Read CHAPTER II: A Backward Glance from a Hillock of Abstinence of The Old Game A Retrospect after Three and a Half Years on the Water-wagon , free online book, by Samuel G. Blythe, on

Looking back at the old game from this hillock of abstinence it is not an eminence like those occupied by the twelve and fifteen year boys looking back at the old game from this slight elevation, it is perhaps excusable for a man who put in twenty years at the old game to set the old game off against the new game and make up a debit and credit account just for the fun of it.

Just for the fun of it! My kind of drinking was always for the fun of it for the fun that came with it and out of it and was in it and for no other reason. I was no sot and no souse. All the drinks I took were for convivial purposes solely, except on occasional mornings when a too convivial evening demanded a next morning conniver in the way of a cocktail or a frappe, or a brandy-and-soda, for purposes of encouragement and to help get the sand out of the wheels.

Wherefore, what have I personally gained by quitting and what have I personally lost? How does the account stand? Is it worth while or not? Is there anything in convivial drinking that is too precious and too pleasant to be sacrificed for whatever pleasures or rewards there are in abstinence? What are the big equations? These are questions that naturally occur in a consideration of the subject; and these are the questions I shall try to answer, answering them entirely from my own experience and judging them from my own viewpoint, leaving the application of my conclusions to those who care to apply them to their own individual cases.

It takes two years for a man who has been a convivial drinker to get any sort of proper perspective on both sides of the proposition. Three years is better, and five years, I should say, about right. Still, after three years and a half I think I can draw some conclusions that may have a certain general application though, as I have said, I make no pretense of applying them generally. So far as I am able to judge, a man who has been a more or less sincere drinker for twenty years does not arrive at a point before two years of abstinence where he can take an impartial and non-alcoholic survey.

At first he is imbued with the spirit of the new convert, fired with zeal and considerable of a Pharisee. Also, he is inhabited by the lingering thoughts of what he has renounced the fun and the frolic of it; and he has set himself aside, in a good measure, from the friends he has made in the twenty years of joyousness.