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Publisher’s column: A year now of sometimes missing a drink

Michael Bennett
Mike Bennett
Staff Photo |

Today is the first anniversary of my sobriety. More than anything I find it amazing how another year of my life evaporated so quickly.

People have provided congratulations on this feat. The reality is, I’m not all that proud of quitting. There are so many times I’d sure enjoy a drink. I admire those folks that seem to have control of their actions even after a drink or two. For you lucky individuals, it may be very hard to understand why people like me can’t stop at one or two. For years I thought I could have that kind of control over myself until I realized I could not.

Then last July 29, I decided to quit drinking for just a few weeks to really enjoy a visit with my grandson. Those few weeks turned quickly into a year.

Do I miss drinking?

Yes, although not as much as I would have thought. There are moments I’d sure enjoy an adult beverage. Just Sunday, after a sweaty 10-mile hike on Boy Scout Trail, for example. As I walked home past Cooper Wine & Spirits, I had an urge to stop in to pick up a nice icy cold beer. I didn’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve headed home after an 11-hour day at work dealing with unhappy readers, employee challenges and a grumpy boss without a moment all day for myself. And as I walk home I imagine a Jack Daniels on the rocks that would quickly erase the stress of the day. And as I sadly walk up the stairs to my apartment empty-handed I quietly take solace that I made the decision that was right for me. You would not understand the feeling unless you had that cursed problem with booze.

Do I miss drinking?

Not the morning after, that is for sure. Waking up in a fog at 5:30 in the morning knowing you have to get to the office early and try to converse intelligently to people — I don’t miss that whatsoever.

As a figurehead at this newspaper, I have a variety of after-hours events I must attend. And most of these events include people walking around with a drink in hand. While there are a handful of attendees not drinking like me, I never feel quite comfortable. By nature, I am a painfully shy individual. A drink or two or three eases the shyness.

Being sober at these events also reinforces my decision. Most people I observe can have their drink and their professionalism too. Others are like me and should really be drinking club soda. I watch those few standouts, and I truly appreciate my recent sobriety. I would like to step up and help those in need. I know from experience that would most likely be a fruitless effort. Many times family members tried to help me over the years. I failed them.

So let me raise my glass of water with a slice of lemon to toast those who are able to enjoy a great alcoholic beverage. And to those of you who share my disease and haven’t been able to quit, I share your pain. I wish you strength.

Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.


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