Day Zero and How to Stay Sober

Starting on day one again is shitty. How can you avoid it?

Last week I blogged about the hurdles I have to get over to achieve sobriety each year. One the day of writing it, I’d just gotten over the first-day-of-summer hurdle, and was feeling really good about staying sober all summer. I’d go around like a bad ass in the leather jacket I don’t own and which would be weather inappropriate, break into song too often, and never raise a can to my lips, like Danny Zuko.

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Leather jackets and no singing.

Well, that was as much fantasy as when the car in Grease and/or Grease 2 flies into the sky. I fucked up. I opened up the sobriety app on my iPhone, pressed the clock reset button—a day before achieving a month sober—and got drunk one night. And then the next day. And the day after that. You see where this is going.

What I’m trying to say is over the course of a week, I’ve been pressing the clock reset button like I’m playing one of those games the douchebag next to you on the train plays, where they have to press the shit out of their iPhone screen to shoot blocks or some shit.

I’m back to day one, and I haven’t decided whether today is day zero or day one. Day zero meaning I’ll get shitfaced one last time, day one meaning this is my new sobriety date.

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This chimpanzee is in a pensive mood.

I don’t want to blog about my thoughts and feelings leading up to the decision to get off the wagon. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my ability to express myself emotionally is indirectly proportional to how often I write “some shit.” All I’ll say is I can’t drink for shit now, and that Belgian beer for me meant making it through a fiver-hour-long Inland Empire-style nightmare before crawling into bed.

What I will blog about is five tip on how to stay sober. I’m proving to be shitty at this, so forgive the irony. Anyway, the advice I write on this blog is more for me than you.

  1. Obsess over hobbies

Drinking takes time, shitloads of it. You have to go and buy the stuff, and the time you spend drinking it takes a lot of time. You can pretty much do whatever you want and you don’t get bored while drunk. Take it out of your life, and you have a shitload of time to fill. And the years of drinking means you’re shit at filling it. You’re going to need a hobby that you can obsess over like you obsessed over the sauce. Writing silly mystery books is mine.

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Boredom is this possibly-dead camel’s enemy, too.

2. Be proud of your days sober

One of the shitty things about sobriety is it’s never absolutely achieved. But it is on a day-by-day basis. Be proud as fuck of the days you’ve made it to bed without toothpaste paste on your face and a weird smell coming from your pants.

3. Get sober buddies

You might think the T-birds in Grease look silly. And you’d be right. But they don’t give a fuck what you think. They’re proud to be part of a clan, and it strengthens they’re feeling that the lifestyle they’re leading isn’t a complete waste of time.

Other sober buddies are now your clan, and they probably won’t try to fuck your girlfriend or race some other asshole on the motorbike you inexplicably bought by solely working a summer job. Find them, get their numbers or their Snapchat or whatever, and spend time around them. I’ve always been put off by AA, because of the religious aspect, but I now have the humility to realize I need those guys in my life.

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Camaraderie

4. Never, ever think you can go back to drinking like a normal person

Once you’ve become an alcoholic, the chances are you’ve definitely ruined alcohol for yourself. You can’t go back to sipping wine like a wine snob, stop at a reasonable blood-alcohol level, and relax after without obsessing over that extra drink you didn’t buy for yourself. After a month of two on the wagon, you’ll start to feel cured. Don’t. That’s the booze fucking with you.

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Booze

5. Make sobriety your thing

It would be great if you could just forget about booze and live a life like a Shoalin Monk. But it’s not realistic. You’re going to have to work at sobriety every day. That finish line never comes, but that doesn’t mean you can stop running towards it. Sure, filling your time with cool shit to do helps, but immersing yourself in sobriety culture is the key to making this into a lifestyle and not just something you do for a little while after deciding drinking booze makes you feel too shitty to continue.

Thanks for reading! To find out if I stay sober forever this time, sign up for email notifications by filling out the form in the too-right corner of the screen. And of course, if I made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends on social media. The easy way is to hit one of the social media share buttons below.


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The Five Big Hurdles of the Sober Dude’s Calendar

Some days being sober is like enjoying a relaxing ride on a merry-go-round. Other days it’s like surviving the sharp twists and turns of a Japanese roller coaster without shitting yourself.

Today’s the first day of my summer holiday from my kindergarten gig. This usually means the start of four weeks of drinking, pretending I like The Beach Boys way more than I do, and traveling to places that, when I get there, I wander around aimlessly and have no idea what I should be doing to justify the money spent on the trip. (I’m looking at you, Rome.)

