How To Shepherd the Weak into Alcoholics Anonymous

This week, Dan talks bad perfume, what climbing instructors wear, and why no one’s ever asked him to be the guy in charge of the barbecue.


I love being a member of AA. Sitting in a room full of other shitheads who can’t drink worth a dam really charges me up for staying sober the following week. It’s also great fun.

As an alcoholic, you probably find yourself recognizing other alcoholics in your social circle. Whether it be your friend of a friend who you found passed out on the can at some bar you were at, trousers bunched around his ankles, having passed out mid-poop; or your grandma, who, even though she’s incontinent, goes to the bathroom way more often than she should and comes back smelling not like Listerine or hand soap or that perfume she wears that’s two parts potpourri and one part toilet disinfectant.

Like me, if you go to AA and have discovered the many benefits of talking about your feelings with strangers and attempting to listen to them talk about theirs as you focus on the bit of spinach they have between their teeth, you’re probably tempted to try to help that person. You’ve seen the light; you’re never going to drink again; and you can imagine how much more content that person would be without getting shitfaced every morning, afternoon, evening, and night. You may feel tempted to pull that person aside, escorting them to a quiet corner of the room by their elbow, and then attempting to have a conversation with them about how much they drink and what they can do to stop.

“You drink too much. And while I’m whispering, I probably should let you know your breath stinks… not of booze. I can see how you’d think that was confusing.”

I’m going to give you the best advice you’ll ever receive on this blog, and that isn’t saying much: Don’t.

The reasons are many, and they fall into two distinct categories: 1) the selfish reasons, and 2) the bat-shit-crazy reasons.

Let’s start off with the selfish reasons:

  1. You may want to scream from the rooftops about your newfound sobriety and how good it is, but it won’t benefit you. Now that you’re sober, you’re like superhero. You have a superpower that you need to keep hidden. It might seem like a good idea to let Mary Jane know you can now climbs walls without the aid of a rope or an instructor clad in Lyrca, because you think it might finally get you laid, but it causes more trouble than it’s worth. If you let the cat out of the bag about your sobriety to help that the alcoholic in your social circle, the only good you’ll do is let people know you’re one missed promotion or speeding ticket away from being a shit show on wheels, which is to say you’ll do no good at all. You’ll just fuck your own shit up.
  2. You want as many friends and relatives on your side as possible, and to do that you’ll want to steer clear of judging people. Relationships are easily made, but they’re just as easily destroyed. Pointing out someone drinks too much and may have a problem isn’t akin to letting them know they have a spot of broccoli and blue cheese soup on their chin. It’s pointing out a major flaw they may not have been aware of themselves. There’s a reason people don’t invite their doctor to dinner parties, no matter how well they get on: No one wants to make small talk with someone that in the future may have to stick a finger up their ass.

(Forgive the goofy formatting. is to blame for this shit.)

Here are the bat-shit-crazy reasons:

  1. Talking to an active alcoholic about their drinking won’t motivate them to get sober. Chances are, you’ll just add another reason to the growing pile in their mind for why they should go get another vodka and soda, light on the soda. There’s also a good chance they may punch you or attack you with a closed umbrella—weather permitting.
  2. It will give AA a bad name. When Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door, and you make the effort to go answer it, and they’re standing there in their polyester suits, holding out a pamphlet for you to look at while simultaneously trying to have a conversation with you about the benefits of joining their religion, do you think A) wow, how proactive of that person to be spreading the word of God on a Saturday, or do you think B) go away? Right answer. Plus, how likely is it you’re talking to the one person on the planet who doesn’t know what AA is? That alcoholic in your life knows what AA is, and if they were ready or willing to go, they would’ve gone already, or would already be planning on going. Trying to be a promoter of AA is a bit like being a door-to-door airplane ticket salesman: You’ll either end up talking to someone who’s already planning to travel somewhere and has bought a ticket or someone who doesn’t even own a passport. Either way, you’ve achieved at least the minimum requirement for entry into the lunatics’ club.

