July 12, 2006
On July 12, 1986, around 1:30 AM EST, I had my last drink. By that, I mean my last Heineken, Jameson, wine, hooch or inebriant of any kind. Where this happened was a wonderfully depraved Irish bar my friends (cocky young litgators and news people, mainly) and I loved. It was midway between and my house on Capitol Hill and my job on Eye Street. Like all DC bars, it had fire-breathing trial lawyers, deal lawyers, politicians, journalists, students, professors, diplomats, and a novelist or two. But this was no "fern bar". It was whispered that the IRA raised money and ran guns through the place. It was common to see people in suits asleep on the floor. The waiters and waitresses had brogues from places like Tralee and Cork. The day bartenders were belligerent, and often drunk by noon. My kind of saloon. Perfect venue for the last drink: amazingly grace-less bar.
But there is nothing remarkable about why I quit. I had a great job, and was headed toward a partnership. My childhood had been lucky and fun. I could not have asked for more loving parents, siblings and friends. Nothing to drink about. I just liked it way too much. Born different, I guess. It isolated me, even with people around. That isolation, and knowing that drinking had somehow separated me from the rest of the universe, was enough. Sure, it's hard to quit. You may experience for the first time "exclusion"--even if it's self-imposed. You're in a minority. You feel left out. Yet lots of people, including adventuresome fire-breathing trial lawyers with one dash of the wrong DNA, do finally give up booze so they can tap into and use the gifts they have, and grow. Born different, maybe. Born lucky, too.
Posted by JD Hull at July 12, 2006 11:33 AM