I’m not much of a milestone or anniversary type guy, partly because I’m lazy. The other reason is that my old debate partner in high school, Jimmy Huang, wrote a really good essay on his successful application to Harvard. The essay asked him to talk about one (or more) of his successes, and he essentially wrote something like, “I’m only 18 and nothing in my short and insignificant life could possibly be called a success.”
It was longer than that but you get the point.
Facebag reminded me that one year ago I changed my profile pic to “No beer today!” which was what I wrote on my arm with a Sharpie the day I quit drinking. Then my pal Dan K. sent me a thoughtful email linking to a post I’d written about climbing on the wagon.
I read the post and was impressed with the author. He had a solid writing style, made some good points, was serious but offhand at the same time, was willing to tackle a tough subject without wallowing in too much self-pity or self-adulation, and he even made me smile a little bit. Mostly I was impressed with how well he knew me and his familiarity with the minutiae of my life.
This is how it is, you see. After I write stuff I forget it, delete it from my brain, wipe the slate clean because that’s the only way I can make space for anything new. People will occasionally come up to me and say, “Hey, that was really funny what you wrote about [x],” and I will nod and smile and say, “Thanks!” but in truth I don’t remember any of it. If enough time passes, say a year, and I re-read something I’ve written then it is truly as if I’ve read it for the first time and as if it was written by someone else. And thanks to my Blogbot and team of ghostwriters, it often is.
So it was fun to read about this guy and his decision to quit drinking, and to reflect that the guy was me and that I never really have quit drinking. In my mind every single day I’m on the verge of grabbing a cold one, but my motto is, “Let’s get good and drunk but not right now.” Works for me.
Here are some of my drinking stats:
- Average annual alcohol cost: $3,444.33
- Average annual work hours lost to drinking: 1,095
- Number of family fights per week: 2
- Number of days per year spent mildly depressed: 365.25
- Average body weight: 167 lbs.
- Estimated times per year I almost hurt myself while CUI: 30-ish.
- Number of children I indirectly encouraged to abuse alcohol: 3
- Number of wives I mistreated: 1
- Number of bike races I won: 0
- Days I woke up feeling rotten: Most
Here are some of my non-drinking stats:
- Number of days per week I do the dishes: 6
- Number of days per week I cook for the family: 2-ish
- Amount of money I’ve saved for fun trips: $3,444.33
- Number of bad bike falling off incidents: 1
- Number of bike race victories: 2
- Average pounds lost and kept off: 17
- Number of wives mistreated: 0
- Number of friends I’ve lost who don’t like me because I don’t drink anymore: 0
- Number of friends I’ve made because I don’t drink anymore: Lots
- Increased work efficiency: 300%
- Number of days I can totally forget my problems: 0
- Number of people who have quit or cut back drinking because of me: 2
- Extra hours per year that I have to read and learn: 2,000+
- New languages I’ve learned: 1
- Old languages I’ve really brushed up on: 5
- Grandbabies I don’t have to worry about dropping: 1
- Number of times per day I can blame my problems on alcohol: 0
- Mornings per year I can remember the night before: 365
- Days I wish I could drink normally like other people: All
- Hours per day I’ve appreciated the support and love of family and friends: 24
So in the spirit of my old debate partner I can’t really call it a success, especially since each day starts with a grand and glorious design to go enjoy a beer. But it is a process that has generally meandered in the right direction, with its lows and unhappy moments as well as its stubborn refusal to regress to the mean.
And if that’s as close as I can get to success, well, I’ll take it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
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