Last Line Of Defence, Or How I Ended Up Swallowing Booze This Weekend


Selfie of me and my homies, except someone else took the picture.  And we're computer graphics. Rad!
Selfie of me and my guardian homies…except someone else took the picture. And we’re computer graphics. But still…badass!

Okay…I get it.  With a post header like that, I know that I can’t wax philosophic or whatnot before getting to the story.  You’d skip anything I wrote off the top anyway just to find out the dirt on what I am alluding to.  I get it, gentle reader.

I was on the tail end of two back-to-back BBQ’s this weekend.  The first was at some good friends’ house.  Some family were there, and it was all well until the wasps drove me in.  I am a notorious coward when it comes to things stingy and wingy.  And of course the insects know this and target me in their hoverings. They just KNOW. It’s a delicious cocktail of fear and some special blood type of mine.  They love it. I don’t. Nothing exciting so far.

The second BBQ was at my brother’s place.  They have a large backyard complete with trampoline and swing set.  I was standing with my folks and my wife talking about this and that.  I had stuffed my face already, so I just wanted something to drink.  I asked my wife to grab me a bottle of water.  She came back with a can.  “They didn’t have water,” she said, ‘but there is this grapefruit sparkling water.”

The can was pink and had a lovely image of a glistening sliced grapefruit.  She opened it and asked if I wanted to try it.  Sure did.  It was sweet (I don’t normally like grapefruit – too tart) and bubbly.  Dang right down delicious!  She tried it and agreed on the delicious-factor.  She went to grab one for her self.  I took another sip as I talked to my parents.

My kind of BBQ - low rent!
My kind of BBQ – low overhead!

Then for some reason, I looked at this can I had never seen before.  It was a regular sized can.  Not like those monolithic Arizona Iced Tea cans or anything like that.  I scanned the can and then saw a word I haven’t seen in the palm of my hand for years: vodka. Now here in Canada, everything has to be labelled in English and French.  It’s the law.  I had the French side facing me.  A big part of me was hoping that “vodka” in French translated into “freshly squeezed” in English, but I didn’t think so.  I turned the can to the English side.  Oh yeah, it’s vodka! It was a cooler!

Well, I had swallowed.  I told my wife about this, and she and my folks were horrified.  She paused, quietly announced that she was going to dump both drinks and she did.  She instructed me to have some water.  If they had water I wouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place,  I joked.  So I had ginger ale.

I know this sort of stuff happens all the time.  I don’t go to parties or many gatherings where there is heavy drinking.  I usually stick to water or the occasional soft drink.  I am not worried about picking up a stray glass of wine by accident.  I am pretty keen on what I am ingesting.  But I didn’t think to check something that my wife handed me.  Why would I?  (Unless she has some nefarious insurance scheme going on).

Oh Lordy Lordy...what was that witches brew?
Oh Lordy Lordy…what was that potent skanky witches brew?

I have to admit in being a bit thrown off at the time.  I shared what had happened on Twitter and the alcoholics / addicts that I knew were very supportive.  Call your sponsor!  Hit a meeting!  It’s not a slip!  I know I was fine.  I just needed to have others know the deal.  And I know that I would talk to my sponsor later.  In the meantime, I just put it out of my head and thanked Creator for giving me the wherewithal to check the label.

I worried that I would awaken the beast with that tiny bit of booze in the belly.  Thought about puking it up.  If I had drank half or more of the can, I would have jammed a mud-caked, wasp-infested twig down my throat to get the poison out. But I knew that I was okay.  I just felt it. And I was.

I spoke to my sponsor that night.  We had a good laugh over it, and of course he told me about a time when something like that happened to him.  It involved white wine in a Perrier bottle.  Spit it out in the sink.  Won’t drink a Perrier unless he hears the snap of the lid.  Smart man. He told me he’s rather drink the toilet water than take a drink from a stranger.

It's not without its charm.
It’s not without its charm.

He heard me talk about throwing up alcohol if needed, and he said the same.  Then he paused and laughed.  He said “it’s amazing what lengths we will go to to remove this stuff from our system now, considering what lengths we used to go to to get that stuff into our system…and as much as possible!” Truth.

Then our conversation turned.  And what he said really struck home.

