Five Things I’ve Learned from Spending 200 Days Sober

This week, Dan tells you stuff that might have been obvious to him, if only he hadn’t ruined to the opportunity to learn by getting shitfaced all the time


I usually write this blog on Saturdays, but I’m breaking that schedule to write this very special post. It’s very special because in nine minutes’ time, according my sobriety tracker app on my iPhone, I’ll be 200 days sober. It’s also “very special” because I want you to read on to the end.

When I first started writing this blog, I remember leaving my office two or three posts in and exclaiming to my girlfriend, “Wow, writing this shit’s really helping me stay on the wagon and forget about booze, but I don’t know how many posts I can write!” I figured max twenty, and then I’d be done. I’d have documented everything there was to document about my sobriety.

How wrong I was.

I’m almost sixty posts in and while I wouldn’t say I’ve just scratched the surface, I would say I’ve only put a tiny dent in it.

Beating panels instead of wives.

Before I got sober, I used to think of a hangover as dehydration, anxiety, and a headache that I had to ride out before I felt well enough to drink again. I’ve realized now that a hangover is starting the process of learning all the shit everyone else learned as an adult while I focussed on bringing my drinking A-game every day, and that the three symptoms mentioned above are trivial in comparison.

So what did you learn in those 200 days, Dan?

  1. Relaxing is an acquired skill

This one I’ve learned just recently, as I’ve been forced to spend four weeks free from work, as my dumb workplace is closed for the summer. I was in fifth gear all the time I was hungover, working my ass off, writing these books and going a million miles an hour at my day gig, and then at the end of the day I forced myself to relax by getting shitfaced. After taking away alcohol, I didn’t know how you don’t do anything and feel okay about it, aka relax. I’d sit by a picturesque lake and read a book, going for the occasional swim, and look around and be unsure if I was doing it right. I didn’t know if I was doing it right because it felt like I should be doing something else. I was on red alert. This feeling subsided and I now feel fine not doing anything. I’m now nailing relaxing, just like everyone else who didn’t spend every moment they weren’t working shitfaced.

This lady – I wanna say at the young age of twenty-five? – is already an advanced “relaxer.”

2. Hanging out with people and speaking to them makes me feel good

At the end of my career as an active alcoholic, I’d gotten to the point where I refused to do anything apart from hang out in my apartment watching movies. If I got invited to someone’s birthday dinner, I’d go along, but I wouldn’t feel over the moon about it. How dare they request my presence on a random Sunday, when I could be doing the best thing in the world: drinking myself into oblivion. I’m still dealing with feeling resentful towards people who invite me to hang out with them, and my mood is at its lowest the couple hours before I leave my apartment to do just that. But I now notice, because I’m not drunk when I leave, that hanging out with them, talking to them, and making them laugh enriches my sense of wellbeing. I leave with a smile on face and warmth in my heart.

Hanging out..

3. Time goes by way slower

I wasn’t a blackout drinker, so I never lost any consciousness time, apart from this one time I fell off the wagon and thought I could still drink eight super-strength craft ales. I came to to find out I’d started watching Muppet Christmas Carol, and that I needed to go “downstairs,” despite living in a one-floor apartment. But since getting sober, my perception of the passing of time is completely different. My summer holiday, consisting of four weeks, went past in the relative blink of an eye when I got drunk the entirety of it. Sitting here now, three and a half weeks into my first one sober, it feels like I’ve had four summer holidays in a row.

Now for every tick there’s a tock.

4. Other people now interest me

When I got shitfaced all the time, other people were just obstacles to navigate throughout the day, and the conversations I had with them necessary evils. Now I enjoy speaking to them, and as I smile at them, actually listening to what they say, I find myself interested in what makes them tick and why they are the way they are. After being sober for 200 days, I find other people and their complexities fascinating.

“Get the fuck out of my way. I’m trying to get over this obstacle.”

