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.

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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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So This Is What You Look Like Before Noon?

Two months later Dan returns to the scene of the crime, his favorite bar in Oslo, and comes to the realization that one-year-olds shouldn’t eat burgers.

There’s no better place to convince yourself your drinking’s not a problem than at a bar. It turns out the opposite of that is also true.

My place, when I celebrated birthdays, couldn’t find a decent movie to download from a totally reputable website on a Saturday night, or wanted to find a place that serves alcohol on Sundays, was The Amundsen, downtown Oslo.

It was also the place I went to pretend I had friends, even if the drunken-idiot version of myself knew deep down the people with whom I tried to talk thought the shit I was choosing at random to say to them a chore to listen to.

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“Did I ever tell you about the time I got guacamole on my chin at a dinner party and it was a really funny and interesting story?”

The last couple months, hopefully the first couple months at the start of the rest of my life of sobriety, I haven’t exactly been dying to go back there. I had a few bad experiences where drinking buddies ratted me out for being too wasted, and standing around pouring shit down my throat (now non-alcoholic shit) for the few hours it’d take to justify the metro travel time to get there, doesn’t seem as appealing as binge watching HBO TV series and drinking cola now that I’m sober.

But last weekend I went for the first time without the intention of getting shitfaced.

I didn’t go there by design. I had decided to eat in town before I went to the movie theater, and had planned on going to McDonalds for the first time in around ten years. When we arrived at Ronald McDonald’s Type 2 Diabetes Shack, my girlfriend and I, you’d think they were giving away burgers for free by the length of the queue. Sure, I wanted to eat a McSausage or some shit ironically—to reminisce or feel silly or both—but I didn’t want to wait twenty minutes to get it.

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“You see this place here? This is the place we don’t want to go.”

Plus, it wasn’t just my quantitative analysis of the queue that was the issue; when I glanced at it, I also did some of the qualitative variety, and came to this conclusion: The diners at that particular McDonald’s would make a solar-eclipse-looking venn diagram with the type of Snapchatting, OMG-saying douchebag that goes to a Miley Cyrus concert.

I’m lazy by nature, so I decided for the both of us that we should just go around the corner to The Amundsen. I suggested it nonchalantly, like it was no big deal. I told her that we could go in there, order non-alcoholic drinks, eat a classy burger, and make it out in the time it would take before we could even barely see the menu at McD’s, having to do so over six-feet-seven fifteen-year-olds.

To top the argument off, I shrugged, and shot her a look that said, What’s the worst than can occur? avoiding any Dr Pepper intellectual property theft.

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Generic lemon and lime soda drink.

It’s worth noting at this point that The Amundsen isn’t the type of place that has a whole row of beer taps consisting of the same brand of domestic, but the type of watering hole that has a microbrewery housed in a glass-walled alcove for all to see. It’s the Mecca in Oslo for beer snobbery, the type of place that groups beers in refrigerators by style and sets the temperature accordingly.

I’ve gotten used to going to my local convenience store and avoiding looking at the selection of beer they have there, but going here and achieving that was like stepping up from boxing a beer-bellied slob at some local darts hall’s amateur boxing event to surviving the championship rounds with Mike Tyson… or some other ubiquitously feared boxer who’s relevant in 2017.

I couldn’t run past the beers, make it to the cheese refrigerator, and breathe a sigh of relief. Beers were everywhere. I felt like I was in Vietnam and had ignored LSD and dye-tie flares in favor of drill sergeants and five-o’clock starts. They were everywhere, and they were staring at me like I was the uniform who’d raped the wives and daughters of their bamboo-shack village. They wanted to fuck me up, in a bad way.

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Vietnam is now a holiday destination, like Disneyworld, but without Floridian college students dressed in Goofy suits.

We survived the beer-selection firing squad, got our non-alcoholic beers, ordered a couple burgers that read great on the menu, was seated by a Swedish waiter making bank in Oslo before he would go back to Sweden to study, and tried to relax.

It was like the good old days. Like we’d earned it.

It was then that I knew that I’m an alcoholic.

The couple weeks before, I’d been questioning whether I have a lifelong problem with boozing. As the number of days you’ve been sober become weeks, and then months, it’s only natural. Hell, if I were a serial killer, and for two months I’d managed to not lure a naïve twenty-something to my LGV in the parking lot of some bar, abduct her, and keep her locked up in my dungeon before killing her and wearing her skin, I’d start to convince myself I wasn’t still a criminally insane lunatic with mommy issues.

