Overwhelmed by the reaction to my column
August 29, 2014
Thank you all for the wonderful feedback you provided me regarding last week's column about my newfound sobriety. Quite frankly I was overwhelmed. When writing the column I had no feeling of being "courageous," as many people told me I was.
Expressing my surprise to editor Randy Essex, he reminded me that as journalists we expect transparency from people, which could explain my surprise. Whether it is longtime Garfield County Commissioner John Martin or recently elected Silt Trustee Dylan Lewis, we expect transparency from our leaders.
PI advertising seller Julie Carruth considered the column "courageous" in that, should I choose in the future to order a martini at the Pullman, people would point fingers and say, "he's off the wagon." I hadn't considered that scenario. The first two weeks of quitting were the most difficult. By last week, I was about a month in and that urge to have a drink was nearly absent.
After a great late afternoon hike Saturday in the Flat Tops, I got home about 8 p.m. and was too tired to think about cooking dinner. For the first time since quitting, I ventured in to the Pullman and sat at the bar. Since most of the downtown bartenders know me pretty well, this fine gentleman immediately said, "I'll have your Tanqueray martini up, well chilled and dry with goat cheese stuffed olives ready for you right away."
"Club soda with a twist of lime," I responded. He chuckled and said, "You are joking, right?" I explained I had quit. Like everyone else, he congratulated me. So as others drank around me, I ordered a meal and enjoyed the company of drinking strangers. Guess what? I left after a pleasant time with not even a hint of a desire to have a drink. That experience fed the cause.
Sobriety has also made me feel a bit guilty. I live at Eighth and Cooper, right in the heart of all of the great restaurants with very social people at the bars. My guilt has caused me to go into some of the establishments I frequent to offer an apology. Kevan Brady, owner of Cooper Wine & Spirits, not only congratulated me, but also provided information about local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. My column had also provided many invitations to meetings. Much appreciated, although I decided to go with the cognitive behavioral therapy method.
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Instead of indulging in drink, I am now indulging in healthy eating and exercise. Thanks to my buddy Ken Murphy at Glenwood Adventures, I even got on a bike for the first time in maybe 10 years. You really never do forget how.
Perhaps putting yourself out there in the open helps reinforce one's commitment to any agenda, including sobriety. Based on the feedback, apparently there are many others like me. I encourage you to make a commitment of your own. It does not have to be to sobriety. Perhaps you will make a commitment to do volunteer community work.
Whatever it may be, please feel free to write us about your experience if you wish to share. It could help strengthen your commitment as it did for me and encourage others to better their lives and support their community.
Club sodas on me!
Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.