Bing Blog

On not drinking

Quit Drinking

I had a little health scare last weekend. I had purchased a bottle of Russian vodka for what seemed to me like a very good price. Big bottle. Fancy label with a lot of Cyrillic writing on it. Eighteen bucks. Quite a good deal, I thought. After all, it was imported!

Stuff tasted like battery acid. Didn't stop me, though. I've always prided myself on the ability to drink just about anything. When I was a kid in college we made beer out of a kit. Mixed it up, put it in the basement to mature. One night, we had a party, ran out of booze at about midnight, so we went downstairs and brought up the "beer," which had been aging for about two weeks, and drank all of it. Everybody got sick but me. I'm a horse.

At any rate, the Russian vodka was consumed along with a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs and an arugula salad. I'm sure it was the salad that did it to me, but possibly the vodka didn't help. At 1 AM I awoke to find I was either dying or wanted to. It took me three days to straighten out and I missed a day of work. I'll spare you the details. A word of advice, though. If business, family history and stress have issued you a hinky gut, it's probably best not to pour a cheap corrosive on it. Make it the expensive stuff.

So the bottom line is that I've decided that any person willing to drink that kind of junk as long as it's cold, regardless of the taste or the effect it might have on his system, probably should take a couple of months off the fun train. It's been a few years since I didn't drink. I've always told myself it would be no big deal to stop if I wanted to. I'm not a sot or anything. I just like a drink or two every single day, no matter what.

A life in business makes it easy. And it's never hurt either me or my act, in fact I'm pretty sure it's helped me. My first corporate culture was inhabited by a bunch of crazy rummies. I loved them and they loved me. My current milieu - along with the rest of the business world - is a lot more sober, but we still get our licks in. It's part of how we function, keep the whole thing amusing and possible. How do you sit across the table from a banker at dinner without a glass of wine in your hand?

Also, you know, I love booze. I watch a Western, I want to drink a shot of rye along with Mr. Eastwood. When Bogart is in the absolute pit of despair in Casablanca, I want to share that consolation martini with him. Wine. Beer. Brandy. Gin, even, although I've left that part of my stable of beverage behind long ago. Gin will kill you. It's the crystal meth of alcohols.

All this goes to say that drinking has been a hobby and entertainment of mine for a long time, and now I've given it up. I don't know if or when I'll ever start again, but I'm serious about it. I know it's not going to be easy - not so much physically, but socially. For instance, I live for part of the time in Northern California. This means I will have to talk about wine for hours on end without drinking any. When I go out for drinks after work with Bob and Fred and Chet and Betty, I'll have to order club soda? It's weird. Do-able, you know. But still... weird.

I stayed last night at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. I realized that this was the first time, perhaps ever, that I would be there without having one of their intensely fabulous martinis, and I've been coming here for a couple of decades. It was okay, though. I had a few pangs of desire, which I squelched. I've given up other things, you know. Smokes. Coffee, even, for a while. I know how to quit stuff.

I had dinner in my room and not in the bar. Watched a movie. Went to sleep. Woke a little while ago. My stomach didn't hurt. Sometimes boring is better, huh? I may have to work out a solution to the tedium issue going forward, though. I will clearly have to eliminate the things I did in my life that were possibly only when I was drinking, which I suppose will involve yet more work for my subordinates.

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I don't want to sound like the 20'something, bong'em till you drop, type of reader, so I will comment only from my dad's storage unit of qoutes. After college, I came home, as all recent graduates do with the world in my hand and a flask in my pocket. One night we were sitting together and to this day, I had never had a drink w/ my father. After 30 mins of the Yankees, I couldn't handle it anymore and said "man, a beer would be nice right now." My father looked at me with surprise and responded, "well, go get some, it's only the 3rd." I responded, "you don't mind?" As if it had been the 11th commandment, he quickly countered, "son, I'll tell you something my father told me and I will never forget - I don't trust a man that doesn't drink."

once i went almost 2 years without drinking. i was never a down and out rubby, but i thought it would be good to go a while without. so then one day i was invited to a business dinner at a nice hotel in Las Vegas, during a convention. the host was a heavy hitter, and i'm really just a small and occasionally medium hitter, so this was a big deal to me. the host had entertaining stories to tell, a beautiful wife, and spent money like water. he orderred wine, and the waiter poured. after months of saying "no thanks", i just accepted, thinking i didn't want to look like a nebbish. but as it turned out, 2 people at the table of about 8 didn't drink any wine. the host and his beautiful wife.

