Let’s Talk Anonymity

This week, Dan has written the idiot’s guide to alcoholism and anonymity. As in written by an idiot, not for. Or both.


Do you wear your sobriety as a badge of honor, or do you hide it away like your stepdad did his collection of porn magazines? That’s the topic of today’s blog post, which is why I wrote that question, instead of a different one.

After immersing myself in sobriety culture, I’ve recognized two main schools of thought when it comes to sobriety and anonymity: 1) being honest and open about being an alcoholic in recovery with people outside of AA, and 2) hiding that shit away, like your stepdad did his… oh wait, I’ve already written that, so let’s get on with talking about the pros and cons of both schools of thought, and by “let’s get on with talking,” I mean I’ll write the words and you can read them.

That type of talking.

  1. Hiding that shit away and being deep undercover

Anonymity to some people means going to any length maintain it, including getting pissed at family members who betray it.

When I first started going to AA, people exhibiting this school of thought surprised me a little, but then again, doing anything that didn’t involve making myself vomit on a Saturday afternoon also surprised me, so what did I know?

It makes total sense you’d want to hide the fact you’re an alcoholic from certain people. Your employer, for example. It’s difficult enough to get ahead on a level playing field, let alone when your employer knows you’re one glass of chardonnay on a ponce’s yacht away from devolving into an employee who shouldn’t be let anywhere near heavy machinery.

This school of thought is also an easier way to live your life. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, people don’t like the word alcoholic, and by extension, they don’t like the alcoholic. He challenges them to think about their own drinking habits just by mentioning he doesn’t drink, or even by just choosing to drink a club soda at a bar instead of joining him in a round of Jägerbombs, and we all know how Baby reacts when you even just feign taking his bottle away.


My sponsor is a heavy proponent of this school of thought, so much so that he’s asked me to refer to him as codename White Knight if I mention him or her on the blog, and I totally respect that, White Knight, I really do.

Just kidding. It’s definitely a him.

My girlfriend, who has allowed me to use her forename, only spelled backwards, takes her anonymity so seriously she’s masquerading as an active alcoholic. When Iris had a discussion with a colleague about her plans for the 17th of May—Norway’s national day; the biggest drinking day on the calendar—she told her colleague she was going to start drinking in the morning and get progressively shitfaced as the day went on, like any respectable Norwegian. Iris, to maintain her anonymity, is deep undercover as the diametric opposite of what she is, like Donnie Brasco.

That’s some serious anonymity game, Iris.

Codename Iris, as seen in the wild.
  1. Being honest and open about it

For one White Knight, I come across one and a half alcoholics in recovery who don’t sweat remaining anonymous. I both respect these people and think they’re idiots.

Let me explain.

On the one hand, they’re letting their small part of the world know—at least anyone who’ll listen, at least—that they’re one beer mix-up at a bar away from devolving into the type of person who you question has on clean underwear each morning.

They may choose to only tell select people—a really close friend at work, maybe, or the person with whom they’re having an affair—but the problem with anonymity is you can’t pick and choose with whom you have it. You tell one person, and the cat’s out the bag. When you decide to tell Bill at work, you have to assume Bill will tell all and sundry, including your boss, who’s the person who decides who operates the heavy machinery.

See where I’m going with this?

That’s the idiot part.

A bird protecting her eggs like an alcoholic protects their anonymity.

The part that I respect is that I think it’s important to destroy this ridiculous stereotype people have of the alcoholic—that the only type of alcoholic that exists is the whirlwind alcoholic who loses his job, drinks whisky for breakfast, and eventually loses everything.

By telling people you’re an alcoholic, by presenting yourself well—with fresh underwear and a finely chosen aftershave, for example—you are, inch by inch, destroying this ridiculous stereotype.

The reason that’s important is that stereotype is dangerous. People use it as a yardstick, justifying their carrying on drinking, when they’re so close to getting help.

So there we have it.

What’s my preference? I hear you ask. I think in early sobriety, you don’t have a choice. Get thinking of that codename, because until you have a solid length of sober time under your belt, your sobriety doesn’t command any respect. People might clap at AA when you get your 24-hour medallion, but that’s more out of encouragement than congratulations.

