Sobriety For Good, This Time.

Dan faces up to the fact he might be a hack writer and that sobriety has to be for good this time.

One of the most hacky ways to begin a blog post, in my opinion, is to comment on how long it’s been since the last post, and to apologize for the lack of activity on the blog. That is, unless the blog in question is a sobriety blog and the writer has been a lengthy seven months away from the keyboard—then, it’s relevant. You’ve probably worked out that I haven’t been spending that time with no WIFI as I lived among a remote Amazonian tribe, and I’ll take the great leap and assume you’ve probably worked out I spent that time getting shitfaced. With that out of the way, I’ll throw in my apology, just to complete my hacky opening paragraph.

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“I’t’s been a long time, but I’ll be fucked if I write that.”

I’d been sober for 83 days before I fell off the wagon, the longest stint of sobriety I’ve had since recognizing I’m an alcoholic. I remember the day I fell off. I was cooking dinner, it was a grey and miserable day, and it was nearing the time the stores stop selling alcohol. I had been getting into a nice stride saying no to cravings, and cravings were few and far between, but this one was big. It was the Tasty Tony 9 Nine Inch Dildo with Suction Cup of cravings.

Let’s back up a bit. I’m getting ahead of myself. In the run up to that Saturday evening, I’d been experiencing a few professional issues, which is my nice way of saying my boss had me in the sights of his sniper rifle, and was picking my colleagues’ brains for reasons to shoot the shit out of me. My colleagues, who had given me many opportunities to snitch on them but I never had, obliged him with a salute and a giant smooch on his ass.

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“Come in and take a seat. You know what I always say: Beans are made for spilling. Oh, and would you like a cup of coffee and some gummy bears?”

It was a bad situation, and instead of just eating dinner and chilling out with way too much caffeine and a movie—my regular Saturday routine during sobriety—I decided to have just one evening getting shitfaced, before I got back on the wagon. I needed to relieve some stress, and a triple espresso and Judd Apatow comedy weren’t going to cut the mustard. I gave in to Mr. Tasty Tony, with the honest but naive intention of starting afresh the next day. Obviously, it didn’t quite work out that way. During Christmastime, which came up a little while after falling off the wagon, I discovered how much I liked gin. And in the New Year, I discovered how much I liked to pretend it was Christmas Day every day, and that gin is totally a Monday-evening drink.

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Alcoholism: “It’s simple: Blue for Mondays, obviously, green for Tuesdays, and pink for the rest of the weekdays.” Me: “What do I drink at the weekends?” Alcoholism: “Oh, they’re rainbow days.”

Fast forward to now, I have a new job, a boss that sees my good sides and accepts the bad, and colleagues that would rather high-five me instead of pulling out a rusty blade and stabbing me in kidneys as they hug me and tell me that it’s necessary but they’re sorry. I’m also sober again, and coming up to two weeks I’ve been off the sauce.

During a FaceTime call, I told my dad about my having got back on the wagon, and he asked what was different this time. I have no idea what I mumbled to him, but I’ve been thinking about that question since he asked it. What is different this time? I don’t know. All I know is that writing this blog was a big part of my success last time.

I don’t know whether it was my routine of writing how many days sober I was at the end of each post, or finding public domain photos and coming up with humorous captions that relate to the paragraph preceding it, all I know is that writing this shit works like a motherfucker, and that I mean it when I write I’m sober for good this time.  I’m super pissed at alcohol, and we’re getting divorced. That bitch can even have the house and car and the Tony Tasty Nine Inch Dildo I bought for her. I plan on writing this blog as long as my fingers are able to press the keys on my keyboard.

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“You smell like juniper berries.”

This is probably the shittiest blog post I’ve written for Hilariously Sober, but I can be forgiven, I hope, as I have seven months’ blogging rust to shake off. But it’s also the best one I’ve written, for a few reasons. I’m back, and back for good, and even if I don’t find the readership I hope for this blog, I recognize its worth, even if it did take half a distillery’s Christmas stock of gin to find out. I’ve learned for the hundredth-plus time that I can’t party for an evening without a long, arduous struggle to get my shit together afterwards.

But what’s different this time, as opposed to the previous hundred-plus times? I think I know now, and it just took writing this blog post to find out.

It’s this part, where I write I’m twelve days sober, which will go up to nineteen next week, and the feeling of pride and achievement I experience upon writing it. In fact, I’ll FaceTime my dad now to tell him, just after I’ve found out what time it is where he’s vacationing.

