I mean, I do still like a nice drink.

February 6th, 2018


As I reboot my life (context here), I’m reviewing my old hopes and dreams — too many of which have been set aside over time — and then checking my behavior for alignment with them.

(“Alignment” gets way overused as a business buzzword, but I riffed on its authentic use in this Twitter thread.)


  1. I’ve recently declined to bid on some client jobs that I realized weren’t right for me, even though a one-man LLC like me is almost always looking for the next gig.
  2. I recently donated a huge pile of books to the local library, even though I’ve already culled hundreds of books from my shelves over the past few years.
  3. Yesterday I started Instagramming the discards from my old files of draftwork.

The client from #1 wasn’t a bad client — just the wrong client for me at this point in my life. Same with the books from #2 and the draft from #3. Actually, no, that draft wasn’t great at all, but the point remains that it was time to move on from it.

In every case, it’s about discarding what’s not helping you. Which brings me to booze.

I’m not what I would call a “problem drinker,” much less an alcoholic. I never, ever get wasted, and in fact I’m safe to drive 99.95% of the time — with that occasional 0.05% coming when I’m safe at home at the end of the day with nowhere to go.

And yet . . .

Over the past couple of years, three different people I trust have expressed concern that I’m a little too quick to go for another round, or to top up that Manhattan. It’s an easy thing to do: I buy good booze, and I make good drinks. I have many friends who like craft cocktails and craft beer like I do, and it’s great to connect with them over a drink.

But in the course of my working days, I’m often alone, and when you’re working from a home office it’s very easy to start happy hour at 4:00 p.m. instead of 5:00, and to pour that second round before dinnertime arrives. And then maybe a nightcap. And it’s even easier when you feel sad and tired.

I think that drinking has cost me a fair bit. I don’t lavish funds on any one bottle — $30 is typically my limit — but it does add up, week in and week out. And it costs me even more when it erodes my work productivity.

So earlier today I went downstairs, poured out all of my mixing booze and all of my beer, and took the picture you see above. There was no great plan for this in place, and it wasn’t some decision that had been plaguing me. It just felt like it was time, you know?

I have happy hour drinks scheduled with friends for each of the next three days, and I’ll happily have a pint of something good — but just the one — when I’m with them. You better believe that next time I’m in New York I’ll be hitting up Attaboy or The Dead Rabbit.

But for now: not at home. Not by myself. I have too much work to do to write this novel, reshape my body (those liquid calories weren’t helping), reorient my career, and reboot my life. I feel lighter already.

Is there something you’re ready to cast aside, something that’s been weighing you down?

What’s stopping you?

5 Responses to “I mean, I do still like a nice drink.”

  1. Glenda Walker Says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how this has touched my heart! I remember when Innes told me that they would not drink ever…such a young age and with such conviction. You are a dear man and this is a good decision! Love!

  2. Liz Says:

    I’m nodding as I read this post. I’m the same with sugar and other substances: I also don’t know if I’d call myself an addict, but having these things at home has derailed productivity and motivation for sure.

    As for what to cast aside, I’ve been trying my damndest to shake the fear and self-doubt that have held me back from making a new professional life for myself.

    So glad to hear you’re feeling lighter. I’m working on it.

  3. Tim Walker Says:

    Thank you for this, Liz. You have SO MUCH to offer — I hope you do make that new professional life for yourself. I’ve just been talking about exactly that with two different friends; if you’d like to compare notes or brainstorm sometime, I’m thinking we’re way way overdue for lunch.

  4. PJ Smith Says:

    I quit drinking years ago other than the occasional one-off Manhattan or craft Hefeweizen. I find that drinking just dulls the edges, and I need all the sharpness I can get. In addition I did a cost benefit analysis of drinking, and it was clearly something with little to no benefit. I read some old blogs recently and there was a lot of talk about drinking and being depressed. I think those things were inexorably connected for me. Honestly, I don’t even miss it.

  5. Tim Walker Says:

    This is good to hear, Paula.

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