He talked about us being the last line of defence.  That is, of course we have to be certain that what we put into our bodies is safe.  I am usually a stickler for reading labels for many reasons, so I understand.  I didn’t this time because my wife had given me the drink.  Lesson learned – I will be vigilant in that regard from here on in.

But he also talked about people in his life who he’s had to remove himself from recently.  He spoke to me about some toxic relationships in his recovery that he had to expunge.  He shared with me about the difficult, but necessary, journey of respecting himself and taking on only what serves him and his serenity. He gave me examples of what he’s done in his life to get the toxins out of his mind and spirit.  Of his heart.  His continued path of letting go.

The can in question.
The can in question. Exhibit B.

“Paul, we have to be the last line of defence in everything we do.  We have to be the last line of defence in what enters our body, our hearts and our minds.”  And that got me thinking.  He was right, of course.  I alone can allow things to get to me, to affect me, to stick with me.  I have that choice.  I am the one who gets to make that call.  Of course I take actions in alignment with Creator.  I don’t always know what is best for me (or never!).  But I do know when I listen to and heed that wee voice inside that says “Paul, that’s probably not a good idea…think again,” I usually come out feeling clean and serene.  Without the residue of past behavioural build-up.  I always know that I am doing the right thing for the right reasons.

While I may not be in charge of my life per se, I am in charge of my actions.  Or lack thereof.  I have power over people, places and things – power to choose my reaction to them.  I have that power from a higher source.  From the tools afforded me in recovery.  From that conscious contact I have with my Higher Power.  So with that in my armoury, I am the vanguard to what I allow into my sphere.

This doesn’t mean the unexpected doesn’t show up.  That’s life – unexpected.  Things out of my control happen.  And even then I am the one who can change his perspective on what’s going on and how I react to it.  I am equally able to remove any poisonous parts that are in my life, whether they be internal or external.  I need to do the work and the triage and see what serves me, what will allow me to be of service to others, what will bring me peace. And what doesn’t.  More clarity.

In the end, this was an accident that brought things into clearer focus: my recovery is the most important thing for me, and from that springs forth everything else in my life.  I need to value and protect it, just as I need to value and protect the things that bring peace to my spirit.  I alone am responsible for that, but have a whole army of folks out there who I can lean on and be supported by and vice-versa.

I am grateful (not grapefruit-full) for this.

Not me.
Not me.





61 Comments Add yours

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Wow, I would have been freaking out, but I am glad you were able to handle it like you did. Well done on the accountability and the lessons for going forward.

    1. Thanks J. I had a moment early in my recovery when I had taste of rum raisin ice cream, and didn’t know they used REAL rum in it. I didn’t check and then I panicked…thought I relapsed, etc. I was panicked back then, and texted some folks, all who reassured me I was fine. lol. It’s all about intention and motive. Thanks for being here 🙂

  2. Paul says:

    Excellent post Paul. I often wondered how that possibility was handled. I had a jewish friend and she and I discussed the ramafications of accidently eating pork. It is not a problem as long as it is stopped as soon as it is known and all reasonable precautions were taken to prevent it. It truly is a matter of intent and obviously you caught the alcohol before it registered on your body, so no harm I have a funny story about this. When i was with my ex she had two kids from a previous marriage. At the time of the incident the little girl was about 8 (grade 3, I think). Well, here in Ontario, any alcoholic beverage with less than .5% alcohol can be sold in any store without restrictions. My ex was shopping at a local discount store and being in a hurry she chose some juice cans for the kids’ lunch without paying much attention. Ha! Well on the bottom it was written in small print .5% alcohol. A few days later the ex receives a call at her office. It was the principal and he wanted to know what she was doing sendng alcoholic beverages to school with an 8 year old. Bwahahaha! She never lived that one down. It took a lot of explaining to the school and she was very embarrassed. It could have easily happened to anyone.

    Greta Post Paul. Thank You and well handled.

    1. Hilarious about the NA beer! I am in Toronto, Paul – so I certainly know about that stuff! (Where are you located, if you don’t mind me asking? Two Paul’s Ontario…cool!). I used to drink that stuff the last time I had any lasting sobriety (was about 6 months). Wretched stuff, frankly. To me, at least. They certainly have a market for it thought.