5. Alcohol is evil

I used to think that I was broken, that I was part of a small demographic of people who couldn’t control my drinking. And that’s true, in a way. But I now realize that alcohol’s a little like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. It’s tricksy, telling you shit all the time to trick you into consuming more of it and to fuck your shit up in general. If you drink enough of it, it’ll escalate itself to being the highest priority in your life, and even though you know it’s destroying your life, you can’t comprehend living without it. People aren’t the problem, the mass normalized consumption of a drug that fuck’s with your mind is. I learned this before I became a full-blown alcoholic, when I witnessed a guy act irrationally about being told off for drinking at lunch when I, alongside him, was completing my teaching qualification. That’s what alcoholism is, I thought, but I unlearned that shit when I started drinking enough. Alcohol didn’t want me to remember that story, because it would’ve broken the elaborate delusion it had created in my mind where it meant everything and everything else—the stuff that really matters: relationships with other human beings, success, happiness—meant nothing.

“Drink some more booze,” sssssighed the snake.

So there you have it. That went much better than I thought it was going to. If you’ve spent a decent amount of time sober, or even just a few days, feel free to write the shit you’ve learned in the comments section below.

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The Alcoholic Tautologist’s Moment of Clear Clarity

Dan discusses the notion of an alcoholic’s moment of clarity.

If you’ve experienced life on planet earth, you’ve probably heard of Pulp Fiction, an iconic movie about the intertwining lives of criminals.

In the final scene, one of those criminals, Jules Winfield, vows to give up his life of crime. He’s experienced a moment of clarity. He’s seen the error of his ways. He likens this experience to the moment of clarity an alcoholic experiences before he can truly get and stay sober.

Jules Winfield, having blown someone’s head off and spent the morning cleaning his car of brain and skull fragments, is sitting in a diner with his literal partner in crime Vincent Vega, to whom he’s explaining this notion.

A moment later, two characters, who are seen in the same diner in the epilogue discussing the best places to rob—their criteria being ease, risk, and monetary gain—get out of their seats decide to rob the place.

A conflict between these characters ensues, which ends in Jules Winfield leaving the diner with his wallet, but without the money inside, which he lets the robbers take. You get the impression during this conflict that Jules Winfield, the more professional and coolheaded of the criminals, would be able to shoot the two robbers, leave with his own money and theirs, and probably the robbers’ underwear, too, if he were so inclined.

But he decides not to.

After stealing this person’s underwear, Jules neatly arranged the clothes pegs.

But back to this “moment of clarity” the alcoholic experiences.

I’ve heard it mentioned in sobriety culture a few times, the most noteworthy of which is a former member of a biker gang’s, a hell’s angel, who’d taken drugs and drank pretty much constantly most of his adult life, and who woke up behind a parked car one Monday morning.

He rose onto an elbow, looked around, and realized he didn’t have a single memory from the last three days; he decided that would never happen again. He left the biker gang, got sober, and is currently an advocate for sobriety, sharing his story on the podcast circuit, which is how I came to hear his story.

I believe I experienced a similar moment of clarity, though mine is much less dramatic. Absurdly, it isn’t that clear to me now. I don’t remember where I was, or under what circumstances I experienced it, I just remember it happened at Christmas, when I’d just started drinking again after almost five months’ sobriety, and what I thought.

This part of the story, at least, is still as clear as a summer’s day. I could envisage being ten years older and battling the same problem. I could imagine myself clearly, slightly more gray in my beard, salt-and-pepper hair, being in exactly same position. Still drinking, still flirting with the idea of quitting for good.

The moment of clarity that day, the revelation, was that I accepted that time was going to go by whether I drank or not, and that I’d do anything to make sure I spent those ten years sober, instead of filling that time with drinking and regrets. With what-ifs.

“Here’s to a lifetime of not realizing our full potential.”

After an alcoholic’s moment of clarity comes the time where he has to wear the trousers and walk the walk, or whatever idiom you want to come up with.

Jules Winfield’s moment of truth is refusing to shoot other criminals in the head for having the gall to attempt to take his wallet.

Mine was distinctly less impressive, but I like to think equally as trying. I was sitting in a movie theater on New Year’s Day, drinking a cola, watching a movie of which I’d greatly anticipated the release.