But it wouldn’t make it so.

I might have refrained from killing someone for a relatively decent length of time, but by God I still bought lotion in bulk from Costco.

To cut a long story short, during the time I spent in that bar, I felt like a one-year-old who wasn’t allowed his bottle. I was whiny, on edge, and I was one customer talking too loudly away from knocking my burger off my highchair.

Relaxing at a bar is no longer a thing I can do. But that’s fine. I didn’t like the motherfuckers that went there anyway.

There’s no better place to convince yourself your drinking’s not a problem than surrounding yourself with alcoholics, and it turns out the opposite of that is also true.


Thanks for reading, but don’t stop here! I’ve got some shit to plug first.

Don’t forget to A) follow this blog by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the webpage, B) check out my works of fiction here, and C), if this post made you laugh out loud three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends on social media.

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Stat Angry at Alcohol – That Motherfucker Deserves it

Staying sober is like that Chris Nolan movie when the dude has to tattoo shit all over his body to find out it was he who killed his wife anyway.

One of the hardest things about quitting booze is our short memories. That, and we’re suckers for destructive relationships.

We get shitfaced, we wake up hungover and realize what a mistake it was, and then we get back on the wagon. We feel the sweet relief of being free from the exhaustion of drinking and get back to our hobbies; we start to enjoy the simplicity of watching TV with a glass of carbonated water, and wonder why the fuck we hadn’t done it more often.

That first week is easy. It’s like taking candy from a baby with carpal tunnel syndrome.

And then we start to forget how shitty drinking is and all the bullshit that comes along with it: the depression, the expense, the trips to the liquor store and the thinly veiled raised eyebrows when we put our two bottles of cheap gin on the conveyor belt, and madness of handing over money for bags of ice from the store when that shit can be made in a home appliance everyone has, if only we were organized enough to have made them. Who knew?

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You can also harvest it from a glacier, if that’s easier than filling up the ice cube tray and placing it in your freezer three to four hours before drinking time.

Not only do we start to forget that shit, but we start romanticizing the times when we drank. We filter out all the bad experiences and remember all the fun times. When I think back to my childhood summers, I remember them being exclusively like the plot of Stand by Me, when a lot of it was staring through the patio window, willing the rain to stop so I could go out and play.

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A fair-to-middling English summer

Alcohol cravings are like that shitty ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who desperately wants you back. When they’re advocating you two should get back together, they’re not going to give a balanced, fair of assessment of how well you worked together. They’re going to remind you of that time you had a blast watching SpongeBob SquarePants while shitfaced on mojitos, and hope you don’t remember the time they slapped you about the face for buying still instead of sparkling White Zin.

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A wine dispute involving paint.

I’m on the wagon again, and I think it’s for good this time. And this is why: I’m shit angry at booze, and this time I’m holding a grudge.

If ever there were ever a time that it’s healthy to hang on to negative emotions, quitting drinking is that time.

Don’t forgive that motherfucker. Because she or he hasn’t changed. It’s still the same lying piece of shit it was when you left it. And for all those good times it gave you, it came with a shitload of baggage that some other sap can deal with. You’re too good for that shit.

Stay angry at alcohol. That motherfucker deserves it.


Although this blog post was shitty, thanks for reading anyway. Don’t forget to sign up for email notifications of when new blog posts are published by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the screen. And if I made you laugh out loud three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends on social media by using the share buttons below.

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Am I an Alcoholic Revisited

After being sober awhile, you may question whether you’re an alcoholic. I did, and nearly ended up ordering three blue chimneys.

One of the first blog posts I wrote was an off-the-wall quasi-alcoholism-self-diagnosis guide that I partially used to recognize I was an alcoholic. It was only semi-serious, meaning that while it was true, it wasn’t exactly a heart-to-heart with myself, looking deep into my soul or some shit, but centered on more flippant, humorous signs of alcoholism.

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Me: “Dan, you really need to quit drinking.” Myself: “You think I don’t know that shit.”

