I went to one of my favorite AA meetings yesterday. It's a women's meeting with a nice mix of newcomers and old-timers and we read from the Big Book before discussion. Two women were celebrating anniversaries, one with 20 years and one with 3. I didn't know the 20-year woman but I've watched the 3-year woman come in and out for a while and was delighted to see she had put together some time.
She was talking about what it had been like and her move from wine to hard liquor, and just like that I had a flash of serious, full-on craving for a big glass of cold bourbon. I didn't want the taste, I didn't want to be drunk. What I wanted was that moment of relaxation that almost always came from the first drink. A sense of relief of tension, anxiety, desperation, sadness, jealousy, boredom, anger, fatigue. You name it.
The craving lasted no more than 5 seconds, probably about the length of time of the relief I used to feel lasted. And then it was gone and I was back in my right mind again. I don't feel endangered by those occasional cravings. I've learned to regard them with curiosity and compassion for myself. I talked about that craving when my turn came, glad to have a safe place like a meeting to get it out into the open. And to be reminded that the disease is still there.