This was edited April 2014 from its original first published as part of my May 2003 letter.
It doesn’t matter how old you get, bailing on a guys-only-weekend makes you feel really lame. This weekend was supposed to be the big return to the Merritt Mountain Music Festival. I had gone to this with my friend and his BC buddies a few times but we hadn’t been there for a couple years. We’ve been planning this trip for over a year I think. Everyone was really pumped. Cripes, this would be my last big adventure with the guys as a single man. At one point we were even trying to get a hold of an RV to house our debauchery. But then something terrible happened. Relapse!
Leave it to Stampede to knock me back a few steps on the stairway to recovery. I had been doing really well for a couple months. I was by no means cured, but I was certainly able to do a lot more than I had in a long time. I was still cautious but with each passing event, whether a night out or building a deck, my energy and health were proving pretty resilient. So when my friend came by last weekend for a little Stampede celebration I thought that one night of fun wouldn’t do me any harm. Well, for whatever reason, I was dead wrong on that one. And the sad thing is I didn’t even go all wild and crazy. I had fun, imbibed a few beers, ate a bag of cotton candy (don’t ever do that), but stayed respectable. Still, something went awry because this week has been my toughest in six months or so. It has given me quite a shock and worries me that I may not be getting better. But worse than that, I had to call and cancel my trip to the music festival this weekend. Right now the lads are likely setting up the tents and sharing a few brews. I have never felt as low as I did making that phone call to my friend. I never thought I’d be the guy to not go on a guy’s weekend due to, well, for any reason!
So this setback in my health has taught me another very valuable lesson. The internet, while good for email and girly pictures, is a complete pain in the keester when it comes to useful information. Oh there is information available, don’t get me wrong. That’s the problem in fact. There’s just way too much information. It is so overwhelming I don’t know what to believe anymore. From what I’ve read since getting sick I have no other alternative than to believe that the biggest risk to one’s health is, in fact, being alive.
Consider my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). There is no established medical cause for this condition and therefore, no cure. But spend a few minutes on the internet and you’ll find eighty odd causes for CFS and probably ten times that many cures. Honestly, everything from sugar to viruses to yeast to dental fillings to chemicals to immunization to being born caesarian (seriously) is the “real” cause. I won’t even mention the more outlandish ones. And let’s not forget that we basically should stop eating because we are allergic to EVERYTHING! Suggested diets leave you with basically water and bellybutton lint to ingest. Thank heavens I don’t drink coffee. Coffee’s a really bad one, unless you use it as an enema! Honestly! I’ll send you the info on that if you’d like. I had no idea being alive was so dangerous.
It is truly mind-boggling and has left me bewildered and unsure of just who to trust. This can be quite frustrating as you can imagine. But recent events have led me to contemplate a rather drastic decision. I am reluctantly forcing myself to acknowledge a recurring symptom in my battle the past year and a half. Even as I was slowly recovering, this symptom became more pronounced and my recent relapse is perhaps the most poignant evidence that this change is needed. Friends, I am about to investigate one of the truly great mysteries of life. I am frightened but also ennobled by the potential insight my firsthand research will provide generations to come. I’ve talked a lot about lessons in this letter and this could well be the greatest lesson any of us will ever learn. And that lesson is……… Is it possible to have fun without alcohol?
[As I’m editing this I can’t help but chuckle at the immaturity of this letter. Oh to be young again, lol]
Yes, I think I may have to give up the booze. Now, I am not suggesting that I am a regular boozehound by any means. I do share the odd wobbly-pop socially though and obviously New Years and such occasions require a little more serious intake of the funny juice. Still, it will be a difficult change for me, especially with all the celebrating coming up this fall. I’m not exactly big in the willpower department, but I have definitely had an adverse reaction to alcohol for quite some time now and I think it will be to my benefit if I stop it all together. And when I say no alcohol, that includes shooters and anything else some of you might have in mind for my stag! Of course a small exception might be made at the wedding, but overall it’s time to cut back on the booze and see if that helps. I will release my phase I trial results in a few months.