Day Ninety-Five: Free Drinks

So it’s some sort of Murphy’s Law that after three months of not drinking, I can’t stop getting free drinks. I’ve got a meeting today in a ‘casual atmosphere’ at the end of a workday. It’ll be the third time in three days that somebody has offered to buy me a drink. Four times in the last seven?

This would have been a great week for “drinking me”. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that money was a major quitting reason. So suddenly having a stream of free liquor flowing my way is kind of hilarious. And also a nice proof of concept.

Free drinks ain’t free

Everything from this point on is pretty obvious. The “free” drink, of course, isn’t free. It would mean surrendering over three months of good (and sometimes hard) work. And, while I don’t have a “killed-the-dog” problem, it would probably lead into a “the occasional drink ain’t so bad” mentality. That leads to fairly regular drinking, and then I’m back to where I started. Not in trouble, but not happy with what I’m up to.

A free drink (or several) ain’t worth messing up my off switch. I know myself, and I know my dimmer switch, and free just isn’t worth the trouble.

Detaching from the social assets of drinking is an important part. Turning down a free drink is a risk; it’s a small schism in the social contract. So it does take a bit of self-confidence and assertion to say no. This isn’t always a strong suit for me — it helps to be with people who aren’t for want of a better word, assholes about it.

I’m fortunate to be in a position where I don’t have a capital-P problem, and environments where people are supportive and friendly. For some people, avoiding places drinks are entirely is the winning strategy. And people should be as cool about turning down that invitation as they are turning down a drink once you’re there. But ultimately, it’s up to us to know where that line is, and have the fortitude to stay on the right side of it.