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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Five Surprising Advantages of Being Sober

Sobriety’s like a box of chocolates, but without the liquor-filled ones.

If there are three things we like here at Hilariously Sober, it’s writing edgy humor, enjoying a sober life, and finding out new insights in regards to a life of sobriety. And by we, I mean my plural self, the sole contributor to this blog.

I’m five weeks into what will hopefully be the start of a sober stretch that lasts the rest of my life. Five weeks is roughly the time it takes for an enthusiastic tadpole to develop into a frog, for an average working male to put up a shelf, and for Justin Bieber to decide what his next hairstyle will be. For me, five weeks has been the exact length of time it’s taken to notice five unexpected advantages of quitting alcohol. What are the odds?

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“I sense he’s only being half serious.”
  1. I’m now a sword wielder of the highest caliber

I don’t like to use words such as penis and erection on this blog. They’re too vulgar. So the above advantage isn’t to be taken literally. It’s a metaphor. My long sword is now, when battle ready, able to penetrate even the most unwilling of mens’ hearts…which totally sounded better in my head.

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“I challenge thee to a duel…of fighting.”
  1. Mondays are my new Fridays

Ah, those were the days. Get home from work on a Friday, open a can of beer, and then flick through the catalogue on Netflix, only to find I haven’t selected a movie fifty minutes later. But seriously, Fridays were the best. Now they have equal weight with Mondays, given that Friday isn’t elevated to almost mythical status by my previous understanding that it’s normal to drink a shitload of alcohol on the weekends. Except that now on Monday nights I’m refreshed after the weekend, much more than I was or am on Fridays, which makes Monday my new Friday. Score!

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“Ah, finally Monday.”
  1. I’ve learned to enjoy other drinks

Instead of craft beers, I’ve now become a connoisseur of other, non-life-ruining drinks, such as energy drinks, espressos, and limited edition sodas I pick up from my local deli. Sure, at some point I’ll have to cut out all that sugar, if I’m going to avoid getting liver cancer and/or Type Two Diabetes. But for now, I’m considering this a win. In the future, I imagine I’ll save the sugar-free versions of the energy drinks I’ve come to love for celebrations, instead of cracking open a beer. I’ll probably still find myself running around the streets naked, only vaguely aware that I don’t have shoes on, but at least I’ll wake up the next day not hungover.

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This man is trying to remember the number for the local taxi rank, before he realizes he has no cell.
  1. Work flies by

When you’re not smiling through a hangover, trying to remember the names of your colleagues, work is a much more pleasant experience. And as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Before I know it, it’s Friday again, and the working week is but a vague memory. Now, if I can just think of a way of slowing down time on the weekends, everything’s golden.

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After the long sword debacle, you can think of your own caption for this one.
  1. I have emotions again

When I was an alcoholic, I experienced emotions much like a crime-fighting, rogue cyborg police officer, who, when playing nice, is hell-bent on destroying the even more rogue next generation of himself. Now that I’m not the emotional equivalent of RoboCop, I feel these strange things called feelings. When I see a boy fall and scrape his knee, it’s no longer a source of entertainment, but the inspiration for the experience of an emotion called empathy. When I let an old lady go in front of me in the queue for the checkout at the store, it isn’t because I feel obligated to do so because I only have a chocolate bar and she has the entire week’s groceries, it’s because I know I’ll feel joy for doing so. But when I see someone fail to win the highest prize on some game show, I still feel elation. You can’t win them all.

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Wait for it…

Over the coming months, I expect to discover and experience new advantages from being sober, and I’ll be sure to write about them on this blog, making light of them and being a flippant ass. So why not follow this blog and join me on my journey of discovery? Just fill out the form at the top-right corner of the webpage.

And as always, if I made you laugh at least three times, feel mildly obligated to press one of the social media share buttons below.

Thanks for reading and stay sober!

Days sober: 34


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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


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