After I Quit

I had a good lively tilt with John Barleycorn, ranging over twenty

years. I know all about drinking. I figured it this way: I have about

fifteen more good, productive years in me. After that I shall lose in

efficiency, even if I keep my health. Being selfish and perhaps getting

sensible, I desire the remaining productive years of my life to be

years of the greatest efficiency. Looking back over my drinking years,

I saw
if I was to attain and keep that greatest efficiency, that was

my job, and that it could not be complicated with any booze-fighting


I decided that what I might lose in the companionship and social end of

it I would gain in my own personal increase in horsepower; for I knew

that though drinking may have done me no harm, it certainly did me no

good, and that, if persisted in, it surely would do me harm in some way

or other.

Sizing it up, one side against the other, I conclude that it is better

for me not to drink. I find I have much more time that I can devote to

my business; that I think more clearly, feel better, do not make any

loose statements under the exhilaration of alcohol, and keep my mind

on my number constantly. The item of time is the surprising item. It is

astonishing how much time you have to do things in that formerly you

used to drink in, with the accompaniment of all the piffle that goes

with drinking! When you are drinking you are never too busy to take a

drink and never too busy not to stop. You are busy all the time--but

get nowhere. Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

Any man who has been accustomed to do the kind of drinking I did for

twenty years, who likes the sociability and the companionship of it,

will find that the sudden transition to a non-drinking life will leave

him with a pretty dull existence on his hands until he gets

reorganized. This is the depressing part of it. You have nowhere to go

and nothing to do. Still, though you may miss the fun of the evening,

you have all your drinking friends lashed to the mast in the morning.