I am walking that lane right now. I took pride in my drinking until two weekends back when I had a stomach pain and had to swallow my pride. I have spent the last two weekends ordering club soda in a bar while my friends enjoy their drinks. It feels wierd but doable. I still don't know the cause of the pain though but it sure affected my confidence.

I have always imagined you walking the halls of corporate America holding a brandy sniffer in one hand and a blackberry in the other. The thought of you holding a water bottle instead puts you in the stereotypical role of LA Executive...Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

Bing - I have to echo D Turner. Not that I don't trust a man who doesn't drink, per se, but I don't trust the man with no vices. If you don't smoke, don't drink, don't cheat...well...what are you hiding?!?

Bing, that's one of your most profound entries. I'm sure it hits home with a lot of us involved in businesses that involve alcoholic beverages. I could've written that entry myself, not because I got ill from booze, but because I too like to drink, I drink everyday, and I don't apologize for it. But sometimes, it is better to take a break and get on the wagon. Here's what I mean:

Anyway, do what you have to, but remember: Some booze is probably better for you than none at all!

Hey Anonymous, the work you want is rummy.

One word for everyone else: Moderation

You might just be amazed at the things you will notice and learn at business dinners and happy hours, etc when you don't imbibe. "If you can keep your head when all about you
are losing theirs ............."

Hey Bing, I feel you man. If you don't have to pee in a cup for your manhattan corporate position, you could always opt for herbal relief. And invite your subordinates after work to your pad after you've worked them hard in the office. Of course you'll want to keep the Herbal pleasure to unwinding after work and not during, for obvious production reasons.

Bing without a martooni? what is the world coming to?

No smokes? You'll need to change your picture soon....

rehab is for quitters

I take a much simpler route. Every year for Lent I give up alcohol. Not just beer (my drink of choice) but all alcohol. I'm not particularly religious but it gives me a set date on the calendar and known duration to keep the bottle in the cabinet. It's strangely liberating--every year it winds up proving myself not an utter sot. I do feel a little better on the whole and always lose weight, but it still doesn't feel as good as the taste of an IPA after a particularly snarky day dealing with our VCs.

I have to say waking up the next morning from not drinking night before, no matter how tired you are, you just feel better, it's funny how alcohol intensivies whatever you got going on..

As you get older the quantity should be less and the quality greater.

What I have drank in the past month, if I had consumed it in one evening, wouldn't have caused a hangover. Life is swell anyway.

My lovely bride of 40 years has never once in her life been intoxicated, not even tipsy. A cap of rum in a glass of Coke is her poison, such as it is. She lives a wonderful life being chronically sober.

But once a year of so, it is fishing, cigars and a snoot full - but no one is driving.


I just put in my $0.25 bid for the girl selling out her virginity to pay for college.

I may have to back away from that moderation thing if I win.

I thought most girls going that path "worked" their way through college.

Dear Mr.Bing,
quitting is hard. especially alcohol. Tobacco has nicotine patches and all, but alcohol has no substitute.
the secret ? change ALL your habits (like dinner in the room).
and learn to fight the crave in the wee-wee hours.
Good luck to you and get back to us in a year or so, sober and smoke free.
Imagine what you can do with all this $$$$$ saved every day. suppose you spend $20 a day on those habits: $7,300 saved in a year... you could tour Europe for at least 2 weeks and treat yourself to the most exclusive retreats in the world. Of course, without the Moet & Chandon, Cognac, Bordeaux or Montecristo...

It's not battery acid, Dude. It's brake fluid from fighter aircraft. That would be Korean War vintage MiG-15s. Nicely aged. And also part of the reason that Russia is the only nation in the developed world where life expectancy is decreasing.

Good luck, Bing. I work in an industry where many drink, too, but I find it strangely liberating to be clear-headed when many of my peers are not. Whether your goal is moderation or abstinence, knowing you can be your own man is a good thing.