The old alcoholic’s voice inside my head, which I’d ignored through New Year’s Eve and the day before, started to speak to me, telling me to go to the bar to get one of my favorite craft beers. He probably called me a pussy a few times, and mocked the pattern on my tie.

It’s here Jules Winfield’s story and my own converge again. In the first scene featuring Jules and Vincent, Vincent is listing the differences between Europe and the US, as he’s just returned to live in the States after a six-year period of residing in Amsterdam. One of the differences he points out is the opportunity to drink a glass of beer in a movie theater. “And I’m not talking no paper cup, a glass.”

The movies.

I’d taken advantage of that opportunity many times in that same movie theater and when I did, I would think of that scene from time to time, and think it was cool that I could sit and watch a movie with a glass of beer in my hand. And that I could get up when I’d finished and go to the bar to get another. And another.

That day I didn’t take that opportunity. I was content to sit with my plastic bottle of cola, my paper cup. I decided that movie theater could have my ticket money and the exorbitant sum I’d paid for the cola, but I wasn’t going to let it serve me a drink that could lead to my eventually losing my wallet.

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It Only Took Me Six Months of Not Boozing To Learn How To Relax

The last two weeks I’ve taken away my largest barrier to staying sober: I’ve kicked ass at relaxing.

Today I’ll be collecting my six-month chip at AA, and it’s only now that I realize fully what booze took away from me for the almost ten years that I abused it: my ability to relax.

I work hard, but I don’t want a medal for it. I enjoy working hard. I get up at five AM every morning, and on the days that I’m motivated, I head to my office at around 5:45 to write trashy fiction, a mug of green tea in one hand, a pint of water in the other, and my headphones dangled around my neck.

“What’s the name of the jerk who wrote this trashy bullshit again?”

I write my one-thousand-plus words just in time to work out for ten minutes before I go to work. My job’s intense. I work in a kindergarten, and it works out that there’s a six-kids-to-every-adult ratio, so my job is basically being a shitty uncle to six kids every day.

By the time I get home, I’m spent. Following a recipe for dinner requires reading it upwards of twenty times, and I still usually forget an ingredient or two.

The last couple weeks I’ve had that routine taken away from me, as it’s my summer holiday. Four weeks where I get to turn off the motor.

The start of the holiday was make or break for my sobriety. I knew if I made it through these four weeks, I could be sober for the rest of my life. What I didn’t know is that these four weeks would allow me to find a peace of mind that I’ve never had.

An often-touted excuse or reason to drink is its relaxing effect. I get it. People work hard. The description of my workday above probably isn’t unusual. And once you gear up to fifth gear, it’s difficult to get down to neutral in the four or five hours you have before you have to hit the hay, after which you’ll wake up and start your workday again.

But what happens when the time you have to relax is days on end, and the only way you know how to relax is by drinking a metric shit-ton of alcohol? Alcoholism happens.

This woman is searching an idyllic relaxation spot for her lost bottle of White Zin.

The last two weeks I’ve taken away my largest barrier to staying sober: I’ve kicked ass at relaxing.

At least I tried to kick ass at it in the beginning of the holiday. I ran my holiday like a military operation. I still got up early to write my one-thousand-plus words of trashy fiction, and thereafter I’d plan what I was going to do that day to a T—swimming and chilling out by a lake by a certain time, watching a movie by midday, after which I’d prepare lunch. The rest of day was equally planned to “maximize” my relaxation.

But here’s the thing about relaxation. You don’t plan the shit out of it, and you can’t plan for it to happen, which is the way I relaxed for the last seven summers. I bought my supplies at the vinmonopolet (the Norwegian equivalent of a liquor store, just government owned and ran and regulated), and I’d relax the shit out of the day by drinking myself into a semi-dream-state alcoholic abyss.

A regular abyss.

This is the first summer I’ve taken alcohol out of the equation, and I didn’t fare well in the beginning. I got grouchy, and I was easily bored.

But something miraculous happened. It at least feels miraculous to me. I learned to embrace boredom, and the turning point happened on a camping trip.