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“My name is Rome. You talking about me, pig shit face? Go fuck your grandmothers.”

But this year’s different. For the first time in five years, I’m sober for the first morning of the summer holiday, and all it took was getting through the first two or three white-knuckle hours after I’d finished work without buying a shitload of beer to achieve it. I don’t know about what your drinking career was like, but the first day of the summer holiday was my drinking equivalent of the Super bowl, the Rumble in the Jungle, or whatever race Formula 1 nerds orgasm over.

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Edge-of-the-seat sweeping

I played a summertime playlist with some nerdy title on whatever music streaming service I was subscribing to at the time, I had a schedule of movies I’d watch (including Dazed and Confused), and the only food that past my lips was from a smorgasbord of golden-colored, greasy junk food. And, of course, I had a schedule of craft beers I’d work my way through. I’d cough up the cash for a packet of cigarettes and smoke on my balcony, too, because, well, it’s the summer holiday, so who needs lungs when they’re older?

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“Lungs are for pussies.” – Me, the summer of 2016

Last night, I broke that routine, choosing to watch Jaws instead of Dazed…, and choosing to drink shitloads of caffeine and exclusively vape. I didn’t go out on my balcony, not because I thought it’d be a trigger, but because it rained like a motherfucker and the view from my balcony isn’t nearly as good when I’m not shitfaced and can barely see it from smoke stinging my eyes.

Now that I’m sober, this day will be my biggest test every year. People like to drink during the summer. It’s something to do with sunshine and having friends and whatnot. Fuck if I know. But what other testing days lie ahead of me? What other days will I have to apply a rear-naked chokehold for a few hours to the alcoholic squatting in my brain so I wake up the next day feeling alive?

Of course, there’s:

  1. Christmas Day

Nothing celebrates the birth of Christ quite like starting on mimosas before breakfast, getting progressively drunker throughout the day without your family members batting an eyelid, and arm wrestling your dad during a Christmas special of Doctor Who. This is the one day of the year when alcoholics feel most comfortable being around their family, because they’re riding the same crazy train you are for at least one day, and it’s also a day when talking to your granddad has never been so much fun. We’re all in it together, like one big stinking, steaming mess, and by good we’re having a good time. Except this year I won’t be. My orange juice will just have pulp in it. I’ll be sure to blog about my experience when I get there, but for now, I can only wonder whether my dad, well into his fifties, will be easier to overcome when I’ve been drinking carbonated water all day.

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“Why isn’t the little shit interested?”
  1. Birthdays of significance

I’ve already got a regular one of these under my belt. This year’s. And I have to admit, I felt a little silly opening presents and celebrating the fact I’d made it to thirty-one years of age while I wasn’t shitfaced. It felt like running in a super-short kiddy marathon, getting my ass kicked by hordes of six-foot-five, one-hundred-and-twenty-pound thirteen-year-olds, and receiving a medal for just participating. I’m not too worried about these being a trigger until I reach a significant age like forty. Or if Bill Burr turned up to my apartment wanting to celebrate my birthday with me, and asked, “Why are you not having a drink on your birthday, you cunt?” before going on a non-rant about my generation vaping and not eating animal products.

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“Just keep running until the fat creepy guy gasses.”
  1. Those days in Easter

There are a number of days during the Easter period that have various names. I can’t be bothered googling them, but I know one is called Good Friday. I’m a little hazy on the religious significance of them. All I know is that I’m not at work those days, as I get a break from work for Easter. I was pretty good at finding an excuse to get a little shitfaced every Monday evening, so give me the death of Jesus or some other guy to, uh, celebrate…? and I didn’t have to think too hard before I was riding the metro to the wine monopoly to buy a bottle of gin. Next year, I’ll be celebrating those days by raising a glass of lemonade and eating shitloads of chocolate like all the rest of the children.

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Easter times?
  1. Anyone else’s birthdays

If I’m the overweight goofball running the super-short kiddy marathon on my birthdays, I’m the douchebag who’s grinning like an idiot and putting a medal around your neck for participating on yours. Reached the age of twenty-nine? Fuck yeah I’ll raise a glass to that.

“But isn’t it silly? Shouldn’t I wait until next year to have a big one?” you ask.

I reply, “Dude, you might never make it to thirty. People get hit by buses every day. Failing that, their girlfriend or wife is definitely plotting to kill them at some point. Besides, look at how shiny this medal you and every other person too lazy to run a proper marathon is getting.”