As I’m in early sobriety, I’m really careful about whom I tell. I have an online presence as an alcoholic in recovery, and assume the chances of my boss reading this shit are slim to none. They’re insignificant.

Only when I get to around five years of sobriety, if that day comes—knock on wood and take it one day at a time, yada yada yada—will I consider whether I want to be a White Knight, or that dude who upon meeting a new colleague immediately tells them they once crashed their car into a tree while simultaneously pissing themselves, and that’s not even the funny part.

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Merry this Christmas

Dan still hasn’t see Home Alone without getting shitfaced. But at least he got a hell of a new sobriety date.

I failed to stay sober at Christmas. One Saturday afternoon in December I floated the idea about getting drunk one last time to my girlfriend. I’d been thinking about drinking again, I told her.

It would just be the one time, to experience that rich feeling of being merry—in both meanings of the word: slightly drunk, and feeling good about Christmas—with a tree in the living room and decorations that don’t blend well with color palette selected for the room as we watched a Christmas movie.

“I only slept with a hooker the one time. I swear!”

Of course, as soon as I mentioned it to her, we didn’t sit down and have a rational conversation about if it would be successful, if it was worth it to throw away five months’ sobriety for one evening of merriness, or even if we would like Krampus on our fifth or sixth viewing. Instead, we slunk off to different corners of the apartment and quietly obsessed about it.

Half an hour later we returned to each other’s company and by the look on her face I knew we’d come to the same decision: We would do it, and sobriety would be just where we left it when we would wake up the next day.

We could pick it up again with ease, like a convict picks up a sharpened spoon and stabs the leader of a rival gang, in some sort of power play, or just because he was bored that day in the yard.

Testosterone leaves one pensive.

That shit would come natural to us, because we’d already rode that bucking bronco for five months, so getting back on it wouldn’t be alien to us.

We promised each other multiple times it would only be a slip, and not a full-on relapse (I’d recently read the difference between the two on a sobriety blog.) I think me may have even high-fived each other.

Jesus, when I think about it, we were happy as a rapist in a whorehouse about falling off the wagon for one evening.

christmas-2971961_640 (1).jpg
Like this, but about hops.


But long hikes start with the small acts of putting on your boots and jacket and making a couple PB and J sandwiches, and relapses in sobriety start off with little conversations like the one above, whether or not you’re determined to restrict them just to a slip.

Turns out Krampus is nowhere near as good as we remembered it, and that cinemas are open on Christmas Day in Norway and that bottles of wine bought from there cost around four times as much as they do in a store. I also learned that I’m willing to pay that much to sip wine as I fucked up yet another Christmas Day turkey.


The couple weeks after that ‘one evening’ were a blur of cheap wine, Robin Williams-strength gin and tonics, and saccharin Christmas movies and music, until I reached a low low enough to inspire me to start collecting chips again. On the plus side, I finally managed to experience my first New Year’s Eve without drunkenly mumbling the lyrics to ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to my family in FaceTime conversations.

Here are a couple of takeaways from this experience:

  1. Not one evening have I gone to bed having regretted not drinking—including New Year’s Eve. Conversely, every morning I wake up with a hangover I’ve regretted drinking the night before. It might sound like an AA cliché, but it’s true.
  2. A great way to spend your New Year’s Eve sober is outside of your home, wandering the streets, watching other people’s fireworks and thinking about how shitty the drunk people you come across are going to feel when their bottle of champagne comes back to bite them in the ass. We chose to go sledging instead of viewing them from our balcony—the fireworks, that is. We looked like lunatics—both adult, neither drunk—partaking in an activity traditionally thought as enjoyment solely for families, but we had a hell of a time.

Another one big plus from this experience is that I’ve got one hell of a sobriety date, instead of some obscure date in August no one gives a fuck about. Next New Year’s Eve, I’ll be celebrating both the end of a calendar year and a year drinking cola through a straw on Saturday evenings instead of playing air guitar to eighties hair metal. But I’m getting ahead of myself—I’m only six days in.

There’s a shitload of bullets to dodge before I get there.

This shit’s going to be like Nam, but I’m getting looking forward to it nonetheless. Happy New Year.

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

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

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

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

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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