“To Drink, or not to Drink, That is the Question … “

Below is a version of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy from Hamlet, revised by Richard, a longtime member of LifeRing and a stalwart of its email groups. If Hamlet were wrestling with addiction, along with his other pressing woes, the Bard might have given him these words to speak:

To drink, or not to drink–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The joys and sorrows of outrageous reality
Or to bend arms against a sea of troubles
And by imbibing, SEEM to end them. To drink, to be  conscious
No more–and by getting drunk we hope to shield ourselves from
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To drink, to stagger
To pass out,–perchance to awaken: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that rude awakening what horrors may come
As we shake and vomit in this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of the drinking life.
For who would soberly bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a wine or beer bottle? Who would ordinary living bear,
To grunt and sweat under a sometimes weary life,
But that the dread of something AFTER drunkenness,
The familiar country, from whose miseries
All booze-travelers return, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know too well?
Thus sanity does make sobrietists of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
deepens in the sunlight of a made up mind,
And reptilian excuses of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents slither away
And lose the name of action.


  1. david on October 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    well done