Going Back in Time and Talking to Shitfaced You

This week, Dan goes back in time, to an ill-advised vacation, and talks to himself about boozing.


I step out of the elevator, walk down the corridor, take the key card out of my pocket, and swipe it down the slot on the electronic lock on the door leading to my hotel room.

I enter, and immediately know something’s wrong. My suitcase is open and all my clothes are strewn about the room—though that isn’t unusual. I’ve never been the kind of traveler who unpacks his shit methodically, setting up my hotel room like a miniature version of my home: clothes hanging in the wardrobe, toiletries lined up by the washbasin, etc.

It’s something else. There’s a big-ass bottle of gin lying by my open suitcase, and I’ve been sober for almost a month. It’s a liter bottle, but not the kind you buy from duty free. The shitty kind with some shitty name, and you know it’s going to have an acrid aftertaste that lingers, but you get it anyway, because what kind of asshole only buys 700 milliliters of gin at a time?

Around a third of the bottle is gone. I place it down and see something even more unusual. There’s a disposable paper plate with what used to be a lemon on it, hacked to bits with the type of plastic knife you buy for guests to use at the barbecue you’re hosting.

There’s also a bottle of tonic water. Only a little of this is gone.

“What the fuck…?” I say under my breath, my voice trailing off. “Has some jerk broken into my hotel room so he could get wasted on bum gin?”

Something catches my eye. I look up, and see someone standing outside on balcony. I squint my eyes, not believing what I’m seeing.

That jerk is me! And he has a glass in his hand and is looking over the balcony railing, and not to admire the view.

I knew there was something screwy with that elevator. When the lights flashed on and off, and there was a surge of electricity through the elevator keypad, and smoke was momentarily emitted from it, I thought what anybody else would think: I should’ve checked out the reviews for this hotel on TripAdvisor.

Not for a moment did I think I’d stepped into a time machine. But who would?

I walk up to the French door, lock it as silently as I can—just in case I’m wrong about the elevator and it’s a crazy person out there, who just so happens to look exactly like me from behind—and then knock on the window.

He turns around, and I sigh. It is me, and I’m shitfaced, which goes someway to explaining his response… My response, I mean. I’ll write him so this shit doesn’t get confusing. He says, “Hey, dude. I was wondering when you’d join the party.”

If the guy was wearing a mask or a disguise or some shit, he’d have given himself away, anyway. Only an asshole like I was would describe standing on some shitty balcony, in some shitty hotel, drinking shitty gin on my own, as a party.

He seems friendly enough, but I tread carefully. “What you doing out there, buddy?” I ask, lamely.

He shrugs, and says, “Drinking.”

“You weren’t thinking about doing anything stupid, were ya?”

He frowns. “What makes you think that?”

“I couldn’t help but notice you were looking over the balcony edge a minute ago.”

“Oh that!” He starts fumbling in his pockets, and pulls out a crumpled pack of cigarettes, takes one out, and takes his time lighting one, like it’s a natural pause. He takes a long drag, exhales a cloud of smoke, and then says, “I was thinking about jumping.” And then explaining, though it’s unnecessary: “Down there.”

Not knowing how his killing himself would affect my existence, I rush to unlock the French door and go out on the balcony with him. He looks at me confusedly and asks me if I want a cigarette. I ignore him and look over balcony railing. I’m looking down at an otherwise regular swimming pool, if it weren’t filled with foaming beer. Jeez, that was a screwy elevator. And a really shitty time machine.

Half to myself, I say, “So you weren’t thinking about killing yourself?”

He laughs. “Of course not!”

I stand up right, and turn and look at him. “Then why were you thinking about jumping?”

He shrugs again. “I was thinking about switching to beer.”

“And this is the best way to do it?”

“There isn’t any in the refrigerator.”

“Does this hotel room have a refrigerator big enough to hold regular-sized beer cans?”


I peek through the glass, shading my vision with cupped hands, and spot it. It isn’t a mini fridge you’d typically find in a hotel room, but a full size.

That was a shitty time machine. Someone should really take a look at it.

I’ve recently been reading about the twelfth step in the Big Book, so I’m aware I need to start helping other alcoholics as part of my recovery. If this guy wasn’t me, I’d let him carry on drinking. That’s if he wasn’t in my hotel room. I take the drink from his hand, and bring it close to my nose so I can smell it. “Jesus,” I say. “How many ice cubes did you put in this thing?”

“I filled it to the brim.”

There’s a miserable lemon wedge floating on the surface. I look at it and feel depressed, and then I take action. I toss the drink over the balcony, though I hold on to the glass, placing it down on the floor. If this time machine is on the fritz as much as I think it is, there could be a whole host of replicas of me walking around down there.

“Hey, why’d you do that?” he asks.

“I think you’ve had enough.”

Having a coherent conversation is difficult for Shitfaced Me right now, as he says, “Of what?”


