Coffee and Cigarettes (And Why Drinking Wine Is Good For Your Heart Is Bullshit)

Dan delves into the world of junk science in regard to low-level alcohol consumption.

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A couple weeks ago I blogged about a statistic that scared the shit out of me. In a humorous nutshell, it was a statistic that said if you’re an alcoholic you’d have as much chance of beating a prime Usain Bolt to the empty seat on the train than you would staying away from booze for the rest of your life.

Compared to this often-touted statistic, that one’s a ray of sunshine: teetotalers live shorter lives than people who drink moderately and responsibly.

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“Here’s to getting shitfaced and living long, prosperous lives.”

One scientific study found that wine sniffing snobs are much more likely to find out the exact configuration of the veins on the back of their hands than people who are white-knuckling it every day, fighting the good fight.

On the surface, it seems safe to assume that drinking the occasional glass of wine might be good for you heart or some shit, but not so fast.

Before you decide to burn all your AA chips in a ritualistic fire and rush off to your nearest liquor store, for, umm, health reasons, it’s important to understand where this conclusion came from and why it’s implication that low-level alcohol consumption has health benefits is flawed.

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Dan also doesn’t advocate ritualistic stabbings.

The study in question compared two sets of groups: teetotalers and moderate drinkers. I don’t know how they defined ‘moderate,’ but let’s assume for the purpose of this blog post the researchers meant the type of wine drinkers who are more concerned with the region from which the wine comes than getting out their calculators and working out how much bang for their buck they get between Irish Rose and the new addition to the bum wine shelf that has an ominous green hue.

The majority of teetotalers are made up of AA-going, coffee-drinking, chain-smoking alcoholics in recovery. If you come across someone at a party who’s sipping soda water despite their being neither a designated driver nor pregnant, they’re much more likely to be a sober booze hound than that rare breed who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol” or “can totally have a good time without it” and doesn’t understand the popularity of getting shitfaced.

More importantly and less humorously, alcoholics in recovery are much more likely to make unhealthy lifestyle choices. They would, because they have enough on their plates just staying off the booze.

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This guy’s likely not a cheerleader for a stringent exercise regime and regularly scheduled acupuncture sessions.

On the flipside, moderate drinkers are much more likely to make other healthy lifestyle choices like reducing their red meat intake or committing themselves to the torture of spin class once or twice a week. We can go ahead and assume that group doesn’t go to AA a couple times a week and is the first out of the door to take a cigarette break halfway through the session.

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This lady has likely never attended a hypnotherapy session with a dubiously qualified hypnotherapist to quit smoking.

So what we’re really comparing are tracksuit-wearing health freaks to people who have a propensity to skip exercise for sitting in a dimly-lit room, listening to slow jazz, as they smoke a cigarette and think about all the bad shit they did when they were a drunk.

If we were take the track-suit-wearing, bicycle-pump-owning demographic of non-drinkers and compared them to their wine-pedantic counterparts, there’s no doubt that the conclusion made would be that drinking the occasional glass of wine has zero health benefits.

That’s right, Hilariously Sober is happy to report that drinking red wine probably isn’t good for your heart or some shit.


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Sobriety Isn’t Your Rolling Wheels, But Your Highway

This week, Dan uses a metaphor written by a guy much smarter than he to sound clever, and then makes you laugh by writing “handjobs.”

I was relaxing this morning, listening to some Audioslave songs, trying to think of shit to blog about this week, when Chris Cornell sang a lyric that resonated with me. It’s the title of this blog post, only the words “Sobriety isn’t” are replaced with “I am not.”

Just in case you don’t want to scroll up to read the title again, the lyric is this: “I am not your rollings wheels, but your highway.”

I felt it so poignant, I immediately rushed to my computer, stared at a blank Word page around forty-five minutes, thinking of other blog post topics, and then settled on appropriating Chris Cornell’s wisdom as my own, only to confess to being a hack in the very first paragraph.

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Cool, circa 1984

Go back four months, and I felt the opposite of the title of the blog post. I thought sobriety was the one thing in my life holding me back, the magic pill I’d swallow that would make everything better, which is a pretty mixed-up metaphor given the context.

I’d get sober, and life would be a breeze. I’d constantly be like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, hugging my loved ones into me, singing gaily, to never think again that life’s not worth living.

Four months later, I realize that sobriety isn’t an eternally fueled rocket duct-taped to my ass—it isn’t even a free ride from some trucker I suspect may be a rapist—but a long, dusty highway I’m attempting to walk along for the rest of my life.