So there you have it. Does it make you feel better that the best thing you can do is to do nothing, besides making sure your cape doesn’t stick out above your shirt collar? I know it made me feel great when someone gave me that advice last week, which motivated me to regurgitate it to you now in the form of this blog post. But then again, there’s a reason this blog isn’t titled Hilariously Full of Firsthand Wisdom.

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Penises Don’t Work When You’re Drunk for a Reason

So you’re sober and experience erections. Now what?

Like a lot men in their thirties with a job, a mortgage, and a functioning pair of testicles, I’m toying the with the idea of having children. Failing that, the plural, I can at least imagine having one.

Right at the point when I’m about to pull the trigger—to make a decision, not in a biological sense—I become hesitant.

I think of Saturdays. And how I’d feel giving up the endless hours when I plan on doing everything I thought about during workdays, but which I never get around to doing.

Despite being bored, this gorilla doesn’t know what a Saturday is.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with alcoholism, and, per the title of this blog, comedy. In the case of the latter, this shit hasn’t gotten funny yet, but stick with it, the comedy cogs might start turning in my head in a couple hundred words.

In the case of the former, this mindset of giving up my precious Saturdays was precisely one of my barriers to getting sober.

From graduating ten years ago until around two years ago, I developed a nice routine on Saturdays of refusing to do anything else apart from getting shitfaced. If you haven’t tried it, it’s real fun.

An alternative method.

It didn’t have to be a special occasion, like someone’s wedding or birthday—hell, I didn’t even have to be well. I’d drink until I couldn’t drink anymore, making various visits to the local convenience store to re-up. And for those eight or so years, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Then it had to stop. Saturdays started leaking into Sundays, and Sundays into Monday evenings, until every day was a Saturday, just some Saturdays I had to go into work before the fun could start.

I wasn’t a turn-up-to-work-shitfaced alcoholic who washed his FrootLoops down with a margarita, but I was an alcoholic of sorts.


Fast forward two years and more than my fair share of relapses, I’ve grown accustomed to drinking carbonated water and enduring the boredom of Saturdays with a smile.

I still don’t get anything done, especially not all the shit I think up when trapped at work, but I’ve grown into a moderately responsible person who pragmatically accepts every Saturday can’t be a wild party.

Which brings us to now, and the nagging feeling I should level up my adulthood and take the big leap of being a father.

Stranger danger.

Two hundred years ago, I imagine the choice would’ve been a more simple one. Having kids was a no-brainer or, failing that, an accident waiting to happen: You either had kids or there was no one to look after you or the farm when you started going pee-pee in your pants again.

Now things are a little different. Condoms and the pill, for instance, and the fact that I don’t know how to water rhododendrons, let alone provide a living by raising plants.

And when the effort to get up to go to the bathroom outweighs the feeling of sitting in my favorite chair without having soiled my pants, if that day comes, I can get in-home assistance from someone who’ll slap me around a little when we’re alone or grab my arm a little too tight when escorting me to my bath elevator.

Someone bathing unassisted, and in milk and oranges.

They didn’t realize it, but people had it much easier when they couldn’t choose to be selfish, which I for some reason am programmed to think of choosing not to have kids as being.

Selfishness was also what I thought about my lifestyle choice a couple years ago. That I was being selfish by choosing to get shitfaced every Saturday. But am I being selfish by not having children? Fuck yeah.

Here’s why: The only reason I exist is because someone decided to give up their Saturdays for me. Instead of going to see the latest Denzel Washington movie, they bought tickets to some piece of shit set in a universe where pets talk, and they sat there and pretended to laugh, so that I’d have a good time.

Voices, that’s what’s missing.

And I’m going to what? Not take my turn? Shake my head while I mumble that shit’s for someone else?

When you get sober, you’re not just quitting boozing, you’re quitting being a selfish jerk every minute of every day. You’re becoming responsible.

That shit takes time. This isn’t going to be a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation that happens in days and with seemingly no effort, apart from hanging from the branch of some tree while Mother Nature takes over.