“You sound like my dad… Which reminds me, you look…” His voice trails off, and he searches for the right word. “Familiarize. Like me, but an older, uglier version.”

“Almost,” I say. “You were thinking of familiar. And I am familiar. I’m you, from a screwy future where hotel rooms have tiny refrigerators in them.”

He looks at me with one eye, squinting a little. “Remind me why you tossed my drink over the balcony again?”

I slap him, because I’m still figuring out this helping-other-alcoholics gig. “This isn’t a party, guy. You’re standing on a balcony, drinking by yourself.” I pause to look out at the view. “And is this one of the Canary Islands?”

“I think so,” he says.

“This is more depressing than I thought. Let’s get you inside.”

I open the French door, and he says, “Good idea. Let’s get another drink.”

This is going to be more difficult than I thought.

I take the cigarette from him, stub it out, lead him inside, sit him down on the bed, and I take chair in the corner, because I’m not fully comfortable sitting by a shitfaced version of myself on a bed. Then I explain to him that I was just like him, but now I’m sober, and my life, while it isn’t perfect, is way better than the life he’s living now.

And he says, “Good for you, dude. But I’m just going to cut down. I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”

I slap him again, but this time I don’t immediately regret it. “You’ll do that, putting rules in place, but none of it will work. You might succeed for a while, but before you know it, you’ll be back here, out on that balcony, drinking a ridiculously strong gin and tonic and thinking of a really bad way of switching to beer.”

“Are you saying I’ll decide to vacation here again? Is that what you’re doing here?”

“Maybe I’m not explaining myself right. It was a metaphor. I’m saying you won’t manage moderation. You’ll fuck it up a whole bunch of times. And then you’ll get to the place where I’m at now, and a shitload of time will have gone past that needn’t have.”

I pull out my iPhone, and cross my fingers that 4G exists in this screwy future. Failing that, at least 3G. It does, so I open the Safari app and pull up this blog, navigating to some post about relapsing.

I hand the cell phone to him, and he reads it. Then he looks up at me and says, “Whoa. You sound really down.”

I smile. I’m gaining some ground. “I was, but I’m in a better place now.”

There’s a moment of realization painted on his face. He looks down at the carpet, but may as well be looking deep into his soul.

And then it’s gone.

Picking up the gin bottle, he says, “If you’re right, which I don’t think you are, I need to find this out on my own. I just need to make myself another drink first.”

I sigh and give up. He’s right, and it’s the most intelligent thing he’s said since I’ve spoken to him.

As he stands up and starts wandering around, looking for a glass, I make a quick exit. I go out the hotel room, in search of reception desk, so they can get a maintenance guy to fix the screwy time-machine elevator. I’ll be taking the stairs.

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That Amazing Time You Got Shitfaced and Went Swimming in a Lake

This week, Dan tells you your summers are probably way shittier than you remember. And that it’s a good thing.

Last summer was probably the best summer I’ll ever have. But they all feel that way, when you look back.

The day I finished at work before four summery weeks off, I was almost a month sober. The first evening of the summer was traditionally a shit storm of Belgian beers, summer-themed movies like Dazed and Confused, and, weather permitting, drunken conversations on the balcony about what we were going to do that summer.

I’d probably smoke, too, during those conversations, even though I’d gotten the memo that smoking causes cancer a shitload of times.

I also looked badass.

None of that happened the first evening last summer. I sat and watched Jaws with a couple energy drinks, ate way too much pizza, and slunk off to bed as sober as the moment I woke up that morning.

I’d like to write that I was content being sober that summer, and that I did all the fun shit I planned to do—and that I didn’t experience one hangover and I took regular rides on a unicorn to a land where blowjobs are handed out like popcorn at a movie theater.

But I fell off the wagon. I wanted to experience being shitfaced one summer’s day for the last time. Or whatever excuse.

During the summer, these prepubescent girls have a penchant for taking LSD.

I don’t have time to write about the whole summer. Even if I did, I can’t remember it, which is kinda the point. But I’ll write about one day.

We got shitfaced as we watched a couple movies, and then rode out to a lake and went swimming to the sound of Lynyrd Skynyrd. When we were freezing our asses off, we sat by the lake and smoked a couple cigarettes. It was probably a little overcast, but let’s imagine there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

It was the type of evening you hope the end of your life will be like, not the shit show in some hospitable bed it’s likely to be.

Quick, put on ‘Tuesday’s Gone’.

I’m reminding myself of this evening for a couple reasons: 1) Winter started in November and shows now sigh of letting up, and 2) every time I look at Facebook I want to blow my brains out with a shotgun.

You probably have the same experience I do. You scroll through the Facebook posts on your timeline, or feed, or whatever the fuck it’s called, and realize something: Everyone you grew up with is having a way better time than you are.

