4 months sober and NyQuil®

I quit drinking about 4 months ago. I wrote about it in a post a couple weeks ago.

I recently had a cold, which I also discussed in a different earlier post.

I hate having a cold, as I’m sure you do, too. It’s terrible to feel congested, but I really hate not feeling bad enough to stay in, but fretting about giving my illness to others.

At any rate, I bought a 2-pack of cold medication, the Target house brand version of DayQuil® and NyQuil®.

(For the record, I like the taste of DayQuil better than NyQuil, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I don’t use medications like that when I have the occasional cold — I stick with zinc and megadoses of garlic — but in this case, I was headed to Houston to perform a longform improv set at Station Theater, and I wanted to make sure I’d be able to do a show without being too symptomatic. So I tried them.

They worked pretty well.

However, this is not an endorsement for those medications, at least not for NyQuil.

Not long after my first dose of NyQuil, i.e. the next evening, I felt a sudden desire for bourbon.

Now, I told you that I quit drinking 4 months ago, and I never looked back. I have my favorite bourbon and rye in my cupboard right now, but have not felt tempted at all by them.

Until one night last week.

And then one more night last week.

What the hell?!?!?

Yesterday it occurred to me that I had treated my cold in part with NyQuil, which is 20 proof. 10% alcohol!

For those of you not familiar with alcohol content, a strong beer is about 5% alcohol. Baseline whiskey is around 40% alcohol. So 10% alcohol in a shot of liquid medicine is not huge, but it’s enough, apparently, to let my body know it’s there, and to have my body say to my brain, “I want more of that.”

Thus my craving for bourbon.

I discussed my concern with my partner, Tara, who specializes in working with addicts, and she confirmed that this is, indeed, a phenomenon that has been observed many times. Even just a little bit of alcohol can push an addict over the edge.

I’m happy to say that my desire for alcohol did not get out of hand, so I didn’t crack open the whiskey. I am also happy to say that the rest of that bottle of NyQuil went into the garbage.

In the future, I’ll stick with my zinc and garlic, along with DayQuil, and leave the alcohol on the shelf!

(Just so you know, and for my future reference, there is an alcohol-free version of NyQuil available.)