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“Come inside. Sure looks real cold out.”

Sure, I’ll meet people along the way who’ll provide me with a drink of water, a bed to sleep in at night, and maybe even an occasional handjob, but mostly I’ll be walking that path alone.

Not only does sobriety not make everything sunshine, roses, and the cleavage of a large-breasted actress, but it presents you with new challenges you were too drunk to even recognize existed in your life. And the kicker is, you can’t get shitfaced to deal with them now. You’ve got to face them head-on, and come to some resolution that you don’t try to pretend exists at the bottom of a champagne glass.

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“I married a douchebag, but at least Dad’s paying for the rosé.”

One way to look at it is that getting sober is like losing a friend you’ve had since early adulthood. You fall out, tell him some mean things about himself he should’ve heard a long time ago, and he tells you to stop being a big baby, gives you a wave, before heading in the opposite direction along that dusty road, leaving you high and dry.

Another way to look at it—the way I think when I’ve gotten more than six hours’ sleep—is that sobriety was that shitty town you grew up in, the one you thought you were destined to stay in your whole life. Everything’s familiar and easy. You have slutty Sandra you can call to get laid every Friday night, the bar you sit in every Saturday night, and the small number of people who are always around but who you can’t relate to.

You could stay there and not challenge yourself, or you could stick your middle finger up at it and everyone it contains one night, doing so drunk for the last time, and head down that dusty road to see what’s out there in the world.

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“Bye, motherfuckers. It’s the easy street for me from now on.”

Your journey will be boring more often than not, and they’ll be temptations, like the tavern you walk past with surprisingly attractive hookers outside, the first one you’ve seen in fifty miles or so, or the guy standing by the road, trying to sell you snake oil he promises will you give you eternal happiness.

Getting sober isn’t easy. It isn’t the solution, but a problem, just a different one. It’s not your rolling wheels, but a highway that will lead you through large stretches of desert. But you’ve got to head down it, right? Because what’s the other option, that miserable blowjob from Sandra every Friday night?


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the webpage to receive email notifications. And if this blog post made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your friends on social media.

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Christmas Is a Time for Getting Shitfaced (and Celebrating Jesus and Frankincense)

Thinking of making plans this Christmas to pretend it’s fun?Think again.

I’m writing this blog post after surviving the Super Bowl of drinking dates on the Norwegian calendar sober: The office Christmas party. I’m also shit tired, which means this blog post, even by Hilariously Sober’s standards, will especially be an incoherent though humorous mess that ends abruptly and provides little to no useful information for sober alcoholics.

But I’m contractually obligated to implore you to carry on reading, as this thing might get good.

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A photo of a dog contemplating.

Historically, my workplace Christmas party is the aperitif to the Belgian beer shit storm that’s actual Christmas: the period where a bunch of days have a bunch names, only some of which I understand the cultural or religious significance behind.

If the Christmas party is the jog to catch the train, Christmas Day and the blurry days surrounding it are the time I accidentally wandered into the international departures lounge, when I was to take a domestic flight, and had to run around the airport, double back to go through security again, to make it to where I should’ve stayed in the first damn place: the domestic departures lounge.

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Passporte

I’ve attempted to stay sober the last four or five Christmases, and failed each time.

But this year’s going to be different. This year I’m going to be bored shitless, and I’m going to love it.

What am I going to do differently, you probably didn’t ask? Not a God damn thing.

Every element I typically endure to make it a mediocre Christmas will be present, minus the refrigerator that can’t accommodate food: the shitty sweaters, the even shittier movies, the music in genres and by artists I’d never entertain listening to at any other time of the year, and the mass consumption of autumnal-colored food that makes my colon feel like it’s being twisted into a balloon animal.

I’ll FaceTime relatives I don’t keep in toANuch with, and we’ll smile at each other like we’ll make a habit of it in the New Year.

I’ll rediscover that sledding’s way more fun than building a snowman, though it comes in at a distant second to throwing a snowball at some random kid right in the ear, and witnessing the look of distilled horror and bewilderment on his face.

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“Well someone’s just made it onto the naughty list,” or some other hacky bullshit.

I’ve just figured out what this blog post is about, and it isn’t eggnog with the good bit taken out.

It’s about whether you should change the way you celebrate the holidays now that you’re sober.

I’ve blogged about filling up your time with fun shit to do to distract yourself, and why it’s essential. A bored mind is a mind that thinks about how much better your life would be with a bottle of ridiculous-strength craft ale standing in front of you on your coffee table.

