Hangover Helper: In Search of the Unholy Grail

IMG_0682The cultivation of hooch is probably responsible for civilization as we know it. A parched Sumerian farmer gets his mittens on an earthen pot of what appears to be water and blammo! He’s blotto! Fast forward to precisely measured fields of grain, just waiting to be fermented into the wobbly pops of antiquity. And while that may have been a lucky day accident for human progress, getting a hangover sure as hell isn’t. So unless you were forced beyond will to smash down a dozen freezie, sparkling beers, you and I have only ourselves to blame. And while each new hangover may be met with either innocent surprise or a soldier’s pride, one true fact remains. When feigning the victim of debauchery, or touting the well-earned battle scars of last night’s brannigan have faded into listless mumbles, the hangover remains. So what can one do to ease the pain?

Well if you go onto the international net of websites, you’ll find all kinds of stuff. Ranging from modern snake oils to quasi-medical opinions, reformed tantric vegans with a thing or two to say about a thing or two, but by and large your glazed eyes will mostly find stuff that has been copied and pasted into new scrambles of the same useless shit. And in a horribly exhausted, anxious and uneasy state, ain’t nobody got time for that kind of word papers reading. So first, let’s answer the main question? Is there a hangover cure? No, I’m sorry, but there isn’t.

There is no cure for my gluttonous enthusiasm that had me stagger out into the streets of dawn to buy just a few more beers after everyone else had long gone to beddy-bys. There is no respite for a Good Time Charlie who would only stop rocking his jaw to slug back more slurpy sips–sucking the silver bullet right outta the can. There is no peace for a man who hardy-har-hars away all the remaining health credits he has left in his dirty jean pocketses for the week that cometh. The justice is the punishment, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be any peace. So, there are a couple schools of thought here. Comfort food. Healthful replenishment. Exercise. Hair of the dog. And also, just saying fuck it to everything, popping a couple ibuprofens and going back to bed.

When we drink large amounts of alcohol, we do a bit of a number on our stomachs, stripping the slimy, gross lining that protects us from such things as Jager-bombs and tequila shots. So naturally, it makes sense that wonderful things like grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, cheesy pastas, and quesadillas are all popular fare for the Sunday hurtin’ crew. Those brave, and strong enough, stumble out of their homes to congregate with other members of their team, reveling and reliving their ‘insane’ night over pancakes, bacon and eggs, milkshakes even–barf. Those that aren’t so tough–get that shit delivered straight to the coffee table in front of the teevee. And soon, all comfort-seeking, comfort foodies start to feel a wave of food coma come on. A growing viscosity in brain and body–the sweats–perhaps a different kind of movement–and then…sleep that was probably still much-needed in the first place. The only problem with this method of diffusing the hangover is that it often leads to some serious sluggishness in the coming days. The actual hangover may only be a 24 hour thing, but filling the guts with heavy, greasy food with little nutritious content pretty much leeches what little processing power the body has left.

Then there’s nutritious replenishment. You know, smoothies. Vitamins. Tons of water. Better yet, water with turmeric in it. Even better still, water with turmeric and lemon. Still even more better; water, turmeric, lemon, and one of those fizzy B vitamin jobs that you plop in and watch do its dissolving dance. You imagine all those magical vitamins and minerals rushing, like an army of mini robot doctors, to the many ailing nooks of your dehydrated meat suit. You then move on to a crisp salad of dark greens. Mmm, fiber. Perhaps a piece of toast with honey on it. Honey is a healer. Maybe even a tomato sandwich. B to the 12, B! Your pee once again starts to become translucent, Yay, it’s working. But alas, you still feel like crap, your face looks like a steak, and the veins on your temples feel like thin plastic wires. Wires that are surely attached to a food dehydrator plugged into your raisin of a brain. And then…something happens. You go the fuck back to bed.