With my girlfriend, I hiked for two and a half hours to an idyllic spot by a picture-perfect lake. We arrived early, and all there was to do was to setup camp, swim, read, smoke cigarettes, and stare out at the lake. The walk there was taxing, but after only a couple hours I was ready to bale. I’d planned this trip, and now it was happening, but I’d done everything I’d planned to do at least once. I was ready to plan the next thing, and I was willing to walk another two and a half hours so I could get to planning it.

“You’ll relax, God damn it, if it’s the last thing you do.”

Really, I wanted to escape relaxation, because I didn’t know what it meant, not without alcohol.

I stayed at that campsite, and I forced myself to be bored for five or so hours until it was a reasonable time to head to my sleeping bag.

I came back not a changed man, but with a new skill. A skill I’d never learned because I’d never gone through the process to get it, because I drank and drank and drank.

This summer I learned that life’s boring from time to time, and that’s okay. It never was when I got shitfaced all the time.

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Are You Ready To Admit The Five-Hundred-Pound Gorilla Needs To Stay In His Cage Yet?

This week, Dan passes off more wisdom as his own.

Around three years ago, I admitted to myself I’m an alcoholic. But it wouldn’t be until around two years later that I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, which is the first step of the AA program.

I wasn’t a member of AA at the time, so I didn’t go through this step officially, documented and with a sponsor.

In fact, I didn’t admit I was powerless over alcohol, or at least I didn’t phrase it like that.

I admitted that booze had me by the balls, and no matter how many breaks I took, and how long they were, our relationship would always be the same: I would remain the green guy in prison, alcohol the possibly homosexual prison-yard bully who grabs a handful of my balls whenever he wants, whispering rapey promises in my ear as he does.

For some people, admitting they’re an alcoholic and powerless over alcohol coincide. For others, they admit the powerless thing first, and the alcoholic revelation comes later. Think of the period of time between both revelations as purgatory, or a way station. In order to progress in your recovery, both need to be admitted.

Of course, for some, they admit they’re an alcoholic, but never recognize they’re powerless over alcohol.

I have a family member who’s caught in this way station now. They know they have a major problem with booze, but they’re not ready to accept that they can never again go back to drinking like a regular person. When you’re talking about moderating your drinking, you’re not there yet.

A couple months of sobriety are easily achieved when you know there’s a glass of your favorite tipple at the end of it.

“I’m going to have a dry January, just to prove to all the haters out there that I’m not an alcoholic.”

Remember the guy who told me the metaphor about which I blogged? The one with the cucumber and the pickle? A couple months ago, he told me a great parable of this period, the alcoholic’s purgatory.

Imagine a guy who has a five-hundred-pound gorilla as a pet. I don’t know if five-hundred pounds is about the size fully grown gorillas reach. If it isn’t, imagine it’s a teenage gorilla.

That teenage or fully grown gorilla is kept in a cage for obvious reasons. The guy knows how dangerous he is. He likes his facial skin wear it is, and he doesn’t think it would make a great Halloween mask.

But that gorilla, despite possibly being a teenager, is one charming motherfucker.

Oh, he can also talk, which I forgot to mention.

“Guy just remembered the gorilla can talk. That seems legit.”

Slowly, bit by bit, as the guy visits him to feed and give him water, he gains the guy’s confidence and manages to convince him he should let him out of his cage for a while. He’ll be a good gorilla.

So the guy does.

The gorilla beats the shit out of the dude. I mean fucks him up bad. Someway, somehow, the guy manages to get the gorilla back in the cage. Maybe he drugged him, or maybe the gorilla just got bored of beating the fuck out of him and went back in willingly.

It’s a gaping plot hole in this story, but whatever. The guy’s super pissed at his gorilla, but that ill will pales in comparison to the shame and embarrassment he feels at having been tricked.

All expected thoughts for the easily-tricked talking-teenage-gorilla owner.

The gorilla’s still his pet. He made a lifelong commitment to him. He can’t give him away like a Christmas-present puppy when he’s no longer cute.