But for Christmas, I’m recommending the opposite, even though it hasn’t yielded results yet.

And this is why: Sobriety should be a bitch some of the time.

Not all the time, as it’ll drive you crazy. Sure, go skydiving to stimulate you during your summer holiday, but don’t desecrate what Christmas is really about: pretending that Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is actually a good movie.

See Christmas as a challenge. It’s your soul-searching pilgrimage, though you’ll complete it with your ass firmly on the couch. I’ll be there with you, in spirit of Christmas past, pretending it’s funny when Maccaulay Culkin splashes aftershave on his face in Home Alone one and or two.

Also see it as your greatest challenge as a sober alcoholic. If you’re like me, and you probably are, those with whom you surround yourself see Christmas as a time when it’s  obligatory to open a can of beer before breakfast. The people are drunker, and the temptations and challengers greater, but so are the rewards.

Don’t waste this opportunity, which comes around but once a year, to step up to the plate and prove to yourself how cool you are with enjoying the monotony of life as a sober dude.

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Wimps.

So don’t hide your head in the snow and book that one-return-ticket skiing trip to some resort in France you can’t pronounce the name of; don’t visit that gimmicky ice hotel in Finland or some shit. Man up, and watch Love Actually with a stupid grim on your face, and do it with your shitfaced loved ones.

You’ll make it, and you’ll have been just as bored as everyone else, and it’ll feel really good when you’ve made that long pilgrimage to New Year, doing so in your shitty sweater and grandpa slippers.

Christmas, oh how I fear you, you filthy animal.


Thanks for reading! I promised an abrupt ending, and by God I delivered. For more incoherent ramblings, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by filling out the email notifications form in the top-right corner of the webpage. And if you’re connected with sober buddies on social media, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with them. At this very moment, they could be sitting on their couch, their hand shaking as they hold a Blu-ray copy of Home Alone, thinking about a fire-warmed cabin in the alps. They desperately need your help.

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Make Me Happy, You Son of a Bitch

This week, Dan suspects he’s suffering from SAD, and is going to rely on The Shining for answers.

I’ve been feeling a little blue lately. The type of blues you get when you’re hungover. Problem is, I haven’t touched a drop in almost four months. I’ve been a good little boy, and still the thought of sitting arched over a small dining table in a dimly lit room and playing Russian roulette with myself as I wear an underwear vest seems like a good idea.

I eat right, eating my broccoli like a boy scout, and exercise regularly. I also have two enjoyable and rewarding gigs: the first one, entertaining young kiddies in a kindergarten during the day by completing puzzles with them and listening to heavy metal music as we play air guitar solos, the second, writing comedic mysteries and thrillers for which I’m receiving modest but increasing compensation for the hours I put in before kiddie time.

I should be happy, but I’m not.

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“I just… I just wanted to make you happy.”

It’s been a mystery I’ve been unable to solve, even with the help of Jake Hancock. I’ve been unbearable to live with, snapping at my girlfriend for infinitesimal shit, and not enjoying my usual hobbies of long walks, listening to podcasts, and binge watching shitty horror movies.

For the sake of the drama of this blog post, let’s pretend I was at the end of my tether yesterday evening, which isn’t far from the truth. It was the highest point of conflict in this character arc, and I’d creepily, half-jokingly mentioned blowing my brains out to my girlfriend, and in my desperation had even searched on eBay for pistols and underwear vests.

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“I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sorry I forgot the tent.”

It was at this point my girlfriend, fingers crossed, suggested something that’s hopefully a breakthrough: “You felt like this this time last year. Maybe it’s got something to do with that seasonable something or other?”

I can’t remember how I responded, but let’s assume I made a noise similar to what a hot-air balloon makes five minutes before it crashes down to earth. I was ridiculing her suggestion, but she’d gotten me thinking.

Maybe she was onto something.

I picked up my tablet and started googling and learned about a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is often shortened to super-easy-to-remember acronym SAD. In a nutshell, it’s probably what Jack’s suffering from in The Shining, minus the hallucinations of two creepy twins who look too old to enjoy tricycles and the shining itself, whatever the fuck that is.

SAD stems from lack of sunlight during the winter and autumn months, and is no Joke. Just ask Olive Oil, who was forced to lock Popeye in a walk-in refrigerator because of how BAD his SAD had gotten. And it makes sense that I’d suffer from it. I’m the first to wear shorts at work in the spring, and I’ve always found Christmas to be a depressing affair. I’ve also got the emotional control of a starving eleventh-month-old with diaper rash.

