So This Is What You Look Like Before Noon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Generic lemon and lime soda drink.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it wouldn’t make it so.

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

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

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

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


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

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The Big Question

One windy night, someone, somewhere, will look you straight in the eye and ask you why you’re drinking a soda instead of a beer.

I was shit-tired, relaxing at a work get together, drinking a can of Red Bull, when a colleague noticed I was neither A) drinking booze, nor B) enjoying myself as much as everyone else.

I was having a good time. It was a Friday evening, at least, so I guess I was in good spirits. I was smiling, I think, or at least I was trying to, it’s just Friday evenings don’t have the same joviality and sense of release they offered when I got shitfaced. Come to think of it, he probably didn’t notice the latter at all. I was imagining things. It was the can of Red Bull that gave me away. Now that I think about it, if I’d had a can of beer in front of me, or if I’d been standing on a table, a half-drunk bottle of champagne in my hand, singing ‘Lady In Red,’ I may have been a little more conspicuous.

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Groucho Marx glasses, with free lazy eye.

Whatever it was, the guy turned to me and asked me why I wasn’t drinking. It’s probably worth noting at this point that he did so in Norwegian, the language they funnily enough speak in Norway, my place of residence.

The reason I mention it isn’t to add color to this story, or to show off about my being bilingual, it’s because to answer that question from an alcoholic’s perspective is a little more problematic in Norwegian. In English, I’d say, “Because I don’t drink,” and the person who asked the question would be able to fill in the blanks. They’d either assume I was alcoholic or one of those people who no one can relate to at a party who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol.”  But in Norwegian, you’d say the same sentence if you meant you didn’t drink at all or if you meant you weren’t drinking that evening. Or maybe my Norwegian just sucks, or my communication skills in general.

After I’d responded, probably getting the pronunciation all fucked-up, there was a moment’s silence, and then he asked, “Just tonight, or…?” It was one of those long ‘ors’, with the pause before it you could peel a banana in, the type that asks fifty questions all at once.

Let’s back up a bit. There’s a bit of exposition I left out. Part of my routine for staying sober is to listen to sobriety podcasts, to regularly reinforce and remind myself that drinking’s not for me. I suck balls at it. A drinking session for me starts with a beer in some bar in Oslo, and ends with me waking up in a boat off the coast of Poland, sleeping next to some fisherman’s dog. On one of these episodes of one of these podcasts, the host said nobody would notice when you’re not drinking at a party, or if they did, they wouldn’t care. And if the stars were aligned just right, or if it were a blue moon or some shit, and they did notice and happened to care, they definitely wouldn’t ask you about it.

But here I was, finding out that isn’t the case. At least where I live, on that certain evening, sitting next to that specific guy. Sure, the guy hadn’t asked me about it outright, but with that long-ass ‘or’ he may as well have asked me if I was prone to slapping my wife around when I got shitfaced on a Friday evening. At the least, it was one of the fifty questions he’d asked me.

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A banana skin.

I just came out and said it: “I don’t drink alcohol.”

Turns out I was wrong about what I said about Norwegian and its grammar letting down the alcoholic in that situation. That’s what I should have said. I don’t drink alcohol. But to be fair to me, in that social setting, with everyone else drinking at the table, and the way I shifted in my seat before I said, “I don’t drink,” the words Red Bull may as well have been replaced with Degenerate’s Pick-Me-Up.

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From a distance, “fish chips.”

Not that he’s to blame for this awkwardness. I’m the guy who ruined booze for myself. He didn’t force me at gunpoint to drink eight or nine or ten cans of beer every Saturday for as long I can remember. From his perspective, he’s just getting to know a colleague a little better, and the few beers he’d drunk had made him brave enough to do it. But from my perspective, with the fucked-up relationship with the shit he can put down just as easily as he can pick up, he may as well have been asking me what subgenre of porn I enjoy.

Tentatively, he asked something along the lines of, “Would it be intrusive to ask why?”

I thought a second, and then surprised myself by blurting out, “Yes,” before laughing to diffuse the awkwardness. Clearly, I’d handled this situation without embarrassing either one of us. I’d have one less person who’d bother to make small talk with me at the next work get together.

I’ve been thinking about this situation now and again the couple weeks since it happened, and how I can best handle it the next time I trade some shitty movie on a Friday evening for socializing with my work buddies. The coward’s way out would be to decant a can of non-alcoholic beer into a glass and hide the empty bottle under a shit-ton of toilet paper in the bathroom waste paper basket. But I didn’t manage to get sober by following the path of least resistance. I got sober precisely because I didn’t want to be a coward any longer.