Thanks for reading, even if it was the shittiest blog post I’ve produced for Hilariously Sober. Don’t forget to follow this blog by filling out the email-notifications form in the top-right corner of the webpage. And 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 on social media by using the share buttons below.

Bonus content: You might have wondered what caption I would have written for the featured image at the top of the post had I been able to add one. Here it is:

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“Making her reach over farther than I am. Total power move.”

As well as writing this blog, I write comedic mysteries about a heart-of-gold but perennial asshole high-functioning alcoholic private detective. Check them out here.

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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 Choices for Your Non-Religious AA Deity

AA membership requires that you like to get shitfaced a lot and that you can believe in a Higher Power. But what about if you’re not religious? Dan has some deity options for you.

I’ve only been to AA once. I didn’t go back because I was a little creeped out by the religious aspect of it. Plus, the English-language session I attended was on the other side of town, and there are only so many Wednesday-evening bus rides through Oslo town center a man can endure before he blows his fucking brains out.

Some of the alcoholics there seemed to embrace the religious side of it, attributing their sobriety solely to God or Jesus—I’m a little hazy about which. Others downplayed it, talking about how, when they first attended, they felt the religious side of AA made it seem a little like a cult, only minus the psycho-sexually depraved leader and mass suicide. Upon hearing this, I nearly stood up from my chair and high-fived the guy, because, well, he’d hit the hotdog bread with the knackwurst. It did feel cultish.

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“I’m caught in a cult. I can’t walk out. Because I’m too obsessively devoted to you baby-ay-ayyyy.”

Talk then moved on to how you can simply replace God or Jesus or whatever with any symbol or figure you can think of, as long as you fully commit to convincing yourself that your deity has the power to stop you drinking every day for the rest of your life.

All this, of course, was for the benefit of me, the new guy. Regular readers of the blog know where I stand on strategies to quit drinking: if it works, have at it. I don’t want new readers to think I’m anti-religion or anti-AA. I just think you should be prouder of yourself for not drinking than attributing your sobriety to God or Jesus. But if it’s working for you, then who the hell am I to tell you it’s wrong or to ridicule you.

I may go back to AA someday, partly so that I can acquire some English-speaking sober friends, who I’ll regret inviting over for dinner on a Saturday night every time I do. And when I go back, I’ll need my own deity, if only for pretence if/when I’m questioned about who or what it is.

So here they are: my candidates for all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful AA deities.

  1. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
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Having found it difficult to acquire a public domain photo of The Power Rangers, I selected this masked person instead.

Why have one deity when you can have five? That’s allowed, right? I’ll go ahead and assume it is. If one of them has the phoned in sick as my AA deity, I can rely on one of the other four to tell me I’ll feel like shit in the morning if I give in and buy a selection from the range of Belgian beers I’m staring at. And say, for example, Black Ranger is out bowling for one of his buddies’ birthday parties, I’ll simply be able to rely on Pink Ranger to talk me out of getting shitfaced. They’re a no-brainer.

2. Barney the Dinosaur

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So that’s why there were ripples in the plastic cup of water I have standing on my dashboard.

I put in “the Dinosaur” just in case you thought I meant Barney from The Simpsons, who for obvious reasons wouldn’t make a great AA deity. The one I mean is the big, purple dinosaur from children’s television. I’m pretty sure he, or at least his script writers, don’t know what alcohol is, so I reckon if I’m to have someone fill my brain with happy thoughts, without flirting with the danger of talking about alcohol, it’s got to be this guy. And when I mentally phone him, the refrigerator chock-full of cheap lager having caught my eye at the store, we’ll be able to sing a song together —‘The Dino Dance 2’ or one of his other hits. Sure, his arm length means slapping some sense into me is pretty impractical, but that’s the only downside I can think of.

3. The Dude from The Big Lebowski

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Jeff Bridges, the actor who plays ‘The Dude’, playing himself in this photograph.

For those who are looking for a softer approach from their AA deity, look no further than The Dude. Sure, he may lack assertiveness, making talking you round from potentially falling off the wagon less than convincing at times, but on the flip side, his handling of you with kid gloves will never make you tell him to go fuck himself, potentially resulting in a relapse. The Dude is perfect for the humility-challenged recovering alcoholic.

4. Christopher Walken

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For those needing a sterner deity, Christopher Walken’s your guy. And just imagine his sermons. They’d be kick-ass. Every time you’re thinking, Fuck it! I’ll totally be able to drink this bottle of whisky and get back on the wagon tomorrow, he’d deliver a perfect five-minute Tarantino-esque tail about why you shouldn’t drink, maybe involving a watch and a series of men’s anuses.

