1. Open your eyes.
2. Fortunately, you didn’t die last night. Unfortunately, you are alive today.
3. Attempt to recreate your night, hastily assembling your shadowy memories into one hideous narrative. It’s like the Power Rangers of Shame, Regret, Depression, Anxiety, Self-Loathing, and Misery are joining together to form a despicable Megazord inside you.
4. Suppress any urge to find your phone and reread those mortifying, pathetic texts you dimly recall sending to your ex, your work-crush, and your ex-work-crush.
5. Seriously, don’t even bother trying some kind of “Sorry I was soooo drunk!” spin control. You must never find your phone. Or find it and burn it, because from this moment on you can no longer maintain contact with anyone whose path you crossed last night. Like Don Draper or Robocop, you must relinquish your past and start a new life.
6. Unlike Don Draper or Robocop, you must first apologize to your roommate for allowing a pack of surprisingly ungrateful stray cats to spend the night in the living room.
7. Without leaving your bed, rummage through your nightstand until you find that gigantic bottle of Advil. Take two scoops like that shit was Raisin Bran.
8. Change out of last night’s clothes, which you are undoubtedly still wearing, and into something more comfortable, like sweatpants, or a coma.
9. Some folks recommend a morning drink to take the edge off. This is known colloquially as “the hair of the dog that bit you,” or “the first step in a cruel downward spiral that will eventually claim your life.”
10. Brush your teeth, if only because you cannot brush away your shame, that tar-black plaque of the soul.
11. Although daunting, it’s time to check your wallet and survey the damage. Uh oh…loose bills of varying denominations line your pockets – never a good sign…
12. Is that…yup, a pack of grotesquely bent Camel Lights. Considering you don’t smoke, not necessarily the wisest $14 you’ve ever spent. At least it partially explains why your mouth tastes the way Nick Nolte looks.
13. Go back to bed and grab another hour of temporary suicide.
14. Try to get some lucid dreams going so you can retroactively unmake all of those horrible decisions from last night. Envision yourself saying intelligent things like, “Close my tab, please!” and, “Sorry, but I rarely make out with people I meet in line at White Castle.”
15. Despite your efforts, just have that really weird dream where you experience the film Cool Runnings from the perspective of the bobsled.
16. Get out of bed for a second time. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not step in that pile of Chinese food.
17. Wait, a second is that an open condom wrapper on the floor? A lambskin condom wrapper? Jesus Christ, what else happened last night? This is like The Hangover, but not funny at all. This is like The Hangover Part II.
18. Run a hot bath. Bring in a coffee and a book (something light). Stare at the first page of the book for 10 or 15 minutes before acknowledging that you’ve forgotten how to read. Accept the vast and ruinous impact this loss will have on your life henceforth.
19. Lie there in your own watery filth, your beer-bloated stomach elevated above the water like some pale, fuzzy island. One of your eyes is incapable of fully opening or closing. Your skin smells like cat piss. This must’ve been what those last few decades were like for Brando. Realize that you are the kind of person fated to die in the bathroom in the midst of some intensely private hygienic act horribly gone wrong.
20. Roll sideways out of the tub and onto the porcelain floor, like some brain-dead, disease-ridden seal frightening the children at SeaWorld.
21. Many experts recommend exercise to cure a hangover. LOL! Many experts have clearly never had a hangover. Exercise your right to lie on the bathroom floor and make death noises.
22. Try forcing yourself to puke, either by sticking your fingers down your throat or by taking a long, hard look in the mirror. I mean that literally, not metaphorically. You look like Tom Hanks in the middle of Cast Away. Is that blood trickling out of your ear?
23. Eat something greasy – supposedly, the grease will absorb the remaining alcohol in your stomach. Personally, I’ve never felt any less hungover after eating greasy food, but I have felt like eating greasy food was the only compelling reason I could come up with not to kill myself.
24. Accept that this is the life you’ve chosen, that the pleasures of any good high inevitably lead to a compensatory crash. But maybe masturbate a few times just to delay the inevitable a little bit longer.
25. Watch 45 minutes of the kind of porn you usually reserve for emergency situations: you know, the stuff that you don’t really like to admit (even to yourself) that you enjoy. You can count your remaining endorphins on one hand right now, so weird niche porn is really the only friend you’ve got left.
26. Drink a pitcher of water. You could’ve lessened your current pain by alternating between booze and water last night, but that’s just never going to be you. At some point, you need to realize that there are people the in this world who Alternate Their Alcoholic Drinks with Water, and then there’s Us.
27. Finally check your phone. Six missed calls and ten texts, all from people you went out with last night. Their messages follow a touching arc, beginning with concern over your disappearance and eventually ending with acceptance of your certain death. Except for one disconcerting text from an unknown number, which mysteriously reads: “want u 2 fuck me till i die.” Do not address.
28. Become engulfed with an overwhelming sense of regret that widens to encompass the very meaning of life itself, (i.e., Why bother? What the hell is the point of trying to find joy in the cold void of existence?) before it narrows back down to the fact that you danced publicly last night.
29. Consider smoking some weed. This is probably the only home remedy that actually works. Then again, I would’ve recommended getting high even if this article was titled “How to Raise Your Credit Score in 34 Easy Steps.”
30. Oh, right, you smoked it all when you got back last night, like some kind of demonic Pleasure-Consuming Black Hole, determined to Have All the Funs in a single night, regardless of the repercussions. Goddammit. Drunk You is such a fucking asshole.
31. Despite that, against all odds, you’ve made it: you’re back to good ol’ you, neither drunk nor hungover. Equilibrium.
32. So…uh, what’s on TV tonight, anyways? Hmm. Might be nice to go for a walk, or do some writing maybe…
34. Christ, anybody wanna drink tonight?