Why I'm Giving Up the Booze

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,198

Mod Note: Blast from the Past - "Best of Eddie". This one is originally from July 2012.

"I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." - Winston Churchill

Those of you on the fence about attending tomorrow night's Bastille Bash might want to give it some serious thought, because it's probably going to be my last hurrah. I've decided to give up the sauce, which is a minor blasphemy for an Irishman like me. But it's time.

A lot of you are probably wondering what the impetus for this decision is. Did Eddie drive drunk into a school bus full of kids? Did his doc discover that his liver's as hard as an olive pit? Did the missus threaten to leave his drunk ass and take all his money?

Well, I'm happy to report that it was none of those things, nor anything equally dramatic. I haven't hit "rock bottom" (that happened a long time ago anyway). I haven't been told to get my affairs in order. My relationship with alcohol (and it is ABSOLUTELY a relationship in every sense of the word) has simply run its course.

I started drinking when I was 15 (like many of you, I suspect). I didn't get really good at it until a couple years later when I went to work as a forklift driver for Price Club (now CostCo). I was the youngest lift driver on the crew, and my fellow derelicts were more than happy to buy for me. After that I joined the Marines and went pro.

From that point on, booze has been the only constant in my life. With the exception of seven miserable months spent in a shithole dry country (Saudi Arabia), my medecine has never been far from reach. All of my best memories revolve around booze (I met all three of my wives in bars, for example) and, conversely, booze has helped me through my darkest hours (and probably saved my life a couple times).

Over the past nearly 30 years I've consumed vast Nordic lakes of grain alcohol. I say this not to brag, but to put things in perspective. I've developed a tolerance to alcohol that could only be described as heroic, and to take that to the next level from here would be both wasteful and senseless. Plus it's no secret that I've been driving with my CHECK LIVER light on for many years, so that's reason enough to quit in itself.

But the simple fact is that I'm bored with drinking. I never thought I'd live to say those words, but there you have it. At my age and in my social circle, there isn't anyone worth drinking with anymore. Everyone my age has a wife and kids at home, and after about an hour at the bar the wife starts psycho-dialing them and nagging them to come home, and that's if they even get permission to go out in the first place. The only notable exception to this rule is my buddy Dan, and he's in a class by himself. His job entails entertaining clients four or five nights a week and that usually means drinking until the wee hours. I simply can't keep up with him.

So for the past couple years I've been relegated to drinking alone. This isn't the depressing prospect for me that it is for many people (I prefer my own company to most people anyway), but it's not an optimal situation. Most nights it means waiting until the kids go to bed at 8 before I get started (because I have no interest in my kids seeing me wasted), and then I'm basically sipping until 11 when the wife goes to bed because I don't want to listen to a lecture about getting drunk again. 11 pm to 1 am is normally my time to shine, and that's when I put it away in earnest until I crash and get four or five hours sleep. So on average I'm crushing a half-liter of scotch or rum, say, five nights a week.

The thing is, I'm not enjoying it anymore and I haven't for some time. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I don't even get drunk most nights anymore, and that's saying something after a half-liter of 80-proof liquor. So my choices appear to be:

  1. Kick it up a notch to Wild Turkey 101 or similar proofs, or
  2. Give it up altogether.

For me, it's an easy choice. I'm done with the booze.

Now, I'm not saying anything crazy like I'll never drink again or I'll never have a glass of wine with dinner or a bottle of champagne to celebrate something (hell, I'll probably kill a Nebuchadnezzar by myself when my kids move out), but I'm definitely ending my regular relationship with the bottle. It's just not doing anything for me anymore, and I'm tired of feeling like crap every morning. I'll probably take all the money I save and use it to keep my ass off of EasyJet.

Middle age is a bitch, guys. Make sure you're having all the fun you can possibly have while you're young.

Comments (64)

Jul 10, 2012

Is this what married life is like?

Jul 10, 2012
EarTotheStreet:

Is this what married life is like?

Yes.

Jul 10, 2012

Kick it up to 127 proof Booker's. That's the good stuff!

Jul 10, 2012

Every morning, I give up drinking.

Every evening at around 6 PM, I pick up another beer.

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Jul 10, 2012

are you not a fan of beer? 2-3 every night keeps me relatively sane, doesn't punish the wallet, and practically puts me to sleep.

Jul 10, 2012
tmur:

are you not a fan of beer? 2-3 every night keeps me relatively sane, doesn't punish the wallet, and practically puts me to sleep.

2-3 beers before bed every night? Epic beer gut?

Jul 10, 2012
BlackHat:
tmur:

are you not a fan of beer? 2-3 every night keeps me relatively sane, doesn't punish the wallet, and practically puts me to sleep.

