Guinness Reflection by Jeff Hughes, Sarah Scully & Robert Varcoe (2016)
GENERAL NOTES ON THE DIARY.
I don’t write much about my life on here. But this was a personal journey and since I have this platform, this is where I’m choosing to share it.
Each diary entry will be written on the date specified. It will be edited for grammar at the end of this eight-week dry run but the thoughts will not be altered in any way. How I feel at the moment of writing is how I feel.
To spare yourself reading this entire piece on the internet, you can download the PDF format here: Diary of a Boozer Off The Booze.
January 23, 2017
But what I’ve done over the last decade plus is more than just drinking. I’ve made bars a central preoccupation of my life.
Hard day’s work? Edge offers at 5 o’clock.
Traveling to Spiddal, Ireland…Dinan, France…Groveland, California? Pints in the oldest bar a must and texts to my uncle will follow. (Can’t go wrong with Tigh Hughes, Saint-Saveur and Iron Door respectively.)
Theatre tickets? Drinks before. If it’s good or really bad, way more drinks after.
Bears game on? Josie Woods for endless Coors Lights.
Most of the great stories of my life have occurred with a drink in my hand.
Since 2003 there have probably been three weeks where I didn’t have a single drink. Two of which involved devil viruses that left me sweating through tee-shirts on a dirty couch, coming to-and-fro consciousness during random episodes of the Twilight Zone.
The other just wrapped. It is the first of eight intended weeks without a drop of alcohol. Why? Because I’m hitting the reset button on my drinking life.
I never wanted booze to become routine. I never wanted to lose the enjoyment of that first sip of Guinness. And I have. I stopped deriving pleasure from the experience. It just became a thing I did. I took a shit before I let the house in the morning. I drank beers at night. Bar, couch, it didn’t matter.
This eight weeks is a pilgrimage and my Canterbury Cathedral is remembering why I love drinking in the first place.
And as confident as I was in this endeavor, I’m starting the diary on Day Eight because who the fuck knew if I’d make it this far?
Coming off a wild weekend in New Orleans, I had theatre tickets Thursday night with the lady and the NFL conference championship games Sunday. Vegas had me 4-1 to make it to Monday morning.
What did I learn over the first seven days?
- I’m not an actual alcoholic. You might think this is a small thing but it was refreshing to not crave alcohol at any point over this initial week. I didn’t get the shakes or panic attacks. I didn’t even have night sweats, which fucking shocked me.
- Twice I was able to sit in my local for multiple hours, drinking club soda with a splash of orange juice, and exist. What’s bizarre is how your mindset changes. First, it’s cheap as shit. Second, I didn’t have to walk into the door of the Copper Kettle and write off the remainder of the day. I could walk out later and watch a movie, cook dinner, write. The lady didn’t have to expect me to return to the apartment and fall onto the couch like a bag of shit and start snoring before the end of 60 Minutes.
- The lady and I saw the brilliant Oh Hello! on Broadway Thursday night. We had dinner at a Mexican bar/restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen first. Club soda. I wanted the Negra Modelo on tap – because Negra Modelo on tap is like drinking beer directly from sweet keg of the Lord Almighty – but…club soda. Splash of orange juice. We left after some great tacos and popped into an Italian restaurant for coffee and dessert. Coffee and dessert. Who knew? (All the non-drinkers, that’s who.) Then I walked into a Broadway house to see a show without a drink in me for the first time in at least a decade. Was the night different? Very. Was the night great? It sure was. It didn’t make me wanna stop drinking altogether, by any means, but it showed me there were laughs and good times to be had without it.
I tried this last year as something of a challenge to myself. This year it’s different. It’s a quest. And this diary, who knows, maybe it’ll become something I share with people who are actually struggling with booze. Or maybe it’ll be something I never show another person.