Today, I’m three months sober, which I consider to be a milestone. More so than ten weeks, or two months, and, weirdly, probably more so than five months, when I eventually get to that. Maybe it’s because three months is the length of a season; maybe it’s because good things come in threes (that’s a saying, right?); or maybe it’s because in my sobriety I’ve reached a Zen-like state where the past and future seem irrelevant, and I only think of the present, which gives this milestone sole significance over the sobriety milestones of the future and past.

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So that settles it.

The last couple weeks, the question of whether I’m an alcoholic has been on my mind. For the sake of thematic coherence, I definitely think it’s related to the three-month milestone.

At times during the last couple weeks, I’ve felt indifferent about drinking. I’m over it, and that my life as an alcoholic is like one of those night terrors I get from time to time, when I run around my apartment naked, dreaming that I can’t breathe while still being kind of awake. But it’s over now, and I can return to bed and go to sleep after I’ve checked underneath it for the boogeyman.

I’ve even thought about changing the title of this blog to Hilariously Indifferent about Alcohol, so that it has a more sincere title, even if it has a ring to it like a rusty bell.

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The attachment of a ribbon has little-to-no effect on a bell’s ring.

But other times, like when I was buying supplies for my girlfriend’s birthday, I’ve felt like giving moderated alcohol drinking another shot. I flirted with the idea a second, as the booze aisle caught my eye. Maybe I could just set a limit and stick to it this time, keeping my disastrous experience of alcoholism at the forefront of my mind as motivation for not fucking it up.

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Looks like it’s off the beaten track for me.

Deciding whether I’m an alcoholic or not the last couple weeks has been like tossing a coin in the air: heads I am, tails I’m not, and both answers would seem valid. That is until yesterday, when I was listening to a podcast. The hosts of the show just so happened to talk about their five favorite beers.

One of the host’s list was comprised mostly of Belgian beers—my tipple, my overly long and destructive love affair. Upon hearing the name Chimay Blue, I was transported back to the summer holiday, when I would buy in my favorite beers every day and get shitfaced watching movies. My mind started racing. I compiled a list of my favorite five, and I thought about going out and getting them.

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“Barkeep, I’ll have three blue chimneys, and forthwith!”

It would just be one last hurrah. One more gunfight before I rode off into the sunset to buy a ranch and have six or seven kids. Before I knew my legs had extended, I was looking at my DVD shelves, searching for the perfect one or two movies to provide entertainment for the last time I sat and enjoyed my favorite five. That’s allowed, right? I have the rest of my life to be sober. How will one measly afternoon and evening getting shitfaced on my five favorite beers ruin that? It can’t.

I thought, Why haven’t I thought about my favorite five before? Five’s the perfect number: one better than four, and six is just weird and not round.

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“Five gets my vote.”

Then I remembered this was exactly my mindset during that summer. I’d planned on getting sober the couple weeks preceding it. My plan was to get my favorite beers in, enjoy one last sweet evening, and then spend four weeks in a self-imposed rehab.

That didn’t happen. Not only that, but I spent a fortune getting in my favorite beers for most of the days of the holiday. My five favorite? Shit, I’d compiled that list a fuckload of times before. Every time it was different, but the results were always the same. It wasn’t a last hurrah. The day after I’d write a new list, one that dicks all over the previous one.

I did what any reasonable alcoholic would do in that situation. I yanked my earphones out of my ears and threw my iPhone across the room, blaming my near relapse on that particular podcast.

(Just kidding, my iPhone is safe and sound in its nerdy leather case.)

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“Yank that shit out and I’ll cut your balls off for juggling with.”

I try to make each blog post useful to you, the reader. I don’t just want to ramble on about myself, even if I can provide the odd photo with a caption to make you laugh. You’re here for that, sure, or you’d be reading some other blog called There’s Not a Single Funny Thing about Sobriety. As well as having laughed, I want you to step away from your iPad or iPhone or desktop computer and feel awesome about being sober or to have a learnt a little more about sobriety.

With that said, here’s your tidbit for this week. Your favorite drink, or more accurately your memory of your favorite drink, will never go away. It will shrink as you cross off your sober days, weeks, and months. It will lay dormant, like a hibernating bear, but one little prod, and that fucker will stand up and be as big, bad, and scary as it was in the summer.