Their lives appear to be fulfilled to point of bursting. If you’re to be believe your Facebook feed, everyone else’s lives are a constant stream of good times with family and friends.

Their lives are filled with the perfect summer’s day I shittily described above.

Look at us. Look at how great our lives are.

What they don’t tell you, because people rarely do on Facebook, is all the boring, monotonous shit that’s in between those occasions they’ve documented.

The point I’m trying to make, and I do have one, is that it’s easy to look back on your time drinking as being this constant stream of good times. Of weddings that are a blast, of summer’s evenings where you don’t think for a even second the guitar solo to ‘Free Bird’ is way too long, because you’re young and the sun is shining and it doesn’t matter if you eventually get lung cancer from the cigarette from you’re smoking.

You didn’t take a photo of when you were hungover, riddled with anxiety, and you didn’t take a mental picture of it, either. Your memory from when you were shitfaced is just like your Facebook feed. It’s a lie, of sorts.

The good times remembered, documented. The bad times forgotten.

Last summer was the best summer I’ll probably ever have. But when you look back, they all are.

Thanks for reading! I know what you’re thinking: I was a real ray of sunshine this week. For more feelgood posts, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober. And if this post made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post on social media.

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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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Handing Out Medals to Everyone Like a Circus Clown

Dan tells the story of when he pissed in the face of real achievement.

Around four years ago I involuntarily volunteered at the Oslo Marathon. That isn’t an oxymoron. It was a non-obligatory work obligation that I and my colleagues could volunteer for if we were to continue to be recognized as employees who were enthusiastic and had value. That and we were given a pair of running shoes for dragging our ostensibly enthusiastic asses down there early that Saturday morning.

My gig was to hand out medals to all the kids who competed in what I called the Kiddie Run, which by my estimation was the curious length of around 175 meters. Around a hundred kids competed in each ‘race,’ and my responsibility—along with seven or eight other volunteers, two of which were circus clowns—was to put a medal around their necks after they’d gone over the finish line and to congratulate them.

“Do you think she’s noticed we haven’t built anything yet?”

These races were scheduled around five minutes apart, which means I handed a shit ton of medals out to a shit ton of kids, all of whom had competed, none of which had been recognized as the winner or a winner.

That kid who half-assed it, sauntering over the finish line as though he were a stoned college student ironically jogging towards an ice cream van, he got the same medal as the kid that ran like he was being chased by a serial killer through dense forestry.

“Just look where I’m pointing.”

What does this have to do with sobriety?

As with all things pretentious, it’s a metaphor, for how we’re not supposed to judge alcoholics who relapse often, and how it’s okay if we relapse.

A couple days ago, I asked a work buddy what his plans are for this weekend. It was an attempt to be nosey about his drinking habits, and that attempt was successful. I suspect he’s a budding alcoholic, not yet in full bloom, but bulging with potential, and we have conversations like this from time to time, where I whisper to him about how my sobriety’s going and he whispers back about how well he’s doing at moderating his drinking.

He talked about a having couple beers with dinner and then stopping, and how he’d done this a couple times over the last week and that it’s his new groove. His new set of rules.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that day we spoke, I was a hundred days sober. A round number, unlike 175 or whatever my estimation of the length the Kiddie Run was. A number that’s a landmark in sobriety—my sobriety, at least—even though there’s no hundred-day chip doled out at AA to mark it.

Two lengths of the pool. Fuck Yeah!

Even if I had realized it, I think the result would’ve been the same. In hearing about his new rule set—a couple beers with dinner, at 2.5 percent ABV, his new limit—my mind started wandering, thinking about if I could go back drinking, and if I could stick to this.

The answer is of course no. That would be like a migratory bird going for a short southbound fly during winter just to see what the fuss was all about.

My instinct would kick in, and there’s no way I could turn around and fly back to brave the winter. I’d find myself drunk on cervezas in Mexico, standing outside a bar and sharing a cigarette with and talking to a young male prostitute about my dreams and accomplishments as he stared at me, eyebrow raised, wondering whether I was going to pay him to receive a blowie, or at the very least hand back his cigarette I was hogging.

Or I could have taken LSD and witnessed this, so to speak, instead.

When these times occur, when you think about getting off the wagon, you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to be the kid who knew he was going to get a medal and a pat on the back no matter how fast he ran? Or do I want to be kid who’d carry on running like a potential murder victim in a forest even if he shat himself halfway through the race?”

But do so in your head or when you’re alone, so you don’t look like a crazy person.

I’m sitting here a hundred and two days sober, and I didn’t decide I could go back to drinking under new rules, knowing deep down in my liver I’d fail, and that sobriety was something I could achieve at a different place and time.

I’m that kid who’s going to earn his medal, even if we all get one, no matter how much we achieve in our sobriety, and I’m going to run away from the threat of relapse like I’m running away from a serial killer.

Thanks for reading!

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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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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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