      But you are right about intent and motive. And that’s what it’s about. This stuff happens, and every alcoholic in recovery I have mentioned this to so far has his / her own story. It happens now and then, and it’s just a reminder to be a bit more vigilant. My dad is a vegetarian and now and then he’ll accidentally eat some meat or fish…he doesn’t freak out. Usually a mistake at some point. Some folks out here have had stories of going to bars and ordering virgin drinks and getting the real deal. I would now be wary of ordering drinks from a bar period! Unless a bottled water or coke.

      Thank again Paul for being here. Love when you comment here or anywhere else – you bring so much to the table. See you later, fellow Ontarian!

      1. Paul says:

        Thanks Paul! I’m in Ottawa..

        1. Paul says:

          Oh, by the way, I just did a guest Post over on Cordlia’s Mom if you’re interested. I’d love it if you could find the time to drop by and take a look. Thanks!

          1. Of course Paul…it would be an honour.

  3. Ho. Lee. Shit! Paul, I’m so sorry for the angst you must have gone through this weekend. You are, as always, an inspiration… you handled it the way I would imagine any longtimer would, and I am so proud of you for doing so.

    Interestingly, my heart felt a extra pull towards your wife as I read that story, because I imagined myself in her position, and what awful guilt I would feel, being the one that provided you the drink. I hope she is okay, please tell her I’m thinking (and praying) for her as well!

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you light the way for the rest of us, Paul, and I am so glad that I get to benefit from your experience, strength and hope!

    I love that your take-away from the experience is the reminder that your sobriety comes first.

    Awe-inspiring stuff, Paul, you rock 🙂

    1. It wasn’t bad, Josie. No angst that lasted more than a few minutes at most, really.

      As for how I handled it – I learned this kind of stuff from those who have come before me. I didn’t act much like a long timer when today I was at a diner with my step sponsor and I was blubbering tearfully on about something…lol.

      She is fine too – thank you so much for your thoughts to her. She did feel bad for a bit, but she didn’t dwell on it too much, realizing that since I was okay, there was no point in fretting over it. We joked about her enabling me today…lol.

      I have learned everything from those in my recovery circles – and that include you Josie. I am relearning the basics in many ways and I am grateful to have these reminders. And having you here is a great joy for me as well…”WE, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.” We…never alone 🙂


  4. Bea says:

    I thought the same as Miraclearoundthecorner; felt your wife’s distress as well as yours. It says a lot about the cynical marketing of drinks, disguising the alcohol in innocuous healthy looking cans. “All natural flavours.” Horrible. But you handled it with such aplomb and gentle strength of character. As always.

    1. Thank Bea. My wife is fine. She took it well, considering. I probably would have beaten myself with a rock to this day. She is much more mature and emotionally centered, so she sees the folly of dwelling. But thank you!

      And yeah, you know I forgot to mention that about 20 min later after I drank that cooler, my youngest went into the same ice cooler and pulled another can of that stuff and asked if he could have that “juice”! it even looks like a juice. he sort of knew the beer bottles and wines in there were off limits, but that pink can was attractive.

      I am probably the last person to chastise the alcohol industry labelling and marketing, considering how much money I put into their coffers…lol. But yeah, it’s a bit soft…

      Thanks for being here. 🙂

  5. 1jaded1 says:

    This made me shudder. As someone who is an infant in sobriety, I have wondered what would happen if I accidentally drank. The marketing geniuses do a tremendous job of packaging “fun” drinks. One even goes as far as to put it in a ball and advertise that it is healthy because its made with 100% juice.

    Thank you for posting this. You handled this how I want and choose to if it ever happens to me.

    1. First of all – welcome to sobriety. Glad you’re here 🙂

      I mentioned in another comment that I accidentally had a tiny bit of rum raisin ice cream and then panicked. The biggest tool I had then and have now is being able to reach out to others who are in recovery as well. And when I panicked (I was at work), I pulled into the washroom and texted a few folks to share what happened. They calmed me down and walked me through what I was going through. I learned from those guys then and now from so many others.

      There are going to be some curve balls early on, and there are going to be a lot of “firsts” in the days and weeks to come, but it is totally worth it. It gets better.

