First things first: I decided to do sober March at approximately 11:45 on February 29th after consuming roughly 16 pounds of fried calamari, my body weight in paella and enough Moscow Mules to give Vladimir Putin a hangover worthy of executing at least 7 people. I chose to hop on the wagon for two reasons:
1) I had the consumption habits of Chris Farley for Q1 2016 and felt diabetes creeping in.
2) I like a challenge. It is the same reason I decided to do a juice cleanse. BTW, if a sober month is a 5k, a juice cleanse is a fucking Iron Man … in Antarctica. Seriously – I wouldn’t wish one on the dudes at Gitmo.
2 1/2) It’s a good conversation piece. Everyone wants to know why you’re being Mr. Rodgers for the month. Hence the need for this piece.
To answer your first question, “NO, I don’t feel like superman.” I haven’t hiked any mountains, my sexual stamina is still that of an slightly overweight, average white male and my boss hasn’t seen any explosion of productivity. The only discernible change in my physical or mental well-being is a healthy hankering for some liquid courage. It wasn’t until day 6, after a first hand experience of shit flowing down the corporate ladder that I jonesed for a sip of the hooch. But not, “I’ll suck your dick for Bud Light” desperate, more like the happy place between recovering alcoholic and white suburban dad wanting a beer after mowing the lawn.
Despite no fewer than 7,000 opportunities to drink over the course of 31 days, I stayed strong. No wonder alcoholics relapse constantly, there is more social scene peer pressure than a meeting at Charles Manson’s house. And it’s not just the “Duke lacrosse” prevailing sentiment that gets to you, it’s the sheer volume of opportunities (by my estimate):
- 17 Happy Hours
- 10 dinners
- 8 “nights out”
- 1 wine and painting class
- 31 times my girlfriend drank wine to watch Vanderpump Rules
But the peer pressure wasn’t the worst part of this self imposed social lubricant deprivation. For fear of quoting Michael Jackson, I won’t make a “Man in the Mirror” reference, but rather explain how difficult self-reflection is. I realized that I had a severe case of “Absence of Alcohol Aspergers.” Eye contact, small talk and sitting on a barstool became painstaking in the absence of the sweet fermented nectar of Mother Nature. Not drinking booze made me realize what a crutch drinking booze really is. Like Clark Kent, after a few cheap brews I transformed from introverted loser to an extroverted conversationalist. I basically was a savant when I drank, excelling something I had no business at being good at.
So instead of doing the easy thing, staying home to Netflix and chill, I challenged myself to go out, make conversation and probably lose some of my friends who realized how fucking boring I am. That is of course before 10 PM. At 10 PM the game changes and a flip switches, the Happy Hour crowd becomes a pack of angry fiending vultures seeking out roadkill in the form of cheap drinks and someone to catch an STI from. All conversations led to yelling obscenities reserved for sailors and cheap pick up lines reserved for knife salesmen. Like Cinderella at midnight I knew I needed to be home before 10 o’clock or risk being mauled by pack of angry sorostitues fueled by vodka cranberries. Bearing witness to this was like watching the UCONN Mac and Cheese kid and the Uber girl from Miami on repeat.
So today I salute you sober drivers for sitting in the corner smiling and nodding while sipping a Diet Coke, and not leaving the bar and returning with an automatic rifle to execute the group of frat dudes who made fun of you for 5 minutes and thought you didn’t hear. And as for me, you can find me at the local watering hole, making bad decisions and building up an incredible tolerance until next time I hit a new low and hop on the wagon to give my life some semblance of control. Until then, cheers … and apologies for all the things I do while drinking.