Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
President Bush says he titled his memoir Decision Points because it outlines the critical personal and political decisions he made that defined his eight years in the White House.
The first point he writes about is his decision to quit drinking. After getting, as he says, "drunk as a skunk" on his 40th birthday, President Bush says he stopped drinking the very next day.
"I realized I was falling in love with alcohol," he says. "Alcohol was crowding out my affections for my wife and my daughters."
President Bush describes the kind of person he became when he drank and recalls a dinner party he attended with his family years ago.
President Bush: I'm like my mother; I've got kind of a quick tongue. And if you drank too much, the tongue got a little loose. So I'm sitting next to a lovely 50-year-old woman at a dinner table in Maine, and I'd had too much to drink and I said, "What's sex like after 50?"
Oprah: Which you never would have said had you been sober.
President Bush: No, I wouldn't. The problem was my mother and my wife and my father weren't really happy with me saying that. And I tell the story because alcohol, at times, made me a fool.
Were it not for his decision to quit drinking, President Bush says there wouldn't have been a presidency. "No, I wouldn't be sitting here," he says.
As for the woman at the dinner party, she got the last laugh. "The end of the story is this," President Bush says. "When I was governor of Texas, I turned 50 and I got a note from the lady that said, 'Well, what's the answer?'"