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5 Minutes

That's all it takes to lose sobriety.

It was my first day off after a crazy Black Friday weekend at work. I was looking forward to sleeping in and engaging in some enjoyable activities and all around just relax. The day started out good, but as with most of my stories, sure didn't end that way.

Plans were simple. Do some cooking, finish up some chores, watch some Netflix and just unwind from the long and crazy week. Sounds like a great Sunday right!? I started out by making some meals I had been looking forward to making and that I planned to take to work for the week. Vegan chili was the first thing on the menu. It turned out better then expected and I was teasing my staff with pics of how good it was. Some of them wanted to try it so I packed some up to take to them at work. The next thing I think I made was Vegan jerk chicken bites on top of garlic chili baby potatoes—another delicious creation. In between all this cooking I managed to do laundry, cut my hair, trim my beard, clean my place and even threw in some exercise for good measure. 

By the time I was done with everything it was only early afternoon. This is when the boredom slowly started to creep in. Along with boredom tends to come loneliness so I hopped on social media and some apps hoping to connect with someone and alleviate some of these triggers. After awhile, and not finding much, my boredom started to grow. When that happens I always thing of what Jay says in the movie Clerks 2, which is, "Boredom is the first step towards relapse." With that in mind I figured maybe some fresh air and coffee would help. Plus I needed a few things from the store, so I headed over to the plaza not far from my place.

I did my shopping, headed over to the coffee shop, grabbed a large coffee and donut and proceeded to pull out my trusty notebook from my bag with plans of doing some writing. I was thinking about writing a piece about simple public transit etiquette that people just don't seem to grasp. A subject some friends and I were venting about recently on social media. (It's written, just haven't published it yet.)

I seemed to be enjoying myself. I had my coffee, I was writing, I was out in public, had fresh air, everything I needed. That should have been enough. But again that only filled so much of the day and it wasn't even dinner time yet. I hopped back on social media looking for someone to chat with to no avail. I answered some messages from my staff and wrote an email or two, but the boredom and loneliness were still lingering and I was getting annoyed. I figured maybe I just needed to go home and get some rest. So I picked up my phone to look at the time. It said 5:55 PM.

In that moment I turned to my right, looked out the window and saw the liquor store staring back at me from across the parking lot. It closes in five minutes. Up until this point the thought of drinking had never entered my mind. Well, not consciously at least. I've heard it said that every relapse is planned. This surely wasn't. I looked back at my phone and told myself, "No! Just wait five minutes and the place will be closed and you won't be able to drink!" But once that thought is in your head it's hard to change. Again, I looked out the window at that evil store and this time noticed people rushing up to the doors to get in before 6 PM. That sense of urgency was all I needed to give me the final nudge. Within seconds I had my coat on, my backpack over my shoulder and I was speed walking across the parking lot with the rest of them. Any logical thought process was shut down and I was on autopilot. In a sense I was gone and don't have to tell you what happened next.

Five minutes. That's all I had to wait. one twelfth of an hour was all I had to kill. 300 seconds to save myself from more misery and pain. There's so much I could have done for five minutes. Played a game on my phone. Read something on Wikipedia. Called a friend. Talked to the person next to me. Ordered another coffee. Picked up my pen and wrote a few minutes longer. I mean, one of my best friends lives behind this plaza and it only would have taken me five minutes to walk to her house! But what did I chose to do instead?

Five minutes and my sobriety was gone.

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