The guy has to turn up to feed him, to give him water, and during these times the gorilla starts to turn on the charm again. He tells the guy he’d like to come out of the cage, and it’ll be different this time. There’s no way he’ll beat the fuck out of him.

Despite his bruises being fresh and the cuts unhealed, the guy is easily tricked. He lets that teenage gorilla out of the cage, and the inevitable happens. The gorilla beats the fuck out of him. Shit, this time he goes even wilder than last time, making the guy the object of moves performed by professional wrestlers. He fucks the guy up bad.

Someway, somehow, the guy manages to get the gorilla back in the cage. This time he realizes the gorilla needs to stay in there. He can’t be trusted. When he turns up to feed the gorilla after this second beating, and the gorilla starts lying to him, telling him it’ll be different this time, turning on the charm, the guy looks at his bruises and fresh cuts and tells the gorilla to go fuck himself.

But those cuts always heal, and the bruises turn from blue to purple to yellow, before eventually fading. The guy goes through this cycle of the gorilla gaining his confidence anew, of getting the shit beaten out of him, and getting the gorilla back in the cage many times.

I know what you’re thinking: Wait a minute. Doesn’t the guy have to clean the cage out, so doesn’t he have to let the gorilla out regularly anyway?

Just ignore that and think about the story.

It can end in two ways: the guy can let the gorilla out one time too many times, and the gorilla beats the shit out of him to the point where he dies; or the second one is that the guy can hold on to the mistrust he has for the gorilla, reminding himself of it every day, long after the bruises and cuts have healed, and successfully keep the gorilla in the cage.

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A List of Reasons to Get Drunk Again now I’m Sober Enough to Use Passersby as Shields for my Sobriety

Now that Dan’s been sober awhile, it takes more than getting wet in the shower to motivate him to pick up a bottle

A couple years ago I didn’t need a big excuse or reason to get drunk. It could be a Monday, for example, and that was reason enough to decide to get shitfaced. Or I could stub my toe on a piece of furniture. In fact, I didn’t really need reasons or excuses to get drunk. It was just something I did, without rhyme or reason. To ask me why I got drunk was akin to asking a giraffe why he has an elongated neck.

giraffe-2222908_640 (1).jpg
A giraffe walks into a bar and, preempting the hacky joke, says, “Horses have long faces, douchebag.”

Now that I’m five months sober, my perspective has changed a little. It took a whole bunch of relapses to realize I’m never going to be that guy sitting in a restaurant, wholly engaged in the conversation he’s having, to the point where he forgets to take a drink of his beer, or even that he has a beer in the first place. It’s sitting there, and it’s looking almost empty, and the guy’s not looking around incessantly for a waiter. Shit blows my mind.

I’ll never be that guy, no matter how much I’d like to be.

Anyway, perspective, and its having changed. I’m feeling good in my sobriety; it’s strong. I’d protect those 153 days with my life—I’d at least use the nearest passerby as a shield, as long as they weren’t a child, a pensioner, or someone wearing glasses—or a weird combination of all those things, like Benjamin Button with bifocals.

“Just tell me where the margarita is and what he said to upset you, sir.”

This week I even switched to an alcohol-free brand of mouthwash, as swilling Listerine each morning and night made me nervous. Going through my oral hygiene routine was like standing at the top of the Empire State Building, looking down, daring myself to jump off. I’m calling myself a pussy for not having the balls to do it, when all I’m doing is being sensible or, failing that, not being bat-shit crazy.

To decide to get drunk again, I’d need more than a stubbed toe or the inevitable progression of the Gregorian calendar. I’d need:

  1. To be diagnosed with a terminal disease, and I’d already exhausted every holistic approach to ridding myself of it
  2. To be fighting for survival in a zombie apocalypse where somehow all the booze hasn’t already been looted from every liquor store, otherwise known as the very start of it
  3. For a type of alcohol to be invented in a laboratory that isn’t diseases-causing, life-destroying, and which didn’t wake me up at three in morning with an uncontrollable desire to eat an apple
  4. To be trapped 127 Hours-style, and the only two things within arms’ reach are a bottle of gin and a butter knife
  5. To be trapped in a ­Saw­-style contraption where the only method of escape is to follow Jigsaw’s rules by making every cocktail on a bar menu and drinking them in reverse-chronological order

Clearly, I’ve come a long way. Every item on the list above has to do with survival or inevitable death or fixing alcohol’s innate problems. But I can’t help but beat myself up a little for the second item on there, where getting drunk, I imagine, might be counterproductive to outrunning zombies.

