Quitting Other Addictions

Addiction swapping is only a short term solution.

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A couple years ago, I was sent on a course for alcoholics by my employer, to learn about alcoholism and to be scared straight… that old chestnut that definitely works.

During recess, a guy was smoking and another dude asked him when he was going to quit, and the psychologist who’d organized the course interjected and told him he shouldn’t try. At least not now. He said, “En ting om gangen,” which directly translates to “You can’t fuck your aunt and your mom at the same time, so why try to put your dick in both wholes holes at the same time?”

Only joking. It translates to “one thing at a time.”

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Three things at a time.

That’s been my mantra the last four or so months. If I wanted to stuff a pizza in my face, I’d shrug, think about my alcoholism, utter that phrase, and then get to thinking whether I wanted pineapple on there or not. If I wanted to justify my drinking two big-ass-size Red Bulls, the sugary kinds, it was the same deal: I was concentrating on booze, and every other addiction and bad habit could be allowed to go wild, not left in check, like a grandmother’s bikini line.

It’s sound advice, the psychologist’s, and you definitely should concentrate on one addiction at a time, but I’m getting to the point where I want to rein that shit in too. And for one pretty good reason: I real really shitty.

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Apple has a boo-boo.

I’m grouchy in the morning, I don’t have the same zest for life as I did when I wasn’t a Red Bull junkie, and I have to quit at sometime, right, so why not straightaway?

Anyway, it’s day two of quitting, and I can barely see the words I’m typing from the blinding headache I’m experiencing. I’m going to make this a short one. I’ll finish by asking you a question: Do you want to make sobriety about just distracting yourself with other addictions? Or do you want it to be a journey of self-discovery where you peel away most if not all addictions and see what lies underneath?

Thanks for reading! My apologies that this was a shitty post. My brain should be functioning way better next week. If you enjoyed this post, despite its shittiness, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the webpage. And if it made you laugh out loud three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your friends on social media.


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Sobriety: The Experience of Doing Shit You Don’t Want to Do

When you drink all the time, you’re constantly in your comfort zone, like a kiddies’ party circus clown twisting oblong balloons into animals. Step out of it: step into a cold shower.

I heard something on a podcast to which I immediately related. A lady, way smarter than I—though she’s not scoring genius on an IQ test to achieve that lofty status—said, “Sobriety’s an experience of doing stuff you don’t want to do.”

Naturally, I replaced the word “stuff” with “shit” and decided to blog about it. The more I think about it, the more poignant it becomes.

At the start of this year, I began going to AA. I rocked up at some American church in Oslo on a Saturday afternoon, stood at the end of the road on which it is, and inhaled some nicotine in the form of a fruit-flavored vapor. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about turning around, getting on the bus home, to go and do something more comfortable on a Saturday afternoon. Something that wouldn’t challenge me as much; something that wouldn’t involve me admitting to a bunch of strangers I’m a shithead who can’t leave a bottle of gin alone once I’d opened it.

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“Look at it standing there, wanting people to inside, so it can spread cheer, a sense of community, and want to make me a better person.  How dare it.”

Needless to say, though I’ll say it anyway, I didn’t want to go inside. My mind raced, coming up with a million and one excuses why I should go back to my apartment: Maybe I’d trip on the staircase up to the front door and make an ass out of myself, or maybe I’d forget to go to the bathroom and piss myself. All the reasons were absurd, of course, and there was about as much chance of them happening as (insert popular musical artist here that isn’t Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones) releasing a decent record.

More importantly, they paled in comparison to the single reason why I was there: I needed to be. X number of relapses and the measly amount of savings in my bank account from getting shitfaced where reasons enough, before I started even thinking about erections, the pursuit of life goals, or my inability to consider a bicycle trip a sober activity.

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“Rodeo.”

I’ve talked about selfishness being best friends with alcoholism on this blog before, and I believe that more than ever. By choosing to get drunk all the time, you’re doing exactly what you want, when you want, at the expense of other people, whether to a large degree or small: Maybe your spouse, your boss who gets less productivity out of you, your readers who are waiting for the next installment of your comedic mystery series, or your dog who’s getting so fat he’s starting to look like a different breed because you don’t walk him enough.

Actually, fuck your boss. It’s your colleagues who are taking up the slack.

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“All these arrows, yeah… they mean you’re a shitty employee.”

My point is, when you get good at drinking, you’re getting even better at saying fuck it to your responsibility to other people.

When you think about it, and I’m inviting you to do so by writing these words, getting sober and staying sober is reversing that selfish mindset to the point where you’re a valued member of your social circle, and it starts by doing something you don’t want to do: not drink.

This time I’m sober feels different from the rest. It might be because I’ve finally learned, after twenty-plus relapses, that I can’t drink ever again, or it might be because I set out to do a bunch of stuff I didn’t want to do right off the bat. About the same time I got sober, I started intermittent fasting, and have lost almost 30 kilos. I also started exercising, something I hate. And most recently, I started taking ice-cold showers.