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A baby exhibiting a rare moment of enjoyment by smiling at a photographer.

Could my girlfriend be right? Am I one of those frail little birds who spits his pacifier out just because I’m not getting enough sun? Am I one lonely hotel and extreme winter away from  forcing a loved one to lock me in a walk-in refrigerator to cool off?

Time will tell, as I’m sitting in front of hopefully the solution right now. It’s not my computer screen, as that’s more often than not the primary source of my frustration and anxiety—when I don’t know what the fuck to write for the next chapter in my novel or when Windows 10 decides to update itself. The solution’s shining into my eyes right now, hopefully messing with my serotonin levels as I type. It’s a bright light.

Make me happy, you son of a bitch.


Thanks for reading, even if this blog post has little to do with trials and tribulations of sobriety, and even less to do with comedy.

Don’t forget to follow this blog by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the webpage. And if you know a Jekyll that becomes a Hyde during the snowy months, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with them by generally posting it on social media and hoping they come across it.

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Handing Out Medals to Everyone Like a Circus Clown

Dan tells the story of when he pissed in the face of real achievement.

Around four years ago I involuntarily volunteered at the Oslo Marathon. That isn’t an oxymoron. It was a non-obligatory work obligation that I and my colleagues could volunteer for if we were to continue to be recognized as employees who were enthusiastic and had value. That and we were given a pair of running shoes for dragging our ostensibly enthusiastic asses down there early that Saturday morning.

My gig was to hand out medals to all the kids who competed in what I called the Kiddie Run, which by my estimation was the curious length of around 175 meters. Around a hundred kids competed in each ‘race,’ and my responsibility—along with seven or eight other volunteers, two of which were circus clowns—was to put a medal around their necks after they’d gone over the finish line and to congratulate them.

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“Do you think she’s noticed we haven’t built anything yet?”

These races were scheduled around five minutes apart, which means I handed a shit ton of medals out to a shit ton of kids, all of whom had competed, none of which had been recognized as the winner or a winner.

That kid who half-assed it, sauntering over the finish line as though he were a stoned college student ironically jogging towards an ice cream van, he got the same medal as the kid that ran like he was being chased by a serial killer through dense forestry.

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“Just look where I’m pointing.”

What does this have to do with sobriety?

As with all things pretentious, it’s a metaphor, for how we’re not supposed to judge alcoholics who relapse often, and how it’s okay if we relapse.

A couple days ago, I asked a work buddy what his plans are for this weekend. It was an attempt to be nosey about his drinking habits, and that attempt was successful. I suspect he’s a budding alcoholic, not yet in full bloom, but bulging with potential, and we have conversations like this from time to time, where I whisper to him about how my sobriety’s going and he whispers back about how well he’s doing at moderating his drinking.

He talked about a having couple beers with dinner and then stopping, and how he’d done this a couple times over the last week and that it’s his new groove. His new set of rules.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that day we spoke, I was a hundred days sober. A round number, unlike 175 or whatever my estimation of the length the Kiddie Run was. A number that’s a landmark in sobriety—my sobriety, at least—even though there’s no hundred-day chip doled out at AA to mark it.

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Two lengths of the pool. Fuck Yeah!

Even if I had realized it, I think the result would’ve been the same. In hearing about his new rule set—a couple beers with dinner, at 2.5 percent ABV, his new limit—my mind started wandering, thinking about if I could go back drinking, and if I could stick to this.

The answer is of course no. That would be like a migratory bird going for a short southbound fly during winter just to see what the fuss was all about.

My instinct would kick in, and there’s no way I could turn around and fly back to brave the winter. I’d find myself drunk on cervezas in Mexico, standing outside a bar and sharing a cigarette with and talking to a young male prostitute about my dreams and accomplishments as he stared at me, eyebrow raised, wondering whether I was going to pay him to receive a blowie, or at the very least hand back his cigarette I was hogging.

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Or I could have taken LSD and witnessed this, so to speak, instead.

When these times occur, when you think about getting off the wagon, you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to be the kid who knew he was going to get a medal and a pat on the back no matter how fast he ran? Or do I want to be kid who’d carry on running like a potential murder victim in a forest even if he shat himself halfway through the race?”

But do so in your head or when you’re alone, so you don’t look like a crazy person.

