The etymology of Sober Bastard or the two sides of sobriety.

So recently someone asked me in an email the origin of the name Sober Bastard. Someone even noted to the lack of **gasp** my bastardly features. How dare they! To be honest, I really do not consider myself to be that much of a bastard- despite the name.

In fact,

the name Sober Bastard came as a double entendre of sorts. Firstly, I wanted the name Sober Bastard to bring to light an issue that I believe keeps many people from becoming sober. That is the fear that once you become sober that you will no longer be fun, outgoing or the life of the party. People often use alcohol to lower their boundaries & inhibitions in order to be more outwardly social and to perceptively be the person they “want to be”. This was a huge fear of mine- I often used this as my excuse to not quit.


  • “If I quit I will no longer be the wild, zany guy that drinks a lot.”
  • “I won’t be the charismatic playboy anymore.”
  • “I won’t be the party animal people like to have at their parties.”

What a moron I was. In reality, becoming sober made me more fun to be around. I am now more coherent and clear headed in conversations with friends, a more reliable friend and I can still tell my stupid jokes.  Unfortunately, your sense of humor does not miraculously improve once becoming sober.

While it was a stupid fear- it was a fear of mine none the less. It was a fear I even carried over with me well into my sobriety. I would honestly still probably be carrying that fear to some extent if it were not for something a friend said to me at his moving away party- which also happened to be the first time I was around alcohol post quitting. My good friend, a grandiose public speaker who can make a simple thank you sound like a presidential address, described what sobriety meant to our relationship.

“When I met you I instantly liked you. I liked you because I was interested in the things that you were interested in and passionate about. That’s the common connection that we had and it has become a very good friendship. Now that you are getting healthier there are less obstacles in the way of us sharing those interests.”

The point being- that nothing changed except I was now a more likable person. I could now be a better friend to those around me. When I start to think of it like that I often wonder how I ever had such convoluted thoughts as to fear becoming a less likeable person once I had gotten rid of my very public and damaging addiction.


On the other side of that coin,

Sober Bastard also was meant to represent that once you get sober very little changes except for you are now consuming less alcohol. Sure, some added benefits come with the territory as oftentimes weight loss, mood temperament & other health improvements are a byproduct of sobriety. In my first three months of sobriety I lost nearly 20 pounds- pretty noteworthy for a guy who often ate cookies for breakfast in order to curb morning alcohol cravings. But other than the natural occurring health improvements nothing else changed.

My character faults that lead to a great deal of my problems were still there. My laziness was still at bay, my snarky attitude and short temper still resided within me and my horrible coping skills were just as evident as ever. I actually attribute a great deal of the success of my sobriety to my ability to have the foresight that if I was going to successfully beat alcoholism I also had to work on changing the underlying issues that I masked with my alcohol abuse.

So to those on the doorsteps of sobriety, put your fears aside- as nothing changes. But also remember- nothing changes. Sobriety is only what you make of it and you are only what you make of yourself. You may quit drinking and drugs but if your underlying issue is you are a bastard you will still be a bastard. But if you like being the lovable bastard keep being that lovable bastard- just be a lovable Sober Bastard.

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