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They say you decide to take your next drink days, weeks, or months before you actually do. For an isolationist like myself, that’s called layering. Starting to winterize for the impending cold snap. When everything is going well, and I’m on my pink cloud, it’s year-long summertime and I’m laying on the grass looking up at the sky. I don’t need to fend for myself, nor try really hard to make it work. I’m grasshoppering it.

But once my serenity becomes threatened, once my ego equilibrium catches a hint of chill in the air, I feel myself immediately reaching for a pullover. Working the program cools off. I forget what I’ve been taught and learned through meetings and failed solo attempts over the years. I bunker down, tighten my hood, and begin preparing for my emotional hibernation.

Quite often I’m the man on the beach in a snowsuit. Watching others frolic in the sand and surf only fuels my resentments, confuses me and fills me with undirectable anger. Fools, I think. Soon it will be snow and ice and they will come running, asking for a blanket or a wrap and I’ll only laugh! I discount their warm homes and families, their soups and chilies. I’ve forgotten you can go inside. These people have planned for today and today only. What am I planning for?

My next relapse. The man in the snowsuit is screaming now. “I’m unique! I’m not like you warm-blooded folks! To remove these garments in 90 degree weather would spell my doom!” This is where my alcoholism digs its heels in the hot sand. Attempts are made to get me to disrobe. I counter with twisted reasonings and sick justifications. Finally, my disease gets what it wants, and people stop coming over by the snowman at the beach. I become delirious, weak, exhausted. My life has become unmanageable again.

For today: Stop looking for snow in August. That’ll be happening naturally soon enough.

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