      Thanks for being here 🙂

  6. byebyebeer says:

    That’s some fucked up labeling, Beve. I can totally see how that got missed in one hot, busy second. I like the lesson you took and how you handled it. Love what your friend said about how vigilantly we keep away from it after years (decades) of pouring it in indiscriminately.

    1. Yeah…I mean who am I to stomp on the alcohol industry after lining their pockets for so long? lol. But I do agree that they really marketed it well, in terms of softening what it is they are selling. I am not an expert on labelling and marketing but there’s no secret that the industry is trying to lure certain sectors and woo certain demographics with particular colours and ad campaigns. Ugh. But it is what it is.

      Yeah, James is a pretty wise man. Talking to him always offers up some interesting and illuminating things. For him, it’s all about the clarity. I am learning that from him.

      Hope you’re doing well! Thanks for the comments!

  7. JJ says:

    Holy cow, look at that can of grapefruit stuff, you’d never know. Pretty sneaky marketing.

    I don’t drink so never had this but I have had it with food–you know–“One bite won’t hurt you…” Same diff, it can start the ball rolling, so I understand how this might panic you.

    I grew up in Toronto, now live in the wilds of the northern GTA, it was the only way I could afford a house.

    1. The wilds of GTA – Richmond Hill? lol.

      Thanks for sharing about the so called one-bite stuff. Like those two-bite brownies that I can eat a whole bag and a half of in one shot. I get that too. Used to scarf back entire bags of President’s Choice choc chip decadent cookies. Scandalous!

      Thanks for sharing…means a lot to me!


      1. JJ says:

        No, way north, the farthest you can get and still be in the GTA.

        Richmond Hill, pshaw!

        1. Ha ha…my friends as I were just debating what areas GTA actually included and we were shocked at just how large it is. I recall Georgina being at the crown there…or was it Brock? Too lazy to Google…lol

  8. mike says:

    Yep, shit happens. The difference today is: I am responsible…..with help. Freedom of choice for this recovering alcoholic is a godsend. Ironic, that by admitting and accepting powerlessness, I have gotten more power than I ever imagined.

    1. Absolutely, Mikey. I hear lots of folks in meetings say they are powerless over people, places and things. I disagree. We may be powerless over what a person says or the situation we may be in, but I am not powerless in how I react to them. I have all the power from God in my corner and I choose whether I want to tap into it. My powerlessness gave me that power, as you said.

      Thanks Mike.

  9. Kirst says:

    I sometimes think that these types of events truly mark how far we have come in terms of how we deal with them. I had a similar situation with some homeopathic medicine which was in an alcohol base of 62% ethanol!!! Take 15 drops every half hour it said, and I did. About 10 minutes after the second lot I felt terrible – palpitating heart, flushed, unable to concentrate. I was almost at the point of asking my husband to take me to the hospital because I just did not feel right. I found the information about the product on their website – no mention of alcohol on the bottle – and realised, holy shit … I know this feeling, this is what it feels like to be drunk.
    I drank a huge amount of water, lots of tea and ate a hearty meal. As I went to bed that night I realised that I could either let that small amount of liquid alter my sense of recovery or I could learn the lesson (don’t drink ANYTHING unless you KNOW what is in it!!!) and move on. I chose the latter and in a few weeks I will be clocking up a year sober 🙂
    Interestingly I HATED feeling that way. Even now if my mind wanders into “I wonder” territory I recall that feeling – being totally out of control of the way that your body feels and your mind processes – and I think, nope, not for me.
    And your story has just given me yet another reason to hate grapefruit 🙂
    It also got me musing on being the gatekeeper – I am at a “where to now?” kind of place mentally and your post has pointed me in a direction, love that!
    All the best and thank you for always sharing so candidly,

    1. Hi Kirst…thank you so much for your sharing that story – fantastic and nuts at the same time! Who would have thought that a homoeopathic remedy would be so boozy?? no wonder they are all so calm at the health food store where I shop…ha ha.

      But in reality, they probably don’t have laws surrounding that, which is strange considering it’s a sort of food source / medicine? Regardless of that, you are right that it’s just something to chalk up another experience with and it’s also a great reminder of why we do this.

      And congrats on almost one year! that’s wonderful! What a difference a year makes, eh?

      I have found shifts in my short time sober…and the “where to now?” one is a common one. I still get that one. But we navigate our way through that…with self-awareness and being honest, open-minded and willing to go where we are nudged to go.

