Sorry I'm a little late in responding. The responses you have are on the money. But as you should know by now, you'll usually get a "story" from me if I've gone through something similiar. Which I did. So get your coffee now.
The second time I went through the 12 steps with my new sponsor at that time (I wanted to go through all of them again because I did too many half measures in early sobriety), this "event" came up. This was after I had five years of sobriety, but I came close to relapsing so I was in the process of "redoubling" my efforts at "being thorough" with all parts of the recovery program. What Dallas said about the "obsession" or "compulsion" is so true - not the same as the "phenominon of craving". (Great post Dallas).
I took my mother to a funeral reception (I call them "sendoff parties") which was at a motel in a reserved "conference room" for the funeral party. There was about 40 of us there. I was the only one who did not drink alcohol.
There was two hostesses who started at opposite ends of the tables which were arranged in a "half-circle". They began pouring wine in everyone's glass without asking. It just came with the meal and that's how the motel did things for that funeral party. I was near one end and my mom was next to me. This happened so fast, and it caught me completely off guard. I told the hostess "No wine - thank you". She asked what did I want to drink. I asked for Tonic Water and a lime NO GIN. (Now for some god-unknown reason, I like the taste of that stuff and it agrees with my stomach. I also drink ginger ale or other clear sodas because of the acid thing in cola - but ususally I drink fruit juice as a preference - 100% fruit juices).
So the hostess skips by me with the wine (it was red wine) and pours my mother a glass. Her glass is within hand's reach from me, and boy can I ever remember the smell of that red wine! I was freaking out. It smelled so good to me, and for a minute, I wanted to drink some. My mom asked me if it bothered me if she would drink. I said no it wouldn't because I already knew that I can't expect a non-alcoholic not to drink socially at a social event. Every single other person also drank wine.
They served the food, and there's this tiny piece of fish they gave me that almost made me laugh. My mother had the beef dish which was much bigger, and my tiny fish made her laugh! Now the visual on this is a 320-lb biker looking guy with long hair and jeans - poking away at a piece of fish about the size of two postage stamps trying to keep pace with a room of 40 folks in dress clothes that seemed to have all the social skills. Talk about feeling out-of-place and uncomfortable! Then the wine is just smelling way to good!
So I say a quick prayer "God help me stay sober", and the compulsion goes away. But I watch the group. Out of that 40 people, there was at least 2-3 that guzzled through their wine in no time and asked for more. I watched them as they sat and ate and drank 4-5 times more than the other social drinkers. I smiled. My mother knew which ones had "drinking problems" because she knew the family. I asked her about "so and so" who was getting plastered. Him and his wife were divorcing. And the other "so and so". He and his wife were already divorced, and he beat her while they were married. Why was I not surprised?
So my mother and me finished the meal and said our good-byes. My mother drank half the glass of her wine which was half-filled to start with (I guess Miss Manners says you shouldn't completely fill wine galsses? Sounds like wasted space to me - LOL
Well this happened at a time when I did not drive because I worked myself into a pickle with my finances and lack of concern about them. Later that evening, I asked my mother if she could take me to a meeting which she gladly did. On my way there, I asked her if that little bit of wine satisfied her? Yes - she was fine. I asked her if she went home and got out the orange juice and Vodka - you know to put on a buzz? She laughed and said no. She had nothing else to drink. I asked her was she happy or mad? She looked at me totally puzzled and said "Happy of course. I was fine all day."
I was totally at a loss. How the hell do people do that? These words came out of my mouth:
"I wish I could drink like you!"
Then the red light came on. Then I said "Wait a minute! No I don't wish I could drink like you. I don't ever want to drink again!"
Such are the adventures "before and after" of the alcoholic. Five years sober, and I was still pretty much in a "danger zone".
Today it's completely different. I no longer "wish I could drink" like a social drinker. Even if I could drink normally, I wouldn't. There is just no longer a need for alcohol in my life today. I can be around folks that drink, and even the obsession or compulsion is gone, but I don't go out of my way to be around alcohol - I try to avoid it at all times. There are "fleeting" moments when "Suddenly the thought crossed my mind", but these are times when there is no booze or parties going on around me. I just laugh and shake my head. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic.
I had a romantic evening with a lady recently. She wanted to have wine and cheese and asked me if it would bother me if she drank some wine. I said no - she offered me some kind of sparkling thing - I think it was "Pierre's" - it was pretty good and it went fine with the cheese and crackers. She had like a gourmet spread midnight snack set up.
But then when I kissed her - it totally grossed me out! It was like kissing a drunk, but she wasn't drunk - she was one of those "half-glass" wine drinkers. The thing I had to do in that situation was convince my mind I was not kissing someone who was drunk or who was an alcoholic. This was hard because that kiss kicked in some POWERFUL memories of when I was with girls that were drunk, and it really grossed me out. God I was having thoughts and even "smells" came into my mind of waking up with girls in bed and you could smell pee - just disgusting crap that was a part of my life when I drank.
Well this girl brushed her teeth before we got "serious" into the romatntic part of the evening. That wiped out the "taste" of the drunk when I kissed her again which was fine with me!
Love and tolerance for others is our code, Joe. If you face situations like that, ask God for help - that usually works.