So tread carefully, my friend, because every podcast that mentions your favorite drink, every Facebook post you read about someone enjoying a glass of chardonnay or merlot on a Friday night, and every blog post you read about the blogger’s favorite drink or drinks, is potentially one big kick in that bear’s nutsack.

Now stop thinking about it. Enjoy all the benefits of getting sober, think about doing something fun instead of getting shitfaced, and be proud of yourself for not getting mauled by a bear today.

Thanks for reading! Even if it this blog post is a potential trigger for a relapse. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to subscribe to email notifications for Hilariously Sober by using the form at the top-right corner of the website.

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Five Types of Alcoholic (and How to Spot Them)

Alcoholics come in all shapes and sizes. As do drinking vessels.

A few blog posts ago, in my Five Signs You Might Be an Alcoholic post, I touched upon defining what is an alcoholic. I enjoyed writing that blog post so much—I had to dry my tears of laughter with the dollar bills I’d made from my comedic mystery series while writing it—that writing the spinoff seemed like a no-brainer.

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“Can you pass me one of those hundred-dollar bills?”

Part of my discovery of realizing I was an alcoholic was having to reevaluate my definition of alcoholism. During that time I came up with some definitions. While sitting on my sofa this morning, poking at my iPad and deciding whether I would wish an old school buddy I hadn’t seen for fifteen years happy Birthday, my brain collated that data so that it fit the “five things” classic blog post format, which you’re about to read.

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Having not being wished happy Birthday by her Facebook pals, this woman was unable to enjoy her birthday this year.

So here goes. Five types of alcoholic (and how to spot them).

  1. The Classic

The Classic grew up with one or both of his or her parents being alcoholic. His normalization of alcoholism continued when he went to college and got shitfaced at dorm parties. But while everyone else moved on from their college drinking days, he decided that every Friday and Saturday night, even if he’s just sitting watching a shit film on Netflix, should be enjoyed with six or seven beers. Now married and with two-point-three children, the Classic struggles to hold down a job, has progressed to drinking hard liquor straight out of the bottle, and only occasionally shaves.

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“Do you think he’ll notice if we take his car keys?”

The High-Functioning Alcoholic

The high-functioning alcoholic is so adept at functioning drunk he can net the brokerage firm he works for millions without breaking a sweat, all the while fueled by lunchtime cocktails. He’s a smooth-talking, well-oiled machine who sees no reason to stop drinking. And why would he? He’s got a penthouse apartment in a trendy part of the city and dates successful middle-management types. He rarely throws up from drinking, and knows his limits, to a point, and seldom falls over while drunk, scuffing his three-piece suit.

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“I’m shit drunk right now.”

  1. The Stealth

The Stealth is ashamed of his drinking. He doesn’t drink socially and is ostensibly a functioning family member. The Stealth doesn’t drink at classy cocktail bars, but in the bathroom, where he keeps his whisky, which has been decanted into an empty bleach bottle. He thinks his family doesn’t notice when he rejoins them at the dinner table, fucked out of his mind on cheap whisky, though they’ve been aware for quite some time that his frequent bathroom breaks aren’t because he’s got a weak bladder. He may occasionally get sober, dragged kicking and screaming by his wife to a rehab clinic, but afterwards he just finds better places to hide his booze and better ways to cover up his whisky breath, at least in his mind.

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Something from the top shelf.

  1. The Professional Drunk

The Professional has decided, “Fuck it! I’m going to get shitfaced all the time.” He may be homeless or live in social housing, and getting a gig or making sure he’s in good health is’t even on the radar because of his hardwired desire to drink. Having a can of super-strength lager with his bowl of cornflakes on a morning is a daily routine, and continuing drinking throughout the day is a given. If he’s to venture to the store for supplies, he does so at midday, when he can drink a can of cider on the subway without having to sit next to someone who might notice he smells slightly of his own urine.

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“Livin’ the dream, baby.”

  1. The Party Girl

Much like the high-functioning alcoholic, the Party Girl is both socially and professionally successful, but the difference between the two is she would never, ever contemplate drinking at lunch time or at breakfast. In her mind, she’s not an alcoholic, just someone who wants to have fun. And she deserves a glass of wine after a hard day’s work being the team manager at a call center. The only times she drinks before six P.M. is at one of her girlfriend’s weddings, and then, of course, she’ll get shitfaced on champagne, because, you know, that’s what everyone else is doing.