I'm good at quitting stuff, too, Mr. Bing.

I quit smoking at least once a week. I quit exercising about two years ago. I've ended all of my relationships except for an on-again-off-again affair I'm currently having with a sexy little thing named Bacardi.

I left school twice while working on my undergrad, but then even that got repetitive so I quit getting kicked out. On the weekends I usually start writing a new novel but I can't get past page twenty two.

I never finish a meal, I walk out of movies before they end, and I've never had an orgasm.

Hell, one day I'll even

I quit smoking a year and a half ago when my boyfriend had a heart attack at the age of 48. He had to have a triple bypass. That will wake you up.

All the talk about drinking reminded me of a party that I attended shortly after college. It was a birthday party for friends. I started with some white wine, moved on to Mike's Hard Lemonade. Later that night, I had half a bottle of Jag and finished with a huge glass of red wine. Yeah, I was drunk but somehow I didn't get a hangover. I really have no desire to drink anymore. If we go out, I might have 2 cocktails and most of my alcohol that I have at home evaporates. I'm no fun anymore.

Mileage varies, but I used to drink like a sailor. Hell, I was a sailor - a hard-drinking one at that. But kicking the booze was a cakewalk compared to quitting smoking. If there is a more addictive substance than nicotine, I've yet to find it. After eight smoke-free years, the cancerous cowboy still whispers in my ear every so often: "Come to where the flavor is - Marlboro Country!"

I'm with Dan in Provo. There is something to be said for not partaking of demon alcohol and watching the collective IQ in the room go down as the evening wears on.

hey, bing. i had this friend that i used to play basketball with and we were inseparable, but she was hit by a guy that was totally slammed and that's it for me and my buddie. Just because of alcohol...people stop drinking!

The only difference between the best vodka and the cheapest is the amount of filtration. The more times it is filtered the better it will taste.

The brand you got was probably filtered once using the jock straps of their weightlifting team as the filters. I'm sure I bought a bottle of that too at one time.

That's why I do crown royal, it's smooth and consistent. Actually we should never sell it outside our own country, it's too good for foreigners.

Good luck, Mr. Bing. I went without drinking for about a year, out of solidarity with a girlfriend in AA (amazing what a man will do just to get laid by a beautiful woman).

I also worked as a bartender for a couple of years, and did not drink on the job. Soberly watching other people get drunk is a real learning experience.

If you ever decide to step off (not fall off) the wagon, just try to remember that most good things are best experienced in terms of quality rather than quantity.

You poor sorry bastard.

I've managed to avoid just your sort of personal crisis by sticking to fine single malts.

Get back in the saddle, man!

Hooch is a popular anesthetic used to ameliorate the agony of defeat or the jubilation of victory.

It can make the victory "super", or, the defeat more "agonizing".

In any case, "Chevas Regal", or, "Canadian Mist" will serve to bring on the appropriate mood.

Lehman Brothers staff is waiting the week-end out in the cocktail lounges contemplating what appears to be a bleak future.

When the well runs dry, the tears gush. The cup floweth over no more.

"Cowboys like smokey ole pool rooms and clear mountain mornings".

The "Tequila Sunrise" is the head ache after.

Okay, so, one, I appreciate the entire giving it up thing. I mean, I have quit many things in my life, most for the better. I quit working past midnight, jury trials on an empty stomach, Chinese food that doesn't come from a paper box. But, look at yourself, man. One bad turn at the bottle and you throw it all away? Liquor and women both fall into the category of you get what you pay for. If you are only spending $18, you will regret it later. Walk it off. Pick yourself up. Get back in there, man. Fire up the stogie, and tell the bartender to make it a double! Single Malt.

Didn't someone once tell me that Sun Tzu was a sissy? You never saw him come off a bender with his tail between his legs whining about the cost of war being too much, he was giving it up. I feel you pain, pal, but the shame of seeing a once great warrior of industry cash in his chips over some bad Russki hootch is too much for this guy.

