious assault of a hangover. My head pounds. My stomach rolls. My intestines twist. My heart beats at such a freakishly fast rhythm, I swear it’s going to leap right out of my chest. Am I having heart attack? I could definitely be having a heart attack, I think.

I sit up.

I stare at the clock.

3:05 AM

I try not to wake my husband. As I adjust my position, over and over again, as I watch the numbers tick past one hour than two, I try to pretend that I’m on the brink of sleep, that I’m destined to conk out just like him. But it’s all an illusion, another sad made-up story of an ashamed woman who broke her promise not to drink. I am over it.

I am over her.

THIS is what I picture when I think about pouring a cocktail after a stressful day. It’s one of my go-to’s in the “sobriety toolbox” the quit-lit books recommended I build. I have others, but this “visualization” technique seems to help the most. By planting myself in the moment, in that time of 3:00 AM, I’m usually able to derail whatever craving I’m feeling. I work through the five senses so that the image comes alive, so I am immersed in those hours of complete self-loathing. Some might say that this is a form of beating myself up, but hey, my response is, whatever works is whatever works. I’ve found that the more I read through posts on Facebook sobriety groups, the more I see that everyone has their own, unique methods of fighting off the “wine witch.”

Mine is picturing that damn alarm clock.

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