Molly wrote:

Now for some frank words. Alcoholism Donny is not about how much people drink—it’s about the need to drink. Don’t follow suit, and if it’s hard, think about getting some help. I have been concerned about you for some time, and haven’t said anything because well it’s none of my business, except it is my business because I care about you and you’re my friend. What has raised the alarm for me over the past year is how much you write about drinking… I don’t know if you’re conscious of how often you think and talk about it. I’m old enough to have seen many loved ones struggle with this terrible disease, and very few of them ever recovered. So I’m sending good ju-ju your way asking you to take stock, and think carefully about not just how much or how little you drink, but your desire to drink, which is a complicated mix of genetics and other factors. But it is closely related to depression, and it is a kind of self medication with poison. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about this frankly; there may be help for you that you are not aware of in the form of medication or therapy or groups that can help you. Don’t wait until it is a crisis. Do this for your loved ones—especially your wife and your boys. I hope you take this is the spirit of love in which I offer it.

I responded:

I appreciate your concern and frank words for me. I like to drink and write about it, but I don’t drink everyday. Every alcoholic would say that he doesn’t have a problem, but even if I wanted to drink I can’t because I have gout. A gout attack could last a week or two and each attack was so painful that I wished I didn’t drink at all. Even when I was having a drink or two, I had to think of the consequence of a flare up afterwards. As bad as it might sound, but having gout is a curse and a blessing. It kept my alcoholism in check. In addition, my wife wouldn’t tolerate my drunkenness. I also understood my responsibility as a father although a drink could take the edge of parenting at times. I am glad you pointed it out though.