My resolve has never been stronger. It’s built up a little bit more every morning at five AM, when I jump into the shower and close the door behind me, hyperventilating my way through two minutes of agony as I listen to a Sigur Rós song blasting out of my shower speaker. It’s built up every time I do burpees until my heart’s almost beating out of my chest. And it’s built up every time I go a full twenty-four hours without food.

As for saying no to drinking. Shiiiit, that’s easy. All I have to do to achieve that is not do something that would make me feel shit anyway. Staying sober today is a piece of cake compared to the ice-cold shower I’m going to take after writing this post.

Right now, I’m not focusing on staying sober. I’m concentrating on doing other stuff I don’t want to do.

And it started with that Saturday afternoon, almost four months ago, when I thought the possibility of pissing myself in front of a bunch of strangers a semi-valid excuse for not going inside. I haven’t looked back since.

Going to AA’s a good start, and the natural first step, but what else don’t you like doing that could benefit yourself or others?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An alternative method.

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

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

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

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Autumnal

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

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

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

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Stranger danger.

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

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

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

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Someone bathing unassisted, and in milk and oranges.

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

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

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

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Voices, that’s what’s missing.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Alcoholic Anomalous

Dan of today goes back in time to tell Dan of circa two years ago he told him so.

After a fairly disastrous 2017 in terms of drinking, I’ve taken the giant leap of deciding I probably need AA. I’ve been once before. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, but I found it had the opposite effect of the one I’d desired: instead of dissuading me from drinking, it made me want to run to the nearest bar, put my head under the first beer tap to which I came, even if it were domestic, and drown my experience away to some darkly lit region of my consciousness.

My problem with AA was this: under the spell of some mass delusion, the members there were attributing their lengthy sobriety to the existence of a fictional character named God. Like that dude, every Friday night, had turned their cocktail into a mug of coffee just before it touched their lips.

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Jesus, that shirt’s way too big for that baby.

Let’s back up a bit. I’m familiar with religion. I grew up a Catholic, of sorts, attending a Catholic school, where my uniform was a blazer, trousers, shirt, and tie that I wore tied in a fashion you wouldn’t use when attending a board meeting. We had an in-school church we attended every Monday morning, and religious education was an obligatory part of the curriculum.

I failed that exam, if you were wondering, which I attribute to sleeping through most of the classes—something my religious education teacher, a middle-aged Scottish man with a meticulously sculptured beard and breath like the aroma of richly roasted coffee beans harvested from the mountains of Nicaragua, was more than happy to let me do.

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This is a bearded man. Neither he nor his beard is meticulously sculpted.

On the whole, I enjoyed school. We had a hell of a swimming pool, over the water of which I never witnessed anyone able to stroll, or even run like they’re life depended on it, and my peers were probably below average in their shittiness.

I was never experimented on by the school priest, but the whole experience left me less than convinced that the world was created in seven days, or that an unsalted rice wafer can become the flesh of a deity just because some guy with a short-straw work uniform said so.

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This boy is religious, though in a much different way than I was.

Needless to say, though I feel like writing it just to reach my word count for the week, I didn’t continue my religious studies beyond school, and I’ve never pursued religion, or pretended to, beyond the ‘best days of my life.’

Which brings us to now. I’m sitting at my computer, on the day of what I think will be the first of many Saturdays I attend AA, and I’m preparing to, so to speak, swim in their pool and use their gym room again, even if it means worshipping a god in which I believe less than the existence of a nail fungus with extrasensory perception.

“So what’s changed?” you ask, as a prelude to the following paragraph. “How could a guy impervious to the temptation of receiving a hall pass to eternal happiness or endless virgins or some shit in return for lifetime membership have changed his mind?”

It isn’t desperation. I feel fairly confident I’m going to nail sobriety today, and tomorrow and, dare I say, ad infinitum. The answer is the fruit cakes who’d so put me off the first time.

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Jack’s back, motherfuckers, and he’s got a new hat.

I need those guys. The only people I know who have a problem with booze are my girlfriend and the guy who lives on the fourth floor of my apartment building who comes up periodically to kick the door of the guy on my floor who incessantly DIYs. In the case of the latter, we’re not on speaking terms, so that leaves only one.

I’m willing to harbor skepticism I have for the existence of omniscient beings to just be around other sober people. And besides, I’ve written over thirty of these blog posts, and I’m running out of material, which is the shittiest reason to attend AA.

I’m doing it for the accountability. Without it, sobriety is destined to fail like an airship the balloon of which is misguidedly filled with a flammable gas. (I’m looking at you, Hindenburg, and your disaster.) Accountability is the glue that holds your shitty Ikea sobriety stool together, and you need a whole bunch of it if you’re not to fall on your ass.

I’m coming back to worship in your in-school church again, made-up guy, and swim in your pool. If you’ll have me.


Thanks for reading! My apologies to any religious people who stumbled upon this blog post. It wasn’t my intention to make you shit-angry. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober. And if it made you laugh out loud three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share it with your friends on social media. Just be sure to put a warning first, something like, “Contains the term ‘nail fungus.’”

My works of fiction can be checked out here. They’re also humorous, but very much made up.

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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.

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Days sober: 64


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