Last night, I made an attempt to calculate how many units of alcohol I consumed in all of the time I was drinking far more than I or anyone should.
I knew that this would not be a pleasant number. Would there be shame? Embarrassment?
Shame and embarrassment are, to me, things that are measured against today and tomorrow. Where am I today? Where will I be tomorrow? Later?
If one is doing what one should be doing, the best that one can, then that is what takes the precedence.
Just as the most important story that I write is the next one. Yes, the masterpiece is being finished right now. And that's important. But what will the next masterpiece be?
What is next always matters so much.
I am not pleased with the copious amounts that I drank and how bad that was for me, but I am also not embarrassed to share the number because of this version of me who exists today.
I think it's also useful to share such information, because much hand-wringing goes into stating how difficult everything to the good need be. How difficult change need be. Part of the reason is because we're trying to convince ourselves that it's not really worth starting. We want to bail before we begin if something might be hard. There are all of these steps and parts of a process and there will be setbacks, etc.
Or--maybe not? Maybe just do something. Make a change. Just make it.
I had twenty years of drinking too much. Over the course of those twenty years, I estimate that I imbibed 150,000 units of alcohol. As I've written, I didn't become drunk. I could pack it away, Wade Boggs-style.
But I was still impacting my body--most importantly my heart--though not my external conduct. There were no drunken outbursts, that kind of thing. I worked at a very high level and worked constantly. But it was still twenty years of alcohol abuse and you can't downplay what that is.
Twenty years of hard-drinking behind me, and I decided to make a change. I just decided. Then I did it. That's all it was. It was that simple. Two decades of drinking becomes quite a few years of no drinking because I made a decision and then that was it.
There was no support group. I had--and as I have--the worst quality of life. I was alone. Friendless. Hated. Discriminated against. By alone, I mean entirely alone. All the time. I had no support. There were no meetings. Sponsors. There were no friendly phone calls. No voiced encouragement.
There was--and is--nothing to live for, nothing to get up for every day, let alone at four in the morning, save my future and my belief that I will get to where I am going.
Where does my belief come from? Because it often does not come from me. It often does not even exist within me. I have been beat down so much.
It comes from my work. When I behold work that no human in history can come close to touching. It comes from when I see that work and know it for what it plainly is.
There were people who learned I was doing this on my own, just like that, and who hated me more than they had previously. Or who envied me more. There were people who watched me get in better shape and disliked me more because of that. Certainly publishing people. It was one more thing I could do that they couldn't. And of course that's bad to them.
There were no setbacks. If I wanted to go to a bar to watch a ballgame, I did that. I made a decision, and I changed. Instantly. After twenty years.
We misuse the word "literally" constantly now. I'll use it correctly. I literally changed overnight. From a Saturday to a Sunday.
We are allowed to do things this way. You can cut out a lot of the fuss and not set yourself up for excuse making by just deciding and doing. It is an option. One can certainly try.