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“Take it. It’s free… until it touches your hand.”

That’s the blog post for this week. Number five, as promised in the title, is the first day of the summer holiday, just in case you’re a bit of an idiot and feel a little shortchanged. I’ve already jumped that hurdle and am running towards the finish line that we alcoholics never reach. That of having achieved sobriety. In the race of alcoholism recovery, the fat creepy guy never gasses.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to subscribe to email notifications for when posts are published by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the web page. And as always, if I made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends by using the social media share buttons below.

Days sober: 27


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Podcasts: Beaming Sobriety Into Your Ears

Looking to get or stay sober and have a shitload of ear time to fill? Or just want to discover what the term ear time means? Read on.

Eleven weeks in to sobriety I feel I’ve gained some momentum. I’ve survived my first party, discovered what the fuck to do at weekends sober, and managed to resist buying a bottle of champagne to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday , instead buying a champagne-style bottle of soda—marketed at kids’ parties. It was disgusting, but at least I got to treat my drain to a sugary drink instead of washing-up water.

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Robby Bubble camouflaging itself among palatable beverages and a basil plant. 

Acclimating to not getting shitfaced every evening and weekend is difficult. In the process, I’ve hauled ass through nature, kicked my girlfriend’s ass repeatedly at both squash and video game boxing, and swapped drinking for a number of other non-hard-drug addictions. Like many, I don’t have time for hot yoga, a vacation to a five-star rehab clinic, or even AA. But what I do have a lot of is ear time.

Not familiar with that term? Nor am I, as I just pulled it out of my ass. What I’m trying to say, in my illiterate way, is that I’m a busy dude. But most of the time while I’m doing stuff that’s essential for my continued existence as a reasonably functioning male, my ears are free to do whatever the fuck they please. My arms, hands, legs, and brain are pressed for time, but my ears have as much time as The Donald in office when he finds out he can’t do half the shit he’s blabbering about.

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A wall that looks like The Donald

I could dictate to my ears that they use that time goofing out to 80s’ power metal, or to listen to the sound of the building site next door to my apartment building (I wish I was fucking around about this), but instead I’ve used that time to beam the message of sobriety directly into my ear holes. Per the title, I’ve been checking out some sobriety podcasts, as well other non-sobriety-themed shows, to make use of all that free time my ears have…the lucky devils.

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These ears of corn also have plenty of time.

Of the many I’ve listened to, I can highly recommend one and kinda recommend another, with a probably offensive caveat.

The Good: That Sober Guy Podcast

That Sober Guy is Shane Ramer, a salt-of-the-earth, unpretentious host who’s doing a fine of job advocating sobriety and inspiring soberness through his weekly podcast. He’s an instantly likable dude who candidly shares his own experience with getting and staying sober, as well as hosting a broad-ranging selection of sober guests. You can check it out here.

The Okay: After Party Pod

After Party Pod is hosted by longtime sober socialite Anna David. While it’s not my cup of tea, because of its tending to go off topic and my personal taste for podcast hosts, I feel I should recommend it for the following reason. This blog has proven popular among ladies (either because of my surly looks or repeated use of the word shitfaced), at least according to early follower numbers , and I think Anna might be more of a hit with the sober ladies out there. I realize it’s 2016 and I shouldn’t write shit like that, but this is my sandbox and my toys. So there. Or here.

Other non-sober-themed podcasts:

Wanting to fill your ears with non-sober musings? Or just want to use your ear time in the same way I am? I’m a patron of the following podcasts:

The Horror Show – a podcast for movie nerds who like to listen to reviews of shitty horror films by two edgy hosts.

The Dana Gould Hour – a bunch of comedians, one of which is ex-Simpsons writer and host Dana, making funnies about various topics.

Comedy Bang Bang – funny as balls.

The latest member of my lineup is Sleep With Me podcast, which helped me sleep like a sedated baby the last week. The host’s insane ramblings are truly bizarre, but really effective.

Tune-in next week for another topic I’ll probably come up with at the eleventh hour.

Thanks for reading! Even if I did offend you with that gender-generalization bit. If you enjoyed this post, or just like repeatedly reading the word shitfaced, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by email by filling out the form in the top-right corner of the webpage. If you’re a male fan of After Party Pod, or even just a male who thinks it might be to his taste, don’t forget to call me a douchebag in the comments section below.