2-3 beers before bed every night? Epic beer gut?

not at all, a beer with dinner, a beer when watching TV / on computer finishing shit up.

should also say not 'every' night, but at least a couple times a week.

Jul 10, 2012

I'm happy for you. Good luck. Drinking+partying hard is cool/fun when you're young, then it just becomes sad. A 25 year old kid doubts this, but then again...look at the corny shit you did when you were five that you realize as silly now. It's the same with partying. There's so much more to life, and having a clear head opens up all sorts of options.

Good luck dude

Jul 10, 2012
Jul 10, 2012

How long have you not had a drink so far? The thing most people forget is that drinking every night and getting to a half liter causes one life-long problem: alcoholism (alcohol dependence).

Good luck; my bet is you break in less than a week and get smashed. If not, you are a better person than most.

Jul 10, 2012
sk8247365:

How long have you not had a drink so far? The thing most people forget is that drinking every night and getting to a half liter causes one life-long problem: alcoholism (alcohol dependence).

Good luck; my bet is you break in less than a week and get smashed. If not, you are a better person than most.

Oddly enough, I never developed a chemical dependency to alcohol. I dropped something heavy on my big toe once, and half the nail broke off. When it grew back it developed a gnarly fungus and my doc prescribed this brutal anti-fungal medication that he said would blow huge holes in my liver if I took a single drink while on it. It took about three months for the nail to grow out fungus-free, and I never touched a drop the whole time. I had no trouble quitting then, and this was like five years ago.

Jul 10, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:
sk8247365:

How long have you not had a drink so far? The thing most people forget is that drinking every night and getting to a half liter causes one life-long problem: alcoholism (alcohol dependence).

Good luck; my bet is you break in less than a week and get smashed. If not, you are a better person than most.

Oddly enough, I never developed a chemical dependency to alcohol. I dropped something heavy on my big toe once, and half the nail broke off. When it grew back it developed a gnarly fungus and my doc prescribed this brutal anti-fungal medication that he said would blow huge holes in my liver if I took a single drink while on it. It took about three months for the nail to grow out fungus-free, and I never touched a drop the whole time. I had no trouble quitting then, and this was like five years ago.

Drink and die <> just quitting. Plenty of people who get lung cancer suddenly muster the energy to break the chemical addiction.

If you say so though I completely believe you, however I still think most who were up to a liter a day for an extended period would need professional help and likely suffer lifelong consequences.

Jul 10, 2012

Double post

Jul 10, 2012

Been dry since 2005.

Getting hammered was fun in college, but it loses its luster a few years after graduation, as your time becomes more constrained.

The hardest part about quitting is explaining it to your friends. Nobody wants to be the boring sober guy.

Jul 10, 2012

Oh c'mon Eddie, take a few weeks off. Your liver is the one organ with the highest recovery rate in the human body, within 3-ish months, you should be good as gold, and your tolerance should be back to normal.

Also - try some pot. I know, it's illegal, but it's likely to help your relationship with the missus.

But Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought bravely.

And Rhaegar died.

Jul 10, 2012
Anomanderis:

Also - try some pot. I know, it's illegal, but it's likely to help your relationship with the missus.

Please explain, I have limited experience with that. I hear this all the time but want details. Care to share?

Jul 10, 2012
UFOinsider:
Anomanderis:

Also - try some pot. I know, it's illegal, but it's likely to help your relationship with the missus.

Please explain, I have limited experience with that. I hear this all the time but want details. Care to share?

Well, I have never performed any in-depth research, but it's a well known stimulant - it apparently improves libido. It also apparently gives you the munchies, so if you don't have an active lifestyle, it may not be for you.

But Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought bravely.

And Rhaegar died.

Jul 10, 2012

Nobody likes a quitter...

Seriously though, I go sober for one month every year (usually Feb because it is the shortest month). You feel so much better, it's incredible. Tough for me to cut out booze as I am a single guy living in SoHo and every conceivable social activity revolves around booze...but I could see myself cutting it completely if I were in your shoes. Consider a physical activity to help with the boredom and fill the void.

Jul 10, 2012

Sounds like a long and illustrious relationship. Like any relationship, it's important that you choose to end it before it ends you. Best of luck.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

Jul 10, 2012

I'm beginning to question your sanity Eddie.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Jul 10, 2012
Hooked on LEAPS:

I'm beginning to question your sanity Eddie.

Beginning to? Catch up already.

Jul 10, 2012

coming from a family full of raging alcoholics, i tip my hat to any man who can come to such a stable equillibrium with alcohol in such quantity.

i poured all my booze down the drain one day in college when i woke up with a hankering for a slug of whiskey.

Jul 10, 2012

I'm 23 and the worst thing I've ever done is what I did recently...give up alcohol for 65 days straight + ate extremely well + workouts regularly.