What would be on your list now that you’re sober? Post it in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading! I’m feeling tired this morning, and this shit’s all I’ve got. Don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by filling out the form at the top-right corner of the webpage. And if this post made you laugh out loud three times, don’t forget to feeling mildly obligated to share this post with your sober friend on social media.

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How To Shepherd the Weak into Alcoholics Anonymous

This week, Dan talks bad perfume, what climbing instructors wear, and why no one’s ever asked him to be the guy in charge of the barbecue.

I love being a member of AA. Sitting in a room full of other shitheads who can’t drink worth a dam really charges me up for staying sober the following week. It’s also great fun.

As an alcoholic, you probably find yourself recognizing other alcoholics in your social circle. Whether it be your friend of a friend who you found passed out on the can at some bar you were at, trousers bunched around his ankles, having passed out mid-poop; or your grandma, who, even though she’s incontinent, goes to the bathroom way more often than she should and comes back smelling not like Listerine or hand soap or that perfume she wears that’s two parts potpourri and one part toilet disinfectant.

Like me, if you go to AA and have discovered the many benefits of talking about your feelings with strangers and attempting to listen to them talk about theirs as you focus on the bit of spinach they have between their teeth, you’re probably tempted to try to help that person. You’ve seen the light; you’re never going to drink again; and you can imagine how much more content that person would be without getting shitfaced every morning, afternoon, evening, and night. You may feel tempted to pull that person aside, escorting them to a quiet corner of the room by their elbow, and then attempting to have a conversation with them about how much they drink and what they can do to stop.

“You drink too much. And while I’m whispering, I probably should let you know your breath stinks… not of booze. I can see how you’d think that was confusing.”

I’m going to give you the best advice you’ll ever receive on this blog, and that isn’t saying much: Don’t.

The reasons are many, and they fall into two distinct categories: 1) the selfish reasons, and 2) the bat-shit-crazy reasons.

Let’s start off with the selfish reasons:

  1. You may want to scream from the rooftops about your newfound sobriety and how good it is, but it won’t benefit you. Now that you’re sober, you’re like superhero. You have a superpower that you need to keep hidden. It might seem like a good idea to let Mary Jane know you can now climbs walls without the aid of a rope or an instructor clad in Lyrca, because you think it might finally get you laid, but it causes more trouble than it’s worth. If you let the cat out of the bag about your sobriety to help that the alcoholic in your social circle, the only good you’ll do is let people know you’re one missed promotion or speeding ticket away from being a shit show on wheels, which is to say you’ll do no good at all. You’ll just fuck your own shit up.
  2. You want as many friends and relatives on your side as possible, and to do that you’ll want to steer clear of judging people. Relationships are easily made, but they’re just as easily destroyed. Pointing out someone drinks too much and may have a problem isn’t akin to letting them know they have a spot of broccoli and blue cheese soup on their chin. It’s pointing out a major flaw they may not have been aware of themselves. There’s a reason people don’t invite their doctor to dinner parties, no matter how well they get on: No one wants to make small talk with someone that in the future may have to stick a finger up their ass.

(Forgive the goofy formatting. is to blame for this shit.)