And as always, if I made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to share this post with your friends on social media by using the buttons below.

Days sober: 76


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Birthday Celebrations: The Sober Alcoholic’s Kryptonite

Birthdays come around once a year, and so does the desire to get shitfaced like it’s 1999. The solution? Make up you have cacti to water.

This time last year I fell off the wagon. I’d been enjoying a long period of sobriety, and life had never been better: I was excelling at work, the writing of my comedic mystery series was going well, and when someone took the seat on the train I’d had my eye on I didn’t feel compelled to cut that person into teeny, tiny pieces.

What piece of rock was lying in wait on the dirt road my sobriety wagon was traveling? What turd was floating in my alcohol-free punch bowl, drifting towards the ladle I was about to use to fill up my party cup? Why, my girlfriend’s birthday, of course.

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That’s a punch bowl, right? Wait, is that a Christmas table centerpiece?

Fast forward a year, my life is eerily similar. Tomorrow marks ten weeks’ sobriety. I’ve just finished the sixth novel in my comedic mystery series. And the Gregorian calendar being what it is, it’s now time to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday again.

Inappropriate use of the adverb eerily aside, there are a few differences. 1) I write this blog, which I’m sure has more use as a shrink/AA sponsor to me than it has as useful reading material for its three regular readers, 2) I’ve never been more committed to ensuring I stay sober, and 3) I’ve learned the exact spot to stand on the train to ensure I have the maximum chance of swooping in on a seat before the vultures have a chance to beat me to it.

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This is Priscilla, a king vulture, who already has a seat.

But still I find myself traveling on a wagon, inexplicably trying to enjoy a bowl of alcohol-free punch. And that rock? Lying there, waiting to fuck with my wagon, making the turd fly into my party cup (which is my confused metaphor for celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday tonight, and the dangers of relapsing because of the occasion.)

We won’t be having a party, which I’ve wrote about preparing for here, but the importance of the occasion was enough to make the beer shelves at the store more alluring than they had been in weeks. Instead of just rushing past them, I stopped and looked at my old friends. We shook hands, and they asked why I hadn’t phoned. I did what any flaky, unreliable friend would do: made some excuse about having to rush home and water my cacti.

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It’s dangerous work if you can get it.

Of course, they knew it was an excuse. And when I go to the store today—to buy ingredients to make alcohol-free punch, now that I think about it—they’ll no doubt try to remind me of the good times we had together a year ago. Maybe one will invite me to his summer 2017 wedding as I rush past, and I’ll tell him I think I’ll be in Disneyworld on the date he didn’t specify.

What I’m trying to say, apart from that I make a shitty friend, is that this year I’ve learned more than seat-grabbing strategy for the train. I’ve learned that the wagons of old should’ve really had seatbelts. And that the metaphorical one in my mind does: seatbelts that symbolize strength of mind, resolve, and the ability to gracefully jog while carrying a basket full of groceries.

This year, unlike last year, I’ll wake up tomorrow morning without a hangover, and I have no doubt that when I’m poking at my iPad and enjoying a green tea, those fuck-off rocks that come around twice a year (once for my birthday, once for the ol’ ball and chain) won’t seem as big and shitty as they do now.

Thanks for reading! Even though this week’s post was bordering on gibberish. If you have a birthday party to attend, you’ll find more gibberish on how to tackle it sober here. For those who haven’t, you’ll find other sobriety-themed gibberish linked to on the right side of the blog.

If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by signing up for email notifications using the form at the top-right corner of the website. And as always, if I made you laugh out loud three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share it with your friends on social media using the buttons below.

Stay sober, stay happy, and whatever you do, don’t try to drink turd-tainted punch while traveling in a wagon.

Days sober: 69


My comedic mystery series, which I write mainly while traveling on party wagons, can be checked out here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“The Flower? Is that a movie?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober by signing up to updates using the form at the top-right corner of the blog. And as always, if I made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends using the buttons below.


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How To Be Sober at a Party

Being the sober dude or dudette at a party can sometimes feel like wearing a Nazi uniform to a D-day memorial parade, but don’t fear, Dan has some inspirational advice.

So you’re newly sober. Maybe you got there by going to AA, maybe you checked yourself into a five-star rehab clinic and did a shitload of yoga, or maybe you followed the Doomsday Prepper’s Guide to Getting Sober. Regardless of how you stopped normalizing getting shitfaced every evening and all weekend, at some point you’re going to have to start socializing again, but without alcohol. Being sober can’t just be about energy drinks and beating up snot-nosed fifteen-year-olds online on your favorite boxing video game.