I’m not there yet; shit, I haven’t yet fully let go of the caterpillar lifestyle, despite being sober. Not quite. As much I like to think I have sober Saturdays nailed—and I do, when there’s no adversity—I still miss those heady Saturdays when the only selfless thing I’d do was get up off the sofa to go the refrigerator for the next round of beers.

But if I had to choose between going back to those Saturdays and watching the occasional kiddy movie, I know which I’d choose.

So what are you waiting for, Dan? Stop being selfish and take your turn. Who knows, you might actually like the latest Eddie Murphy movie.

Thanks for reading! For other blog posts like this, don’t google “Funny sobriety blogs.” There’s an easier way. Click the follow button some place on this page. It just involves the mouse. If this post made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share it with your friends on social media. If you think about it, and you probably should, you’re being selfish by keep the enjoyment you gained all to yourself.

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The Big Question

One windy night, someone, somewhere, will look you straight in the eye and ask you why you’re drinking a soda instead of a beer.

I was shit-tired, relaxing at a work get together, drinking a can of Red Bull, when a colleague noticed I was neither A) drinking booze, nor B) enjoying myself as much as everyone else.

I was having a good time. It was a Friday evening, at least, so I guess I was in good spirits. I was smiling, I think, or at least I was trying to, it’s just Friday evenings don’t have the same joviality and sense of release they offered when I got shitfaced. Come to think of it, he probably didn’t notice the latter at all. I was imagining things. It was the can of Red Bull that gave me away. Now that I think about it, if I’d had a can of beer in front of me, or if I’d been standing on a table, a half-drunk bottle of champagne in my hand, singing ‘Lady In Red,’ I may have been a little more conspicuous.

Groucho Marx glasses, with free lazy eye.

Whatever it was, the guy turned to me and asked me why I wasn’t drinking. It’s probably worth noting at this point that he did so in Norwegian, the language they funnily enough speak in Norway, my place of residence.

The reason I mention it isn’t to add color to this story, or to show off about my being bilingual, it’s because to answer that question from an alcoholic’s perspective is a little more problematic in Norwegian. In English, I’d say, “Because I don’t drink,” and the person who asked the question would be able to fill in the blanks. They’d either assume I was alcoholic or one of those people who no one can relate to at a party who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol.”  But in Norwegian, you’d say the same sentence if you meant you didn’t drink at all or if you meant you weren’t drinking that evening. Or maybe my Norwegian just sucks, or my communication skills in general.

After I’d responded, probably getting the pronunciation all fucked-up, there was a moment’s silence, and then he asked, “Just tonight, or…?” It was one of those long ‘ors’, with the pause before it you could peel a banana in, the type that asks fifty questions all at once.

Let’s back up a bit. There’s a bit of exposition I left out. Part of my routine for staying sober is to listen to sobriety podcasts, to regularly reinforce and remind myself that drinking’s not for me. I suck balls at it. A drinking session for me starts with a beer in some bar in Oslo, and ends with me waking up in a boat off the coast of Poland, sleeping next to some fisherman’s dog. On one of these episodes of one of these podcasts, the host said nobody would notice when you’re not drinking at a party, or if they did, they wouldn’t care. And if the stars were aligned just right, or if it were a blue moon or some shit, and they did notice and happened to care, they definitely wouldn’t ask you about it.

But here I was, finding out that isn’t the case. At least where I live, on that certain evening, sitting next to that specific guy. Sure, the guy hadn’t asked me about it outright, but with that long-ass ‘or’ he may as well have asked me if I was prone to slapping my wife around when I got shitfaced on a Friday evening. At the least, it was one of the fifty questions he’d asked me.

A banana skin.

I just came out and said it: “I don’t drink alcohol.”

Turns out I was wrong about what I said about Norwegian and its grammar letting down the alcoholic in that situation. That’s what I should have said. I don’t drink alcohol. But to be fair to me, in that social setting, with everyone else drinking at the table, and the way I shifted in my seat before I said, “I don’t drink,” the words Red Bull may as well have been replaced with Degenerate’s Pick-Me-Up.

