La Dolce Vita.

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“This is the look you get from your friends, when you tell them you have given up alcohol!!”

Just two days ago my friend Nandu had the above picture and comment on his Facebook page.

Nandu and I had a further exchange as follows:

Me : Is that how you reacted on hearing about me going off the good things of life?

Nandu: In one word ? “YES”!

14 years ago today was the last alcoholic drink that I had. Before that, suffice it to say that my transportation was known as the car with the bar. My life as also the lives of my close friends and family members revolved around plans for the next drink together. I am out of those circles but they continue in the same vein and I am sure must have reacted the same way as Nandu when they came to know that I had stopped drinking alcoholic drinks.

This is the occasion to share the story behind how that came about. Prior to that, in November 1998, I had become a vegetarian, again much to the shock of all who knew me. This happened because I had by that time already got deeply involved with matters spiritual and it was pointed out to me that it would help my progress if I became a vegetarian. Among the people who were stunned by my becoming vegetarian were my god son M and his wife my god daughter in law V. Both used to delight in spoiling me with non vegetarian food either in restaurants or cooked by the latter in their home.

22nd May is M’s birthday and I had got both M and V over for lunch to my place where I had arranged for a birthday cake and a lavish lunch spread to celebrate the big day. I had my usual Gin with Bitters while the others had soft drinks. V was quite touched by the celebration and after lunch went all maudlin and just made a passing comment that she liked everything about me except that I drank alcoholic beverages and said that I would be a better person for her if I stopped.

I was already faced with another problem that I was battling with at that time and was contemplating stopping anyway and this just spurred the implementation. I told V that I would henceforth not drink alcoholic beverages and that was that. As I write this, both M and I celebrate our birthdays, he his natural and I my teetotalling life.

14 thoughts on “La Dolce Vita.”

  1. PS As I recall you wrote that you belong to AA. Is that when you joined? I’ve also heard that here in the states there can be a lot of cigarette smoking in the meetings. Is that true in India too?
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Creative Force

  2. I almost gave up until one day the CEO said ” I would like my managers to continue drinking so that our customers think they are drunk not stupid ! ” I gave up smoking once many moons ago ( the first time for a length of 6 months ) and my taste buds were resurrected . I started complaining about my wife’s cooking …she nagged me to go back !” As for being a Vegetarian , I am one 95 % of the time ( 100 % on Saturdays ) . I am not fussy I eat what I am served . Apart from these I make all my own decisions !

    1. Nandu, I loved smoking. My career as a chain smoker being cut short by falling in love with an Englishman. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that he had no desire to “kiss an ashtray”. Thus love (for him) won out. And, I suppose, I should be grateful. My sacrifice enormous: That wonderful ritual from start to finish: Opening a fresh pack of cigarettes, lighting it, inhaling, some time later contemplating the last in the pack. It was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Did I take it up again once father of son was out of the picture? With no more hold on me? No, I didn’t. I tried some years after we split – just as an experiment but it didn’t do it for me any longer. Too long ago. Which is good because, at least in the UK, though not on the Continent, smokers have become outcasts, having to step ‘outside’ to indulge.

      Love your CEO’s quote. And you may come to dinner at my place any time. I like people who eat and are generally amusing

      U
      Ursula recently posted..Operator

      1. The “CEO” bit is fictional – just a joke I heard a long time ago about company executives drinking during lunch time under the guise of “corporate entertainment” . But yes I do like my drink .

        The second apart is partially true – I did get my ( full ) taste back and my wife used to joke about it but in truth never nagged me to go back ! I heard the “ashtray” remark in an Ad on TV in the early 70’s in the UK ( lady in the pub being “eyed” by one of 2 guys and then he is “warned” by his mate within earshot of the lady ) . I am not a “heavy” smoker – 5/6 a day and never ever smoke inside my house or anyone else’s – even I cant stand the stink ! I realise that I am very much now in a minority and a pariah .

        Most of us I think do things we do shouldn’t or don’t wish to do and don’t do many things we ought to or would like to do . That was in essence one of my recent posts on FB – one should have not just a “bucket list” ( things to do ) but also a “dust bin” list ( things not to do ) . I do not have the same “externally generated motivation” that you fortunately had to give up smoking – maybe I wish I did , or maybe I don’t . My consumption of alcohol is also quite restricted ( except on occasions ! ) .

        Since we are into “confessions” I have never “done” drugs of any kind ! I don’t bungy jump , para glide or pothole either .

        So all in all a life of careful , boring moderation …as opposed to a life of timid , boring abstinence ! ( He He He – just thought I’d slip that in ! )

  3. To be fair to the dogs: Social gatherings have always involved some sort of merriment (and they come in different guises). So those may be forgiven who, at least momentarily, are taken aback when you say you don’t drink. You can always claim that you are pregnant, Ramana. Works wonders. Everyone will ply you with the softest of soft drinks (my preferred tipple being water) and pat your stomach. No joke.

    In my case: “Always a drinker, never a drunk.” However, when hoping for the Angel (my son) to materialize I prepared. Surreptitiously. Don’t give people ideas you are “trying” for a baby. So, I invented mysterious ailments involving medication which, obviously, do not go with alcohol. People, in any social setting, will accept this without so much as a whimper. Of course, once my pregnancy was confirmed, everyone was pretty clever with their hindsight: “Thought there was something fishy about you not touching a drop.”

    The people I resent are those (teetotallers) who will count your every drop that touches your lips. It’s why I prefer to meet certain people for tea or coffee rather than lunch or dinner. Easier on both of us.

    U
    Ursula recently posted..Operator

    1. I use that excuse to my doctor who asks about my weight Ursula. I don’t need to say anything to anyone any more because they all know that I don’t drink.

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