In my first three months of sobriety my temperament ran the gamut. One moment I would be ecstatically happy that I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t thinking about drinking, I wasn’t recovering from too much drinking, I wasn’t thrilled that I was not trying to figure out if three o’clock was too early to drink and I did not have to have that exhausting debate regarding having a beer for lunch…just to take the edge off my rough morning.
The next moment I could be overwhelmed with doubt. Questions would creep in. Am I really an alcoholic? Was I really drinking too much? What is too much? I’ve given up boose for an entire week…surely I am not an alcoholic. Bottom line? Whether I was delighted with no alcohol or mourning alcohol the main point here is I was always, always, always thinking about alcohol.
Have you ever heard of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? This happens when you learn something brand new and then the next day you hear about it again. Often it comes up in a conversation a few days after that. That’s Baader-Meinhof. This Baader-Meinhof and I have met on more than one occasion.
Shortly after I got sober it seemed that everywhere I went they were giving away free alcohol. This never happened when I was actively drinking. Now, I’m at the grocer, free wine samples. I stop at a restaurant, there’s a winery in there offering one free glass to everyone. At another restaurant the waiter really messed up our order. To make up for it he bought everyone a free round.
I’m not positive these examples are really Baader-Meinhof or not, but I do believe the two are closely related. Second cousins or something.
Which brings me to day two of my sugar free Lent.
Temptation is everywhere. We have eighteen boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in the house. There are leftover Reese’s Peanut Butter cups from Christmas. There are two bags of kisses. I have enough baking goods to make 347 dozen cookies. There is Chocolate Moose ice cream in the freezer in the garage. I stopped at Jewel and first thing displayed? Individual pieces of cake…on sale. Spring Oreo cookies are on every end cap. Coincidence? I think not.
Items that didn’t bother me so much on March 5. Then on March 6 they all started humming, and vibrating and buzzing and some are screaming. I can’t not see them.
Baader-Meinhof. Or, as I fondly refer to this new phenomenon…it’s BM.
Sugar is everywhere. That’s BM. I check Pinterest and the first five pictures are chocolate something or others. I whisper to myself that this is BM. The fact that I am on the list to bring dessert to bible study next week? Yep. BM. I go to the bank, complete my transaction and the cashier asks “Do you want chocolate with that?” B effin M man. “Yes I want some damn chocolate but I fricken gave it up for Lent!” I scream at her. “This is BM and I know it.” I wave my fist at the clouds and curse BM. I turn to all the tellers and I say “I wish you all a good BM!”
And now you know what will happen? As is common with this phenomenon, now that I have introduced you to BM, you will have one tomorrow. Or possibly the next day. Trust me. BM is in your future.