From a distance, “fish chips.”

Not that he’s to blame for this awkwardness. I’m the guy who ruined booze for myself. He didn’t force me at gunpoint to drink eight or nine or ten cans of beer every Saturday for as long I can remember. From his perspective, he’s just getting to know a colleague a little better, and the few beers he’d drunk had made him brave enough to do it. But from my perspective, with the fucked-up relationship with the shit he can put down just as easily as he can pick up, he may as well have been asking me what subgenre of porn I enjoy.

Tentatively, he asked something along the lines of, “Would it be intrusive to ask why?”

I thought a second, and then surprised myself by blurting out, “Yes,” before laughing to diffuse the awkwardness. Clearly, I’d handled this situation without embarrassing either one of us. I’d have one less person who’d bother to make small talk with me at the next work get together.

I’ve been thinking about this situation now and again the couple weeks since it happened, and how I can best handle it the next time I trade some shitty movie on a Friday evening for socializing with my work buddies. The coward’s way out would be to decant a can of non-alcoholic beer into a glass and hide the empty bottle under a shit-ton of toilet paper in the bathroom waste paper basket. But I didn’t manage to get sober by following the path of least resistance. I got sober precisely because I didn’t want to be a coward any longer.

And even if that were an option morally and spiritually, non-alcoholic beer isn’t my bag. The baby needs his bottle on a Friday night, and his new bottle is laced with eye-bulging levels of caffeine.

I have to also consider that I don’t exactly want to advertise in a work setting that I’m shit at drinking moderately.

The best response I can come up with when someone asks me The Big Question is this: Smile, pause a couple seconds—the length of time it takes me to work out how to prepare a mango—and then say “or…” with a creepy look on my face.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by filling out the form at the top-right corner of the webpage. And if this 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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Kids Are Kick Ass at Being Sober

In his search for happiness post-booze, Dan gets serious. He steals a good time on some dude’s trampoline.

On Wednesday, I was wearing a pair of fur-lined slippers, relaxing with an espresso, vaping may favorite of eliquid, and watching an R-rated movie, when a thought came to mind: kids are shit happy. Like all the time. They run around like hamsters, ear-to-ear smiles on their faces, shoveling sand from one place to another. Some of the non-toilet-trained ones even have a mass of their own feces stuck to their butt, and it doesn’t affect their mood whatsoever.

Photographic evidence.

And then I started to think about my own childhood, and more importantly, what the key differences are between childhood and adulthood.

Like most kids, my childhood didn’t involve getting shitfaced every Friday night. Not only that, but I can’t remember getting shitfaced once. And come to think of it, not one of my friends was a deadbeat drunk who slapped his wife around and rocked up to work on a Monday morning stinking of the weekend’s Jack Daniels and cokes.

We were kids, and we were happy.

Happiness,  and not a Sex on the Beach insight.

So what’s changed now that we’re adults? What are the other key differences apart from we feel that the shit we do during the day should be punctuated with drugs and or booze, maybe with a hooker or two? We’re older, obviously. We can no longer do cartwheels. And we’re forced to pay bills and provide things in the absence of our parents doing so. We may have a bum left shoulder, or our dreams may have been crushed by the reality that we’re just not good enough to achieve them.

But can we achieve the same level of happiness in adulthood as we did in childhood without getting out of our minds on Belgian beer or laboratory-grade crack cocaine?

This summer, I set out to find out if it’s possible, and the results will most definitely not surprise you.

In interest of science, I went on long walks and even longer bike rides, stopping off at places to get icecreams, go swimming in lakes, and hop up and down on some dude’s trampoline while I hoped he wasn’t in, and I had a hell of a time. And not in the way I enjoyed the daytime stuff I did when I was an active alcoholic and when I knew I’d get shitfaced afterwards: nursing a hangover, half-smile on my face, thinking that this is a pretty a good way to kill time before I can get back on with entertainment I’d deemed appropriate for an adult.

During this summer, I came to realize that all that stuff I did as a kid to fill the long summer days is just as fun as a thirty-something with a bum left shoulder, who has put his own food on the table and has a mortgage.

