Alcohol is a wild drug. I have seen many friends and family at their worst on alcohol. I have also had some of my deepest connections with folks while passing a bottle ‘round the campfire. I have had my nose and jaw broken at a bar called Boot Scooters in Roswell, New Mexico. I did little to offend my attacker and couldn’t defend myself properly as I was super inebriated. I did manage to rake a silver nugget ring across his face and halt the assault. My jaw still clicks to this day as it was never properly set nor my nose for that matter. It adds to my rugged good looks. 

“If bad times with alcohol outweigh the good times then it is time to consider quitting,” I’ve always said. Well, the good times kept rolling while outpacing any negative effects. Negative effects include being jailed while away at college and being arrested for DWI in my late 20’s. That was over 15 years ago. I have had many great times at beer festivals, tailgates, parties and bars since then.

I recently went on a week-long bender and afterwards I felt that I should take a break. I wasn’t feeling healthy and I remembered how great I felt the last time I took a break. It’s been a dumb move thus far. I am in a full fledged crisis. I am 45 years old and so perhaps it is a midlife crisis? I have quit alcohol for a month now. I plan on giving it up for 3 months, STRAIGHT. That is easy enough. I can be very disciplined. Then what will I do? That is the real challenge. The skeptic will say I go back immediately after my 90 days expire. I recall one drunk uncle whom I questioned about drinking when I was 8 years old:

“Why do you drink?”

“Why not,” he responded a bit wide eyed and embarrassed. 

“I am never going to drink,” I said smugly. 

“Well, does your daddy drink?”


“Then you will be a drinker too, you little shit,” he said matter of factly. 

I was young but I knew enough at the time that this was a shitty thing to tell a kid. Fuck it. He was drunk. I most always forgive a drunk. These days I am not drunk. I have quit before for various stretches of time. It is usually after about a month that I start espousing the many great benefits of not drinking, my clear radiant skin, weight loss or some type of shit in that realm. Not this time. Here is my latest assessment of the matter at hand:


It sucks huge monkey balls. I miss my bourbon. I miss my rum. I miss my beer. Most of all, I miss my boy! I once heard a demo tape of a young man’s song where the hook lamented:

“Alcohol, you’re my best friend…” 

It was catchy but all I remember is that one lone line. It resonated with me. Someone should capitalize on that shit. Then I heard the fucker who wrote the song doesn’t even drink! Poser! I can’t stand a non drinker, especially now that I am a part of their sad lot. I always assumed just to comfort myself, perhaps that former drinkers must have done some heinous shit while drinking in order to warrant giving it all up. Its just the old you can’t handle your liquor routine. They were mean drunks. They were sloppy and made terrible life decisions whereas I am more akin to James Bond in this bitch. I am a sophisticated drinker with full fledged craft beer tastes. I use a Spiegelau and glencairn for Christ’s sake. I am a fucking gentlemen!

Don’t get me wrong there are benefits to sobriety. I am thinking much more clearly these days and assessing life through a vivid and sober lens. Therein lies the rub. I am seeing shit more as it is. I suppose this is just great for most folks. I am not there yet. It does make me a bit sad to think of all the money I’ve spent, time I piddled, and the advantages I gave up to those sorry sober fucks. Did I mention I have issues? Did I mention that alcohol dulls the edges of those issues? I don’t tend to beat myself half to death with my inadequacies when drinking. The spirits are just that good to me. They wrap me in their warm embrace and slap a goofy smile on me. The liquor makes me feel that everything is great and I am doing well. One of the greatest benefits of alcohol besides the taste and yes I love the taste, is its ability to make everything in the moment OK.

I am no scientist but I have come to understand that my brain chemistry allows alcohol to release dopamine upon consumption. I am wired to feel happy and social upon imbibing my favorite bourbon or lager. It is a gift and a curse from Bacchus himself. From the moment I drank that first Budweiser at 10 years old my brain was wired for it. It plugged into my circuitry. My father is an alcoholic. My mother was a binge drinker. My uncles, aunts cousins got or get fucked up on the regular. When I say I am wired for alcohol it is no exaggeration. I get more enthusiastic and happy as I drink. There is no stumbling, blacking out or vomiting for me. I just keep on trucking, consuming more and more until my body feels hot and pickled. Then I reluctantly go to bed and those are just my binging days. I have my alone in the mancave days where I casually sip three fingers of bourbon for a few hours amongst my books, podcasts and movies. Part of the issue is that I am a highly functional drinker. I meet all my obligations at work, as a father and a husband. Alcohol doesn’t drive me to gamble or abuse drugs or others. I handle it very well. It is more a curse than a blessing to be able to consume so much with such little repercussions.

Sobriety has me questioning whether or not drinking alone is a good thing. Maybe I should set a rule to drink only socially? Since I am mostly anti-social this will greatly limit my drinking opportunities. That has to be a sign of alcoholism. Drinking alone. It is my favorite form of consuming alcohol as sad as that may sound to my more extroverted brethren.

So here I am in the mancave alone and striking away at the keys surrounded by glowing neon and bright LED beer signs. The mancave is basically a dive bar equipped with over 100 unopened bourbon, rum and tequila bottles. I am here searching for answers, the answers I once found at the bottom of a hazy IPA, sweet nectar of the gods when done properly soft and pungent. What will I do after my 90 days expire? Are you a skeptic too?

To be continued…