Here are the bat-shit-crazy reasons:

  1. Talking to an active alcoholic about their drinking won’t motivate them to get sober. Chances are, you’ll just add another reason to the growing pile in their mind for why they should go get another vodka and soda, light on the soda. There’s also a good chance they may punch you or attack you with a closed umbrella—weather permitting.
  2. It will give AA a bad name. When Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door, and you make the effort to go answer it, and they’re standing there in their polyester suits, holding out a pamphlet for you to look at while simultaneously trying to have a conversation with you about the benefits of joining their religion, do you think A) wow, how proactive of that person to be spreading the word of God on a Saturday, or do you think B) go away? Right answer. Plus, how likely is it you’re talking to the one person on the planet who doesn’t know what AA is? That alcoholic in your life knows what AA is, and if they were ready or willing to go, they would’ve gone already, or would already be planning on going. Trying to be a promoter of AA is a bit like being a door-to-door airplane ticket salesman: You’ll either end up talking to someone who’s already planning to travel somewhere and has bought a ticket or someone who doesn’t even own a passport. Either way, you’ve achieved at least the minimum requirement for entry into the lunatics’ club.

So there you have it. Does it make you feel better that the best thing you can do is to do nothing, besides making sure your cape doesn’t stick out above your shirt collar? I know it made me feel great when someone gave me that advice last week, which motivated me to regurgitate it to you now in the form of this blog post. But then again, there’s a reason this blog isn’t titled Hilariously Full of Firsthand Wisdom.

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About Now’s the Time I Start Thinking about Getting Shitfaced Again

Dan writes about the connection between Taiwanese hookers and grass, the non-fun kind.

If the next week’s weather produces snow and icy weather and freezing temperatures, it’ll mean I’ve endured six months of winter here in Oslo. That’s two winters in a row.

Wintery weather started in early November, and hasn’t let up until now, the end of March.

Pretty soon, all the snow will melt, the grass will be begin to grow, they’ll be the smell of pollen in the air, and women will start wearing progressively less clothing. Jesus, it’s going to be a one hell of a time.

It’ll also be tainted. I know I’ll start thinking it’s a good time to drink again.

I’ll get into that “Just one more” mindset. The idea of enjoying one more afternoon in the sun getting shitfaced will seem like something I kinda have to do. I’m not predicting a hurricane or some other unlikely event in this part of the world, like a mini ice age—in fact, I just realized it wasn’t I who predicted it at all.

I know this shit’s on the horizon, and there isn’t a single thing I can do to stop it.

Only this time’s going to be different—I’m not going to drink. Those famous last words. Only this time I mean them for real.

I hadn’t thought about it until my sponsor sent me an SMS, saying, “Remember, spring is a time for slips!” or some shit.

Up until that point, I arrogantly didn’t even think it a possibility.

I was starting to think, with the help of AA, that “I got this.” I suppose that’s part of his gig. He’s like a sobriety weatherman, only he’s always right. When he says it’s going to rain, you better make sure you take your umbrella with you.

I’m still figuring out what this blog post is about. Let me just go back and read the start so I can try to steer this ship in a straight line. Oh, yeah: bad weather, then good weather, and slips.

I remember this time one year vividly. I was sitting outside after a long winter, and got that first whiff of spring. Grass or some shit. It was like opening a time capsule. That’s the thing about smells and sounds, the mind attaches memories to them. The memory of the bad experience you had with a Taiwanese hooker may seem long gone, until you walk past someone wearing the same sickly perfume. And then you may as well be back there in that room, sitting on the edge of the bed and putting your socks on and thinking about whether you’d tell your wife at some point.

But the perfume in this story is nature’s, and the memories good.

I’m 440 words in, and I still haven’t discovered what this post is about yet. Let me just go back and check. Oh, yeah: bad weather, and good weather, and smells, and slips, and something about a hooker.

One of the memories attached to that smell—“grass or some shit”—is a memory of sitting out on my balcony, breathing in the feeling of the start of the summer, toasting its arrival with my favorite beer and a cigarette. When I notice that smell that hasn’t been around for six months for the first time this year, my mind will be cast back to that afternoon. Maybe an amalgam of afternoons just like that. And I’ll be envious of that late-twenty-something.

I seem to have come full circle. I’ve just discovered why I’ll think it’s a good time to drink again.

Thanks for reading! Clearly, I wasn’t firing on all cylinder this morning. On the off chance you want to carry on reading more of the drivel you’ve just read, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober. And if it made you laugh out loud three times—highly unlikely in the case of this post—don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your sober friends on social media.

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