Tooting the Bottle

by Jon Hirsh

As a river guide, I love my job. We are with our friends, passengers are on holidays, strangers want to meet one another, and we are all in the great outdoors. This feels good, but there can be personal challenges and difficult choices related to the excitement of being in the Canyon. It often leads to drinking.

Having spent time around people who have suffered from serious alcohol abuse, I now know the importance of monitoring my own intake. However, the process of not drinking on the river is difficult. For people who have serious issues with drinking and want to control the situation, the river environment becomes very challenging. I do not believe there are a bunch of drunks or serious alcoholics that I work with or see within the guiding community, but I want to encourage guides to help one another with drinking issues.

As I plan for the future of the Canyon (deciding on overflights, Canyon Forest Village, Wilderness, camp), I want to make plans to take better care of my body, and my relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and bosses. How I treat them now will affect my relationship with them in the future. Knowing how easy it is to influence one another, as I drink with my buddy I want to know how the drinking affects them. If drinking is something that my buddy wants to control, then I want to support him. So the idea is to encourage planning for the future, relish your relationships, and plan to enjoy this planet with your body, friends, and family for a long time. And remember to listen to the echoes when you toot the bottle.