The Five Big Hurdles of the Sober Dude’s Calendar

Some days being sober is like enjoying a relaxing ride on a merry-go-round. Other days it’s like surviving the sharp twists and turns of a Japanese roller coaster without shitting yourself.


Today’s the first day of my summer holiday from my kindergarten gig. This usually means the start of four weeks of drinking, pretending I like The Beach Boys way more than I do, and traveling to places that, when I get there, I wander around aimlessly and have no idea what I should be doing to justify the money spent on the trip. (I’m looking at you, Rome.)

“My name is Rome. You talking about me, pig shit face? Go fuck your grandmothers.”

But this year’s different. For the first time in five years, I’m sober for the first morning of the summer holiday, and all it took was getting through the first two or three white-knuckle hours after I’d finished work without buying a shitload of beer to achieve it. I don’t know about what your drinking career was like, but the first day of the summer holiday was my drinking equivalent of the Super bowl, the Rumble in the Jungle, or whatever race Formula 1 nerds orgasm over.

Edge-of-the-seat sweeping

I played a summertime playlist with some nerdy title on whatever music streaming service I was subscribing to at the time, I had a schedule of movies I’d watch (including Dazed and Confused), and the only food that past my lips was from a smorgasbord of golden-colored, greasy junk food. And, of course, I had a schedule of craft beers I’d work my way through. I’d cough up the cash for a packet of cigarettes and smoke on my balcony, too, because, well, it’s the summer holiday, so who needs lungs when they’re older?

“Lungs are for pussies.” – Me, the summer of 2016

Last night, I broke that routine, choosing to watch Jaws instead of Dazed…, and choosing to drink shitloads of caffeine and exclusively vape. I didn’t go out on my balcony, not because I thought it’d be a trigger, but because it rained like a motherfucker and the view from my balcony isn’t nearly as good when I’m not shitfaced and can barely see it from smoke stinging my eyes.

Now that I’m sober, this day will be my biggest test every year. People like to drink during the summer. It’s something to do with sunshine and having friends and whatnot. Fuck if I know. But what other testing days lie ahead of me? What other days will I have to apply a rear-naked chokehold for a few hours to the alcoholic squatting in my brain so I wake up the next day feeling alive?

Of course, there’s:

  1. Christmas Day

Nothing celebrates the birth of Christ quite like starting on mimosas before breakfast, getting progressively drunker throughout the day without your family members batting an eyelid, and arm wrestling your dad during a Christmas special of Doctor Who. This is the one day of the year when alcoholics feel most comfortable being around their family, because they’re riding the same crazy train you are for at least one day, and it’s also a day when talking to your granddad has never been so much fun. We’re all in it together, like one big stinking, steaming mess, and by good we’re having a good time. Except this year I won’t be. My orange juice will just have pulp in it. I’ll be sure to blog about my experience when I get there, but for now, I can only wonder whether my dad, well into his fifties, will be easier to overcome when I’ve been drinking carbonated water all day.

“Why isn’t the little shit interested?”
  1. Birthdays of significance

I’ve already got a regular one of these under my belt. This year’s. And I have to admit, I felt a little silly opening presents and celebrating the fact I’d made it to thirty-one years of age while I wasn’t shitfaced. It felt like running in a super-short kiddy marathon, getting my ass kicked by hordes of six-foot-five, one-hundred-and-twenty-pound thirteen-year-olds, and receiving a medal for just participating. I’m not too worried about these being a trigger until I reach a significant age like forty. Or if Bill Burr turned up to my apartment wanting to celebrate my birthday with me, and asked, “Why are you not having a drink on your birthday, you cunt?” before going on a non-rant about my generation vaping and not eating animal products.

“Just keep running until the fat creepy guy gasses.”
  1. Those days in Easter

There are a number of days during the Easter period that have various names. I can’t be bothered googling them, but I know one is called Good Friday. I’m a little hazy on the religious significance of them. All I know is that I’m not at work those days, as I get a break from work for Easter. I was pretty good at finding an excuse to get a little shitfaced every Monday evening, so give me the death of Jesus or some other guy to, uh, celebrate…? and I didn’t have to think too hard before I was riding the metro to the wine monopoly to buy a bottle of gin. Next year, I’ll be celebrating those days by raising a glass of lemonade and eating shitloads of chocolate like all the rest of the children.

Easter times?
  1. Anyone else’s birthdays

If I’m the overweight goofball running the super-short kiddy marathon on my birthdays, I’m the douchebag who’s grinning like an idiot and putting a medal around your neck for participating on yours. Reached the age of twenty-nine? Fuck yeah I’ll raise a glass to that.

“But isn’t it silly? Shouldn’t I wait until next year to have a big one?” you ask.

I reply, “Dude, you might never make it to thirty. People get hit by buses every day. Failing that, their girlfriend or wife is definitely plotting to kill them at some point. Besides, look at how shiny this medal you and every other person too lazy to run a proper marathon is getting.”

“Take it. It’s free… until it touches your hand.”

That’s the blog post for this week. Number five, as promised in the title, is the first day of the summer holiday, just in case you’re a bit of an idiot and feel a little shortchanged. I’ve already jumped that hurdle and am running towards the finish line that we alcoholics never reach. That of having achieved sobriety. In the race of alcoholism recovery, the fat creepy guy never gasses.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to subscribe to email notifications for when posts are published by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the web page. And as always, if I made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends by using the social media share buttons below.

Days sober: 27

My works of fiction can be checked out here.

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Author: Dan Taylor - Crime Fiction Author

Crime fiction author and silly man.

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