Month: December 2018

Mulled Wine At The Gym

Hello from Memphis Tennessee, where somehow it’s suddenly Christmas.

I have no idea how such a significant holiday managed to creep up on me, and yet here I am rushing from bookstore to BestBuy trying to find last minute gifts for Sarah’s family.

See also this blog post. Last week, thinking I (surely) had at least three weeks before the end of 2018, I promised to tell the story of how I learned to date sober. But that doesn’t seem quite the right topic for a Christmas issue, so I’ll save it for January.

Convention dictates that a christmas edition of any publication must feature one of three things: A round-up of the best books/music/films/things of the year, a list of new year’s resolutions or a comical guide to surviving the festive season.

My “best of” list is a non-starter. As listeners to my old NSFWLIVE show will testify, I have painfully but proudly uncool tastes. This year, I’ve been on a real golden age of detection kick – rereading a bunch of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers. You don’t need me to tell you the best Agatha Christies (And Then There Were None, Murder of Roger Ackroyd, ABC Murders, Curtain, A Murder Is Announced, Murder On The Orient Express, The Murder at the Vicarage) but if you’re curious why I prefer AC over NM, DS and pretty much everyone from the Golden Age, this essay by John Lanchester in the LRB sums it up perfectly.…


Still not dead

It didn’t take long for me to feel the first health benefits of sobriety.

Thanks to my trusty old SparkPeople account, I know that on the day I quit drinking I weighed a hair over 190lbs.

Exactly one year of sobriety later, I tipped the scale at 138.  I felt better, I looked better, I smelled better. My skin was clearer and my eyes brighter.

But, as the saying goes, skin is only skin deep.

One day, a couple of years into sobriety, and not long after I moved to Vegas, I felt a weird throbbing in one of my upper-right molars. At the time I was still hustling to raise money for NSFWCORP so I ignored the pain. I continued to ignore it even as little bits of enamel began chipping away, giving every meal an extra crunch. Only when hole in my molar grew into a crater and I couldn’t sleep without chugging ibuprofen did I finally drag myself to a dentist.

The nice woman in the white coat took a bunch of x-rays and prodded around with a metal spike. She was horrified and thrilled in the way that only a medical professional who gets paid by an insurance company can be.…



Thirty nine years on earth and I’m still not dead!


And yet.

I mean.

Surviving to 39 is really nothing compared to the incredible feat of being born in the first place. A one in a trillion chance – but I did it! Reaching my first birthday was quite the achievement too, having been born premature and spent the first few days of my life stuffed with tubes. But 39? Pah! All I did was turn 38 and then avoid being hit by a bus for 365 days.

I feel much the same way about another looming milestone: 10 years of sobriety.  Ten years! The kind of milestone for which AA would probably give me a poker chip* – but also strangely unremarkable.

One week sober? Now that was fucking remarkable. A month? Ludicrous. They said it could never happen. I’ll grudgingly accept that after my first full year of sobriety I felt worthy of the hugs and backslapping and “I’m proud of yous” from friends and strangers alike. After all, that first year is when I suffered all the cliched withdrawal symptoms, all the cravings, all the “maybe I could just have one” self-bargaining.

After that, staying sober got slowly but steadily easier.…


(c) Copyright Paul Bradley Carr 2002-2021.