This post is going to be long winded so make sure you’ve got a nice 10 minutes to spare.
Today was one of those reflective days where the unexpected occurs and can potentially make life altering results. I was having horrendous stomach pains today and I couldn’t come up with any explanation. I asked Sam if it was the chicken cutlet we had at bowling last night and he said he felt fine. I had my usual breakfast and there was nothing in my stomach that should have been causing any pain.
I rarely get sick. I didn’t miss a day of school from Elementary school to Senior year of high school. I went to class with a huge black eye after a Thursday night boxing fight my sophomore year of college when an ROTC gave me a huge shiner with a non-padded glove. My jaw still clicks from that brutal beating. That last story has nothing to do with being sick. I’m pointing out my dedication and not letting the small stuff deter me from getting shit done. However, these pains were paralyzing. I was lying under my desk and not moving because every little wince hurt. After about an hour of this pain that wasn’t going away, I decided to man up.
I remembered reading a part in the book “the Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill that said that sick people want to be sick. Healthy people who want to stay healthy don’t get sick. This book was written in the 1930’s or so and I’m not even sure germs were invented then. Nevertheless, I decided that even though I didn’t feel that way, I wasn’t going to be stopped by some stomach pains.
Prior to the pains, a foreign business associate asked me to call another person who I was aware of. We’d never spoke on the phone before but I knew of his company and reputation. Even though I didn’t feel like making the call, I did it anyway. Within a few minutes once my mind was focused on the call and not my stomach, the pain went away. I ended up speaking to the man for 45 minutes about potential business plans and what could lead to a potentially life altering path.
I went from in sheer pain to feeling great and happy about what had happened in a matter of minutes. I could never have predicted it. This is coming off a weekend where I also felt some up and down emotions which I’ll do my best to explain as clearly as possible even though it’s still not clear. This should probably be put into a separate post but I’m going with the flow.
I’ve dealt with alcohol since Freshman year of college. The very first time I drank, I puked in the corner of a college frat party, and then made out with some girl (she was not a looker and I hated seeing her around campus for the next 4 years) on the dance floor. Since that day I’ve had ups and downs that always end with “why do I drink”?
I’m going to delve into a few thoughts that non-drinkers won’t grasp and even drinkers aren’t privy to because they are unique to me and my experiences. When I drink, I’ve gotten really good at conversing. I’m not talking black out drunk where your life turns into a Viewmaster and you can’t form a new memory. I’m talking about that space where you’ve had enough to drink where it’s hard to embarrass yourself and not only can you answer tough questions, but you can ask tough questions. Also, your listening skills haven’t completely demolished and you can engage pretty deeply and positively with people. Writing that you are good at this can come across as egotistical, but I’ve read a lot on the subject matter and talk to new people every day of my life (mainly customers but people are people) that I’ve had a lot of experience.
So what starts to happen, and I hate that write this because it sounds awful but for god sake please take this in context, is that you can craft conversations. I swear that I don’t do this but the next part will come off wrong. When you actively listen, you can ask the right questions, and people can start to open up. I’m not being a phony when I’m in the moment and engaging. It’s the feeling the next day that’s there’s a good chance the full attention I gave at that moment is completely forgotten. So in order to have that level of conversation, drinking is a great facilitator, but also the reason it’s not completely authentic (because it’s not being retained). I write that because if I talk to the person again, it’s possible i don’t remember what we talked about exactly.
And, son, never trust a man who drinks but refuses to get drunk. They’re usually afraid of something deep down inside, either that they’re a coward or a fool or mean and violent. You can’t trust a man who’s afraid of himself. But sometimes, son, you can trust a man who occasionally kneels before a toilet.
Now here’s the kicker, the simple answer is once again, don’t drink. I’d retort with you don’t engage in these conversations if you don’t drink. If you’ve heard the phrase, “don’t trust a man who doesn’t drink”, it’s because honesty comes out when you drink. I’m having honest to god, heart felt, conversations with people and it feels good. Of course every spot is different and when I asked Rob Kelley’s girlfriend her name 3 times, that isn’t exactly a highlight. However, I had at least 12 conversations over this weekend with people who I feel closer to because I talked to them this way. If I didn’t drink, they wouldn’t have happened.
So it’s a strange feeling because I wake up on Sunday after 3 days of watching basketball and enjoying life to the max, to not feeling great and getting ready to start another sober work week. This is not what I was doing during my 20’s. I had way more stamina in my younger years and a lot of less drive. I can’t afford to be drunk during the week and this is what leads to me to drink through the weekends. It’s the times I consider truly fun (even if I can’t remember them). It’s a Catch-22 and I’ve overcome a lot since all of the mistakes I’ve made in my past. This weekend I didn’t drink and drive. I didn’t put my life in jeopardy. I didn’t do anything wrong but I have this strange feeling that something is wrong.
So that’s it. Over 1,100 words of what I felt like sharing. I’m not looking for anything at all. Just the ability to look back at this post years from now and think back to when I felt this way. All is good. Hope you are feeling good. If not, at least ok. At least Sam will like that one.