I’m sitting here a hundred and two days sober, and I didn’t decide I could go back to drinking under new rules, knowing deep down in my liver I’d fail, and that sobriety was something I could achieve at a different place and time.

I’m that kid who’s going to earn his medal, even if we all get one, no matter how much we achieve in our sobriety, and I’m going to run away from the threat of relapse like I’m running away from a serial killer.


Thanks for reading!

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How Many Out Of A Hundred Are Still Sober In Five Years?

This week, Dan tells you you’re not a beautiful snowflake, talks about cancer, and invites you to become a member of The Fisty Cuffs Club.

On some sobriety podcast I heard a statistic that scared the shit out of me. I can’t remember the exact figures, but it was something close to this: of alcoholics that get sober, only 10 percent of them are sober after one year, and after five years only ten percent of that ten percent remain sober.

Let’s run some numbers. Take a hundred drunks, get them in clinics doing hot yoga and talking about their feelings with strangers, and drill into them that they can never drink again, because if there’s one thing they can’t do, they can’t moderate how much they drink. Of those hundred people that hiked up a mountain for the first time, ten of those will still be sober after a year. The other ninety are excusing themselves from the dinner table to sneak off to the bathroom to take a sip of vodka they’ve hidden in a mouthwash bottle, or they’re sitting at a bar drinking their “just one more,” hoping beyond hope that the glass doesn’t get empty.

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“I’ll take the veggie burger, a side order of Parmesan fries, and one cocktail that I like to call Maintaining The Status Quo, please.”

But we’re not concerned with those people. At least for the purpose of this blog post. We’re looking at the guys and gals who—Jesus, I just realized I hate when people say guys and gals—who carry on going to AA, trade off booze for other healthy or healthier addictions, and collect their chips. Of those ten, only one of them stays the course for five years.

That’s one out of a hundred who’s still sober.

If you got cancer and were given an option of treatment that would make you sick as a circus clown during off season,  and you knew that there’s only a one-percent chance the treatment would work, that your cancer in its particular stage only had a one-percent five-year survival rate, the first thing you’d do is start thinking up dumb things to do for your bucket list and thinking about what song you want played at your funeral to make your loved ones tear up and think about what a great guy—or gal—you were.

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“Am I allowed to write ‘Not make a bucket list’?” said the smartass douchebag.

If you’re interested, mine would totally be ‘Leaving, On A Jet Plant’ by John Denver. It has a shitload of saccharin subtext in a funeral setting, and with its heavy dose of melancholy it would make the guests at my funeral so upset they’d probably forget to get shitfaced afterwards, which in some poetic but backwards way would be this blogger’s greatest achievement.

As a sobriety advocate, I’ve got tell you you’re a beautiful snowflake and that you shouldn’t be focussed on those other ninety-nine deadbeats, all the while knowing I’ve never made it to five years myself, but you can, God dammit.

And as someone who’s determined to stay sober today, and tomorrow—and, dare I say it, for the rest of my life—I’ve got to have Kanye West-level narcissism in the face of those statistics if I’m to remain convinced I’m going to achieve my goal.

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You’re my favorite reader, you snowflake you.

But that’s the thing about lifelong sobriety. It’s never achieved, not really. Here’s a happy thought: The only time that you’ve achieved it is after the moment you breathe your last breath, and then your consciousness isn’t even around to acknowledge your achievement, and it’s your life’s work! It’s left on a jet plane, and it’s impossible for it to know for sure whether it’ll be back again.

Jeez, I’m a ray of sunshine this morning.

Luckily for us, that statistic is just a statistic. And luckily for us, I have a pertinent cliché to quote: it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.

In writing this blog, I haven’t hidden my disdain for AA clichés, but in writing this particular blog post, it’s making me think about one in a different light: One day at a time…

One day at a time, I’m not looking forward to the future in a bad way.

One day at a time, I’m enjoying being sober.

One day at a time, I’m achieving my goal.

Fuck it, John can keep his jet plane, and the Dan that wrote the start of this blog post can shove back his opening in his ass where he pulled it from. Here’s a new one:

On some sobriety podcast, I heard a statistic that inspired the shit out of me…


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Bob Hoskins Playing the Devil with an American Accent

Dan had to buy booze for someone else’s consumption this week, and to do so he had to endure a conversation with the devil.

This week I had to visit an old friend: my local wine monopoly in some shit-splat district of Oslo.

