Flying sober

A sight that used to fill me with joy now fills me with dread; the drink trolley. It is heavily laden and barrelling down the aisle towards me like the boulder from Indiana Jones, it has the capacity to do as much damage. Almost as if bound by a Newtonian law, my brain sets off with equal force to the trolley as it begins to imagine the potential moments; “What will I say?” “What will he say?” “What will everyone think?” It feels as though the pressure in the cabin is raising but it isn’t. This pressure only exists inside my head. Year’s of adverts and social expectations have created a story in my subconscious that now throws up a plethora of negatives. All designed to make me believe a drink will be the solution.

Thankfully, I have learned to acknowledge the thoughts and accept that they do not reflect reality.

For years my mind would go into overdrive. I had imaginary conversations with people that never took place. I had arguments with people I hadn’t met in places I hadn’t been. I wasted vast amounts of energy trying to plan for every eventuality, most never happened. So thanks to a lot of meditation I learned to observe my thoughts. These resources have been invaluable weapons in my armoury:

And by getting to know myself I learned to differentiate between thoughts and reality. Most importantly I learned to deal with situations as and when they arise. I can only do my best but practice definitely helps as it leads to the confidence to trust myself. It’s almost like playing it backwards, bringing the thoughts back to the moment and taking a breath.

So the trolley is rolling closer and I can read the labels on the bottles. Each label tells me a story where I end up in rack and ruin, sick and shamed. My subconscious wants my heart beating and my brow sweaty to justify that drink.

“Drink sir?” Ask the flight attendant.

“Orange juice please” I reply.

There is no follow up question. No inquisition. No one around me gives me a stare or mouths the word “loser”. People don’t care. I return to reading my book and await the next difficult moment. Which won’t be long as I see a woman carrying two bottles of wine asking people if they would like a refill. The cycle repeats. But when she passes I am left with peace. Those minor battles, which happen very rarely, are the price for a life of freedom and serenity.

Advertisements tell me of solutions to problems I never even knew I had. It is imperative that I remember there is no void, I am enough and alcohol to a problem is like petrol to a fire.


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