Hang me up to dry: what I learned from a month without booze

The bottle that broke my will. In my defense, it says "#1 Well-being" on it.

The bottle that broke my will. In my defense, it says "#1 Well-being" on it.

If drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow, then I am deeply indebted to the First Bank of Happiness and will probably not have another good day until around 2030. About a month ago I woke up feeling particularly drained, and checked my phone to see a message from a close friend who had woken up feeling similarly. This was a coincidence – we were engaged in separate activities the night before, but the end result was the same; a weakened physical condition and an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame otherwise referred to as “Sunday morning”.

We decided right then and there to form an agreement; from March 5th to April 5th, neither one of us would be allowed to take a sip of alcohol, and we would hold each other accountable. When you wake up at rock bottom, it’s easy to delude yourself with promises of self-improvement. After a verbal agreement and an online handshake, the deal was done, and we were on our way to a new and improved life of sobriety.

Five days later I got drunk as shit at a Korean barbecue joint, so I had to start over, but from there I swear I upheld my end of the bargain with the utmost diligence and conviction.

Anyway, the arduous dry month ends tomorrow, and I know what you’re thinking – as soon as I can drink again I’m headed straight to the bar, right? Well, that would be correct. It was smart of you to think that. In fact, I’ve already made day-drinking plans with a crazy Italian girl who is known for being able to drink seven one-liter beers in a single sitting and having huge boobs. Both of these accomplishments are bragable.

But that’s not to say I didn’t gain anything from this experience, because I did. Here is what I learned from a month without booze:

Morning isn’t that bad

During the first week of dry month, my friend and I frequently exchanged self-congratulatory messages about how great we felt. We would encourage each other with things like “I have so much energy”, “I feel like a fucking boss”, and “I’m not afraid of the sun anymore”. Indeed I felt like a spring chicken, but then I had something of a revelation. This isn’t some kind of superhuman strength; this is how you’re supposed to feel. All those mornings spent hiding under the covers waiting for your alarm clock to dickpunch you back to reality – this is something you’ve gotten used to. It doesn’t haven’t to be that way.

My jokes are stupid

Every asshole on the east coast thinks they’re the next Louis C.K. Did I tell you I’m from the east coast? The always sarcastic, always bitter sense of humor I thought was so funny at parties was actually just making me look like a giant douchebag. Without alcohol it was easier to hold my tongue and be less judgmental of people, which I think has given me a more positive outlook on life. Too bad that’s all going to end from tomorrow, though.

Social gatherings are dumb

Picnics, parties, Bar Mitzvahs – whenever alcohol is involved, they all pretty much devolve into the same thing. Last week I went to this lameass picnic in the park where everyone in the entire world was drinking except me. It took a little longer than usual for me to get comfortable, but once I did, I was far more aware of my surroundings than I would have been if I were drinking. I spent the better part of the afternoon eavesdropping on other peoples’ conversations, and good lord were they cringeworthy. There were some awful pick-up attempts, I heard everyone tell a lie at least once, and by the end, all partygoers had exchanged contact information with someone I am certain they will never speak to again. Which brings me to my next point:

My friends and I don’t actually have anything in common

Holy shit, my friends suck. We all became acquainted through the bar scene in Tokyo, so it seems natural that just about all of our gatherings are centered around alcohol. Now that the glue keeping all of us together has been removed, it has become apparent to me that drinking is actually the only thing we have in common. I’m serious - we don’t even like each other. The aussie is especially despicable.

Dating hasn’t gotten any easier since high school

I thought I had gotten better at interacting with the opposite sex over the years, but as it turns out, I have only been drinking more. I ask you, genuinely, how do people date without alcohol? The date can go only one of two ways: 1) I don’t order any drinks, but she does and ends up feeling self-conscious about it which eventually leads to a disconnect and we both go home alone, or 2) Neither of us drink, which makes the whole charade of having dinner with someone you don’t really know that much more difficult because you can’t lower your inhibitions enough to let your respective guards down and get to know each other. Either way, I end up at home watching Netflix and Chilling by myself.

All of that said, it has been an overall positive experience that has given me a few new insights into personal health and human behavior, all of which will go out the window from tomorrow.

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