What goes around, comes around – a guest post by Whistler

Whistler doesn’t keep a blog of his own. I wish he did, but he doesn’t and so I’m grateful for his comments, which started popping up around December of 2012 like little word balloons of kindness and encouragement we get to carry around for the day. 

You may remember his one-year sober post he wrote here, which came together after a gentle nudge from Christy, and I should probably give the Universe credit too. Thank you for bringing another meaningful connection not only to me but to those who are reading. 

Yesterday I had my last post on trees freshly pressed, for which I am embarrassingly thrilled (thank you, Krista!). When I told Whistler and said I was still planning to run his piece today, he insisted I post something I wrote; that any new followers would expect that. But I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason and it’s a great piece and who knows who was meant to read it today. Besides, you are reading my blabber right now. 

Please join me in congratulating Whistler on 1.5 years sober. While he doesn’t track the exact date, today is the first day of spring and seemed a fitting time to post about new beginnings and full circles and the little (big) miracles that come with sobriety. 

US Dry Counties Map
US Dry Counties Map
Blue – Wet Counties
Yellow – Semi-Dry Counties
Red – Dry Counties
Grey – no data

 

When the choice came down to working full time or going to college and working part time, I naturally chose the latter. I figured delay the inevitable as long as possible, right? That was a long time ago, way back in the 70s, and the location of my institute of higher learning was in a still totally dry county.

As in wet vs. dry. There was no alcohol for sale. You had to buy your hooch out of county and bring it back over the line. No driving down to the corner store to buy a six pack. You had to plan and work for your booze.

This inconvenience did not sit well with college-age voters, so we did it the American way and got enough signatures on a petition to make the ballot and then voted parts of the county wet. And so it stayed for lo these years, some of the county wet, some dry. Through no fault of my own I have lived in one of the remaining dry precincts of the county for most of those years.

But progress being what it is, last November my fellow precinctians voted us wet. That means beer and wine can be bought and sold at the corner gas station, and liquor stores can move in and sell the hard stuff. And sure enough, wouldn’t you know a couple of years ago a doctor in town and his brother built a bunch of those larger twelve pump convenience stores around the county, and one of them is only a couple of miles from my hacienda.

As it turns out the dry thing was turning into a huge impedance to local progress. In the dry parts, folks could not order a glass of wine with their sit down franchise meal, so no one would build places to eat in our small precinct. No restaurants equals no city or county tax revenue, which means not only would we starve to death, but we’d die broke and without amenities.

Anyhow, the Doc and his brother have been very anxious to get their gross sales up where they ought to be, and we all know beer and wine will do that because when you buy the twelve pack you also buy fuel, cigarettes, and play the lotto. Apparently alcohol is the backbone of any successful venture.

We can insert moral number one here (there are two). I was part of the original wet move in the 70s and it finally came home to roost. What goes around, comes around. Alcohol sales and all the joy that come with it – noise, trash, traffic, and all the other big and small hassles – are now just a few short minutes down the road.

This is a good time to let you know that when we did go wet back in those heady college days, I took full advantage of local beer and booze availability. As time marched on, I eschewed convenience and opted for anonymity. I went well out of my way to buy my adult beverages in the least frequented spots I could find. I was mortified of being seen buying the stuff, at least in the quantities I was hauling around.

There at the end, the last five or more years, I knocked back close to three 30-packs a week. Looking back, I’m a little surprised I did not get customer of the year at a few of my go-to beer buying spots. Ironically, I even traveled out of the county sometimes to buy beer just so I wouldn’t see anyone I knew.

About a year and a half ago I quit it. All of it. Had to really. My life was falling apart on every front. Hell in a hand basket. One of the reasons I quit was my 21 year-old son. I felt if I stopped drinking, he might stop doping. Made sense at the time.

Well, he came by last night for the first time in a long time and walked back to the garage to hunt me up. I have not seen him look and sound that strong and good in a long time. He’s working, loves his job, his boss, the people he works with. He has an apartment, he’s taking care of himself, all without drugs since September.

He is making his way. We both are. Not perfect by any means. We’ve got other problems, but we’re coming around.

And that brings us to moral number two. It’s a lot like moral number one but with a different ending. Maybe my good choices influence other’s good choices? You never know. What goes around comes around.

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24 thoughts on “What goes around, comes around – a guest post by Whistler

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  1. I live in a wet county, some parts are dry too. We have more bars than any other business in town. Our Conveinence Stores sell SINGLE ICED DOWN Beers right beside the cash register!!! That should be illegal, even when I drank I thought this was wrong. I see it as encouraging drinking and driving!! I was at another gas station and my hubby got out to pump our gas and the gas station had the neon signs glowing for beer and then when I looked in my review mirror the hotel/restaruant/bar across the street was glowing too, which is also conveinently located right next to a liquor store and the CVS right next to it, this is where the little old ladies like to buy the beverage of choice, sell alcohol. It is insane. This is the reason it is sooooo acceptable to drink and to be weird it you don’t….Very sad. Congrats on your 1.5 year and whooo hoo for your son….Happy Sober Spring to you both!!!