Somewhere between then and now, I’d forgotten how good you feel doing all that shit.

I’m sure it wouldn’t have been as much fun with a diaper around my ass filled with my own piss and shit, but you get the point.

There’s a kid still inside you, like Michael Jackson had, but in a good way. You just have to quit booze and drugs to rediscover that smiling lunatic. That and put down your iPad or iPhone.

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You’re Sober And Feeling Great, But Now What?

Jackie Wilson wasn’t content with just feeling amazing. He wanted to feel ecstatic. So should you, you ex-drunk.

Early, early sobriety is refreshing. We alcoholics were used to feeling shitty all the time, apart from the times when we were tipsy. And then we feel relatively great all the time, bar illness or a mild concussion after slipping and falling head first onto a miniature picket fence, an injury I recently received during a game of hide-and-seek while at my day gig.

Today I woke up at 5:30 AM. On a Saturday. I hadn’t set an alarm, and it didn’t feel a pain for my body to have decided to awake at that time.

In the nearly four weeks I’ve been sober this time around, I’ve lost weight, I’m getting the best sleep I’ve ever had, and I’m churning out fiction like a motherfucker. I don’t feel amazing, like SpongeBob SquarePants high on laboratory-grade ecstasy. But compared to how I felt when I thought a bottle of gin on a Monday evening was a perfectly reasonable amount to drink, I feel like a million dollars and change.

But it’s already starting to feel a little old.


The memory of what a hangover feels like is fading, as is the memory of the feeling of drunkenness, which is lending it a dangerous intrigue, the type I’d imagine a depressed, at-the-end-of-his-tether Japanese businessman has for a noose and a tree with robust, low-hanging branches.

So, what next? Do I count the sober days off, happy with the progress I’ll make just staying sober, or do I think of other ways to improve my mood, sense of wellbeing, and all around happiness?

The answer of course is the latter.

It was a rhetorical question, like when Adolf Hitler asked himself if he was going to kill a fuck-ton of people because they’re different from him.

He was a lovable rascal.

Feeling great is my new high, and just like the way I planned my drinking sessions like a military operation, I’m going to spend the next five-hundred words thinking of new ways you and I can reach new highs when just being sober isn’t enough.

  1. Exercise until you throw up a little afterward while brushing your teeth

Runner’s high is a thing. I read it in a recent article/study. Even mice experience it, which is totally something a scientist would say. But it isn’t because of endorphins. Apparently, their effect on the brain is an old wives’ tale. Regardless of the science, people feel great when exercising after exercise, which is probably the most obvious thing I’ll ever write on this blog. What isn’t obvious is that a short session of super-intense exercise should be your exercise style of choice if you want to feel as high as possible without feeling a slump in energy afterward, the type of exercise that makes your gums hurt.

I don’t know how mice react to having to run so fast up and down stairs they feel like their heart might explode, but it feels great to me afterwards. Hell, I even feel great about writing this blog post after my stair run this morning, knowing full well this is definitely one of the shittiest posts I’ll write.

I’ve exercised in the past, of course. It isn’t new. But this time I’m going to stick with it.

Someone went in vitro…
  1. Go to bed early

When you’re sober, you might look back and wonder why you stayed up until the wee hours, listening to a Bonnie Tyler record, as you attempted to set the new Guinness World Record for the length of time it takes to sip a beer to completion. The morning is your new domain. While off-the-wagon alcoholics are lying in bed, ignoring their morning boner because of the throbbing heartbeat in their head and the seeming cat litter in their mouth, you can feel great about life, and feeling rested is the best way to do that, which is the second most obvious thing I’ll write on this blog. When I get invited out to parties now and the start time is after 6 PM, I respectfully decline. I’ll be in my pajamas at that time, thinking about all the cool shit I can do tomorrow.

While I’ve been great at doing this on school nights, I haven’t at the weekends. Last night, I went to bed at ten, probably an hour or two before my ninety-year-old-plus granddad, and I don’t regret it one bit. I didn’t lose anything, but gained so much more.

