TAMPA, Fla. — The hotel room is empty except for you and the minibar. It is stocked and calling your name, promising a long, uninterrupted night of drinking. This was CC Sabathia’s definition of heaven for the last three years until finally, suddenly, he reached his breaking point in October.

“I got tired of being sick and hiding it,” is how Sabathia explained his shocking decision to enter rehab, just two days before the Yankees faced the Astros in the wild-card elimination game.

The decision made no sense to anyone who knew Sabathia, the warrior. But it was the only logical path for Sabathia, the alcoholic.

He’d been living this way since 2012, fooling everyone but himself.

To a man, the Yankees swore they had no idea the big friendly left-hander, one of the clubhouse’s most respected figures, was getting drunk on a regular basis.

He’s back now – sober, healthy and ready, he hopes, to be the pitcher who took the Yankees to the World Series in 2009.

It’s a stretch to imagine an alcohol-free Sabathia reigniting the fastball of his prime, but it’s not like the Yankees are asking for a miracle.

Their wish list is actually rather modest: They want CC to stay sober and stay off the disabled list this summer. The rest, they say, is a bonus.

The real test won’t occur until the summer when Sabathia is taking the ball every fifth day.

That’s when he’ll know whether his surgically repaired right knee is sturdy enough to last the season. Test No. 2 comes at night, on the road, when Sabathia will be face to face with the demons that conquered him.

Sabathia says rehab taught him to identify and redirect the urge to drink – that time alone will instead be turned into time with teammates or a video game.

He knows it was an inverted disease, since for many, alcohol abuse starts with buddies in a bar and goes nuclear from there.

Sabathia’s addiction was different. He chose to drink alone because, “I had no one judging me, I could drink as much as I wanted,” he said. “I could go through the whole minibar and there was no one to stop me.”

It was a deepening, darkening cycle, getting trashed at night, waking up exhausted in the morning.

Sabathia would show up at the ballpark, technically sober, but worn out, worn down, accelerating the aging process.

Sabathia’s disease became an emergency the final weekend of the regular season when an internal alarm went off: He’d taken one drink too many.

The Yankees were on the eve of the playoffs, yet Sabathia was still in the haze of a massive three-day bender. He sensed he could no longer fake it.

There may or may not have been another trigger that led to Sabathia’s decision to walk into Manager Joe Girardi’s office and say, “I need help.”

It’s possible we’ll never know the real story. That’s a corridor that’ll forever remain restricted to Sabathia and his family.

For whatever reason, he was gone within 24 hours, dispatched to a rehab center while the Yankees were losing to the Astros.

It was the third year in a row they failed to reach the American League Division Series.

“Scared to death” is how Sabathia described his fear of the public’s reaction, although the support in the clubhouse, in the front office and among ticket buyers has been universally positive. Everyone loves this guy.

“He could’ve concealed (his addiction)” both from the team and the public, said GM Brian Cashman. Sabathia could’ve cryptically said he had a personal issue. He could’ve said his knee was bothering him again. No one would have suspected a thing.

Now Sabathia looks and sounds healthier.

He said last Friday’s news conference would be “the last time” he shares the details of his drinking. The war will continue to be waged 24 hours at a time – those are the rules of engagement for any addict – but from this day forward, all conversational roads will lead to baseball.

Fair enough. Sabathia has done his penance. But can he really help, clean and sober?

Actually we have an answer, or at least a glimpse. Despite the booze, the left-hander was 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA over his last five starts in September.

Thanks to a heavy-duty brace to support the bad knee, Sabathia was able to complete his delivery without wincing in pain.

It was a time tunnel that fuels the Yankees’ imagination for 2016, since Sabathia was throwing corner strikes the way he used to.

He worked both sides of the plate, controlled hitters’ bat speed. It’s the formula every mid-30s pitcher would die for, prospering without blow-away velocity.

Sabathia’s comeback is a microcosm of the Yankees’ summer hopes.

They’re counting on their veterans – Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran – to be productive and avoid breaking down.

Just like Sabathia.

These are all major questions, but if at least some of them are answered in the affirmative, the Yankees have a chance to be living and breathing in October.

And this time, Sabathia hopes to be there, although he won’t make any promises.

He can’t, not as someone who’s finally admitted he has a disease.

But Sabathia has at least identified the monster, which is the first and most important step toward keeping it locked away.

Wish him luck.