5. Adolf Hitler

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A photographer’s dream.

Admittedly, this choice of deity may not go down as well as, say, Barney the Dinosaur or the Power Rangers, but he managed to convince a nation of Germans that he was not only fit for election, but the prime candidate. If he can do that, convincing you that getting shitfaced because your girlfriend blew the liquor store clerk isn’t a good idea should be a doddle.

Honorable mentions:

Will Smith

Tina Turner

The Teletubbies

Eddie Van Halen

Bruce Willis

The Flower Pot Men

The diver from the Pixabay photo in place of The Power Rangers

I’ll end the post on a serious note. AA isn’t for everyone, but for some people it’s a godsend. I saw that having only spent an hour there. So if you’re newly sober and are curious, don’t let the above ramblings convince you from going. My intention was only to have a little fun with an aspect of AA that I found a little silly.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to follow this blog via email by filling out the at the top-right corner of webpage. And as always, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to press one of the buttons below to share it with your friends on social media.

Days sober: 64


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How To Deal with the Stress of Sobriety Like a Whiny Baby

Now you’re not drinking, you have to find another way to deal with life’s shit cannon. How do you do it? By whining, of course.

I’m eight weeks sober tomorrow, and I’ve never been whinier.

I’d been planning it for a long time, getting sober, and I’m starting to feel like I’ll never go back to my old ways of getting shitfaced every evening and weekend.

Eight weeks in, I’m starting to feel like I’ve achieved it, in a way, though sobriety isn’t something that’s achieved, never absolutely, but only on a daily basis. And while there have been certain advantages to getting sober, I’ve found that there’s one soul-crushing disadvantage: I don’t know how to deal with the shit life throws at me. Hence the whininess.

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Had the photographer come any closer, this baboon would’ve thrown a big lump of life at him or her.

The last couple weeks I’ve been wading through a professional and emotional river of feces that’s kicked my ass. While I won’t bore you with the complete details, I will say that book sales of my comedic mystery series have taken a nosedive, and I’ve come to realize, thanks to the candidness of some people in my life, that I’m not nearly as fun to be around as I thought I was.

Has life thrown similarly corn-laden chunks at me in the past? Sure. When I first started out as an indie author, I could barely sell a couple books a week. And at Christmas, when I was shit drunk and playing charades with my family, I got a little carried away, inspiring my dad to proclaim, with a great deal of conviction, that I’m an asshole. Which, in case you were wondering, wasn’t the title of the movie I was acting out.

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“The Flower? Is that a movie?”

The only difference between now and then, I can see, is that I’m forced to sit on an evening and at weekends and think about this shit, instead of getting shit drunk, forgetting all about it, while I played air guitar to my favorite heavy metal songs. Instead of manning up and owning my problems, I’ve been projecting them onto the one person that’s stuck by me all these years: my childhood teddy bear. (Just fucking with you, that one person is my girlfriend.)

What I’m trying to say, in the flippant way that’s been pointed out to me the last couple weeks, is that sobriety isn’t a bed of roses from which impeccable flowers bloom. At least it isn’t for me.

The same problems are there, only now I’m aware of them. The aphid infestation and nitrogen deficiency have always been there, only now I’m hydrated enough to feel them, which is admittedly shoddy biology metaphor. And I didn’t have to pay a shrink, life-regression hypnotherapist or landscape gardener to discover them. All I had to do was switch beer for lime-flavored sparkling water.

(It’s probably worth pointing out that you should never water your plants with the open can of beer you couldn’t manage the night before…or lime-flavored sparkling water, for that matter.)

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“Don’t Give a Flower Beer? Is that a movie?”

The title of this blog post is ostensibly misleading for three reasons. It implies that A) sobriety is the cause of my stress, B) the text contained within this post is a five-point numbered list/guide-style blog post on how to deal with sobriety-resulting stress, and C) that a whiny baby can deal with said stress.

Even if I was to extend this blog post far beyond the seven-hundred words I usually write, I couldn’t write a bullet-pointed plan for how you should deal with your post-sobriety stress. Hell, I can’t deal with mine, at least not yet. So I suppose, coming back around full circle, that the title of this blog post is as accurate as I could make it.

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A team of pre-internet bloggers, having given up on tackling post-sobriety stress.