  1. Eat food that makes people irrationally angry on Facebook

Burgers, pizzas, and KFC gravy are all amazing things for the taste buds. For your sense of wellbeing, not so much. If you want to have a shit-ton of energy to do all the cool shit you can do now you’re sober, and to have really clear thinking, you have to A) avoid processed foods, and B) eat vegan, and C) never drink calories or artificial sweeteners. It won’t make you popular on Facebook, but you won’t give a shit about that as you’re cycling to your local lake to go swimming to the sound of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ blasting out of your portable Bluetooth speaker. You’ll do so while ignoring that that feel-good song is just a big fuck-you to Neil Young.

Southern Man.

So there you have it. Go to bed early, eat like an athlete but train like a soccer mom, and have a larger collection of pajamas than you do evening suits. That’s what I like to call the Feeling Shit-Good Triangle. Snappy title.

Thanks for reading, even if this blog post was as laugh-free for me as it was for you.

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Five Reasons Not To Drink, Even If You’re NOT An Alcoholic

You don’t have to consider yourself an alcoholic to gain the advantages of never drinking again.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I drank a shitload of alcohol and came out the other side, realizing what bullshit it is.

I don’t have any statistics at hand, and I don’t expect you, the reader, to have an unrealistic expectation that a blog titled Hilariously Sober would provide any, but I’m willing to bet my twenty-odd days’ sobriety that most people who start drinking never quit.

They’re missing out.

“I don’t know. It feels pretty good to us.”

There are two opposing schools of thought for alcohol consumption among individuals: One) that some people can drink alcohol responsibly and it won’t ever be a problem in their life, apart from the occasional hangover and typo-ridden text message sent to an ex at 2 am; and two) that alcohol is a highly addictive and mass-consumed poison that, if it doesn’t get you, will get someone you know.

By ‘get’, I mean it either A) ruins their life, or B) contributes to or is the sole cause of an disease that kills them, or C) both.

No, the humble mosquito, no one’s shitting on you again.

Here at Hilariously Sober we like to keep it light and humorous, so for this blog post’s sake, I’ll go ahead and say I subscribe to School of Thought One. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think occasional, non-problematic drinkers wouldn’t benefit from swapping their microbrew for a glass of soda water at parties.

And here are the reasons why:

  1. You’ll save a metric shit-ton of cash

I live in Norway, where alcohol is priced as though it’s produced only five times a day in small quantities as it leaves the bladder and then urethra of the Dalai Lama. Chances are, wherever you live, alcohol is much more reasonably priced, like it’s made in vast quantities and the yeast does the hard work and doesn’t even receive a pay check.

Wherever you live, and assuming you’re not one of those rare creatures that only drinks one mimosa on their birthday or at Christmas, for which your spouse or grammy pays, you’re spending a shitload of cash on booze.

Looking at my sobriety tracker app on my phone, it estimates I’ve saved over five-hundred dollars in eighteen days. At the end of the year, after I’ve got through it one day at a time, I’ll have enough cash to take a trip to Disneyworld and even come home with official merchandise souvenirs.

Of course, you likely don’t spend nearly as much as I did on booze, because of geography and you don’t think Belgian-strength beer is the dessert to your bottle-of-gin main course, but by quitting you’d probably save up enough for a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Spain. The type of place it’s advisable to go for the vegetarian option on the evenings you stay within the confides of your partially built hotel.

I’m just kidding. You’ll get to see someone torture a bull to death.

2. Jesus, mornings are now fun

When I was drinking, Sunday mornings were like the second half Mulholland Drive, where Naomi Watts’s character has shitty skin and shouts at her girlfriend a lot, before she gives up and wallows on the sofa. Now, I when wake up and walk into my living room I feel like the Naomi Watts character in the first half of the movie, when she’s travelling down the elevator at LAX with her aunt, looking all sparkly eyed around at her surroundings as though she’s definitely, probably going to become a famous actress in the near future.

