A History of Hangovers

Woman vomiting

I recently moved to a new apartment, which is why I haven’t written here since April. The move was tedious, so I’m not going to write about it. What I want to write about instead is my former toilet.

In the chaos of the move, I didn’t think to say goodbye to my toilet. I gave it a perfunctory scrubdown without tenderness or nostalgia and left it without looking back. But after moving in to our new place, it occurred to me that, in parting ways with my old toilet, I had undergone a notable transition. That toilet was the last one I was hungover in. I hope to never know another bowl so intimately. Continue reading

I Like Us Better When I’m Not Wasted

Ok, first of all, what is up with this song? Was it commissioned by Smirnoff or something? I like how it’s about drunk sex, but the video takes place at this faux empowered girl party in the 50s. I guess they didn’t have to worry about the date rape angle this way.

My guy and I heard this atrocity for the first time in a cab almost a year ago, when I was newly sober. It was playing on the radio as we guided the driver to the address of a birthday party. As we pulled up to the house, we looked at each other and said simultaneously: “Are you hearing this song?” It’s no secret our society pretends to love drunkenness while demonstrating little tolerance for alcoholism, but this song takes that paradox to a new level. Although nothing alcohol-related can really surprise my man and me at this point (he works in an emergency room, and I’m in AA) we were both a little stunned by how the song celebrates the thing that nearly destroyed us.

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One Year


I have one year sober today. Fucking A. I would have liked to wake up this morning in a state of bliss, with scenes from the last year flashing through my brain in a touching slide show, but that’s not exactly what happened. I am actually feeling quite grumpy about several things, which are not really worth recording here, because if there’s anything I’ve learned this past year, it’s that my sources of grumpiness will soon pass. I will share one, though, since it’s kind of funny:

I have the day off and took the opportunity to sleep past 9am. Not even a great sleep-in in my book, but it felt fairly deserved, considering how efficiently and responsibly I’ve been working (and NOT DRINKING for A WHOLE YEAR). Continue reading

Blackout Drunks and Steve Urkel

I took myself verrry seriously when I was drinking. I was like the defensive dictator of a failing regime, unable to see myself through the lens of satire. But the best part about openly acknowledging your weaknesses is that other people can’t attack you with them! So now I laugh at myself and surround myself with people who do the same and freedom is the law of the land.

I got to see John Mulaney perform live recently, which was delightful. He didn’t talk about sobriety this show but has several hilarious bits about his former life as a blackout drinker. There’s the one above and my favorite, “Why I Don’t Drink Anymore,” which is for some reason no longer on YouTube but can be seen here: “And I had that thought, that only blackout drunks and Steve Urkel can have…” 

Sober Vacation


The first time I tried to get sober, I white-knuckled a trip to New Orleans. I compensated by eating everything in sight. I actually proposed a “weight-gain challenge” to my boyfriend, and although we never confirmed our progress on a scale, I was clearly the winner. I ate po’boys and alligator sausage and fried oysters and turtle soup and beignets until I thought I would burst. You can’t go to New Orleans without eating, but the fact that I had to make such a big thing of it, to actually propose “a challenge,” reveals how much sobriety scared me. I didn’t know how to be on vacation without overindulging in some way. Continue reading

Introvert Recovery


It’s been a long time since I’ve gone over 24 hours without leaving the house. This used to be a regular thing for me. A couple years ago, I was living in the Boston area and working from home and would often go days at a time without going outside. The weather was a bitch, but I can’t just blame the weather. It’s not like New England shuts down in the winter. I’ve had a tendency to isolate since I can remember. Sometimes, I’d drink at home, but often, I’d just hide there, blocking out the overwhelming world. My two poles of existence were intoxication or isolation. I knew very little in between.

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Remembering the Drunk Dial


I tried really hard to stop drunk dialing. (And drunk emailing, which I include under the same banner of shame.) I deleted numbers from my phone. I downloaded Gmail Goggles and diligently completed math problems before sending late-night emails. I paid $.99 for Don’t Dial, an app that scrambles the numbers of certain contacts after a certain hour. I was sure that technology would eventually save me from myself, although it didn’t work that way. I could do basic math problems drunk, just as I could write coherent but damaging emails. And I had to decide when to activate Don’t Dial, which basically meant deciding when to get dunk. I rarely decided when to get drunk. I’d decide to have a couple drinks, and next thing I know, I’d be calling my professor’s home number at midnight on a random Tuesday. Continue reading