There’s something about early evening at the pool. The light is just a certain peaceful way as the sun goes down.   The kids are still holding on to their last remnants of energy for the day, hopefully expending what’s left playing in the pool with friends. But this time of day is also when they come out in full force. The red Solo cups. The adults at the pool are having their end-of-the-day-beginning-of-the evening libations in red plastic cups. Instead of concealing their contents, red Solo cups are like, well, red flags for alcoholic drinks.

I never noticed them before. Probably because I would have had one in my hand too. It’s just a tough time of day. At the beach, it’s just as bad, if not worse. I think about coming home, wiping the sand off and starting the blender. I probably would have already had a few beers down at the beach. I miss that. But as I’ve said before, I don’t miss what came with it – ridiculous, drunken behavior, bad choices and massive hangovers.

It wasn’t always that bad though. There were definitely times when I wasn’t over-served, as they say. When I just had enough to have a happy buzz. I’m sure I was more talkative and outgoing then. When is the line crossed when it becomes too much? I wish I could tell you. For everyone it’s different. For me, I could go from zero to stupid in about 30 minutes. And then that warm fuzzy feeling came and the slurring started. Much more babbling. And everything around me started to look better.

Every time I drank, something bad didn’t necessarily happen. But pretty much every time something bad did happen, I had been drinking. As an alcoholic trying not to pick up a drink again, I can’t look back at the “fun” drinking times and romanticize them. If I’m going to stay sober, I have to remember the times that too many red Solo cups led me down the wrong path.

We’re at a friend’s house at the beach now and I can tell you that I’m trying hard to remember why I don’t drink. I’m surrounded by alcohol as I type, with no one around right now to know if I picked up or not. But I would know. And HP would know. I won’t do it. I am determined to make it to day 1538. So what do I do? I called my sponsor. I prayed for more strength. I removed myself from the situation. I looked out at my boys playing in the pool and reminded myself why I am sober today. Without my sobriety, I wouldn’t notice the beautiful light this time of day. I wouldn’t look out on the water as the boat cut through it and think optimistically about the future.

For those of you who can drink a nice cocktail out of your red Solo cup, cheers and enjoy. I’m going to go make myself a mocktail and look out at the water. Perhaps I’ll try a blue cup…and make up a new song to go with it.