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“It’s not alcoholism if it’s classy.”

Which one was I? Over the five or six years I had a drinking problem, I fit one or more of those definitions at one time or another, apart from I don’t have 2.3 children, can’t trade stocks for shit, am not female, and I’ve always managed to pay my own rent.

Thanks for reading!

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Days sober: 55


Jake Hancock, a high-functioning alcoholic private investigator, is featured in my comedic crime series, which you can check out here.

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How To Be Sober at a Party

Being the sober dude or dudette at a party can sometimes feel like wearing a Nazi uniform to a D-day memorial parade, but don’t fear, Dan has some inspirational advice.

So you’re newly sober. Maybe you got there by going to AA, maybe you checked yourself into a five-star rehab clinic and did a shitload of yoga, or maybe you followed the Doomsday Prepper’s Guide to Getting Sober. Regardless of how you stopped normalizing getting shitfaced every evening and all weekend, at some point you’re going to have to start socializing again, but without alcohol. Being sober can’t just be about energy drinks and beating up snot-nosed fifteen-year-olds online on your favorite boxing video game.

Part of that socializing—even if you try your best to avoid them, like me—will involve going to a party. And in between the stealthy missions to the buffet table to grab one of the dwindling supply of caviar canapés and the appraising of everyone’s evening wear from a dark corner, you’re going to have to open your mouth and have a conversation.

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Caviar, as seen here at a kids’ party.

It’ll only be so long before that person you’re speaking to is one of the more-than-merry partygoers. And if you speak to that drunk person long enough, it’s only a matter of time before his or her alcohol-blurred vision falls upon the glass of carbonated water in your hand, and he or she asks, mixing the words with an obnoxious mixture of spittle, “Why aren’t you drinking?”

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“Hey you, upside-down person. Why aren’t you drinking?”

If you happen to be in your third trimester or wearing a dog collar, this situation may be easily avoided by chuckling and pointing out the obvious. But for us non-impregnated atheists, this situation could be quite the pickle.

On one hand, you don’t want to come across as the square guy or gal at the party by telling people you don’t drink, and in the mind the of that drunk partygoer become someone who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol,” “never knew why it’s necessary to drink alcohol to have fun,” or “never touched a drop” in his or her life.

But on the other hand, you feel self-conscious about labeling yourself as an alcoholic. To do so might raise suspicions in the drunk partygoer that you wandered in off the street, knocked out one of the guests, stole his dinner suit, and hid him in the utility room, so you could avoid another damp night sitting on the sidewalk.

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“I could’ve sworn the party was on this street.”

What do I plan on doing when this situation arises? I’ll tell you what I won’t do: go to that party wearing a dinner suit two sizes too small. But seriously, I’d say, with an air of pride, that I am an alcoholic.

This is why. We sober alcoholics are the coolest motherfuckers at that party, whether or not we use the aforementioned drunk partygoer’s metric for measuring coolness. We have nothing to hide or feel shameful about. Out of all the people there, we’re the hardest partiers of everyone. Had that party been set in the latter part of December of 1999, we would have been swinging from a chandelier, a glass of champagne in our hands, singing a God-awful rendition of ‘9 to 5.’ And it would’ve been freakin’ hilarious.

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He “will always love you,” creeped-out pretty girl from his economics class.

But we’re above that behavior now. We ruined drinking for ourselves by overdoing it, and now we see the error of our ways, which is way cooler than conforming to some social norm, despite its detriment to our life quality. We sober alcoholics are freethinkers, who decide independently about lifestyle choices, and we’ll go home from a party without having made drunken requests for bad songs, gotten into a passive-aggressive argument, or outright punched the host square in the face.

Congratulations, Sober Alcoholic. You’re one cool motherfucker. And when you feel ready to start socializing again without alcohol, and you find yourself at a party, hold your head high and jump in and swim with the same confidence it took to quit drinking. You’re the veteran at the party who now has all his faculties. And between being that and being the partygoer who stares into his cup of joe the morning after, remembering all the dumb stuff he did, I know which one I choose.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober via email by filling out the form in the top-right of the webpage. 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 pressing one of the social media share buttons below.

Stay sober and happy, you cool cat you.

Days sober: 48


My works of fiction, which also ironically read like they’ve been written by someone shit drunk, can be checked out here.

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