That Time I Dabbled in Idiocy

The title of this post is a little vague given that I dabble in idiocy all the time, however, a short discussion with Sumudu this afternoon reminded me of my early 20s when I was engaging in some dangerous, stupid, and self-destructive behaviour involving alcohol.

Wines in a Rack

Starting in 1999 I generally stuck to beer, having between three to five bottles of Molson Canadian every night after getting home from work. This was part of the "wind down" routine that I had observed when the adults I grew up with came home from work1, and was taken up by me in an attempt to better handle the stresses that came with full-time employment and constant pressure to perform. In 2001 I met a woman who's father loved various kinds of alcohol and we got along great. He taught me a lot about schnapps, zinfandels, wines, tequilas, and vodkas. Of all of these, Smirnoff Vodka and Bailey's Irish Creme agreed with me the most. My home was soon stocked with quite a selection of different beverages from the nearby LCBO2 and I'd share interesting discoveries with the people around me.

By 2002 I was single and miserable again, drinking at least a bottle of wine every night and hitting the harder stuff on weekends while playing Age of Empires II online and having my ass handed to me time and again. Generally I would just stay home after opening a bottle of something but, occasionally, I would go out to get some food. This would often mean driving — as I was rather fat and out of shape by this time — while my blood alcohol was way over the legal limit. To make matters worse, sometimes I would forget to wear my glasses and drive anyway. This is not something a near-sighted person should do when their sober, let alone under the influence.

I was a complete and total idiot worthy of being punched in the face by every passerby. Repeatedly.

By July of 2002 I knew that I was going to hell in a hand basket. There was no justifiable reason for the destructive behaviour3 and something had to change. Fast. It was at this point that I decided to move west. On Thursday July 18th, I applied for a job on the other side of the country, and on August 1 I flew from Toronto to Vancouver4 to start my life anew.

Between 2002 and 2015 I had fewer than a dozen beers in total while out with colleagues and drank nothing stronger. Since then I've dabbled in some 5% vodkas and 6% Japanese beers. Never more than two or three times a month, and only when there is ample free time after drinking where I will not be required to drive or do anything that requires a clear mind. No alcohol is ever kept in the house, either. Like many things in life, alcohol is just fine when it's consumed in moderation. I have no plans on reliving the stupidity of my youth with excessive drinking and reckless decision-making. I was lucky that nothing happened 17 years ago while being stupid. Only a fool would think that same fortune might carry forward.

  1. This isn't an excuse. I chose to drink. It was never pushed on me.

  2. In Ontario you generally buy alcohol from the government. LCBO stands for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

  3. Any justifications I told myself at the time were later deemed irrelevant and moot. I was in control of my life, and I was ruining it because of undirected, unresolved anger.

  4. I didn't get the job, but I did get one heck of an education. While the move was tough at times, it was ultimately good for me.