Okay, you guys. I give up. Just let me get a patch of healthy tissue over the hole in my duodenum and I'll come roaring back. I'll start with beer, move up to single malt scotch, then graduate back to the clear stuff that laid me low in the first place. I do think it's important to quit now and then, just to know that you can. I can tell you that at 6 PM every day since last week, I want a drink far too much to feel like my drinking was totally habitual and not a sign of pathetic addiction. I want to drink for the rest of my life, and if I have to quit for a while to secure that capacity, then that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. i assure you that I have not become a wimp. I just want to make sure that when I do start abusing my body again, it won't kill me. As for cigars, that ship has sailed. I have been assured that I will not be kissed if I smell of one, and my wife can pick up the scent of a Macanudo smoked a week ago. Seems like an easy choice to me.

hey Bing, all kidding aside you should give your liver and other vitals a break. Entropy is part of life but to live a longer one entropy must be slowed down. To slow it down, life must become a little less enjoyable. My suggestion would be to take up a musical instrument and herbal refreshment. Maybe your wife will like that smell better than a Macanundo and learning an instrument would make you able to seranade her which she'll love. Chicks love guys who can play something. When you get good at the instrument you can give her some herbal refreshment and completely hypnotize her with double efficiency. At that point you could probably get her to do anything, including liking the smell of macanundo's. The best way to keep the vices you want is to get your female into them. My girl had to quit drinking and now she very much enjoys herbal refreshment. It helps her eat. It may help you not drink, or give you something to do to reduce the tedium of sobriety.'s it working, Bing? I decided to drink my last "vodka-rocks-splash-of-7" four years ago during a "discussion" with 4-cops hauling me out of a casino. I've subsequently learned a few things: Your friends don't want you to quit drinking. They'll devise remarkable ways to get another "cold one" inside you. If your Mrs. isn't making the change as well, well, good luck. More aches and pains will fester up as your body rebells, and finally, things'll start clearing up in about 6-months. If you last past about a year, you then start wondering how you ever put up the drunk idiots (previously referred to as friends) for as long as you did. After 4-5 years you start growing gardens and remembering the fun times that you can't quite remember. Good luck! - You oughta see our tomatoes and cukes!


All i have to say is that if the alcolhol is the "life blood" of your upper level management protocol, work networking process, and basic executrickstering, then you will be doing corporate america a diservice by falling off the wagon.

Ask yourself... what is this "wagon" that i am falling off of like a newborn who hasnt learned to use his legs yet?Is it a limo wagon? perhaps a mercedes or maybach wagon? maybe a conserative lexus wagon? Whatever wagon your on Bing, its the wagon that you started with and, quite frankly, it should be the wagon you end with.

Because maybe its just me, but it seems like your corporate suaveness and ultra-refined upper managment skills and rhetoric has put you in a position where it is the very wagon itself that has a frational ownership and managment position of your brain.

Now i am not here challnging you to "prove" that it is not the wagon that makes Bing, but its "bing who makes Bing" or whatever .... what I am saying, more importantly, is: "IT IS BING WHO MAKES THE WAGON."

I hope i havent confused you too much with Confucius souding mantra, but you must remember that what youve been doing well all along in the past cannot be forgot today...

it really kills me, for example, to see people in their elder years, fat and jolly from eons of glutenous splendor and caddy, to start going to the gym and eating right (looking horrible at it i must add) because theyve put themselves 3/6 feet into the ground, diagnosed by Dr. X, whos just following the medical journal.

I use overeating as an example because no one classifies it as a drug or a deblitating abusive substance, yet it is the cause of almost every major illness one can think of. Do you see strides of folk lining up the Jenny Craig because its bad? (or better yet when people are realizing that the overeating is actually killing them?) No way Mr. Bing. Not in a million years. They are too busy putting that filet from le cirque as far down the trachea it goes.

Basically what i am saying Bing: go out with a bang (lol or "bing" better yet). If your liver is going to pop out of your chest like some alien and dance on the floor like a fish; your going to have it happen anyway, wagon or not. Tell you the truth it will probably feel a little better when your all wacked out on some booze than to have some sober, sombering lament over "what could of been" if you stopped policy and procedure of yore.

Quitting drinks, cigars and who knows what else? Did you sell low too? I know things are getting bad but I thought we were supposed to ride this out.