Stuff Sober People Like: Diners
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Stuff Sober People Like: Diners


This post was originally published on September 24, 2014.

There aren’t many places active drinkers and sober alcoholics enjoy equally but the 24/7 greasy spoon is one of them. For drinkers, there is nothing that caps a night off better than the four food groups—eggs, bacon, pancakes and coffee—served at the kind of places open past midnight in most cities. For recovering alcoholics who dread the sober fate of an 11 pm bedtime, the all-night diner is a beacon of salvation. Diners give us a place to go and socialize during the coveted witching hour, graciously allowing us to preserve the late-night edginess we hold so dear while also keeping us out of trouble.

Not that sober people can’t go to bars—in fact, having gotten sober in my 20s, I went to lots of bars in my early sobriety (against sponsor direction) because I wasn’t willing to give up my old life just yet. This was risky behavior I wouldn’t recommend but since I didn’t end up drinking, my old life eventually gave up on me. All my barfly friends wanted little to do with me once they realized I wasn’t going to slip back into my old ways and join the party. So soon my social life morphed from local hot spots to IHOP hotcakes with people from my 12-step fellowship.

Speaking of fellowship—which, for the uninitiated, is a term used to refer to socializing before or after a 12-step meeting—diners are the number one choice when it comes to location because they are usually cheap, can accommodate large parties and are populated with waitresses who don’t make a face when 12 people ask for separate checks. Also, no matter what the fare, all diners have hot coffee ready to go—one thing most sober alcoholics need to survive.

The final and greatest thing about diners for sober people is that while the 3 am drinking crowd is staying far away from anything remotely healthy, sober people appreciate a good health conscious menu—even at the wee hours of the night. Of course, not all diners offer heart smart or gluten-free menu options but someone trying to embrace a completely healthy lifestyle can always find something at even the greasiest of spoons—egg whites, sliced tomatoes instead of hash browns, cottage cheese in place of buttered toast…you get the idea. And for vegans out there, this diner junkie can attest to the fact that beans and veggies are almost always available upon request.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.