      Thanks for being here – don’t be a stranger!!


  10. I am so terribly sorry that this faux pas happened at this party, By just looking at the Can it looks very innocent? Who would’ve thought that there would be vodka in it and it if I understand it correctly vodka doesn’t have much of a taste or a smell when it’s mixed with fruity drinks. I may be wrong or misinformed but that’s the way I had thought all these years… I myself have never been a drinker, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t become one very easily because I have tried it and I do like the way it makes me feel. It brings out all of me that is the party person, Takes away all of my inhibitions, and I don’t really care what I say or do (at least at that moment).
    I am very proud of you for holding onto your sobriety, and freaking out over the fact that you had ingested something that you didn’t want to ingest on purpose. I’m not real sure how NA/AA feels about this kind of a slip up, When it really wasn’t your intention.
    I know I am just proud of you as a person that you tried your best to make it right. Keep on going one day at a time and know that you are loved.
    Love, The Mom

    1. Thank you Kristina for your concern. All is good. AA’s have their stories about this kind of stuff happening, and for them (us), it comes down to intention and motives. Mistakes happen and there isn’t much you can do after the fact. Its like when the restaurant gives you the wrong order and you eat it without fully checking what it is, etc. I am certainly going to be more vigilant in this regard.

      Thank you for the kind and loving words, K. You are truly a beautiful soul.


  11. primrose says:

    that can labelling is atrocious. seriously. sorry you had to go over this bump in the road but glad that you have used it to gain a valuable perspective.

    1. Yeah…can’t say that they were irresponsible, but certainly they knew who they were targeting with their branding. But all booze companies are guilty of this. And the public (we included!) bought into those things. I am not apologizing for them at all…hell, my son thought it was a juice can too later on. But goes to show where things go these days.

      Good learning curve here. Will be more careful in future 🙂

  12. furtheron says:

    Thanks for sharing… many would have whilst having thrown the rest away etc. not have shared – you’ve done the right thing here, on twitter with your sponsor etc. It is not a slip as there was no intent to take the drink and you threw it away as soon as you realised.
    I always take my own soft drink to things like that these days just to be safe. Lesson learnt though… thanks again for being honest on here as ever

    1. Thanks Graham. I knew it wasn’t a relapse…I wasn’t worried about that. Frankly, I was afraid of getting the physical allergy kicking in…THAT is something I would have had a struggle with…lol. But I also knew that I needed to share…with anyone and everyone I could to help me out and to just put it out there.

      Lesson learned indeed. Thank you for your response…great to have you here. 🙂


  13. That can! Looks so innocuous. I really do think that anything containing alcohol should *by law* be more clearly labelled than that for a multitude of reasons, too common sense to state. Glad it was a case of “all’s well that ends well” 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks…I agree that labelling should be a bit bolder. I went running today and passed a billboard with that drink on it and their raspberry offering. Dang if the raspberry labelling didn’t look good! Seriously?! lol. I mean, if they slapped that on a juice box or something I would be all over it.

      Oh well, c’est la vie. Perhaps I should write to them…lol.

      Thanks for the support! 🙂


      1. jmcraig2014 says:

        I recently read “Drink” by Ann…well can’t remember the authors last name but there was a chapter about marketing. The companies can get young people drinking and they basically have customers for life. The earlier they can get them drinking the better, cans like thst make drinking seem “healthy and cool” That looks like it is marketed to a 16 year old girl, pink and cute. I agree that the labeling should be much more clear.

        1. Is it Ann Dowsett Johnston? That might be the one – haven’t read it (yet). Marketing is major for booze companies (along other big companies – like Coke, etc). No surprise there. Like so much out there, like car companies and such, it’s more a lifestyle they are selling. And the young ones are prime targets.

          Thanks for the comments and adding to the discussion!


  14. Hi Paul!
    I saw your twitter feed over the weekend and remember thinking, “He sounds just fine!” (Don’t you love how I judge and comment on things I know nothing about!!). That said, you really did sound at peace and I was happy to find this post today. You’re an awesome dude and it sounds like you are married to a great woman.
    On another note…I hate stingy and wingy, too. Nothing makes me scream louder than a wasp barreling down on me.
    In case you didn’t already know, I love your spirit and positive light…Josie said it so well up above and I couldn’t agree more! xo

    1. I still hate stingy and wingy. Those damn wasps seem to have multiplied 10x their normal population in the last three weeks. it’s brutal. Also, knowing how you are such an outdoors person / lumberjack / handy person / fearless woman, I find it hard to see you getting flummoxed by a wasp.

