I said no more for the next few nights, but circumstances bring me back here again. It is for a friend, I reason to myself as I make my way to the bar, and I even tell myself that perhaps I can choose the “organic tea” option. It would make me feel good, I believe. And anyway, I don’t really feel like guzzling beers tonight.

But I get there and my mate already has a pint of Guinness before him. With thick midnight black liquid standing still and alluring in the shapely glass, it looks absolutely delicious. I sigh to myself and look at the menu. The bottles are cheap. Cheaper than a silly $9 organic tea, even. Fine. Just one.

But the bottle goes down fast as we immerse in conversation, and there’s no way we are leaving so soon so I decide to get another. A few bottles later, I tell myself I am done, but my mate says, “Last one for the road? I can’t finish mine – just help me out man.” I justify that I’m helping him out. I’m ignoring the fact that I’ve got no problems with going beyond the regular limit that even my friend can detect for himself. In the game of self-control, I am losing.

I stumble home an hour later, and my brain is still determined to get down to writing a chapter of that paper that I had set out to do. But my vision is too woozy and I can’t focus. Instead, I strip down to my undies and lie on my bed, letting consciousness drain out of my tired, drunk body. My last thoughts are, “Well, I’d be damned. This is the same thing I did last night.”

I wake up in the morning to pure, unadulterated shame. I had promised for one night of zero alcohol, and again, I have failed myself. And once more, the work that I had been determined to complete is left untouched.

“No, no shame,” I resolve to my own reflection after brushing my teeth, “I will not drink today.”

It would be the five hundred and third morning in a row I’d make that promise.

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