Sober Is My New Drunk

The bestselling humorist and prolific tech blogger describes how he conquered his drinking problem—without AA. An unorthodox twelve-step program.

  • Byliner Original
  1. As I write these words, the counter on my website says “850 days.” Eight hundred and fifty days since I had my last alcoholic drink. Eight hundred and fifty days since I declared—very publicly—that my drinking had passed the point where it was funny, crazy, annoying, or even merely dangerous. In fact, my addiction to alcohol had reached a stage where it was highly likely to kill me. Friends had disowned me; I was no longer on speaking terms with countless ex-girlfriends; I’d been fired from a succession of jobs; I’d spent nights in jail.

    Enough was enough.

    For years I’d told myself I wasn’t an alcoholic. I never drank alone. I didn’t wake up in the morning with fierce cravings, and sometimes I went one or two days without drinking. A need to drink all day, every day, was never my problem.

    My problem was that once I had a drink—no matter whether it was at 7 p.m. or 9 a.m.—I couldn’t stop until my body shut down and I passed out in a pile on the floor. Sometimes that happened in my own apartment, but more often it happened in a stranger’s living room, or in a bar, or on the street. On one unmemorable occasion, I ordered a midday beer in central London and woke up the following morning two hundred miles away in a country hotel, wearing a tuxedo and dress shoes. To this day, I don’t know where that tuxedo came from or where my own clothes went.

    So, finally, I decided to stop drinking. But I didn’t do it in the typical way.

    For one thing, I didn’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous. ...

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