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    1. I’ve seen those cold-single-beers-to-go in vacation towns, but never really thought about the message. And yet other places I’ve lived won’t sell any booze on Sunday or only in state-run stores. In PA, you have to buy beer by the case at the beer stores. It’s an odd mix of rules or lack thereof.

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  2. that is an awesome story. i have been clean 2 years and 8 months and i am trying to get my dad sober now, but i have not had any luck, he wont even admit that he is an alcoholic even though it has cost him a job he worked at for 33 years, his wife, his home, his license, and his health.

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    1. Aww, thanks for sharing your experience. I hope your dad finds his way. It’s hard knowing we can’t make the decision for someone who is struggling, but your words may be sinking in more than you know.

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  3. Whistler – Congratulations on 1.5 years! A parent modeling by example is a powerful thing, especially when vulnerability is involved. You’ve given you both an amazing gift.

    BBB – Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I love that post and you have a true gift for telling a story, which is a gift to us all. 🙂

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  4. Whistler… what an amazing story! You have a gift… may I join the masses and encourage you to start your own blog? You will have a faithful follower in me! I have a smile on my face right now thinking about that meeting with your son. Thanks so much for sharing this, and huge congratulations on your 1.5 years!

    Kristen… Oh. My. God! I am so happy for you with this honor! And so well-deserved, I can think of several of your posts that deserve it, and the tree post is definitely one of them! Doing a happy dance for the first day of spring, and for my friend’s wonderful accomplishment 🙂

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  5. Didn’t even know you had this in the USA. Blimey here you can buy huge bottles of booze at 24 hour petrol stations which I’ve always thought madness. Someone drives up at 2am to buy booze… you think he may be drunk driving… er… YES!!!

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    1. I wonder what the alcoholism rates are compared to the US and UK. I’ve never googled it. I’ve the impression that Brits embrace drinking more overall, but I don’t think we struggle any less with drinking over here. As you can see from the map, the majority of the US imposes few restrictions on where it’s sold.

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      1. I don’t know to be honest. We have less as a percentage in AA but until recently the official health service line was total ambivalence to AA recently that has changed to support be interesting to see if our numbers rise.
        But in terms of drinking culture ours is much worse than the USA I’d say.

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  6. Wow what an amazing post and I love that image of you working in your garage and your son coming up to meet with you.. him strong and present.. you strong and present.. two men connecting, maybe just with the banalities of the day, maybe more. But both of you there and present and strong and real and authentic. Just fabulous Whistler what a pleasure to hear from you and thanks BBB for bringing him to us. xxxx

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  7. What a pleasant post for the beginning of spring. I really do like the idea that your good choices are making a difference in the world, to your son, etc. I think it’s true. The more good we do for ourselves, the better off the whole world is. Thanks so much for your post and thanks BBB for giving him a place to write.

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    1. This is a good point…not drinking isn’t just good for parents. It makes us better spouses/partners, better workers, better friends. We obviously stopped for a reason, and over time we are allowed the opportunity to work at ourselves.

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  8. Congratulations Whistler!!!!!!!!!!!!! and thanks for sharing your story – I enjoyed it – and ending with this zinger:
    “my good choices influence other’s good choices….”
    well said – and there really is a rippling effect.
    also, I had no idea about eh wet and dry counties – so I appreciated that backdrop info as well.
    🙂
    ~y.

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  9. Whistler-
    Congrats on your sober time…your county may now be wet, but you’re proving that alcohol no longer makes your world go round. Mor importantly blessings to your son. It’s wonderful the example you set and that, for whatever reason, he decided to try sobriety as well. Bravo!

    And to you “B cubed”,
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!! It’s so fun!

    Sherry

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  10. Kristen is just the best isn’t she? I know when I first stopped drinking I latched on to her blog and all of your blogs and comments for dear life. Honestly I’m not sure I could have hung in there without you all. My anchors. This journey, this adventure, sobriety, is so very rewarding, so special, so surprising. I am extremely grateful. Thank you Kristen, thanks everybody. You make a difference.

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    1. I have no doubt that what goes around comes around, no doubt at all. Congrats to you (and your wife? Weren’t y’all taking it on together?) and huge congrats to your son. Healthy and happy and strong — sounds like you from your 1 year post and your physical results, right? (Yeah, I have an elephant memory, lol, I tend to remember just about everything now that I’m sober.)

      And funny, I moved from a huge Georgia city to a tiny (and more religious) Texas town. And guess where I couldn’t buy beer or wine on Sunday? Made no sense to me either.

      And Kristen … Yay! So deserving. I adored that post, especially helpful this week. xo

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