And even if that were an option morally and spiritually, non-alcoholic beer isn’t my bag. The baby needs his bottle on a Friday night, and his new bottle is laced with eye-bulging levels of caffeine.

I have to also consider that I don’t exactly want to advertise in a work setting that I’m shit at drinking moderately.

The best response I can come up with when someone asks me The Big Question is this: Smile, pause a couple seconds—the length of time it takes me to work out how to prepare a mango—and then say “or…” with a creepy look on my face.

Thanks for reading! 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 at least three times, don’t forget to feel mildly obligated to share this post with your friends on social media.


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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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Kids Are Kick Ass at Being Sober

In his search for happiness post-booze, Dan gets serious. He steals a good time on some dude’s trampoline.

On Wednesday, I was wearing a pair of fur-lined slippers, relaxing with an espresso, vaping may favorite of eliquid, and watching an R-rated movie, when a thought came to mind: kids are shit happy. Like all the time. They run around like hamsters, ear-to-ear smiles on their faces, shoveling sand from one place to another. Some of the non-toilet-trained ones even have a mass of their own feces stuck to their butt, and it doesn’t affect their mood whatsoever.

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Photographic evidence.

And then I started to think about my own childhood, and more importantly, what the key differences are between childhood and adulthood.

Like most kids, my childhood didn’t involve getting shitfaced every Friday night. Not only that, but I can’t remember getting shitfaced once. And come to think of it, not one of my friends was a deadbeat drunk who slapped his wife around and rocked up to work on a Monday morning stinking of the weekend’s Jack Daniels and cokes.

We were kids, and we were happy.

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Happiness,  and not a Sex on the Beach insight.

So what’s changed now that we’re adults? What are the other key differences apart from we feel that the shit we do during the day should be punctuated with drugs and or booze, maybe with a hooker or two? We’re older, obviously. We can no longer do cartwheels. And we’re forced to pay bills and provide things in the absence of our parents doing so. We may have a bum left shoulder, or our dreams may have been crushed by the reality that we’re just not good enough to achieve them.

But can we achieve the same level of happiness in adulthood as we did in childhood without getting out of our minds on Belgian beer or laboratory-grade crack cocaine?

This summer, I set out to find out if it’s possible, and the results will most definitely not surprise you.

In interest of science, I went on long walks and even longer bike rides, stopping off at places to get icecreams, go swimming in lakes, and hop up and down on some dude’s trampoline while I hoped he wasn’t in, and I had a hell of a time. And not in the way I enjoyed the daytime stuff I did when I was an active alcoholic and when I knew I’d get shitfaced afterwards: nursing a hangover, half-smile on my face, thinking that this is a pretty a good way to kill time before I can get back on with entertainment I’d deemed appropriate for an adult.

During this summer, I came to realize that all that stuff I did as a kid to fill the long summer days is just as fun as a thirty-something with a bum left shoulder, who has put his own food on the table and has a mortgage.

Somewhere between then and now, I’d forgotten how good you feel doing all that shit.

I’m sure it wouldn’t have been as much fun with a diaper around my ass filled with my own piss and shit, but you get the point.

There’s a kid still inside you, like Michael Jackson had, but in a good way. You just have to quit booze and drugs to rediscover that smiling lunatic. That and put down your iPad or iPhone.

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You’re Sober And Feeling Great, But Now What?

Jackie Wilson wasn’t content with just feeling amazing. He wanted to feel ecstatic. So should you, you ex-drunk.

Early, early sobriety is refreshing. We alcoholics were used to feeling shitty all the time, apart from the times when we were tipsy. And then we feel relatively great all the time, bar illness or a mild concussion after slipping and falling head first onto a miniature picket fence, an injury I recently received during a game of hide-and-seek while at my day gig.

Today I woke up at 5:30 AM. On a Saturday. I hadn’t set an alarm, and it didn’t feel a pain for my body to have decided to awake at that time.

In the nearly four weeks I’ve been sober this time around, I’ve lost weight, I’m getting the best sleep I’ve ever had, and I’m churning out fiction like a motherfucker. I don’t feel amazing, like SpongeBob SquarePants high on laboratory-grade ecstasy. But compared to how I felt when I thought a bottle of gin on a Monday evening was a perfectly reasonable amount to drink, I feel like a million dollars and change.

But it’s already starting to feel a little old.

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Old.

The memory of what a hangover feels like is fading, as is the memory of the feeling of drunkenness, which is lending it a dangerous intrigue, the type I’d imagine a depressed, at-the-end-of-his-tether Japanese businessman has for a noose and a tree with robust, low-hanging branches.

