10:28 p.m. 1 Missed Call. Private Number.
I’ll start this post by stating the obvious; It’s my last one here at Louisvillebeer.com.
I assume once I hit “publish”, those bricks on my shoulders will fall off and crumble to the ground. I’ll have regrets, already do, but I have hit the point where I need to walk away/free up time/take my hand out of the proverbial cookie jar.
10:29 p.m. 1 New Voicemail. 12 seconds.
I’m not walking away because things are bad with Louisvillebeer.com or we had a disagreement (we have many of those which often involve in us making fun of each other and making up). In reality, things are probably the best they’ve ever been for all of us. We have new podcast equipment, we aren’t fighting like ten-year-old brothers over a Nerf Football (Wurth- Nerf is a brand of athletic toys that was popular with children in the 1980s), and we have some great sponsorships from Against the Grain and Cox’s Smokers Outlet.
We built it, you guys came. Beer was fun. (another sports reference Wurth)
“John. It’s your mother. I need to talk to you. I’m going to try again at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow. The number will say “private”.
For me, beer hasn’t been fun lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love the work I’ve done/am doing for the Kentucky Guild of Brewers and the city of Louisville (still plan on doing that), but I gotta take a few steps back from the beer community. It’s not you, it’s me.
I’ve actually penned this post a handful of times and always found myself deleting it, just sticking things out or getting talked back into it by Scott. My life is as busy as its ever been with my real job, Drunkwood, the KGB, and doing things for Louisvillebeer.com (which is probably the least taxing of all of them). I haven’t slowed down. I have smelled the roses. Mostly, because the roses weren’t there.
I am writing this for two reasons. The first, so I don’t get asked. The second, because an elephant in the room of our beer community needs to be recognized a little bit more.
Both of my parents are recovering alcoholics. My father hasn’t really touched the stuff for a while. Maybe a glass of wine a month, but he’s sworn off that vice pretty much. He didn’t go to A.A., he just quit. He knew he was making poor choices, saw that, and hasn’t looked back since.
My mother, well, she can’t say the same.
I have enough alcohol-fueled childhood stories that could keep a psychiatrist busy for a month involving. As a grade schooler, I remember stealing beer out of the fridge, running behind the garage and dumping beers out in two’s before she got home from work. I’d later hide the cans with the premature notion that my mother wouldn’t be drinking that night. I was usually wrong.
I remember going on a camping trip with her and her boyfriend and trying to stay up as late as I could. I felt if I could stay awake until it was time to go to bed, I could prevent her from drinking. I couldn’t stay awake past midnight. She drank.
She later fucked her boyfriend while I lay awake in the tent less than a foot from them.
I later pissed on the guy claiming it was an accident. I think I was in middle school.
I can’t recall when, but I spent close to a year without seeing my mother due to her drinking. Whenever we would see her car coming down the dirt road, we would hide or run off in the woods. These are some memories that are ingrained in my brain and I thank god that I’ve forgotten many others. She did quit though for upwards of 20 years but has relapsed twice since.
I assume I will get a call at 10:28 EST tonight from a private number. I’ll answer it. It will probably be the most cognizant conversation I’ve had with my mother in a while. Happy Holidays.
The past year has been tough for our family with the loss of two matriarchs this spring, but my mother has taken it the worst. She always has. The holidays don’t help and I could tell that when we spoke on Thanksgiving. I called as I was heading down to Asheville, NC instead of making the short trip back to Illinois. That Sunday on my drive back, I received a text from my sister letter me know that my mother had spent the holiday weekend in rehab. I shook my head, gritted my teeth, and kept driving. I had my childhood ravaged by alcoholism and wasn’t going to have my adulthood as well. I couldn’t be a parent for a parent any longer.
Reflection. A mirror can be your worst enemy, but also your most truthful adversary.
I’m burnt out on the beer scene. I need a break. I don’t want to be the father who tells his child, “Sorry kid, ole dad wasn’t able to save up for a college fund because the imperial stouts were tasting mighty fine before you were born”. These are the things I think about. I miss waking up at the crack of down and running. I miss balance. I miss John King.
I’ll still be around, but I’m going to distance myself for a bit until I find some focus. I thank you all for your patronage and what you’ve done for the Louisville Beer Community, because without you, it wouldn’t have grown.
John Wurth and Scott Lykins have been like the older, dysfunctional big brothers I never had and probably may have never wanted. I would do anything for them and they would do the same by me. They understand and with that, you truly realize who your friends are.
Drops mic on floor. Ground crumbles.