      Thanks for the kind comments. You’re also much too kind.

  15. We are the last line of defense for “what enters our body, our hearts and our minds.” Absolutely powerful, and you’re right – it’s Him that empowers us to do this.
    Terrific post, filled with love, hope and encouragement.

    1. Thank you Susan. I give any and all credit to God for anything that has happened in my life. He knows the scoop…I just try to follow commands is all 🙂


  16. sherryd32148 says:

    OMG! Totally had a simillar situation just last night. I was out to dinner with colleagues. We ordered drinks – a diet coke for me, wine for some and then two guys ordered Hendrick’s and tonic. I said, “What’s Hendrick’s?” He replied, “It’s gin.” I said, “Really? I’ve had Sapphire and Tanqueray but never Hendrick’s.”

    He shoved the glass my way and said, “Here, try it.”

    Swear to God my first response (reflex really) was to take the glass and try it! It was just so automatic. Like someone saying about a piece of cake, “Here, taste this!”

    Immediately I got a knot in my stomach and quickly said, “Oh no thanks…I’m fine.” Then I started thinking how EASY it would have been to have, before I knew it, taken a sip! Of course I would have been fine and would not have considered it a slip or relapse but it was so WEIRD.

    Anyway, just like all your other friends, wanted you to know you weren’t alone. Intent and motive…genius.


    1. Oh I hear you, Sherry. I don’t think there is any of us that wouldn’t have that split second hesitancy. I mean, I am talking a miniscule moment in time where all freezes and yet dissipates in an even shorter amount of time. And some folks do that, Sherry. They actually gulp it, then perhaps figure what the hell and continue. I know guys who have done that and have taken years to get back. I don’t say that to frighten, but to say that those things happen. But our reaction is what we can control, and if we are good inside, centered, and knowing ourselves and what this things does, we recoil as we would a hot flame.

      It’s often referred to as the mental blank spot. That’s the spot I was in early in my recovery when I walked up to a liquor store door and checked to see when it would open and then checked my watch. It was like I was out of my body and mind. luckily it was closed.

      Thanks for being here Sherry on your hiatus 🙂

  17. I love your entire outlook on this mishap, Paul. Or was it really a sign from the Creator to read all labels?=)
    It’s sometimes unimaginable how strongly we feel to be the soul protectors of our sobriety. Like your sponsor said here… “It’s amazing what lengths we will go to remove this stuff from our system now, considering what lengths we used to go to get that stuff into our system…and as much as possible!” Even when I see commercials for things like Smirnoff or Patron, my stomach quivers. It appalls me… disgusts me.. just makes me want to yack it up, as if it’s in my system. Although it really isn’t in my system, I still remember all of the consequences that comes along with it so my spirit takes her sword out and fends the false freedoms off.
    Your sponsor also mentioned giving up all things toxic, such as relationships and those who drag us down. This is such an important part of sobriety which many people just don’t get. I have a friend of mine who’s husband is an alcoholic. She doesn’t drink but he does and blacks out all of the time. I keep telling her it will never work out between the two of them unless he becomes sober. She’s thrown divorce papers at him and still, he drinks. I can only understand because I, too, was this person… except I was the alcoholic and I let that toxin destroy one of my relationships.
    It’s crucial for us to surround ourselves with support and people who care not only about our longevity, but that of their own. I wish more alcoholics could think this way but I’ve learned you can’t lecture someone until they have hit rock bottom. Sad but true.
    Enjoyable post, as always, my friend. I can’t keep up with your blogging! I came by last week and see you have several posts up since then. Lol, I can’t even keep up with my own blogging!
    Keep up the beautiful work, Paul. Hugs!

    1. Thanks Gina. I am having a hard time keeping up with blogs and blogging myself, even though I have been on vacation. Been reading lots today and for some reason it’s given me more pause than normal. But i will probably post about that next…lol.