If you’re not a problem drinker, I’ll go ahead and assume the above only applies to you the occasional weekend morning. But still, you work hard all week long to make it to the weekend without having pissed off your boss, so why not take back those occasional Saturday and Sunday mornings and make them a time to feel good about life?

Shit happy.

3. You’ll get better at socializing… way better

When I drank, a regular at-home evening meant getting slowly dumber, eventually resulting in me singing along to ‘Lady in Red,’ only stopping singing to lecture my girlfriend on some shit I knew nothing about. If I was in company, at a party or whatnot, I’d end up talking about my professional achievements as though I were Bill Gates or some shit.

At the time, I probably thought it was fun, the former, and I probably thought in the latter example that I was a valued party guest. But then again, during those boozy evenings and nights, I considered the cooked-from-frozen falafel from my local takeaway to be top-notch cuisine.

Every time I quit drinking, I realize how fun it is to socialize while not drinking. I stay sharp and the banter with the people with whom I’m spending my time never devolves into arguing who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman.

You might think you’re entertaining when shitfaced at your next office Christmas party, but more likely you’re a dead-eyed shit show in a clip-on bowtie who’s giving off a rapey vibe.

The day after the night before, if office Christmas parties tended to be scheduled on a school night

4. You’ll get a lot of shit done—a lot a lot

Is it your dream to write pulp fiction mysteries about a PI with a high-class call girl as his shrink? Want to give back to the community and ladle out soup to homeless people? You can do all those things with the time you spend hungover, thinking occasionally about death and what constitutes the perfect breakfast. But you have to not poison yourself the night before. Do this, and you’ll gain hours the next day to pursue your dreams and give yourself purpose beyond the job you probably hate. And you’ll also gain the motivation to pursue them and the creativity it takes to make them a reality, which I promise is the closest I’ll ever come to sounding like Tony Robbins on this blog.

Or this guy.

5. You’re not missing out on anything, you’re gaining a great deal

One of my barriers to quitting drinking and a cause for many a relapse was the nagging feeling that I was missing out. I no longer believe that bullshit. I thought that by choosing to stay sober, I was missing out on a hell of a time at Christmas, on my birthdays, and on Friday nights. And during my previous failed attempts to stay sober, I struggled to quell these thoughts. I felt like Jesus with a cross to bear, and all I wanted to do was drop it and make a gin and tonic.

Now, I know the truth. By drinking, I was missing out on all the memories I could’ve made, the personal and professional achievements that I could’ve pursued, and all the fun I could’ve had with all the money and time I didn’t free up. The next time you go to the bar, lift up that drink you just paid for and look at it. Think about what you’re gaining from it, and what you’re throwing away by drinking it, if, unlike that Miss Goody Two Shoes with the glass of mimosa on Christmas Day, it leads to one more, and one more, and one more…

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You’re an Alcoholic if…

Here at Hilariously Sober, we don’t like to be all Judgy McJudgy-Judgerson, but we do like to contemplate what it means to be an alcoholic.

Last night I went to my first party since getting back on the wagon. I had hoped that I’d get a metric shit-ton of material out of the experience for this blog or, failing that, at least a blog post.

But it went without a hitch. It only took me around an hour to not feel self-conscious about being one of the few people who weren’t drinking, I had a good time, and none of my male colleagues slapped any female colleagues on the ass or insisted that our boss do the tango with them to the beat of the ‘Macarena’.

So what am I supposed to do, write about how swimmingly and to-plan everything went? Any comedy writer worth his or her salt knows nothing funny ever comes out of good stuff happening. Take Schindler’s List, for example; that’s got to be worst comedy I’ve ever seen.

So in lieu of another super-funny blog post about surviving a party sober or a wildlife-study style blog post about drunk people at parties, I’m pulling this blog post directly out of my ass and onto the screen of your tablet, phone, or, if you’re slacking off at work, desktop computer.

You’re not fooling anyone, buddy.

Part of my routine for motivating myself to stay sober is to beam sobriety culture into my ears in the form of a podcast. It’s my way of avoiding filling up my time with AA meetings, so I can do a load of fun shit instead.

