Herb came from a long line of beer drinkers, drunks, and alcoholics. To his knowledge, few of them ever admitted to being alcoholics, but they had to have their six-pack to unwind after a day of work. By the time Herb’s father was 21, he needed to flavor his coffee each morning with whisky to get started. When he realized the habit he had developed, he successfully quit starting his day with whisky.
All family parties were accompanied by a number of ice chests of beer. There were ice chests of soda for the kids, but it was simple enough to grab a bottle out of the “wrong” box and drink. One of Herb’s uncles-by-marriage did not want his children exposed to the drinking that went on at family parties, so they never attended.
At a Fourth of July family party, Herb heard his Uncle Rudy promise something to Sharon, a 5-year-old cousin. Sharon placed her hands on her hips and said in a rather belligerent manner, “Uncle Rudy, is that before the third beer or after the third beer?” Herb did not hear the answer, but since Uncle Rudy had been visiting with a beer in his hand for well over an hour, Herb assumed that it was after the third beer.
Herb did not ever want to be asked that question, so he decided to give up drinking the third beer; and to ensure he did not have a problem, he gave up drinking the second beer. In time, he limited his beer intake to one beer per year.
Herb did not see Sharon for a number of decades. While Herb pursued his career, Sharon went to the seminary and became an Episcopal Priest. After a family funeral where Sharon officiated, Herb mentioned how her comment had changed his life. She ended up crying. Other relatives became incensed that Herb had made her cry, and they berated Herb.
Accept the fact that if you cut back on your drinking, or any other vice, you will offend some of your relatives.
With the money Herb could have spent on beer, he bought books. With the time he could have spent drinking and recovering from drinking, he applied himself to studying. In time he became an expert in several areas, and in time, was hailed as a world-class expert in those areas. Offending some drunken relatives is a small price to pay for what he gained.