Make Me Happy, You Son of a Bitch

This week, Dan suspects he’s suffering from SAD, and is going to rely on The Shining for answers.

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I’ve been feeling a little blue lately. The type of blues you get when you’re hungover. Problem is, I haven’t touched a drop in almost four months. I’ve been a good little boy, and still the thought of sitting arched over a small dining table in a dimly lit room and playing Russian roulette with myself as I wear an underwear vest seems like a good idea.

I eat right, eating my broccoli like a boy scout, and exercise regularly. I also have two enjoyable and rewarding gigs: the first one, entertaining young kiddies in a kindergarten during the day by completing puzzles with them and listening to heavy metal music as we play air guitar solos, the second, writing comedic mysteries and thrillers for which I’m receiving modest but increasing compensation for the hours I put in before kiddie time.

I should be happy, but I’m not.

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“I just… I just wanted to make you happy.”

It’s been a mystery I’ve been unable to solve, even with the help of Jake Hancock. I’ve been unbearable to live with, snapping at my girlfriend for infinitesimal shit, and not enjoying my usual hobbies of long walks, listening to podcasts, and binge watching shitty horror movies.

For the sake of the drama of this blog post, let’s pretend I was at the end of my tether yesterday evening, which isn’t far from the truth. It was the highest point of conflict in this character arc, and I’d creepily, half-jokingly mentioned blowing my brains out to my girlfriend, and in my desperation had even searched on eBay for pistols and underwear vests.

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“I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sorry I forgot the tent.”

It was at this point my girlfriend, fingers crossed, suggested something that’s hopefully a breakthrough: “You felt like this this time last year. Maybe it’s got something to do with that seasonable something or other?”

I can’t remember how I responded, but let’s assume I made a noise similar to what a hot-air balloon makes five minutes before it crashes down to earth. I was ridiculing her suggestion, but she’d gotten me thinking.

Maybe she was onto something.

I picked up my tablet and started googling and learned about a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is often shortened to super-easy-to-remember acronym SAD. In a nutshell, it’s probably what Jack’s suffering from in The Shining, minus the hallucinations of two creepy twins who look too old to enjoy tricycles and the shining itself, whatever the fuck that is.

SAD stems from lack of sunlight during the winter and autumn months, and is no Joke. Just ask Olive Oil, who was forced to lock Popeye in a walk-in refrigerator because of how BAD his SAD had gotten. And it makes sense that I’d suffer from it. I’m the first to wear shorts at work in the spring, and I’ve always found Christmas to be a depressing affair. I’ve also got the emotional control of a starving eleventh-month-old with diaper rash.

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A baby exhibiting a rare moment of enjoyment by smiling at a photographer.

Could my girlfriend be right? Am I one of those frail little birds who spits his pacifier out just because I’m not getting enough sun? Am I one lonely hotel and extreme winter away from  forcing a loved one to lock me in a walk-in refrigerator to cool off?

Time will tell, as I’m sitting in front of hopefully the solution right now. It’s not my computer screen, as that’s more often than not the primary source of my frustration and anxiety—when I don’t know what the fuck to write for the next chapter in my novel or when Windows 10 decides to update itself. The solution’s shining into my eyes right now, hopefully messing with my serotonin levels as I type. It’s a bright light.

Make me happy, you son of a bitch.


Thanks for reading, even if this blog post has little to do with trials and tribulations of sobriety, and even less to do with comedy.

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A Dangerous Way to Get Sober?

Swapping addictions is great and everything, but your ultimate goal should be to become content with addiction-free life. That and world peace.

Last time I got sober, I wrote a blog post about how I did it, analogizing the method to prepping for a nuclear-event-style doomsday disaster, riding out the worst of it in a bunker, and emerging from said bunker prepared to survive the nuclear fallout. It’s one of my favorite blog posts, and sometimes I go back and read it and pat myself on the back for having been so witty and pithy.

In a nutshell, I advocated hiding away in your home, cutting yourself off from your drinking buddies (represented in the post by scab-ridden radiation zombies), and emerging yourself in a load of in-home pastimes until you’re over the worst of the cravings. Only then can you safely tackle getting back to normal life… or what’s left of it.

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A hungover Paris Hilton.

Getting sober this time has been a little different. Sure, I haven’t exactly been a socialite, but then again, when I got shitfaced all the time, I wasn’t either. Early-early sobriety this time has meant shifting my addiction from booze to something else: big-ass energy drinks, which I’d consumed last sobriety run, but to which I’ve exhibited religious-level dedication this time around, just like alcohol.

I’ve been so successful at this, that I have no idea why, when life got tough, I turned to paint-stripping-strength gin and tonics instead of chronic-jaw-pain-inducing levels of caffeine and something guarana. Whatever the hell that is.

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Caffeine porn.

The buzz of alcohol, and why I enjoyed it so much, is a mere ghost of a memory, and when I have a shitty day at work or when someone gets the seat on the train I’d had my eye on for four or five stops, I don’t immediately think of how many beers I’ll drink that evening, but how far I can make my eyes bulge out of my head from getting high as a motherfucker on caffeine.

Clearly, this is only a temporary solution for my recovery from alcoholism, as my dentist will get shit-angry with me if she has to extract my sole wisdom tooth, and I hear sleep’s a good thing to experience. When I googled it, sleep had quite a few cheerleaders.

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Running on fumes.

But so far? I can’t recommend this method of getting sober enough. I’m five weeks in and getting this far has never been easier. And, boy, have I gotten familiar with advanced-strategy Worms game play.

Before I started writing this post I thought of compiling a five-point list of my favorite oversized energy drinks, but decided against it, in part because I wouldn’t be able to make it humorous, and in part because I figured there probably aren’t that many other countries other than Norway that consume one of my favorites: Super Fart!

(In Norwegian, fart means speed. And super? Yeah… that means the same thing.)

The result is I’m sitting here, sipping on a can of Super Fart!, wondering what the hell I’m writing about, which is a typical symptom experienced while consuming the stuff. Let me just glance at the title again. Yep, I’m back on track.

This is a dangerous way to quit boozing. Sure, energy drinks are way less destructive to my life than booze ever was, but here at Hilariously Sober, we like to get serious and think about the long term. Honest. So what’s the next step in my sobriety?

Obviously, it has to be not living the life of a depressed, overweight fifteen-year-old whose only escape from his oppressive middle-class family is his Xbox 360 and attention-spam-shortening beverages. I have to move on from this, make another addiction switch to something even less harmful, eventually ending up addicted to something healthy, like exercise or helping old people across the road, or combining them into a crazy new fitness trend I could definitely make a viral video about.

But I’ll leave that for another blog post. This thing’s getting as long as I like them to be, and I have tickets to the cinema I don’t want to eat the price of.

Tune in next week for ‘Five Healthy Addictions to Swap with Boozing Your Tits Off’.

Until then, feel free to put your newfound addictions in the comments section.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to recommend it to between two- and three-hundred members of your friends and family.


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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.

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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!

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