Part of that socializing—even if you try your best to avoid them, like me—will involve going to a party. And in between the stealthy missions to the buffet table to grab one of the dwindling supply of caviar canapés and the appraising of everyone’s evening wear from a dark corner, you’re going to have to open your mouth and have a conversation.

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Caviar, as seen here at a kids’ party.

It’ll only be so long before that person you’re speaking to is one of the more-than-merry partygoers. And if you speak to that drunk person long enough, it’s only a matter of time before his or her alcohol-blurred vision falls upon the glass of carbonated water in your hand, and he or she asks, mixing the words with an obnoxious mixture of spittle, “Why aren’t you drinking?”

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“Hey you, upside-down person. Why aren’t you drinking?”

If you happen to be in your third trimester or wearing a dog collar, this situation may be easily avoided by chuckling and pointing out the obvious. But for us non-impregnated atheists, this situation could be quite the pickle.

On one hand, you don’t want to come across as the square guy or gal at the party by telling people you don’t drink, and in the mind the of that drunk partygoer become someone who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol,” “never knew why it’s necessary to drink alcohol to have fun,” or “never touched a drop” in his or her life.

But on the other hand, you feel self-conscious about labeling yourself as an alcoholic. To do so might raise suspicions in the drunk partygoer that you wandered in off the street, knocked out one of the guests, stole his dinner suit, and hid him in the utility room, so you could avoid another damp night sitting on the sidewalk.

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“I could’ve sworn the party was on this street.”

What do I plan on doing when this situation arises? I’ll tell you what I won’t do: go to that party wearing a dinner suit two sizes too small. But seriously, I’d say, with an air of pride, that I am an alcoholic.

This is why. We sober alcoholics are the coolest motherfuckers at that party, whether or not we use the aforementioned drunk partygoer’s metric for measuring coolness. We have nothing to hide or feel shameful about. Out of all the people there, we’re the hardest partiers of everyone. Had that party been set in the latter part of December of 1999, we would have been swinging from a chandelier, a glass of champagne in our hands, singing a God-awful rendition of ‘9 to 5.’ And it would’ve been freakin’ hilarious.

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He “will always love you,” creeped-out pretty girl from his economics class.

But we’re above that behavior now. We ruined drinking for ourselves by overdoing it, and now we see the error of our ways, which is way cooler than conforming to some social norm, despite its detriment to our life quality. We sober alcoholics are freethinkers, who decide independently about lifestyle choices, and we’ll go home from a party without having made drunken requests for bad songs, gotten into a passive-aggressive argument, or outright punched the host square in the face.

Congratulations, Sober Alcoholic. You’re one cool motherfucker. And when you feel ready to start socializing again without alcohol, and you find yourself at a party, hold your head high and jump in and swim with the same confidence it took to quit drinking. You’re the veteran at the party who now has all his faculties. And between being that and being the partygoer who stares into his cup of joe the morning after, remembering all the dumb stuff he did, I know which one I choose.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to follow Hilariously Sober via email by filling out the form in the top-right of the webpage. And as always, if I made you laugh out loud at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this blog post with your friends by pressing one of the social media share buttons below.

Stay sober and happy, you cool cat you.

Days sober: 48


My works of fiction, which also ironically read like they’ve been written by someone shit drunk, can be checked out here.

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What the Fuck Do You Do at Weekends When Sober?

Recently sober and don’t know how to fill your time at the weekends? Fear not. Dan has it all worked out. Kind of.

One of the big hurdles after quitting drinking, I’ve been finding, is how to use all that newfound free time I have.

Weekday evenings are a breeze: make an evening meal, sit down to play the Xbox 360, and then choose an invariably rubbish film from the Scandinavian selection on Netflix.

But the weekends are a bitch. The first five minutes are easy. I make myself a cup of green tea and then sit on the balcony in my pajamas, smoking a cigarette, thinking about all the amazing stuff I can do, which, three weekends in, haven’t materialized.

I get bored after I’ve scoured the internet. And that second cigarette isn’t nearly as much fun as the first. And then? Crippling, blow-my-fucking-brains-out boredom. Which breeds more boredom. And then more, until I’m thinking that the wagon’s not as much fun as I thought it was going to be when I, shitfaced, imagined it.

