What If I Drank Just One Beer?

This is what runs through my mind when I “play the tape.”

Benya Clark
Exploring Sobriety

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This essay originally appeared in the Exploring Sobriety newsletter.

Photo by Dorrell Tibbs on Unsplash

Many times since getting sober, I’ve been tempted to drink “just one” beer.

The thought first crossed my mind on my very first day without alcohol. I wondered to myself whether quitting cold turkey was too extreme. I thought maybe it would be better if I weaned myself down, going through a transition period of just drinking less.

I managed to resist the urge, but as my first week sober continued, the thought crossed my mind again and again. Each time that I had trouble sleeping, was swamped by brain fog, or felt bored out of my mind, I thought to myself “If I had just one beer, I could make this all go away.”

I stuck with sobriety, and those withdrawal symptoms faded, but the temptation to have “just one” drink stuck with me. The justifications shifted over time. After a few months sober, I stopped telling myself that I needed a beer and began to tell myself that I deserved one.

I thought that after putting in so much hard work at staying sober, I had earned the right to take a moment off and just enjoy a drink.

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Benya Clark
Exploring Sobriety

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at exploringsobriety.com.