      Everything you say is truth, and thank you for sharing that. You make this a better space whenever you open your heart and let us in.

      Hope all is well with you, my friend 🙂

  18. Chuckled. Poor you. After the long haul up the road to recovery. Poor wife ha ha ha.

    With the ownership come the power, privilege, and responsibility. Yep, no one made us do anything. Unless they stuff it in our hand, blindfold us and stick a gun to our head. ^^

    Love the pix, Paul, esp the one of the man with OMG look on his face.

    1. Thanks for the shout out to the already long suffering wife, HF…lol. As if she hasn’t been through enough with a dud like me? Ha ha.

      Yes, you’re right about the ownership deal. Lesson learned. Yet another one. I sometimes wonder when these dang annoying life lessons will end? Ha ha. Oops…never? Okay, I might as well strap in for this ride then. I am clearly over the “you-must-be-this-tall-to-ride” line, so I’ll take the grief with the gravy.

      Thank you for the kind comments…and for the props to one of my all time favourite pics here (I double dipped with that one – used it last year I think).


  19. fern says:

    That can of sparkling grapefruit certainly looked liked a soft drink. If that was mixed in with Coke in a cooler my kids might go for that!

    I can’t offer more than what’s been said. I’m glad you took it in stride and didn’t fall off the wagon, as they say. But I know your program is strong and I don’t worry about you at all!

    Xo Fern

    1. Thanks Fern. Yeah, my kid certainly thought the same. Told him to put it back. lol.

      Hope you’re doing well, my friend.

  20. stacilys says:

    “Paul, we have to be the last line of defence in everything we do. We have to be the last line of defence in what enters our body, our hearts and our minds.”
    –Such great words here. Your friend knows what he’s talking about. I once heard that we are like computers. If you put garbage into it, garbage is what’s going to come out.
    “A big part of me was hoping that “vodka” in French translated into “freshly squeezed” in English”
    –I literally laughed at this one Paul. What do you mean? You’re Canadian and don’t understand English? How could that be? Me too. My french consists of Bonjour, au revoir, and I think “how are you?” (i don’t know how to spell in in french 🙂 )
    Once again, you’ve outdone yourself with these pics and your little tidbits to them. I especially liked the first selfie and the ‘lordy lordy’ one.
    Btw, I also am an avid label reader. It drives my hubby nuts. Takes us for ever to grocery shop. Poor hubby.
    Hugs and blessings.

    1. Thanks Staci…yeah who knows about this whole label thing. I will certainly be a lot more vigilant in this. Lesson learned. My French is non-existent and even more atrocious if I even attempt to try it.

      Thanks for being here (sorry for the flat response – been doing a lot of reading on the blogs and on Twitter tonight and talking about my little silly incident just feels, well, silly, compared the things I have been reading today. Major challenges. Heavy stuff. Perhaps I will rebound a bit tomorrow, but it’s a good shot to the head for me : ) )

      Blessings to you

      1. stacilys says:

        No need to apologize Paul. I understand. You sound a bit down. Are you ok? I hope so. I will pray for you, my friend.
        Hugs & blessings

        1. I wouldn’t say down but certainly a quiet type of reflective.

          Thanks 🙂

  21. mishedup says:

    great post Paul..
    yes, we are the first line of defense…
    I agree it’s all about intent and that’s the bottom line. I know someone who recently changed a sobriety date when I wouldn’t have….i guess we all have our own bottom lines, the point where we are uncomfortable and that is what we have to listen to. I know I would never order Jack Daniels ribs in a restaurant, but I have certainly eaten dinner cooked by a friend that might have had some wine added….I’ve never then demanded a bottle of anything, so i guess I’m ok. But I also know people who question every bite of food that goes into their mouths….again, intent and what we are comfortable with.
    Thanks for this

    1. Yeah, it’s all intent M. That’s why I don’t question sober date or anything like that. if I had taken another swig after I saw the label…different story. I went through a phase where I wouldn’t even buy Dijon mustard that had white wine in it (trad way of making mustard). I eased off on that after a while. My intent is to spread a tiny bit on my sandwich, not catch a buzz from the 0.000001% alcohol that perhaps might be in Dijon. but I certainly won’t have rum cake or those kinds of things. We have our own limitations, whatever makes us comfortable with ourselves.

