It’s been 3 years since I quit drinking, so now I pass the Boozing Zen Master torch to you my friends.
Let me explain.
There are two kinds of hard partiers:
2. Zen Masters
I’ve watched my whole life as lushes lost friends, families, jobs, and reputations.
That’s the dark side of lushes, and hard partying overall.
But on the lighter side, at least a lushy partier tends to be ushered out before they get too loud or crazy.
As I observed this with my crews over the decades, our basic mentality was always: let the amateurs fall out so we Zen Masters can reach nightlife enlightenment.
Going all the way back to high school, I always tried to run with crews who could hold their booze.
I love loud, crazy partiers who end up with the proverbial lampshade on their head.
But there’s a difference between loud/crazy and lushy.
So I eventually mastered the ability to drink and smoke until the sun comes up without slurring a word.
And I never missed important beats on school, work, family, etc.
In fact, this ability put me ahead in many ways. Especially with work where deals and relationships are often sealed over some good old fashioned boozing.
But I already shared the code of business boozing last year.
This year, on my third sober anniversary, I want to share a Boozing Zen Master realization that led me to quit in the first place.
I realized it’s more dangerous to hold your booze like a Zen Master because it gives you more time to damage yourself.
Remaining cool while partying hard did in fact deliver nightlife enlightenment — a deliverance from daily grind suffering — for a long time. But it wasn’t aging well.
In the contemplative months before going 100% clean, my wife asked:
“Have you ever thought about moderation?”
We’d just celebrated 20 years of being together, and I joked:
“Do you even know me at all?!”
We had a good laugh and I realized there’s a third partier category I’m not part of:
Go out, have fun, go home.
Have a drink or two with dinner, and call it a day.
I was never that person, as I discussed in year one.
Aristotle said moderation “is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean … it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.”
This is why moderation is a virtue.
And Boozing Zen Mastery not a virtue nor a skill. It’s a mere ability.
As for the Zen stuff, it was fun boozy bluster that still makes me smile. But actual enlightenment is deliverance from suffering by becoming desire-less, not by craving vice.
One time while partying hard in tenth grade, I was feeling great listening to music at a party and rolled up to my friend who turned me onto Dio and said:
“Hey man, this is fkn awesome, but we can’t forget to listen to Holy Diver album next.”
He cracks up and replies:
“Uhh, dude, it’s on right now. You cool?”
Me: “F**k yea, I’m cool.”
And so it went into most adulthood weekends.
But despite Zen Masters being cool, all hard drinking roads lead to the same destination of decline.
A lushy partier getting ushered out doesn’t age well for them or their people.
And neither does diving into a bottle in search of a holy Zen-like experience.
Not for me anyway. As I’ve said:
I’m not some born again who’s now preaching. I’m just being super open about my journey because I’ve learned a lot of people want perspective on this matter.