So, what next? Do I count the sober days off, happy with the progress I’ll make just staying sober, or do I think of other ways to improve my mood, sense of wellbeing, and all around happiness?

The answer of course is the latter.

It was a rhetorical question, like when Adolf Hitler asked himself if he was going to kill a fuck-ton of people because they’re different from him.

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He was a lovable rascal.

Feeling great is my new high, and just like the way I planned my drinking sessions like a military operation, I’m going to spend the next five-hundred words thinking of new ways you and I can reach new highs when just being sober isn’t enough.

  1. Exercise until you throw up a little afterward while brushing your teeth

Runner’s high is a thing. I read it in a recent article/study. Even mice experience it, which is totally something a scientist would say. But it isn’t because of endorphins. Apparently, their effect on the brain is an old wives’ tale. Regardless of the science, people feel great when exercising after exercise, which is probably the most obvious thing I’ll ever write on this blog. What isn’t obvious is that a short session of super-intense exercise should be your exercise style of choice if you want to feel as high as possible without feeling a slump in energy afterward, the type of exercise that makes your gums hurt.

I don’t know how mice react to having to run so fast up and down stairs they feel like their heart might explode, but it feels great to me afterwards. Hell, I even feel great about writing this blog post after my stair run this morning, knowing full well this is definitely one of the shittiest posts I’ll write.

I’ve exercised in the past, of course. It isn’t new. But this time I’m going to stick with it.

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Someone went in vitro…
  1. Go to bed early

When you’re sober, you might look back and wonder why you stayed up until the wee hours, listening to a Bonnie Tyler record, as you attempted to set the new Guinness World Record for the length of time it takes to sip a beer to completion. The morning is your new domain. While off-the-wagon alcoholics are lying in bed, ignoring their morning boner because of the throbbing heartbeat in their head and the seeming cat litter in their mouth, you can feel great about life, and feeling rested is the best way to do that, which is the second most obvious thing I’ll write on this blog. When I get invited out to parties now and the start time is after 6 PM, I respectfully decline. I’ll be in my pajamas at that time, thinking about all the cool shit I can do tomorrow.

While I’ve been great at doing this on school nights, I haven’t at the weekends. Last night, I went to bed at ten, probably an hour or two before my ninety-year-old-plus granddad, and I don’t regret it one bit. I didn’t lose anything, but gained so much more.

  1. Eat food that makes people irrationally angry on Facebook

Burgers, pizzas, and KFC gravy are all amazing things for the taste buds. For your sense of wellbeing, not so much. If you want to have a shit-ton of energy to do all the cool shit you can do now you’re sober, and to have really clear thinking, you have to A) avoid processed foods, and B) eat vegan, and C) never drink calories or artificial sweeteners. It won’t make you popular on Facebook, but you won’t give a shit about that as you’re cycling to your local lake to go swimming to the sound of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ blasting out of your portable Bluetooth speaker. You’ll do so while ignoring that that feel-good song is just a big fuck-you to Neil Young.

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Southern Man.

So there you have it. Go to bed early, eat like an athlete but train like a soccer mom, and have a larger collection of pajamas than you do evening suits. That’s what I like to call the Feeling Shit-Good Triangle. Snappy title.

Thanks for reading, even if this blog post was as laugh-free for me as it was for you.

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Five Reasons Not To Drink, Even If You’re NOT An Alcoholic

You don’t have to consider yourself an alcoholic to gain the advantages of never drinking again.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I drank a shitload of alcohol and came out the other side, realizing what bullshit it is.

I don’t have any statistics at hand, and I don’t expect you, the reader, to have an unrealistic expectation that a blog titled Hilariously Sober would provide any, but I’m willing to bet my twenty-odd days’ sobriety that most people who start drinking never quit.

They’re missing out.

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“I don’t know. It feels pretty good to us.”

There are two opposing schools of thought for alcohol consumption among individuals: One) that some people can drink alcohol responsibly and it won’t ever be a problem in their life, apart from the occasional hangover and typo-ridden text message sent to an ex at 2 am; and two) that alcohol is a highly addictive and mass-consumed poison that, if it doesn’t get you, will get someone you know.

By ‘get’, I mean it either A) ruins their life, or B) contributes to or is the sole cause of an disease that kills them, or C) both.

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No, the humble mosquito, no one’s shitting on you again.

Here at Hilariously Sober we like to keep it light and humorous, so for this blog post’s sake, I’ll go ahead and say I subscribe to School of Thought One. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think occasional, non-problematic drinkers wouldn’t benefit from swapping their microbrew for a glass of soda water at parties.