Exercise. Bad hurting man bumbles out of bed and by some miracle of will, hits the yoga hard, gingerly dives into the pool, laces on his sneaks and goes running. Drinking copious amounts of water in intervals and sweating it out as fast as it’s downed. A body made of tiny holes. Thickened yellow sweat that smells like a mixture of yeast and BO oozes out of the forehead, stinging the eyes. But a few minutes pass and it tastes less like last night and more like a salty broth that keeps getting diluted. Exercise done. Headache gone. Shower on. Back ta bed…

The almighty hair of the dog. But let’s do it right. Forget about one beer instantly rewinding our body back to last night’s drunk. Let’s get a Bloody Mary, first. Again with the B vitties. Black pepper, garlic, horse-radish, hot sauce, pickle juice, celery, olives. Say whatever you like, I say Clamato, and it’s a great drink. Hangover gone. Now back to beers. Bender on. Things are funnier now. That giddy feeling you once had as a child pulling an all-nighter, that delirious quirk; more beers. The day moves slowly into late afternoon, then stops in the early evening. Wow, we’ve got all night. I could be home and in bed by 10 if I wanted. That’s what I’ll do for sure, it being Sunday and all. And then… like a massive freight train, carrying only steaks and made completely out of steaks, BIFFFFFF! It’s 2 AM, douche lantern! Time to go ho—ome! Repeat today’s start and add to hangover tomorrow. The carry-over hangover. The formula would look something like this:  H x Terps = -H divided by time/terps =H to the power of 7.

There are many things that contribute to a hangover. And a better understanding of the components that make up this temporary hell-state are really important if one’s going to lessen the pain in any noticeable way. On a side note, for me, as a smoker, I now know that cigarettes play a huge role in my hurting times; a whopping 30% at least. I only know this from quitting here and there, still drinking, and feeling a hell of a lot less gross the next day. That said, there are the other factors. I guess our bodies don’t like being poisoned all that much, and will pull double-shifts around the clock to rid our bodies of all those terps we gaily guzzled. I used a sleep tracking app one night when I was seriously hammered. Just to see. The phone was placed under my pillow and calibrated to pick up any movements I made during the night. I passed out cold into a dreamless and, what I thought to be, a deep sleep. Yet the next day, the app showed otherwise. It was akin to a Richter scale reading of a serous quake. Apparently, my flesh folder was all over the place–all night long. So, despite being fully knocked out in the head, my body was wide awake and working overtime. So there’s that. Pure fatigue. Then there’s dehydration. For every drop of booze we drink, we lose even more water. Water is the vehicle of removal. When alcohol is introduced to the system, our bodies dutifully try to dilute it and get it the hell out of there. So in the end, we’re left with a body that feels like it’s made of sand, our brains pounding. And with each thump of the bass drum in our heads, a tiny cloud of brain dandruff floats into the ether. It sure does feel that way, sometimes. Fatigue and dehydration. They are not friends and yet we invited them to the after party.

Long story short or short story long. Here’s what I have to say. Do whatever works for you, if you’ve been lucky enough to find a few tricks that actually make your hangovers a little more bearable, then that’s great. If it’s a heavy meal that coats your stomach and eases your woes, good on ya. If it’s superfoods and health tonics, fine. If you’re an absolute fucking god for dragging your sorry as out of bed to do laps, well, I already said you were a god, didn’t I? Because the only thing that really cures the hangover is the time we owe back to the gods of gluttony. Oh, and there’s NOT drinking… or at least drinking less. Prevention is the mother of intention. Food in the stomach on the front-end of a big night will make things go a whole lot better tomorrow. A couple waters here and there throughout the night will do wonders, too. We know all that smart adult stuff. But, if in your misery, you have not found any relief, I strongly recommend some clear, hot soup of some kind. Salty for the salts you need, warm water for the water and the sweats, and go back to your bed. You’ll be better soon. And by Thursday, you might even start thinking of doing it all again…because now that it’s over, it really wasn’t so bad after all.



2 thoughts on “Hangover Helper: In Search of the Unholy Grail

  1. Apples. Apples. Apples. Until the first taco place opens. Get the hottest one you can stand and carry on. Alternately, I’ve been known to just take a shot of hot sauce. It kinda works… sometimes.


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