How time flies

November 26, 2015 § 38 Comments

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:

  1. Average annual alcohol cost: $3,444.33
  2. Average annual work hours lost to drinking: 1,095
  3. Number of family fights per week: 2
  4. Number of days per year spent mildly depressed: 365.25
  5. Average body weight: 167 lbs.
  6. Estimated times per year I almost hurt myself while CUI: 30-ish.
  7. Number of children I indirectly encouraged to abuse alcohol: 3
  8. Number of wives I mistreated: 1
  9. Number of bike races I won: 0
  10. Days I woke up feeling rotten: Most

Here are some of my non-drinking stats:

  1. Number of days per week I do the dishes: 6
  2. Number of days per week I cook for the family: 2-ish
  3. Amount of money I’ve saved for fun trips: $3,444.33
  4. Number of bad bike falling off incidents: 1
  5. Number of bike race victories: 2
  6. Average pounds lost and kept off: 17
  7. Number of wives mistreated: 0
  8. Number of friends I’ve lost who don’t like me because I don’t drink anymore: 0
  9. Number of friends I’ve made because I don’t drink anymore: Lots
  10. Increased work efficiency: 300%
  11. Number of days I can totally forget my problems: 0
  12. Number of people who have quit or cut back drinking because of me: 2
  13. Extra hours per year that I have to read and learn: 2,000+
  14. New languages I’ve learned: 1
  15. Old languages I’ve really brushed up on: 5
  16. Grandbabies I don’t have to worry about dropping: 1
  17. Number of times per day I can blame my problems on alcohol: 0
  18. Mornings per year I can remember the night before: 365
  19. Days I wish I could drink normally like other people: All
  20. 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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§ 38 Responses to How time flies

  • less than $10 a day…..what were you drinking!?

  • Tom Paterson says:

    Sounded like giving thanks from here, Seth. Hey, good day for it, too.

    Geeze, 2016! Can you believe it?
    I mean, think about it: 1984, The Millennium, Clinton presidency, Bush presidency, The Second Great Depression, Obama presidency (whoa! close there!), Aztec Apocalypse, groin injury, and, despite it all (as Mr. Wanky might say) this shit-wagon hasn’t tipped over yet, and we’re still fucking here!

    Wow. Hang on, looks like this old world is gonna keep on spinning for a while yet!

    Happy Holidays!

  • Strava Junior says:

    While you may forget what you write and therefore get to enjoy it anew upon its rediscovery, I proffer that at least this humble reader recalls your writings often, which inspires frequent contemplation, insight, sharing, growth, joy, and guffaws. On this day, I pause to give thanks for and to you, Wanky. Huge props for fighting the good fight (e.g., with addiction, as well as other demons we all face), and for allowing us to come along for the ride.

  • Ryan says:

    Congratulations Seth, thanks for the inspiration.

  • dangerstu says:

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    12. l drink less because you made me stop and think about the amount I do/did drink.

    Thanks again for the continued entertainment.


  • john says:

    Sober today – amen

  • Carlos says:

    What all ^^^ these people said.
    What all \/ \/ \/ these people will say.
    Happy turkey day to you and yours.

  • A-Trav says:

    Your insight is the best $2.99/mo. I have ever spent. And you can add me to #12. Though I’m reluctant to admit that at times you could be a difficult inebriant, I have worried a lot less about you for the past year. Thanks for that, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks, Marvin. Best to you and thanks for all the happiness you have sent my way over the last few years.

  • Toronto says:

    I spent the evening in the company of my wife’s work colleagues. One of them that got very drunk and began demonstrating ‘remarkably inappropriate’ behavior. Mind you, she is a flight attendant who is in the middle of a 5 day trip with the crew and ended up poisoning the relationship with the captain (nice guy!) who, as a favor, had just solidified a final interview for her to upgrade to work with another airline. I had not witnessed problem-drinking behavior firsthand in quite some time. Sobering? Oh, you might say that. I even had to pre-warn our uber driver before she poured herself into his car and was still worried he was going to pull over and tell us to walk. For this to be the very first thing I read this morning and so ‘remarkably appropriate’. Congrats on the sober milestone, my friend. You are a changed man and a dear friend and I love you and I normally would not share these things with you on your blog comment post but I’m sitting by myself in the breakfast area of a hotel in Austin and, well, fuck it, it just seemed to be the right thing to do while I am in Texas. Oh, and that dish cleaning thing? I will never forget your willingness to dive in and clean every single dish at our parties. Never had someone do that before. You are, pardon the expression, ‘grandfathered’ in to the invite list for every party we will ever host in perpetuity. Happy Thanksgiving from your home state. (No Brad House sightings yet!)

    • fsethd says:

      Hey–if I’ve been able to stay sober this morning it is in large part thanks to your influence. I rely on you not because you advise me, counsel me, admonish me, or point out how to clean up my act, but because you’ve always been there to talk openly and without judgment about your sobriety, the sobriety of others, the failings, and the successes. Same goes for Alan F., Dan C., Jon P., and a bunch of other straight-shooting people who are simply sharing their experiences not as lectures but as models. “This is our life, if there’s anything there worth borrowing, have at it.” I value and keenly remember one of our first conversations on this topic while driving down to SD, me still drinking a lot and you never saying a word about any experience other than yours. Best to you and yours, and thanks for the friendship in this imperfect world.

  • pvannuys says:

    We appreciate you, Seth. Hope Thanksgiving with the family lived up to its popular myth..

  • Michelle landes says:

    Congrat’s and happy thanksgiving Seth!!

  • Richape says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  • Brian in Va says:

    Congrats Seth!

  • darelldd says:

    ” 4. Number of bad bike accidents: 1 ”

    I only bring it up because I pinkie swore to help you through this accident addiction… Maybe grab that Sharpie again, and write “Crashes are not accidents.”

    Cheers. Along with Marv, you can add me to the #12 list as well. Though it isn’t a very high bar just yet. but “cut back” is still cut back, right?

  • Dogg says:

    Good for you my friend 👍🏽💪🏽

  • Spinner says:

    Great post and congrats on “no drinking”!!!

    I was lucky growing up. I had a grandmother who was a founding member of the temperance league. To her, drinking was beyond wrong and she constantly “whispered”, to me, that anyone who drank “spirits” was beyond redemption. I have never been able to do more than get some “spirits” into my mouth before I hear those whispers and have to spit it out…..

    She also had a signed picture of Jane Addams on her wall but that’s a story for another post……

  • Cesar Chavira says:

    One day, Seth, I will grow up and also quit drinking booze. When that day comes, you will surely be at least partly to blame (read: thank). Congrats and thanks for inspiring some of us to better than we have been.

    Happy Thanksgiving, brother.

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