Back in the in nineties I quit drinking for five years. I didn't have a drop. I realized the sauce was not my friend and not only got on, but bought, painted and drove the wagon. All went well for a long time. I didn't even drink at my wedding. Then one night I had a real beer. I had been going through the motions (with the near beer kind) and it was all fine till the McCoy went down my Irish gullet. My whole body Grand Malled in one exquisite seizure of recognition. All though I never went back to my "hey I wonder where my car is?" status, my days as a non alcohol devotee had ended. The O'Doul's would never heal my wounds again. It is one thing to abstain when you have never indulged, and quite another to taste the nectar and repent.
Dieting has been a similar exercise for me. I am fine once I find a thing I can eat and lose weight. The novelty and receding pounds distract you from the fact that you haven't eaten anything good in months. Then (quite innocently) you go to a Mexican restaurant with friends after a ride. That alchemy of Mariachi, Americanized, cheesy Eden hits your buds (which have been languishing in solitary at Gitmo) and you are officially F*#^+D! You will catch your reflection while you make your next salad and wonder if Tolstoy ever witnessed such misery.
And so kiddies this is the point I am zooming in on. Can one go back to his goat herd after a great vacation in Gomorrah? Time will tell. Jauncho had a burger. I had Mexican food. Who will return to the monastery, and put on the hair shirt first? What does it mean when Big Jim Slade tells you to eat a hamburger while he sheds 20 pounds in five weeks?
It is how we perform at the bottom of the curve that determines our eventual altitude.