The staff knows me well there. I always interacted with them with a smile, something which seems to be a rarity in Oslo, and I bought gin in quantities that suggested I either hosted a James Bond-themed dinner party most evenings of the week or I was a painter and decorator who stripped paint from walls in an uneconomical manner.

The reason I had to go back there wasn’t because I relapsed. My dad headed to New Zealand this week, and could fit me in for a flying visit. I hosted him and his wife for an evening, and I wanted them to feel comfortable: I wanted them to be able to drink, and for me to at least look cool about it.

I wanted them to have an experience that didn’t resemble what it was: spending an evening with an alcoholic who was white-knuckling his way through their drinking.

I could’ve gone to my local convenience store, picked up some Budvars or cans of the locally produced pilsner, but I hated going to people’s homes and drinking Coors Lite or the like. In Norway, regular store type stores can’t stock drinks with an ABV above 4.7 percent, which means having to go to a government-run liquor store—a wine monopoly—to get Belgian beers.

The type of stuff that’s worthy to serve to a guy I don’t see often enough now that I pay a mortgage away from home.

While selecting beers fit for my dad’s consumption, a voice groaned in my head: Mmm… You remember that one, don’t you, Dan?

It was either the devil or a demon I’ll probably spend the rest of my life with. The one that implores me to get shitfaced. I’m not religious, so I figured it to be the latter. And he spoke in the voice of Bob Hoskins, but with an American accent.

I did remember the one at which he caught me looking too long: Rochefort 11, a Belgian Trappist with a kick like a mule with fresh horse shoes but goes down like room-temperature nectar.

I ignored him and focussed on the task at hand: getting out of there with just enough beer for my dad. But Bob had other plans: How often does he visit, Dan? Once every two years? Three, at a push?

I shook my head, not because I didn’t know, but because I knew where the conversation was going. I would, because Bob was just saying what I’d been thinking about on the train ride there: If there were a time to have a little break from this silly sobriety thing you’re kidding yourself with, now would be the time, buddy, he said.

He’d referred to me as buddy because he wanted to maintain what little rapport he had with me despite belittling my achievement of nearly three months’ sobriety. I’m no dummy, but he made a compelling argument.

Realizing he’d skipped part of his argument he set the scene for the next evening: Jazz music, crisp coldness you get in 0slo this time of the year outside, but you two don’t care, because you’re relaxing inside in a dimly-lit apartment. All that’s cozy enough, as long as you can relax for the first time in three months. He paused, then went for the jugular. You’ve been struggling with that, haven’t you, buddy?

He was right. I wake at five every morning, work up to third gear by six o’clock with tea and nicotine, and then hit the ground running by hammering out between a thousand and one-thousand five-hundred words of fiction before going to my day gig, which requires tapping into fifth gear for seven and a half hours. And then I can relax, or at least attempt to.

I hadn’t responded to him, so, desperate, he relied on a cliché to further his argument: If there’s a guy who deserves to sit and drink a Rochefort 11 after a long day’s work, then it’s you, pal. It’s a no-brainer now that your pops’ll be there. Unwind, laugh, reminisce about old times, and sobriety’ll be there just where you left it. Admit it. You’ve missed it; you’ve missed me. You can pick up sobriety again just as easily as you can pick two, not one, bottles of that beer you’ve been staring at too long.

Before I got sober, I thought of sobriety as a sacrifice. But now that I’m into the swing of it, I realize it’s the opposite. By getting shitfaced every night, I was missing out on something that eclipses the feeling of drunkenness: the crispness of sobriety. Everything else—the increase in productivity, the slow climb upwards of my bank balance, and erections of a seventeen-year-old—is just a bonus.

And that shitty argument about being able to just get back on the wagon again? Even Bob knew that was weak.

He noticed I hadn’t taken anything off the shelf yet, so, taking that as sign his argument was gaining traction, he carried on. Worse, he worked the diplomatic angle before mining for a bundle of nerves: Look, forget that stuff I said about sobriety being silly. We both know it’s done you the world of good. But we’re heading out into unchartered waters. He paused. I’ll spell it out for you. You haven’t been funny since you quit drinking. That blog post you’ll write about this experience, I bet there’s not a single laugh in it up to this point, apart from some cheap smutty joke about your erections being better now that you’ve shit on our relationship. You haven’t been funny since you’ve been doing this shit sober.

I’d heard enough, so I got four or five beers, hastily selected, and not one that I’d earmarked for my consumption.

As I was paying, Bob showed his true colors. Gone was the diplomacy: You know what you are, Dan? A real pussy. I thought more of you. I really did.

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