‘I drank, I quit, I conquered’
Inspired & Blessed

‘I drank, I quit, I conquered’

Mar 25, 2024, 2:41 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


From the annals of the ancient Romans we find this immortal phrase, “Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)” – which, in contemporary parlance, would signify a swift, conclusive victory. The classic statement is attributed to Julius Caesar, who used it in his letter to the Roman Senate, circa 47 BC, after he has achieved a quick victory in a short war against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela (modern-day Turkey).

In a gamesome resonance, I’ve rephrased or adapted Julius Caesar’s dictum to “I drank, I quit, I conquered”, the title of this piece, adducing to my “quick and swift victory” over alcohol for the past forty days.

Yesterday, Palm Sunday, marked the 40th day of my abrupt ditching or fasting from alcohol drinking, which I started last February 14, Ash Wednesday.

Huh, I can’t believe I was able to make it!

But why 40 days only? Well, ‘tis but just a prelude, or “test exercise”, to my grand intention of ditching alcohol for good.

Apart from capitalizing on the Lenten season as the best time for “prayer, fasting, and abstinence” I cannot likewise disregard the profound significance of “40” – the human gestation period for new life is 40 weeks; Jesus fasted for 40 days prior to his public life and he ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection; the Great Flood in the Old Testament lasted 40 days; Moses fasted for 40 days before ascending Mt. Sinai and spent 40 days atop to receive the Law; the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, and Manna rained down for 40 years; etc., etc.

In a sense, thus, “40” means “something” and it brings to mind such qualities as “new life, repentance, preparation, growth, and transformation”.

Back to my alcohol ditching for 40 days. Inarguably, it may not be a big deal for others – especially those who find no problem or nothing to quarrel with alcohol drinking. 

But, alas, for the long “intoxicated” life of me, 40 days is undeniably a great and formidable feat! According to experts, there are five subtypes of alcoholics: Young Adult, Functional, Intermediate Familial, Young Antisocial, and Chronic Severe.

Assessing myself, I reckon that I belong to the group of “functional alcoholics” which probably makes me a “binge drinker” but not outrightly a “chronic drunkard” (what’s the difference, huh?).

Yes, I used to drink a lot, but I maintained myself as “functional”. Out of fanciful inebriation, I’d sometimes slug the vainglorious claim that “I cannot write without drinking” (which prompted my Ninong to make a phone call and admonish me, “Bob, you’re not and you’ll never be Edgar Allan Poe”). Then, only to realize later that “I cannot drink without writing”.

On not a few drunken episodes, I’d invoke – albeit fallacious – the drinker’s syllogism:

“He who drinks sleeps;

He who sleeps does not commit sin;

He who does not commit sin is holy;

Therefore, he who drinks is holy.”

Admittedly, I drink for one and hundred reasons – the “trigger factors” that motivate or induce me to drinking. In moments of enervating disappointments, frustrations, or failures, I drink in order to cope. In glorious achievements, victories, or even just after accomplishing a fulfilling task, I drink in order to celebrate. I drink for socialization purposes. I drink in order for me to fit or conform. I drink in order to fall asleep. But, above all, in my long love affair with alcohol, I drink simply because I want it, I crave for it, I enjoy it. 

Of course, no denying, there have been likewise one and manifold downsides of my drinking. But I’d like to reserve telling that in a separate column piece later.

Suffice for now, let me count the benefits, or “difference”, I’ve sensed (and gained) from my past 40 days of “no alcoholic drink”.

One, I’ve learned to devise productive ways of using my time (which was erstwhile eaten up or spent in drinking).

Two, I’ve learned to face or deal head-on and in a sober manner the problems that come my way.

Three, I have normalized my sleeping pattern – way different from erstwhile being erratic or unstable.

Fourth, and most importantly, I have won the admiration, love, and respect of my beloved ones and significant others as well. 

A sort of disclaimer though. I cannot discredit the scientific fact that drinking moderate amounts of wine or just one to three standard (355 mL) beers can have positive effects for the heart, bones, blood sugar, and dementia risk.

Capping this piece, thus, and after conquering drinking for forty days, I deem it lofty and wise to celebrate with a sip of NO MORE THAN three (355 mL) of beers – then resolve to bid adieu to drinking for (my) good. 

I find the following quote from Liz Hemingway a spot on: “The day I became free of alcohol was the day that I fully understood and embraced the truth that I would not be giving up anything by not drinking.”

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