I made it! From May through mid-August, I spent two thirds of my time living out of a suitcase in a hotel room across the country, on a work assignment. By myself, away from home and family and friends and pets, no car and no one but me to ensure my continued sobriety in this distant environment, where no one has a clue about my past history and where most people like to go drinking after work. I was there through weekends, and there were multiple liquor stores just down the street from the hotel room. And the assignment involved a dozen plane flights across the country, with airport bars on both ends, and even one first-class flight where the drinks started flowing even before the plane took off.
It would have been very easy to succumb to temption, except that there wasn't any temptation. :-) Almost 6 years in, I just don't have any interest anymore in going there. It wasn't a battle, it wasn't even chess, it was just a non-issue. Yes, it crossed my mind, and on a couple occasions I could hear the reptile telling me it was ok, just one drink to fit in with the the new colleagues. But I've come to accept that very rare internal chatter as part of my new sober life, not anything to worry about, and certainly not anything to listen to. And, importantly, it's just chatter, and not a real desire.
10+ years ago, I might have done this sort of trip, but I would have drank a lot and probably would have made a fool of myself on more than one occasion, defeating the purpose of going in the first place. 6-8 years ago, I would not have been capable of it because I was drinking too much every single day, and would never have been trusted to go in the first place. 4-5 years ago, I might have been able to do this sort of trip, but it would have scared me to death, and it would have been a battle with my demons even if it didn't lead to drinking. But now, drinking just plays no role.
It's satisfying seeing real concrete improvements in our sober lives, and being able to do things that we could not have done in the past because of our drinking. It is empowering.
Abstinence. Personal Empowerment. Support. Inclusiveness. www.freestylerecovery.org.