There’s a Devil at Parties, and that Devil’s Called Alcohol

Dan recounts the time he was super pissed about not being able to drink.


Like anybody with an iPhone and a lack of assertiveness, when I need to make a decision, I head over to Google to find advice. Before AA, the World Wide Web, or the internet as it’s become incorrectly known, was my sole source of information for sobriety and alcoholism. That, and podcasts.

One common piece of advice for sobriety the internet provides in regard to alcoholism is to avoid seeing, hearing about, or being exposed to alcohol at all costs. Stay away from the bars you patronized, avoid friends who are heavy drinkers, switch to an alcohol-free mouthwash, and if you get a cut on your big toe, acquire a gangrene infection before you put any rubbing alcohol on it. It’s better to stay sober and lose your big toe, than tempt the devil.

Don’t take another step. I’m an alcoholic.

This advice is often punctuated by this cliché, which I’ve seen touted on sobriety forums: If you keep hanging around in barber shops, it’s only a matter of time before you end up getting a haircut.

I’ve heeded this advice as gospel; on the surface, it makes sense. But I read something in the Big Book this week that contradicted this advice. I don’t want to locate the passage, so I can quote it verbatim, but it goes something like this: “If you have to avoid the deadbeats you hung around with because they drink too much, or it crosses your mind that swallowing Listerine while rinsing after brushing sounds like a good idea, then you aren’t sober. Not properly. And in the case of the latter, you’re probably an idiot.” (Okay, so I made up that last sentence.)

This shit was music to my ears.

I’ll still buy the brand of alcohol-free mouthwash I’ve gotten used to, but it’s refreshing to know that I shouldn’t avoid situations where people are consuming alcohol. Next week’s my birthday. I’ll be celebrating surviving thirty-three years after the umbilical cord was cut, and I think it’s just great that I can now encourage, no, demand, that the people with whom I celebrate do what they do best: drink until they think everything they say is funny and or clever.

Here’s a little story. Around eight years ago, I went to a daytime party to celebrate the marriage of Prince William to his lady friend. I was a heavy drinker at the time, and was known as such, and one of the guests who invited me forbade me from drinking alcohol, as there was a dude there who was an alcoholic.

We did it, honey. Half my shit’s now yours.

They wanted to keep the crazy drunk away from the guy who had a problem with raiding grandpa’s medicine cabinet when he should’ve just been pissing. I resented that guy the whole party, but I never let my feelings known.

I didn’t care about the wedding, or the royals, and I definitely didn’t care about what dress the bride was wearing, but I was super pissed about not being able to celebrate those things I didn’t care about in the way I knew best.

Let me celebrate, as this shit’s meaningless to me.

This story isn’t about me. I was behaving and thinking the way any active alcoholic would. The story’s about the dry alcoholic, and about that as alcoholics, we shouldn’t be trying to change the world around us, but trying to change ourselves.

It’s only this way we can stay sober. Alcohol is ingrained into the fabric of our culture. It’s the cart-wheeling clown at the circus, the wart on the end of a witch’s nose.

The giraffe’s long neck.

That party shouldn’t have accommodated him, and definitely not because this idiot wanted to get shitfaced to make watching a marriage ceremony entertaining. It’s for the other people. The regular drinkers, who’s afternoon would’ve been so enriched by a few glasses of wine. It’s also for his benefit, as sitting there white-knuckling isn’t the best way to be a guest at someone’s party. What’s the point of being sober, if that is what’s now ruining the relationships you have with people?

I agree with the Big Book. If the only way you can stay sober is to design life to fit your mold, then that’s a really shitty way of staying sober, and a miserable way to live your life.

Sure, you can lock yourself up in your apartment and watch movies with your wife, who’s graciously started this journey of sobriety with you, and it’ll work. And in the case of the story told in this blog post, you can be that douchebag who’s ruining everyone’s fun because you ruined drinking for yourself. But that’s not the type of sober alcoholic I want to be.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be hanging out at bars all Friday night, because it doesn’t hold the same appeal without a drink in my hand. But when someone’s birthday comes up, or my work buddies are meeting up after work on a Friday to toast the end of the week, whereas before I’d heed the advice that I should stay away, I’ll now take those opportunities to socialize.

I’ll be the sober ninja standing among the group, totally cool with everyone getting shitfaced. In some ways, they won’t even remember my being there. And that’s a great thing.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober for more insightful posts and witch metaphors. And if this post 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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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.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to feel follow Hilariously Sober. And if you laughed out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your friends on social media.

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Are You a Pickle or a Dildo?

Every alcoholic everywhere should ask themselves, “Am I merely a dildo soaked in vinegar, or a pickle?”

A couple weeks ago, a sober buddy told me a metaphor for alcoholism I thought clever. He said, “Dan, you’re either a cucumber or a pickle. And after you’ve drunk for a while, you find out which.”

The metaphor is this: Everyone starts out a cucumber, but some of us, after being drowned in vinegar for a while, turn into something you chop up and dress a burger with. In the metaphor, the vinegar represents alcohol. The cucumber doesn’t represent your penis, which succumbs to alcohol-related erectile dysfunction, but the alcoholic, who can’t go back to being a pickle once he’s soaked in the proverbial vinegar for a while.