And here are the reasons why:

  1. You’ll save a metric shit-ton of cash

I live in Norway, where alcohol is priced as though it’s produced only five times a day in small quantities as it leaves the bladder and then urethra of the Dalai Lama. Chances are, wherever you live, alcohol is much more reasonably priced, like it’s made in vast quantities and the yeast does the hard work and doesn’t even receive a pay check.

Wherever you live, and assuming you’re not one of those rare creatures that only drinks one mimosa on their birthday or at Christmas, for which your spouse or grammy pays, you’re spending a shitload of cash on booze.

Looking at my sobriety tracker app on my phone, it estimates I’ve saved over five-hundred dollars in eighteen days. At the end of the year, after I’ve got through it one day at a time, I’ll have enough cash to take a trip to Disneyworld and even come home with official merchandise souvenirs.

Of course, you likely don’t spend nearly as much as I did on booze, because of geography and you don’t think Belgian-strength beer is the dessert to your bottle-of-gin main course, but by quitting you’d probably save up enough for a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Spain. The type of place it’s advisable to go for the vegetarian option on the evenings you stay within the confides of your partially built hotel.

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I’m just kidding. You’ll get to see someone torture a bull to death.

2. Jesus, mornings are now fun

When I was drinking, Sunday mornings were like the second half Mulholland Drive, where Naomi Watts’s character has shitty skin and shouts at her girlfriend a lot, before she gives up and wallows on the sofa. Now, I when wake up and walk into my living room I feel like the Naomi Watts character in the first half of the movie, when she’s travelling down the elevator at LAX with her aunt, looking all sparkly eyed around at her surroundings as though she’s definitely, probably going to become a famous actress in the near future.

If you’re not a problem drinker, I’ll go ahead and assume the above only applies to you the occasional weekend morning. But still, you work hard all week long to make it to the weekend without having pissed off your boss, so why not take back those occasional Saturday and Sunday mornings and make them a time to feel good about life?

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Shit happy.

3. You’ll get better at socializing… way better

When I drank, a regular at-home evening meant getting slowly dumber, eventually resulting in me singing along to ‘Lady in Red,’ only stopping singing to lecture my girlfriend on some shit I knew nothing about. If I was in company, at a party or whatnot, I’d end up talking about my professional achievements as though I were Bill Gates or some shit.

At the time, I probably thought it was fun, the former, and I probably thought in the latter example that I was a valued party guest. But then again, during those boozy evenings and nights, I considered the cooked-from-frozen falafel from my local takeaway to be top-notch cuisine.

Every time I quit drinking, I realize how fun it is to socialize while not drinking. I stay sharp and the banter with the people with whom I’m spending my time never devolves into arguing who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman.

You might think you’re entertaining when shitfaced at your next office Christmas party, but more likely you’re a dead-eyed shit show in a clip-on bowtie who’s giving off a rapey vibe.

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The day after the night before, if office Christmas parties tended to be scheduled on a school night

4. You’ll get a lot of shit done—a lot a lot

Is it your dream to write pulp fiction mysteries about a PI with a high-class call girl as his shrink? Want to give back to the community and ladle out soup to homeless people? You can do all those things with the time you spend hungover, thinking occasionally about death and what constitutes the perfect breakfast. But you have to not poison yourself the night before. Do this, and you’ll gain hours the next day to pursue your dreams and give yourself purpose beyond the job you probably hate. And you’ll also gain the motivation to pursue them and the creativity it takes to make them a reality, which I promise is the closest I’ll ever come to sounding like Tony Robbins on this blog.

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Or this guy.

5. You’re not missing out on anything, you’re gaining a great deal

One of my barriers to quitting drinking and a cause for many a relapse was the nagging feeling that I was missing out. I no longer believe that bullshit. I thought that by choosing to stay sober, I was missing out on a hell of a time at Christmas, on my birthdays, and on Friday nights. And during my previous failed attempts to stay sober, I struggled to quell these thoughts. I felt like Jesus with a cross to bear, and all I wanted to do was drop it and make a gin and tonic.

Now, I know the truth. By drinking, I was missing out on all the memories I could’ve made, the personal and professional achievements that I could’ve pursued, and all the fun I could’ve had with all the money and time I didn’t free up. The next time you go to the bar, lift up that drink you just paid for and look at it. Think about what you’re gaining from it, and what you’re throwing away by drinking it, if, unlike that Miss Goody Two Shoes with the glass of mimosa on Christmas Day, it leads to one more, and one more, and one more…

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Those pulp fiction mysteries I write can be checked out here.

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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.


My books, my obsession, can be checked out here.