I think it's important to begin my musings on boozing by addressing the inevitable repercussion that we all face from time to time after indulging too enthusiastically in spirits, the dreaded hangover. Before I instill in everyone a dipsomaniacal disposition to drink, I feel obligated to share with you my painfully researched (I mean that literally) hangover cure. As I strive to become s more serious and practical drinker, I continue to learn a variety of tactics to help avoid this pitfall. However, anyone that drinks even occasionally is bound to have a night where their imbibing gets a bit out of hand and that will predicate a morning (and better part of the following day) of misery and suffering. Just in case you find yourself in that sordid state of affairs right now, I will get down to business.
I'd like to pay tribute to the late great Kingsley Amis. His book, "Everyday Drinking" and it's chapter on the hangover is where I adapted my own hangover cure from. It was the inspiration 100%. It's also a great book for anyone that likes drinking.
It's important to understand the two headed snake that is "The Hangover". First, you have the physical hangover (PH). On it's own the PH is painful enough and difficult to cope with. Still, it's difficulty is compounded as soon as you accept part two of the hangover.
That is of course, The Spiritual Hangover (SH).
Symptoms of Physical Hangover:
- General fatigue and soreness of the body
- Vertigo and sensitivity to light & sound
- Tremors, sweating, and Increased pulse and systolic blood pressure.
Or as I like to call it. Sunday
Symptoms of Spiritual Hangover:
- Self loathing
- A firm understanding that you are a useless human being who has no value to the world
- Further recognition that no one, not even your family, loves you and that they never could.
- Fear for the future
Most hangover cures talk about treating this sickness as if it were only the physical body we were dealing with. In my view, the spiritual hangover has far more compounding and damaging effects if left untreated. A hangover is not just an illness, it's a direct challenge to the human spirt's will to go on.
We'll begin by tackling the PH as best we can.
The Physical Hangover
#1. As soon as you wake up tell yourself how lucky you are to be feeling so terrible. If you didn't, it would mean you were still drunk, and would then have to sober up while awake in order to reach the point of being hungover (this is known as George Gale's Paradox, I don't know why).
#2. If you have a sexual partner that is nearby and willing, have sex as intensely as you can. It will do you good. It will also deal a blow to your SH. Note: As self loathing is one of the key contributors to your SH, if you are alone you should not take on the sexual task yourself. Simply skip this step
#3. Stay in bed as long as you can, fatigue is a major source of your PH. When you can't take it any longer. Get up and drink a lot of water. More than you need to quench your thirst. Really chug it down (but don't kill yourself). Alcohol dehydrates you, water hydrates you. This is where real recovery is going to begin.
#4. Sweat it out! If you can get to a sauna or steam room (bringing lots of water to drink with you) this will be your best bet. If you can't, resort to a long hot shower. I like to go in intervals of 10 minutes in, 2 minutes out repeating for as long as it takes. Usually 2 or 3 sessions makes a marked improvement.
#5. Rest! When not doing something to actively attack your hangover, lay around in bed, read a book, just frickin rest.
Note: If you're a smoker, I recommend not smoking for the first and better part of hangover day. Excessive nicotine from the night before is contributing to your physical hangover. Smoking today will help contribute to your spiritual hangover. Just give it a rest on the smokes.
Other points to consider. It might be tempting to eat a big breakfast to "soak up the alcohol." This is an old wives tale that you should avoid. This actually exacerbates the problem. It's better to give your digestion the morning off as it's already working overtime dealing with last nights endeavors. If you must eat, try a very light breakfast of soup or a plain grapefruit.
The Metaphysical Hangover
1. Deal thoroughly with physical hangover
2. Take a moment to understand the following: "Today is not reality, today is hangover day. Your friends and family don't actually hate you. The future is not without hope. You are not dying from some rare disease. You're just hungover. This too shall pass."
3.Let Music Be Your Medicine.
The goal here is to make you feel worse emotionally. You need to feel worse before you'll start to feel better. The spiritual hangover is a sort of mediocre limbo of bad thoughts/feelings. Our goal now is to take it to another level of despair until we hit a breaking point (preferably crying) where we'll round the corner on the road to recovery.
Here is my personal Hangover playlist. After I've dealt with my physical hangover as best I can I put this playlist on (in the order that it is from top to bottom, very important) pop on some studio quality headphones and let it blast while the music leads me away. This sort of Misery Meditation actually works wonders on making me feel better after it's all said and done.
If after the playlist concludes and you've done everything you can towards relieving the physical hangover and you still feel hungover. Go back to bed. When you wake up again, repeat attack the PH.
Note: Some people, myself include, will include heavy doses of alcohol in their hangover cure, usually starting a few hours into the day. This definitely can work, but it's not a cycle I advocate getting into.
If you're going to drink a lot, it's best to eat less, and eat light. Big meals and heavy boozing wreak havoc on your digestion and leave you feeling like shit. If you want to drink very often and not feel miserable you need to keep your food light. This is not diet advice, or lifestyle advice. Just helpful tips for those who want to indulge in spirits on a regular basis.