Am I going to let my problems beat me, my childhood teddy bear coming home from work one day to find me hanging from a light fixture by my favorite tie? Fuck no. I’m going to deal with my problems the way I never did before getting sober: face them head on. I’ll kick the shit out of them, like they have me the last couple weeks. One at a time. I just need to learn how first.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be running an experiment to see if I can sell a shitload of books, by injecting cash into my book promotion and by being a bit shrewder. If doesn’t work, then I’ll man up and try something else. And that problem of being an asshole?  I think being sober, as long as I achieve it one day at a time, will help me become at least tolerable to the majority I come into contact with.

Those stress-causing problems I’ll encounter in the future? They’ll get to me, sure, but with decreasing effect as the days, weeks, months, and years of sobriety add up.

Thanks for reading!

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The Doomsday Prepper’s Guide to Getting Sober

Like surviving a nuclear winter, getting sober requires a methodical plan. That or hot yoga and introspection.

It just occurred to me, four blog posts in, that I haven’t written a blog post about actually getting sober. The last four blog posts’ worth of information—filled with flippant, humorous observations about being sober—is as useless as tits on a bull if you haven’t managed to take the big step of getting sober.

What’s the point of finding out what the fuck to do when you’re sober at the weekends or five advantages of being sober if you’re currently sitting on your couch, reading these words in the wrong order, while you lift a Big Gulp-size mimosa to your lips? There is none.

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“Ah, boots, boats, mimosas.”

Some people go to AA meetings to get sober; others check themselves into five-star rehab clinics so that they can swap introspection and hot yoga for getting shitfaced. Me? Getting sober was much like planning for a nuclear strike and surviving the resulting fallout.

Just a quick caveat: The following guide to getting sober may or may not work for you, and I don’t see the rest of my life being like the last five weeks. I just used the following guide to get me over the hump, before the idea of getting shitfaced becomes alien to me—which is admittedly a luxury some alcoholics won’t get to enjoy.

So here goes. The doomsday prepper’s guide to getting sober.

  1. Live like a hermit

For the first three or four weeks, you’re going to want to stay away from bars, restaurants, or any other places that serve alcohol. Think of your home as your fallout bunker, which you’ll stay in when not at work, so you can avoid the scab-covered rapists and pillagers running around on the surface. And think of your drinking buddies (not your real friends or family) as the people who didn’t prepare for nuclear winter, and who are knocking on the window of your hermetically sealed door, wanting to score some fish sticks and Diet Coke.  You’ll do well to avoid these people, at least in the beginning, until you’ve gotten used to life without alcohol—or, continuing with the metaphor, until the level of radiation has gone down to a safe level.

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Not a bar in sight.
  1. Make your fallout bunker a place you can survive in

This means supplies. But unlike a doomsday prepper, you’ll want to swap dehydrated food and tins of peaches for food you love. When you go to the store, pick out your favorite things, and think about losing the weight afterwards. You’ll also want to get a shitload of food so you can avoid going to the store as much as possible, which will reduce the frequency of those times of temptation, when you rush through the alcohol aisle with your blinkers on.

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“It’s still radiated. I swear.”
  1. Make your fallout bunker habitable

This doesn’t mean installing a toilet or bunk beds, but making sure you’ve got a shitload of entertainment prepared so that your temporary hermit lifestyle is as tolerable as possible. When getting sober, boredom is the enemy. Plan your evenings’ and weekends’ entertainment so you don’t find yourself flicking through the catalog on Scandinavian Netflix, wondering what the fuck to watch. The entertainment you plan is the equivalent of the doomsday prepper’s board games and stacks of Hustler magazines, without which he’d blow his fucking brains out.

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A golf bunker, little to no use in the wake of a nuclear event.
  1. Arm yourself to the teeth

In loosely the same way it’s important for doomsday preppers to make sure they’ve got cases of grenades and anti-tank missile launchers, it’s important for you to arm yourself with other healthy or less-damaging addictions. For me, this meant a ton of ejuice, vaping equipment, energy drinks, and online video game boxing, which I use instead of alcohol to make evenings and weekends as fun as they were when I got shitfaced.

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“That’s right, son. Those sores are targets.”
  1. Prepare for returning to normality (or close to it)

The doomsday prepper intends to one day return to the surface. He’ll do so wearing a gas mask and having a grip strong enough to hold his anti-tank missile launcher. I wouldn’t advise staying in your bunker forever. One day you’ll have to regain your social life and resume living like a regular person. To do so without falling off the wagon, you’ll have to use some of your time in the fallout bunker to plan activities for your future above the surface. Your equivalent of the doomsday pepper’s gas mask is your ability to tell your conscious thoughts of drinking to go fuck themselves. His strong grip? That’s your newfound healthy addictions.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share your stories of how you got sober in the comments section below.

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Days sober: 41


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