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.

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.


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.

“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.


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.

“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.

“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.

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.

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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.

“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.

“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.

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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You Have a Friend Request from Some Drunk Asshole

This week, Dan was inspired to think about if he should feel guilty about the bad shit he did when he was drunk.

When I’m not writing these blog posts, I write comedic mysteries. Part of this gig means I have to commit time to reading other authors’ fiction. This week I’ve been reading Friend Request, a bloated, humorless, thrill-less mystery thriller filled with trite observations about our use of social media. It’s about a working-from-home interior designer who wears pajamas a lot and who gets a friend request on Facebook from some girl whom she bullied in high school and who ostensibly committed suicide, but who’s seemingly come back to haunt her. Or has she…?

It’s not nearly as fun as I’ve made it sound in the brief review above, but it does bring up an interesting theme: whether we should feel accountable or guilty for the shit we did when we were young.

And I’m not talking about blowing out birthday candles without getting the nod first.

As an active alcoholic, I often made decisions like a sixteen-year-old.

And as an alcoholic in recovery, I often muse about the shit I did when I was drunk, and if I should feel shitty about them now that I’ve made the responsible decision to never drink again.

I’m unlike the lady in Friend Request, even if you take away my propensity to wear appropriate clothing during the day and my Y chromosome: I don’t feel the least bit bad about the shit I did when I was drunk. I sure as shit couldn’t fill two-hundred pages—front and back—with introspective drivel about the guilt and shame I’m experiencing.

I can’t.

There’s too much of it. I’d drive myself crazy thinking about whether it was a good idea to attempt to punch a homeless man in the face after he called me a dick for not giving him any change. And that ugly incident isn’t even the tip of the iceberg; it’s barely the tip of a morbidly obese guy’s flaccid, oxygen-starved penis.

(Luckily, I was far too shitfaced to have made contact with his long-ago-washed cheek.)

Mind blown.

If I did start to feel guilty or accountable for all that stuff, the result would be worse than my crying into my teddy bear when I should be “really getting back to work on the project for Poppy Howton”: I’d drive myself back to the bottle. And the recurring nightmare I’ve been having this week about going to work wearing my wash-shrunk pajamas pants would become a reality.

But that isn’t to say I can’t use those hazy memories to become a better person. Hell, it would be reckless and irresponsible not to think about the BAD SHIT, and I didn’t get sober by being reckless and irresponsible. Just the opposite. All I’m saying is I won’t be spending the money I’m going to use to jet my girlfriend off to Disneyworld on shrinks, sleeping pills, and compilation CDs of yoga music with shitty cover art.

Should I turn up for meditation smart or smart casual?

“So how can you use them?” you probably didn’t ask.

The most obvious way that comes to mind is I’ll use those memories whenever I get the silly idea that I can start drinking again like a regular person type person. That one’s a no-brainer. The low-hanging fruit.

To do exclusively that is also a copout. I’ve already done it and am still doing it, more so in first days of sobriety. If I were a freshly pastured cow wandering into the pen of sobriety that Monday morning almost three months ago, the BAD SHIT was the perfectly aimed cattle prod electrocuting my buttocks.

To not copout would be to use the BAD SHIT beyond maintaining sobriety. You’re never supposed to think of sobriety as something you achieve as a one-time deal, but maybe it’s time to say I have achieved sobriety, and now I’m going to start achieving something else.

I don’t mean sending emails to people I’ve wronged, or trying to find the homeless guy so I can buy him a box of chocolates he’ll look at in disdain because it isn’t a bottle of Irish Rose; although that would be a start, all that stuff’s done, I’ve got to own it, and maybe it’s a good thing if I don’t get forgiveness. I mean doing the opposite of the shit I did when I was drinking on a daily basis, and being a good person to the people forced to spend a portion of their life with me by fate, employment contracts, or whatever.

The drunk guy who I made commit suicide is going to send sober me a friend request. I’m going to accept it. And when he sends me PMs, writing stuff like, Hey, Dan, remember when you were hungover and short with that colleague for not buttering slices of bread quick enough? I’m going to use that memory to motivate me to put a smile on someone’s face instead.

Just as long as that motherfucker doesn’t try to make me feel guilty about the bad shit I did.

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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.

My works of fiction can be checked out here.

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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.

Don’t forget to sign up for notifications for this blog, 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. That is unless they get irrational about people eating exclusively plant-based foods.

My fiction, which I now churn out like a motherfucker, can be checked out here.

And my Facebook page, where I don’t post about being a vegan advocate, can be checked out here.