The way you feel after roughly 40 days is incredible. So going back to drinking 3 - 4 times a week and getting drunk 1 -2 times a week...it feelf like you're sick all the time.

My energy levels are low, I get dehydrated more easily, my workouts don't feel as good, and my brain doesn't work as fast.

I did something similar a year before, but before that the last time i was sover 20 days straight sober was when I was 14 years old.

My advice is, don't go ~40+ days cold turkey on alcohol. You will feel different and you will have doubts of continuing drinking the day after you break your streak.

Jul 10, 2012

Also - in the name of strong alchohol, may I suggest Wray and Nephew - Jamaican overproof rum.

http://www.ministryofrum.com/graphics/wrayoverproo...

But Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought bravely.

And Rhaegar died.

Jul 10, 2012

RIP alcohol? Cmon man give it a rest for a week then get back on track.

Jul 10, 2012

Something you may want to take a look at:

http://www.cracked.com/article_18824_5-things-nobo...

If you have a chance, I would recommend looking up the author as he put up a few videos on youtube of his process. Comparing his beginning to the end is like seeing two different people. I'm a firm believer in the human spirit and I'm positive you'll get through this. We're all very proud of you.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." - IlliniProgrammer

Jul 10, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

For me, it's an easy choice. I'm done with the booze.

FAKE AND GAY!!!

Jul 10, 2012

have you considered the possibility that having no one fun to drink with is because you're in France?

GBS

Jul 10, 2012
GoldmanBallSachs:

have you considered the possibility that having no one fun to drink with is because you're in France?

This is absolutely the case. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

Jul 10, 2012

At one point in my life, drinking was fun. Now, it's not (I suppose that could change, but the activities I used to do while drunk, which I enjoyed, are no longer a part of my life). I'm glad you've accepted that reality and are trying to find more fulfilling things to do instead of drinking. Good luck!

Jul 10, 2012

This thread makes me want to drink...

Jul 10, 2012
Febreeze:

This thread makes me want to drink...

Me too.

Jul 10, 2012

Kudos to you Eddie.

Jul 10, 2012

This is not too convincing.

To me, you're just looking for a new sense to your life.

Beer helped you avoid that feeling during the last 30 years but it's effects are now gone.

Also, I think you're around the corner to reconcile yourself with life itself.

In sum, I believe that it is a great day for you. Enjoy the next 50 years of your life to their fullest!

Jul 10, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

"I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." - Winston Churchill

Now, I'm not saying anything crazy like I'll never drink again or I'll never have a glass of wine with dinner or a bottle of champagne to celebrate something (hell, I'll probably kill a Nebuchadnezzar by myself when my kids move out), but I'm definitely ending my regular relationship with the bottle. .

Nebuchadnezzar....Well done sir....well done sir. I am sure these WSO Trolls do not know this is an actual measurement used in biblical times.

Eventus stultorum magister.

Jul 10, 2012
Johnny Ringo:
Edmundo Braverman:

"I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." - Winston Churchill

Now, I'm not saying anything crazy like I'll never drink again or I'll never have a glass of wine with dinner or a bottle of champagne to celebrate something (hell, I'll probably kill a Nebuchadnezzar by myself when my kids move out), but I'm definitely ending my regular relationship with the bottle. .

Nebuchadnezzar....Well done sir....well done sir. I am sure these WSO Trolls do not know this is an actual measurement used in biblical times.

I thought he was a king.

Jul 11, 2012
TheSquale:
Johnny Ringo:
Edmundo Braverman:

"I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." - Winston Churchill

Now, I'm not saying anything crazy like I'll never drink again or I'll never have a glass of wine with dinner or a bottle of champagne to celebrate something (hell, I'll probably kill a Nebuchadnezzar by myself when my kids move out), but I'm definitely ending my regular relationship with the bottle. .

Nebuchadnezzar....Well done sir....well done sir. I am sure these WSO Trolls do not know this is an actual measurement used in biblical times.

I thought he was a king.

He was a king (daniel in the lions den story), and being king allowed special perks....like having measurements named after you

Eventus stultorum magister.

Aug 8, 2013

I believe the king standardized the measure.

Jul 10, 2012

I'm in my mid-twenties and have never had a drink in my life. The health benefits from avoiding all those carbs are incredible.

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Jul 10, 2012
808:

I'm in my mid-twenties and have never had a drink in my life. The health benefits from avoiding all those carbs are incredible.

Haha love it. 3X MS already. You people love your alcohol...

