I spent four days in Las Vegas last week. I've always disliked it there, even when I was drinking. Without any boundaries to protect me from myself, being in Vegas meant far too much drinking. It meant self-pickling. It meant facing the feeling that I could and would drink endlessly without some kind of boundary to keep me safe from myself. I only went once.
This is the first time I've gone since I got sober. The first night I was there really reminded me of the shame and embarrassment I'd felt the last time. I don't like hotels with mini bars, the signs of excess. I thought about drinking...for about five minutes. Then what I felt was the fear that I would drink. The fear that I wasn't capable of resisting the urge. The fear that I would drink even though I didn't want to. And then I went running and I felt like myself again.
I realized that I am no longer the same person who drank to relieve pressure and escape from difficult feelings. I have grown and changed so much since then. So while I still felt tired and out of sorts because I was there, surrounded by the evidence that this life goes on around me, I didn't have to participate or make excuses for it. Trusting that I'd changed was enough to keep those demons at bay.