This post was originally published on September 4, 2014.
Since this is a site dedicated to sober people by sober people, I thought it might be refreshing to take a moment from our self-cheerleading squads to commiserate about some of the little things many of us actually miss about getting fucked up—or more accurately, the things we just don’t enjoy as much when we aren’t under the influence.
1) Drunk Sex
As I wipe a tear from my cheek, I reflect upon (what I deem) the most tragic loss in sobriety: drunken sex. Whether it’s an inhibition-free roll in the hay with a sexy stranger or a sloppy yet energetic change of pace with your soul mate, drunk sex is the bomb. Of course, there are many ways in which God’s gift to repressed Catholics can go wrong—no one likes a bed-wetter or a one-night stand with whiskey dick—but if done right, a couple of Cosmos and an ultra-thin condom can really set a two person party on fire. Unfortunately, I’d have better luck remembering all the words to the Gettysburg Address than I would recalling the last time I had just two Cosmos. Sigh.
2) Burning Man
I know, I know, there are sober camps at Burning Man but let’s get real: if you are just as cool dedicating a week of your life to Black Rock City’s bizarro world of naked neo-hippies stone cold sober as you once were high on molly and salvia, then you are a special kind of person that this list is not geared towards. For the rest of you who only hopped on the RV-to-Burning Man bandwagon to enjoy a week of drinking and snorting the way we like to without being judged, I am here to tell you it’s a whole different bag of bananas when you enter the sanctimonious semi-circle without a substance in your system. Suddenly, the commerce-free community of physical and emotional polyamory feels more like what it actually is: a dirty desert that will have you longing for a shower and a Starbucks.
3) “Comedy” shows
This may be more relevant in larger cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, but few recovering alcoholics in these cities are immune to the tedious experience of the obligatory comedy show. Obviously, I am not saying live performances by Chris Rock or Louis C.K. are a drag when you are sober—no one is in more need of a good laugh than someone who hasn’t had a drink in three months. I am specifically talking about the low budget (but sadly, not always free) stand-up, improv and sketch shows that you are guilted into attending because your friend is in it or your girlfriend thinks it might be fun. These sort of events are bad enough when you can pour beer over them but having to face a seven-minute comedy set about a post-apocalyptic zombie world where there is nothing to eat but bacon and Pop Tarts without some kind of liquid protection is just too much to handle.
4) Having a Meltdown
Last but not least, sober alcoholics and addicts eventually lose the pleasure of justified rage in sobriety. Once we get a sponsor and start working the 12 steps, we are introduced to a nasty little concept called our part. This is a gradual awakening to the notion that each of us plays a role in the majority of our grievances, and we are taught to take note of our poor behavior in sobriety and promptly admit when we have been wrong. Of course, “promptly” means different things to different people, but something that was easily forgiven over a couple of cocktails—say, losing your shit on your boyfriend in the middle of Target—just doesn’t cut the club soda in Sober Land.