He’s gone through a metamorphosis, and can’t go back to being a caterpillar who drinks the occasional gin and tonic with friends. He’s now a butterfly flying around like he’s just learned how to do it, hell-bent on drinking the bar dry, whether his friends are still there or not.

The majestic butterfly, shitfaced… again.

My buddy’s metaphor is sound, but it has one fatal flaw: All cucumbers turn into pickles when soaked in vinegar, which implies all of us have the potential to become alcoholics, if we just soaked for long enough. That might have been his point, but the context of the conversation didn’t support that.

With one minor tweak, the metaphor becomes one rigorous to examination of its logic. I’ll take it for a spin now, with you as my test subject: “Reader, you’re either a cucumber or a dildo. And after getting shitfaced for a while, you’ll find out which.”

Hear me out.

In the history of cuisine, a dildo has never been transformed into a pickle. Dildos are made of rubber, and no matter how many bottles of gin you force them to drink, they’ll always remain a phallic object impervious to the effects of alcohol. Sure, they’ll get drunk, and depending on the temperature of the alcohol in which they’re soaked, they might get a little floppier. But take them out, and they’ll dry off, go back to living their normal life as a dildo, and definitely shouldn’t be chopped up and smeared in ketchup for consumption.

Are you telling me this doesn’t look kinda like a dildo?

The dildo, unlike the cucumber, hasn’t gone through a metamorphosis. He’s still a caterpillar, and is content with crawling, taking the occasional drink. He doesn’t want to fly, as the wings he’d get look shit anyway. Like a DUI waiting to happen.

So which one are you? A dildo or a cucumber?

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow Hilariously Sober for more insightful metaphors explained to you. And if you laughed out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog posts with your friends on social media.

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Sobriety Isn’t Just For Grade-A Fuck-ups

One AA session in, Dan is battling old demons: He’s still trying to convince himself he’s an alcoholic.

Last week I made a commitment to go to a strange place every Saturday, talk about my feelings with strangers, and hold hands with other dudes as we say a prayer I don’t yet know the words to, all in the name of staying sober.

I haven’t joined a cult; I’m a bona fide member of AA. I even already have a buddy I can phone with whom to shoot the shit. What I’ve learned about AA so far is that relationships between people in that environment move at breakneck speed. I, usually the overfamiliar one when it comes to getting to know people, feel like a highschool junior who’s being driven out to a make-out spot by a senior who’s got his hand on my knee.

This dog’s mistakenly getting what is commonly referred to as a “rapey vibe.”

As positive as I am about building up a network of other sober people to strengthen my resolve and accountability, I’m a little bit weirded out by the intensity of it all—this is my failing, not theirs: they’ve been nothing but welcoming. I thought the members there would ease me into it, allowing me to at least get my seat warm before I opened my mouth, but AA members don’t do shit by halves. They wouldn’t, as that’s why they’re sitting there in the first place.

I think it’s natural to go to your first AA meeting, hear stories from the members there, and feel like a phony, like you haven’t earned the right to be there as much as everyone else. Think of it like a dick-measuring contest, but for fuck-ups.

A contest in which penises aren’t exposed.

But as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts—or at least I think I have—labels don’t mean shit. To qualify as an alcoholic, you only have to possess the need or want to quit drinking. It doesn’t matter if your drinking habits are restricted to getting shitfaced every Christmas and birthday. All that matters is that you think you’d be a lot better off without booze in your life.

And don’t let someone tell you shouldn’t quit, just because you don’t meet the definition of an alcoholic in their mind. You certainly shouldn’t not quit drinking just because it’ll make them feel better about drinking a bottle of White Zin every Friday night.

Which brings us to the topic of this week’s blog post:

You don’t have to jump through hoops to convince other people of your alcoholism—even if that shit only exists in your mind, which in my case it most definitely does. In the world of sobriety, you can be shit at throwing a shot put and still compete at the Olympics.

I’ll just leave this here.

After the meeting, while I small talked with other members, I felt like that’s what I was doing at times—again, that shit’s on me. They’d say something I thought implied I was still discovering my relationship to alcohol. That I had to say something that would convince them of my genuineness, because I was new to AA. And I am; I’m just not new to wrestling with the temptations of alcohol. The experience was a test of humility—the ability to nod, smile, and bite my tongue.

I guess that’s the message of this blog post. If you’re contemplating quitting drinking, that the hangovers aren’t worth the fun the night before, the only person you have to convince that you need to quit is yourself.

Besides, taking the step meet your own definition, to define yourself as an alcoholic, is big enough without having to meet other people’s criteria for membership.

You’re an alcoholic if you want to be… as long as you want to quit drinking. And when you go to your first AA meeting, you’ll do well to keep that shit in mind, because you might come away feeling like you have a sobriety micro penis.

Thanks for reading! You’ve probably guessed I didn’t bring my A-game this week, but I’ll give you the usual spiel anyway: If you enjoyed this post, no matter how unlikely, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober. And if it made you laugh out at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your friends on social media.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.’”

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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!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober. And if it made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your sober buddies on social media.

