Nine years ago I bought a model kit that came with sheets of cherry, basswood and instructions on how to cut, soak, steam and shape the wood into the hull of a small 1700’s launch boat. It was during a dark time in my life when I was finishing a bottle of bourbon a night, drinking throughout the day to ward off the hangovers, and doing my best to bring the startup I had helped build to a close. The small 18” long ship was an attempt to slow the glasses I poured while focusing on something so intricate that it required all of my attention.
I kept that boat with me every time I moved over the next 7 years as a reminder that even though life can get ugly something beautiful can come out of the obstacles we all periodically face.
Nine months ago I checked into detox. The in-between was filled with good and bad, as life goes, but with the consistent presence of liquor. Months before walking through those hospital doors I was up to a liter of vodka a night, often a handle of vodka a day on weekends. All the while working 16 to 18 hour days at a fast paced startup, carrying bottles of vodka with me wherever I went to make sure I could, at best, function around other people.
It’s been eight months since my last drink. With the constant use of ships as my preferred sober metaphor I am determined to finally do the thing I have been talking about for nearly a decade: build another boat. The model I built back in 2010 is gone, broken and discarded in a regrettable temper tantrum. But today I was lucky enough to find myself able to start a new one.
Pictured is the stronghold and stations for a 13’ red cedar strip canoe.
She’ll be named Sobriety.