      Thanks for your words…always great to hear from you 🙂


  22. Oh wow, Paul, I am so impressed at your reaction to it and how you gave dealt with it in your mind. Great post on being the one in control. I think one needs to acknowledge that so they know they have power over their lives and choices in life. I hate it when people say… I have no choice… It is BS!! They do, and if they made that choice they need to take responsibility for it. ‘I have no choice’ is just an excuse not to be responsible for their decisions!!!! Especially when patients are trying to infer that I am forcing them to have an operation when they are just too scared to make the right choice for themselves! All I really wanted to say about this post (before I got sidetracked on my hobbyhorse) is that I am so very proud of you, my friend!

    1. Thank you, Tiff. Now that I have had some time from it, it seems even smaller than it was then. But yeah, choices. Tough call when it comes to addiction and mental illness…this choice thing. But I have no excuses these days. None! So I choose what serves me and others, and not in my selfish ways.

      Glad you’re well and posting like mad!!

  23. momma bee says:

    Holy Shit the same thing happened to me yest- in fact I texted Kristy seconds after it did and later she texted back the same thing happened to Paul! I was at a BBQ, had my famous red solo cup with diet coke. We switched chairs a few times
    At our table. A friend went home… I think she left her cup. I picked up a cup thinking it was mine and one sip and I said real
    Loud this is not my drink. The peeps at my table do not know of my sober journey! I wanted yell, what the F? I quickly poured it out- I am not even positive what it was, thinking watered down vodka and cranberry- there wasn’t much left. I had but a tiny sip. I don’t count it as a slip as it was an accident and I quickly fixed the situation but shit it really bothered me. The famous red solo cup- I grabbed a water then so I wouldn’t make the mistake again. I don’t normally drink soda at all but forgot to bring my own sparkling water- that label is crazy and I would of thought the same thing- yest I noticed peeps drinking stuff from cans that don’t look like beer cans…. Now booze drinks do come in can variations- guess we all have to be more aware! Glad your ok- hugs

    1. That’s not a slip, MB. Don’t worry. I know I wasn’t worried either. Almost everyone I know has had this sort of story happen, so it’s common. As long as we don’t dwell on it…it happens. Just have to be more aware, as you said.

      Glad you’re okay too!

      Hope you are having a great weekend 🙂


  24. llpetunia says:

    great post Paul, and the pictures were hilarious!! I know the feeling… I had penne a la vodka this wknd bc it’s always been a comfort food when I go home to NY. it didn’t hit me until after that … duh!!… it has vodka in it!! my intent was definitely not to find a clever new way to get booze down my throat! total rookie mistake tho!!

    I’m new to sobriety and blogging. you’ve been very fun and inspiring to read… both here on your blog and in the comments you post on others. I look forward to more 🙂

    1. Thanks for being here – look forward to reading more in your blog!

      As for the penne vodka…yeah, we have to be careful. For me it’s about intent, and obviously you’re not intending to get hammered off that pasta dish, but most of us play it safe and just watch it. I don’t eat those rum soaked cakes or anything for that matter, esp. if it has raw alcohol in it (as opposed to cooked out items). I will have a stew that has had some red wine in at at some point, but I know that very little is in there and it’s been cooked out. If I am chugging 30 litres of the stuff…well that’s different. But again, I do avoid most things like that (wine poached pears is a good example)

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words. We’re all in this together 🙂


  25. marknoo says:

    I will have to be more aware of deceptive advertising. Now alcohol is in juice, coolers, energy drinks. . . Who knows what else. This has not happened to me but I don’t get our much.
    On the other hand, yesterday my neighbor and friend was drinking a margarita out of a can that looked like it was packaged for his 6 year old granddaughter. No kidding, it looked like a can that would have a kids juice/pop in it.

  26. nonotesnotes says:

    That story made my day! I’m only a week in, and I’m terrified if that happened to me I’d pretend I didn’t notice, and finish the can… And maybe another 2 before I said something.
    I suppose it’s good I’m terrified, right?

    1. Congrats on a week! Well, I guess only we know what would happen if this sort of thing happens. Everyone has this sort of fear…especially at first. But if we are true to ourselves and our aims, then this kind of thing need not disrupt us. Vigilance is the key!

      Thanks for being here… 🙂


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