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So This Is What You Look Like Before Noon?

Two months later Dan returns to the scene of the crime, his favorite bar in Oslo, and comes to the realization that one-year-olds shouldn’t eat burgers.

There’s no better place to convince yourself your drinking’s not a problem than at a bar. It turns out the opposite of that is also true.

My place, when I celebrated birthdays, couldn’t find a decent movie to download from a totally reputable website on a Saturday night, or wanted to find a place that serves alcohol on Sundays, was The Amundsen, downtown Oslo.

It was also the place I went to pretend I had friends, even if the drunken-idiot version of myself knew deep down the people with whom I tried to talk thought the shit I was choosing at random to say to them a chore to listen to.

“Did I ever tell you about the time I got guacamole on my chin at a dinner party and it was a really funny and interesting story?”

The last couple months, hopefully the first couple months at the start of the rest of my life of sobriety, I haven’t exactly been dying to go back there. I had a few bad experiences where drinking buddies ratted me out for being too wasted, and standing around pouring shit down my throat (now non-alcoholic shit) for the few hours it’d take to justify the metro travel time to get there, doesn’t seem as appealing as binge watching HBO TV series and drinking cola now that I’m sober.

But last weekend I went for the first time without the intention of getting shitfaced.

I didn’t go there by design. I had decided to eat in town before I went to the movie theater, and had planned on going to McDonalds for the first time in around ten years. When we arrived at Ronald McDonald’s Type 2 Diabetes Shack, my girlfriend and I, you’d think they were giving away burgers for free by the length of the queue. Sure, I wanted to eat a McSausage or some shit ironically—to reminisce or feel silly or both—but I didn’t want to wait twenty minutes to get it.

“You see this place here? This is the place we don’t want to go.”

Plus, it wasn’t just my quantitative analysis of the queue that was the issue; when I glanced at it, I also did some of the qualitative variety, and came to this conclusion: The diners at that particular McDonald’s would make a solar-eclipse-looking venn diagram with the type of Snapchatting, OMG-saying douchebag that goes to a Miley Cyrus concert.

I’m lazy by nature, so I decided for the both of us that we should just go around the corner to The Amundsen. I suggested it nonchalantly, like it was no big deal. I told her that we could go in there, order non-alcoholic drinks, eat a classy burger, and make it out in the time it would take before we could even barely see the menu at McD’s, having to do so over six-feet-seven fifteen-year-olds.

To top the argument off, I shrugged, and shot her a look that said, What’s the worst than can occur? avoiding any Dr Pepper intellectual property theft.

Generic lemon and lime soda drink.

It’s worth noting at this point that The Amundsen isn’t the type of place that has a whole row of beer taps consisting of the same brand of domestic, but the type of watering hole that has a microbrewery housed in a glass-walled alcove for all to see. It’s the Mecca in Oslo for beer snobbery, the type of place that groups beers in refrigerators by style and sets the temperature accordingly.

I’ve gotten used to going to my local convenience store and avoiding looking at the selection of beer they have there, but going here and achieving that was like stepping up from boxing a beer-bellied slob at some local darts hall’s amateur boxing event to surviving the championship rounds with Mike Tyson… or some other ubiquitously feared boxer who’s relevant in 2017.

I couldn’t run past the beers, make it to the cheese refrigerator, and breathe a sigh of relief. Beers were everywhere. I felt like I was in Vietnam and had ignored LSD and dye-tie flares in favor of drill sergeants and five-o’clock starts. They were everywhere, and they were staring at me like I was the uniform who’d raped the wives and daughters of their bamboo-shack village. They wanted to fuck me up, in a bad way.

Vietnam is now a holiday destination, like Disneyworld, but without Floridian college students dressed in Goofy suits.

We survived the beer-selection firing squad, got our non-alcoholic beers, ordered a couple burgers that read great on the menu, was seated by a Swedish waiter making bank in Oslo before he would go back to Sweden to study, and tried to relax.

It was like the good old days. Like we’d earned it.

It was then that I knew that I’m an alcoholic.

The couple weeks before, I’d been questioning whether I have a lifelong problem with boozing. As the number of days you’ve been sober become weeks, and then months, it’s only natural. Hell, if I were a serial killer, and for two months I’d managed to not lure a naïve twenty-something to my LGV in the parking lot of some bar, abduct her, and keep her locked up in my dungeon before killing her and wearing her skin, I’d start to convince myself I wasn’t still a criminally insane lunatic with mommy issues.

But it wouldn’t make it so.

I might have refrained from killing someone for a relatively decent length of time, but by God I still bought lotion in bulk from Costco.

To cut a long story short, during the time I spent in that bar, I felt like a one-year-old who wasn’t allowed his bottle. I was whiny, on edge, and I was one customer talking too loudly away from knocking my burger off my highchair.

Relaxing at a bar is no longer a thing I can do. But that’s fine. I didn’t like the motherfuckers that went there anyway.

There’s no better place to convince yourself your drinking’s not a problem than surrounding yourself with alcoholics, and it turns out the opposite of that is also true.

Thanks for reading, but don’t stop here! I’ve got some shit to plug first.

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