Well...yes and no.
Obviously I'm allowed to have feelings about anything that happens. What I can't do is lash out or get angry at someone. Especially someone who's known me since my B.S. days. That stands for "Before Sobriety." I just made it up. Super fitting, right?
Recently I got into an argument with my significant other because he said "I smell booze." Those words triggered me directly into my least favorite character defect: self-righteous anger. How DARE he accuse MY sober ass of drinking?! Ugh. It wasn't my best moment. As it turns out, the smell of toothpaste and mouthwash remind him of me when I was drinking. And it's not the products themselves; there isn't even alcohol in my mouthwash. It's the fact that back when I was drinking, I brushed and gargled incessantly thinking I was successfully covering up the fact that I was drunk at noon on a Tuesday. So now when I smell like toothpaste, it's a trigger memory for him.
Another reason why my self-righteous anger was unprovoked and unacceptable is the fact that he wasn't accusing me of drinking. He was simply saying that he smelled booze. After we got to the root of this, both of our minds were put to rest. In other words, there was literally no need for me to sit up and start yelling that I would go to Walgreens right then and there and buy a urine test (with "motherfucker" sprinkled in there a couple of times). Luckily, I've worked the steps and know how to clean things up right away.
What this all boils down to is that the people who have been in relationships with us addicts/alcoholics have certain things burned into their memories. These memories are sort of like brain tattoos. When we say or do something that looks like old behavior, it's going to cause our loved ones to brace themselves in preparation for the impending hurricane that is addict behavior. I've decided that I'm not allowed to get mad about this because I'm the artist who gave some people their brain tattoos. I've also decided that once I've been sober for more years than I drank, I get to be self-righteous. Just kidding. I've got a long way to go before that happens anyway.
If you'd like to hear my cartoonishly (new word) animated voice discussing this topic with Producer Char, then check out this episode.
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