During most of 2009 and the first half of 2010 when life was getting more and more complicated and (seemingly) less and less worth living, I got to fantasizing about winning the lottery. That, I was convinced, would be the solution to all my problems,which were monumental. Lots of money, no need to work and what I thought would be a chance to start over.
Keep in mind that I had always been one of those “the lottery is a tax on people who aren’t good at math” kind of people. Yet there I was, in line buying a case of Magner’s and a couple of PowerBall tickets.
Then on June 5, 2010 I stopped buying lottery tickets because I stopped buying Magners. And Sam Adams. And Gin. And wine by the box. And everything else that had been such a key component of who I was for 20+ years beforehand.
We don’t need to get into all the details of why I stopped drinking. Maybe someday, but not now. Suffice it to say people don’t normally give up something that they loved and centered their life around for simple shits and giggles. I just know I’m lucky – through timing my life got monumentally better and my work took on a new sense of purpose almost as soon as I stopped drinking.
So, despite a few tough moments every few days, weeks or months, not drinking has been relatively easy these past two years. I don’t know why – I wish I did as I think other people, who don’t necessarily connect with the A.A. mantra, could benefit from a choice on how to not drink. But I can only blame it on luck.
As she did last year, Kate took me to O Ya, a high-end Boston sushi restaurant, last Thursday to mark the anniversary. We did it a few days early this year since I’ll be in New York on June 5 and, frankly, I go for the meal – it still seems incredibly weird to celebrate not doing something. Yet Kate insists and if you’ve ever eaten at O Ya, you know only someone fresh from the idiot swamp would argue with someone who wants to take them there.
After last year’s meal, we decided we’d do it each year and in the same restaurant, if only for an excuse to eat at some place so special. We’ll do this each year and each year we’ll order the Omikase. We’ll eat course after course of the most incredible food you can imagine, all served a bite at a time. We’ll eat salmon belly and lobster tempura and bluefin toro. We’ll people watch and post we’re-so-damn-lucky photos on Facebook.
And each year, just before the last course is presented, the server will place a small glass of eight-year aged sake before Kate and I. It’s meant to be sipped after the final course, a foie gras with balsamic chocolate kabayaki. As we wait for the final fat pill to come to us, I’ll sniff the drink and think perhaps it would be symbolic to have this one tiny sip. Perhaps I’ll rationalize that the foie gras won’t taste exactly right without it, or that I need this proof that I can indeed have a drink.
I’ll think about it, then I’ll slide the drink in front of Kate and she will dump it into her own glass. Because you do not fuck with a winning lottery ticket.