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Excerpted from "Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol" by Ann Dowsett Johnston. Copyright © 2013 by Ann Dowsett Johnston. With permission of the publisher, HarperWave.

Excerpted from "Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol" by Ann Dowsett Johnston. Copyright © 2013 by Ann Dowsett Johnston. With permission of the publisher, HarperWave.

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Published by wamu885
Excerpted from "Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol" by Ann Dowsett Johnston. Copyright © 2013 by Ann Dowsett Johnston. With permission of the publisher, HarperWave.
Excerpted from "Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol" by Ann Dowsett Johnston. Copyright © 2013 by Ann Dowsett Johnston. With permission of the publisher, HarperWave.

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Published by: wamu885 on Oct 08, 2013
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05/15/2014

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1.
the Monkey Diary
the Beginning oF the endt b r  prap   pra a  arcz  f  ua u.
simone weil
For me, it happened this way: I took a geographic cure to x what Ithought was wrong with my lie, and the cure ailed.Much later, I would learn the truth: geographic cures always ail,especially when they’re designed to correct problematic drinking.O course, that wasn’t how I saw it at the time. In the winter o 2006, when I pulled up stakes and moved to Montreal, I was ull o hope. Hope that my abulous new career would blossom. Hope thatmy long-distance sweetheart and I would fourish in this new city.Sitting by candlelight at my arewell dinner, these were the dreams Ishared with my closest riends.The third hope I kept to mysel: that with this move, my increas-ingly troubling drinking habits would miraculously disappear. Thatmy nightly craving or a glass o wine—or three—would go
 poof 
.I was ull o new resolve. I had made a New Year’s resolution never
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DRINK
8
to drink alone. I had made that promise to my sweetheart, and I in-tended to keep my word.It was an icy blue February aternoon when I rst dragged my suit-case up the marble stairs o Sam Bronman’s aux castle on Montre-al’s Peel Street, a Disneyesque conection that had been headquartersto the world’s largest distillery or many decades. Donated to McGillUniversity in 2002, Seagram House had taken on new lie as MartletHouse, named or the small red bird on the university’s crest, believedto be blessed—or was it cursed?—with constant fight.A martlet never rests. I chose to see this as a happy omen. I waslooking or signs that I had made the right decision in accepting thebig job o vice principal o McGill, in charge o development, alumni,and university relations. I had let my beloved home in Toronto and asuccessul career in journalism. I took this Martlet business seriously.As vice principal, I was ushered into Bronman’s large second-fooroce, the very same place where the booze baron had hosted Joe Ken-nedy and Al Capone during Prohibition—or so the story goes. It washere that I would sit, at his massive hand-carved desk, ensconced atone end o an airless chamber, walled with recessed curved bookcasesand ornate oak paneling. The history was impressive. Once upon atime, the oce had been, too. But when I arrived, stained green car-pet, broken overhead xtures, and the lack o natural light made theroom oppressive. Still, it had loads o potential. I was optimistic.In honor o my arrival, a ellow vice principal had placed hot pinkgerbera daisies in a jaunty citrine vase. There were welcoming bou-quets rom the principal and others, and a vast array o notes andcards—a happy distraction on my rst day. My gut was speaking tome, but I chose not to listen.Over time, I grew to dread that behemoth o a desk, and all itrepresented. But on the rst day, its novelty was a distraction. Myeervescent blond assistant, only two years out o university hersel,
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THE MONKEY DIARY9
perched opposite me, pulling out the secretary’s table to write on. Sheintroduced me to a at binder and handed over a pile o documentsor my signature. Most o all, she was interested in securing a date ormy welcoming reception. Her top choice was St. Patrick’s Day—orSt. Patio Day, as she liked to call it, the booziest day on the Montrealcalendar, and her personal avorite. (She was single and anxious tochange that status.)Five weeks later, she made it happen: the majority o my newsta—there were more than 180 in all—crowded into the ground-foor boardroom o Martlet House or coee and croissants as theprincipal welcomed me to McGill. I was in charge o mobilizing thisgroup to launch the largest campaign in the university’s history, a$500 million und-raising eort that would change the ace o Mc-Gill, boost research, help students. The principal was a woman Ideeply admired. My heart was ull. My geographical cure was goingto work.For the rst months, I spent many nights behind that big Bron-man desk. Sometime around six in the evening, as the last o my sta headed home to husbands and wives, children and riends, I wouldwalk hal a block to the small caé on the corner, order a takeoutsalad, and chat to the owner in broken French, getting ready or an-other evening at work. Occasionally, I’d stay past midnight, and re-turn on the weekend. I was used to long hours. I had no real riends inthe city and my learning curve was steep. The previous vice principal,recruited rom Stanord, had let beore her tenure was up. Most cred-ited her with proessionalizing the und-raising machine o McGill,and it was my job to continue the process.I dug in hard. Senate documents, issues o governance, at back-ground packages on donors: these were the easy les. What wasconounding was the management challenge, picking up where theStanord woman had let o. At bedtime, I’d close the day with a ew
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