i got this as a comment from resident sage In The Same Boat and decided to take him up on his offer to post whatever i felt like of his wherever i wanted.
If any of you other readers wold like to share, please feel free to either email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post your post as a comment. The more the merrier!
Here then, is In The Same Boat’s comment response to my blog post, “Your Excuse is Invalid“.
Yes! Don’t focus on the losers. Focus on the winners.
Something that has helped me get through a tough spot is to identify ‘winners’ who don’t drink, and use them as inspiration. Steve Jobs didn’t drink. And look what he did!
But my hero is Richard Feynman, the famous physicist who won the Nobel Prize for explaining Quantum Mechanics. His book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” helped me a lot throughout my life, to understand scientific integrity.
Here is few key passage from the book, that really had an impact on me.
(This is taken from ‘O Americano, Outra Vez!’, where he recounts a year in Brazil, and plays in a Samba band, while teaching Physics, and having adventures with the flight attendants who stayed in his hotel. He was quite a womanizer.)
“The people from the airlines were somewhat bored with their lives, strangely enough, and at night they would often go to bars to drink. I liked them all, and in order to be sociable, I would go with them to the bar to have a few drinks, several nights a week.
One Day, about 3:30 in the afternoon, I was walking along the sidewalk opposite the beach at Copacabana past a bar. I suddenly got this treMENDdous, strong feeling: ‘That’s *just* what I want; that’ll fit just right. I’d just love to have a drink right now!’
I started to walk into the bar, and I suddenly thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute! It’s the middle of the afternoon. There’s nobody here. There’s no social reason to drink. Why do you have a such a terribly strong feeling that you *have* to have a drink?’ — and I got scared.
I never drank ever again, since then. I suppose I really wasn’t in any danger, because I found it very easy to stop. But that strong feeling that I didn’t understand frightened me. You see, I get such fun out of *thinking* that I don’t want to destroy this most pleasant machine that makes life such a big kick….”
Being a bored college student at age 20, I remember reading that. At the time, I was aware that I had a problem with alcohol but so do most college students. I called my friend and read him the passage. And he said “well, there you have your test. If you feel like drinking in the afternoon alone, that’s the time to stop.” I wish I had remembered that test and followed through with it. But it took me much longer than Feynman to figure it out.
And here’s another passage I find therapeutic. Here he discusses the party the Swedes threw for him when he was award his Nobel Prize. It’s from “Alfred Nobel’s other Mistake”
“I sat next to the lady who was in charge of organizing the dinner. A waitress came by to fill my wineglass, and I said ‘No thank you. I don’t drink.’
The lady said ‘No, no. Let her pour the drink.’
‘But I *don’t* drink.’
She said, ‘It’s all right. Just look. You see, she has two bottles. We know that number eighty-eight doesn’t drink.’ (Number eighty-eight was on the back of my chair.) ‘They look exactly the same, but one has no alcohol.’
‘But how do you know?’ I exclaimed.
She smiled. ‘Now watch the king,’ she said. ‘He doesn’t drink either.’
Thank you, Dr. Feynman. Now that’s a winner!