Jul 10, 2012

My personal view is that most drinking owes its genesis to one thing: the desire on the part of males to entertain and ultimately bed females. If there weren't any girls around to impress, there would be a lot less drinking going on. Drinking involves a staggeringly large opportunity cost (once you start, there's little else you can do with your entire day / night / next day), which means there better be a good payoff for the effort. Getting laid, which is hard to do on an ad-hoc basis without alcohol, is one of few payoffs that fits the bill.

This is why you don't see a lot of married guys over 35 in bars and why most guys curtail their drinking as time goes on. It just doesn't pencil anymore.

Jul 10, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

...So on average I'm crushing a half-liter of scotch or rum, say, five nights a week...

I'll probably take all the money I save and use it to keep my ass off of EasyJet.

Eddie, I sure hope you can make this "quitting" last, as it seems it will improve your life and family relationships. But seeing as I really enjoy some good rum, and you seem to have drunk entire fields of sugarcane, can you recommend any good brands (stuff you can find stateside)? Not a fan of white rum, except when making drinks, a good lightly aged rum or interesting spiced rum would be nice though.

And I'm sorry to hear about your EasyJet experience, mine was terrible as well. At least I was lucky, and got a seat in the third row.

My WSO Blog

"Unbelievably Believable" -- RG3

Jul 10, 2012
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Jul 10, 2012

Good for you Eddie. A relative of mine recently hit "rock bottom" and has completely given up booze and is in AA. He always liked to drink/party but kept things under control until he was laid off (worked at a bank) and had some other issues rise to the top, at which point he started to become a full blown alcoholic. It was a scary thing to see someone who was basically good with booze (though still a heavy drinker) spiral out of control. Not saying that that would be you, but giving up the bottle certainly cuts down on some risk factors.

Jul 10, 2012

Eddie, while I wish you the best (as I sit here drinking Cognac drowning my own sorrows for things), there goes the idea of seeing how much damage you, me and Midas could do on a night on the town...

Jul 10, 2012
Frieds:

Eddie, while I wish you the best (as I sit here drinking Cognac drowning my own sorrows for things), there goes the idea of seeing how much damage you, me and Midas could do on a night on the town...

Bro, I'll definitely drink when I have an occasion. The problem is I have no occasions anymore. Getting together with y'all would definitely bring me out of retirement.

Jul 10, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:
Frieds:

Eddie, while I wish you the best (as I sit here drinking Cognac drowning my own sorrows for things), there goes the idea of seeing how much damage you, me and Midas could do on a night on the town...

Bro, I'll definitely drink when I have an occasion. The problem is I have no occasions anymore. Getting together with y'all would definitely bring me out of retirement.

I demand to witness such an event! How could you do this to us, Eddie? How am I gonna realize my dream of watching you 3 try to outdrink each other? But nice to know we still have a loophole...

"You cut me deep, man. You cut me real deep just now."

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Jul 10, 2012

Eddie, If I ever make it to Paris (assuming you don't move) or you make it to New York (You are coming to the WSO Conference, right?) we'll make sure some ruckus happens. Even if it is closing a bar down at 4AM and getting thrown out being the last men standing.

Jul 11, 2012

no one likes a quitter

Jul 11, 2012

You need to pick up a new "hobby", because if drinking was your daily ritual during such a long time, you will get bored quite quickly... You will also have much more energy so make sure you pick up some sort of physical activity to chill down (unless you want to kill your kids and wife)

Jul 11, 2012

Actually, if I would have the time and cash like you, I would totally start restauring old cars. Plenty of really cool old cars in Europe (Think MG B, Mercedes SL 230 from the 60's etc...) which can provide you with cool technical manual labor, and a good excuse to make nice trips around Europe with the wife. Just food for though.

Jul 11, 2012
16rl:

Actually, if I would have the time and cash like you, I would totally start restauring old cars. Plenty of really cool old cars in Europe (Think MG B, Mercedes SL 230 from the 60's etc...) which can provide you with cool technical manual labor, and a good excuse to make nice trips around Europe with the wife. Just food for though.

Ha! And where on Earth would you restore an old car in Paris? Not that it's a bad idea if that's what you're into, but there is nowhere to restore a car in the city limits. I'd have to rent a garage an hour from here.

Jul 11, 2012

I don't drink period.

Welcome to the club. :) You save lots of money.

Jul 11, 2012

Sounds like a bad idea, Eddie. I dont see anything wrong with your routine...seriously. So what are you gonna do? Just go to bed sober?

Aug 3, 2013

I drink a fair amount, but it's always a few beers. Just get a good buzz going, why would you drink yourself to drunkedness, never understood it.

Aug 3, 2013

Well, just don't turn into one of those insufferable newly sober guys.

Aug 3, 2013

"I gave up women, drinking, and smoking last night. And it was the worst 15 minutes of my life."

- 15 Minutes by Rodney Adkins - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3qGbW2sLPo

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Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Aug 8, 2013

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