I’ve drastically cut my consumption of alcohol.

Part of that is that I gave it up again recently during Lent and didn’t really get back into it much thereafter. Part of it is that drinking two glasses of wine makes me very lethargic the next morning during spring pollen season.

But, part of it is this: my attachment to alcohol in the past has been, at times, unhealthy.

Much of it started in college. There I was at Yale, mingling with trust fund kids, as the first student in my high school to ever be admitted. I at one point had three concurrent jobs to help pay for it all.

Alcohol gave me a boost of self-confidence to hang out with so many well-educated prep school kids who knew ancient Greek and had killer drop shots on the squash courts. Until I got to Yale, I thought squash was a vegetable.

Of course, most students at Yale weren’t like that. But, it was that prep-school cohort, which had a background completely different from mine, that made me feel especially insecure. Their dads, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers had attended Yale.

My great-grandfather was an orphan from China, who moved to Indonesia and sold pots and pans door to door. Thankfully, he eventually became wealthy, and that helped protect my father’s family during the tough years during WWII.

So, alcohol became a crutch for me over time.

As I became an adult and earned money, it became a fun experience to learn about wine. I read a lot about my favorite regions and varietals. I love going out to eat, looking at the wine lists, and asking questions. We have a wine cellar.

As a VC, I find that many networking events hospitably offer open bars. Many one-on-one meetings involve going out for drinks. We have season tickets at Fenway. Servers will bring alcohol to your seats, and there are two bars a 30-second walk away. At restaurants, chefs put out some incredible tasting menus with incredible wine pairings.

Here is the reality for me. Wine contains a drug. And with that drug is the temptation to self-medicate and escape. It’s a socially-acceptable beverage. It’s not as though you’re drinking a flask in a brown paper bag.

I don’t have a “plan” regarding if, when, and how much wine I drink. Whether that will change in the future. I just know that I don’t feel like drinking much these days.

And, I feel good about that decision.

2 thoughts on “Alcohol

  1. I follow your blog regularly and I really liked this one. Very down-to-earth. Although my beverage of choice is beer. Not even expensive beer which could be the problem.

    There’s one sentence that I think you are indebted to expand upon and not lose to your family history. An entire NY Times bestseller novel could be written simply by breaking up the pieces of the following quote:

    “My great-grandfather was an orphan from China—-who moved to Indonesia—-and sold pots and pans door to door.—-Thankfully, he eventually became wealthy—-and that helped protect my father’s family during the tough years during WWII.—-” What happened next?

    Think about it.

    You might not make a top-ten VC return in money but the return to your down-line family is immeasurable. I suggest you take the time to do it.

    Paul Goyette
    Salem, MA

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