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This guy knows what I’m talking about.

My main activity for Saturday was having a competition with myself to see who could throw up from alcohol consumption first—self-loathing Dan or air-guitar-to-poodle-metal-at-one-in-the-morning Dan. (Just for the record, Air Guitar Dan won every time.)

When I was drunk, time spent watching an Adam Sandler movie or tweaking my recipe for the greatest ever nachos grande recipe seemed like time well spent.

But activities of that ilk don’t fit the new me. Deciding which variety of cheese to use or whether to watch Grownups or Grownups Two don’t quite seem fulfilling enough choices now that my life view isn’t skewed by a debilitating level of alcohol consumption.

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This guy knows what I’m talking about.

So it’s time to plan my weekends like they’re a military operation, just without the shooting of indigenous people to a dictator-run country or the pot smoking on an evening, to know, wind down after all the killing.

The following is a list of activities I will endeavor to fill my time with during the weekends when I’m not A) writing comedy or B) writing this blog, which on occasion are mutually exclusive. If you’re stuck for stuff to do now that you’re drier than Jupiter’s third moon, you might find it helpful.

  1. Become one with nature

I occasionally saw nature while deep into a craft ale session and flicking through TV channels and thought it looked cool—when the animals humped each other instead of ripping each other’s throats out. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by what, from afar, looks like inviting landscape. Next Saturday, and hopefully the Saturdays following it, I’ll become one with it, which is to say stroll through it, thinking squirrels aren’t as nearly exciting as mating lions viewed in high-definition widescreen.

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“What now?”
  1. Become an advanced amateur in a sport of my choosing

The days of eating perfectly constructed plates of nachos and not putting on the pounds are over. There’s a reason why my bio photo for this blog was cropped to only include me from the shoulders up: There was a soup stain on my otherwise immaculately white T-shirt, and beneath that cloth, rippling like vibrating jello despite my standing in a stationary position, is my ample abdomen. I need to lose those extra pounds if I’m to outlive the squirrels I’ll pretend to enjoy looking at. I play squash now and again, and by cave dweller standards, I’m quite the player. But it’s time to up my game and play more often—maybe even consult YouTube videos—so I can finally beat my retired father in a game. When I win, I bet he’ll be quite proud of me underneath the searing anger and disappoint in himself.

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This advanced player managed to complete a one-armed press-up while striking the ball.
  1. Learn how to cook dinner-party-standard cuisine

Now that I’m not a terrible drunk, I’m sure to amass a wide circle of friends who both love and respect me. Tired from laughing at my jokes and waiting with baited breath for the next development in my witty anecdotes, they’ll need food. And the type of food I’m competent at cooking, which is more suitable for munching while watching Bad Moms, won’t cut the mustard. So it’s time to cut the Dijon, consult cookery books not bought from weed smoking paraphernalia shops, and add another string to my dinner-party-hosting bow.

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“I’m pretty sure the creepy guy’s making nachos.”
  1. Become an expert in a niche genre of cinema

Being sober at the weekends can’t all be running around the forest, trying to hit squirrels with a squash racket. I’ll exhaust myself. And I’m sure my boss has this wild expectation that I turn up to work on a Monday morning looking refreshed, and not looking like I’ve run-back-to-back marathons through the jungle. To recuperate from losing the nachos weight, I’m going to up my film-watching game and become a nerd in some nice genre of cinema. I’ll research movies from best-film lists for body horror science fiction or some shit I find on movie blogs, buy used copies from eBay, and sit and watch them till the end of the credits, before hitting Wikipedia to find out about what the fuck I just watched. Besides, I’ll need useless knowledge of some bizarre subject to bore my dinner party guests with to distract them from my poor cooking.

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Kevin Bacon, a movie star.
  1. Learn to relax

This is the big one. There’s sure to be some downtime in between the above activities. In my drinking days, I’d spend my Saturdays running around doing stuff I needed to do, and then spend three o’clock onwards relaxing with eight or nine beers. The result is I don’t have a clue how to relax like a regular person. I bounce from one wall to the next, screaming bloody thunder at my live-in girlfriend, begging her to come up with something, “Anything!” for me to do. From now on, I’ll spend that time reading a book, skimming through a broadsheet newspaper, or trimming my toenails while whistling my favorite tune.

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“I should really go inside and clip my toenails.”

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Days sober: 20


As well as writing dubiously helpful sobriety blog posts, I also write comedic mystery fiction, which you can check out here.

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