One of my weekly listens is The Recovery Elevator. The format of the show consists of the host interviewing a recovering alcoholic about their sobriety story. Terms like “journey,” “higher power,” and “spiritual growth” get thrown around like bubbles at a Hilary Clinton rally, but I enjoy it, nonetheless.

Her manifesto might be shitty, but God damn if she can’t throw a bubble party.

At the end of the interview, the host asks the interviewee to complete the sentence “You’re an Alcoholic if….” I’ll likely never be interviewed on that podcast while I subtly plug my books and social media shit, but if I did, here are my four or five ways to finish that sentence.

You’re an alcoholic if…

  1. You plan your drinking sessions like a military operation

If you’re like me, liberating a people from their tyrannous dictator isn’t enough for you. You want to get their oil and besmirch their religion and way of life, too. And that shit takes some grade-A planning, and coordination with far-right-wing-leaning news organizations. When I got drunk, I planned my drinking sessions like a forty-day trip around the world. I’d eat a light lunch so I got shitfaced faster and to a greater degree, I had the schedule of liquor-based drinks and craft beers mapped out well in advance, and the day’s and evening’s entertainment would be all planned out before I even filled up my glass with ice to leave little room for the tonic. Clearly, this isn’t the behavior of a casual drinker. It’s the behavior of a lunatic hell-bent on ruining alcohol for himself for the rest of his life.

“The dog’s great and everything, but can you do one in the shape of a beaker minus a couple centimeters… This beaker here?”
  1. You don’t get that one-glass-of-wine-with-dinner shit

If you look around carefully when you’re at a restaurant, you’ll spot someone who’s wholly engaged in conversation with the person or people they’re dining with and who rarely, if ever, glances down at their glass or scans the room for where their waiter is. If this person’s level of detachment from their alcoholic drink situation seems strange to you or, if you’re like me, it outright scares the shit out of you, you might have a problem.

When I got my drink on in restaurants, I got a little panicky. My level of shitfacedness depended on someone who might not care about receiving a tip at the end of the evening, and the people I was dining with might frown upon my waving over the waiter for a refill every half hour like I was helping a jumbo jet land. I could never relax in those places as a drinker. Baby needed his bottle, and he’d be dammed if Mommy or the babysitter controlled how often he got it. If this sounds anything like your dining experiences, drinking might not be for you. Oh, and here’s another link to my books.

Here he comes… finally.
  1. The only friends you have are drinking buddies

I don’t have many friends now, and not just because I’m an insufferable jerk. After quitting drinking, I realized that most of the friends I have back in my home country* are just pub buddies, like spotters are to gym rats, only without the duty of care and offers of cut-rate anabolic steroids. All we ever did was get drunk together. Now that I’m sober, my criteria for friends have somewhat changed from just sharing alcohol dependence: I need friends who are slightly shittier than I am at squash, who think a café is a worthwhile place to spend their time, and who think that one high-five per evening is more than enough.

*This isn’t a euphemism; I live in Norway and come from England. The reason I don’t have friends here is that I’m thirty-two and enjoy wearing pajamas way too much. Speaking of pajamas and the opposite of what I said…

Two imposters at a Jason Statham lookalike competition.
  1. You’re debating with yourself whether you’re an alcoholic

At my last workplace, I asked a colleague about her drinking habits. I was interested in getting the perspective of a seemingly balanced young Swedish lady. Her response was, she didn’t get drunk every weekend, never during weekdays, and she couldn’t remember, when pressed, the last time she got drunk. It might’ve been at some party around eight weeks ago. Or not. Chances are, if you’re making an effort to moderate your drinking and failing, or if you regularly talk to yourself in the mirror about whether you have a problem, as the heading phrasing implies, or if you’re the lunatic asking your colleagues about how often they get drunk, then Grandpa’s old cough medicine might be best kept as a medication for the sniffles.

Stupid science with its facts and whatnot.

So there you have them. Turns out it was only four, and five would’ve been a much rounder number. Shoot.

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