The late Christopher Hitchens on his drinking and smoking in light of his father’s own death from cancer:
I always knew that there is a risk in the Bohemian lifestyle. And I decided to take it because whether it is an illusion or not (I don’t think it is) it helped my concentration; it stopped me being bored; it stopped other people being boring to some extent; it would keep me awake; it would allow the evening to go on longer, to prolong the conversation, to enhance the moment. If I was asked, would I do it over again, the answer is probably yes. I’d have quit earlier possibly, hoping to get away with the whole thing. It’s easy for me to say, not very nice for my children to hear; it sounds irresponsible, if I say, yeah, I’d do all that again to you. But the truth is, it would be hypocritical for me to say no, I’d never touch the stuff, if I’d learned, because I did know. Everyone knows. And I decided, all of life is wager. I am going to wager on this bit. … I almost don’t even regret it. They I should. Because it’s just impossible to for me to picture life without wine and other things fueling the company and keeping me reading and traveling and energizing me.
Also note the fascinating words about acedia just following this. I do miss Christopher Hitchens, in spite of his vitriol to religious belief.