The headache, the stomach that feels like it’s been pickled, the wasted day. There’s nothing fun about a hangover. Ten years ago this was not a huge issue for me, but it seems like every year that goes by, it just gets worse. I will say this before I get in any further, any of you out there reading this saying “I never get hungover.” I am happy for you, but please stop telling me that when I am hungover. It doesn’t help.
Any married guy with kids that likes to have a drink every now and again, knows that feeling the morning after a night out with the boys when you have had a few too many. You wake up with a headache, the kids are up and ready to go, and all you can think is shit, I’ve got to pretend I feel great so I don’t get the “I told you so” speech from my wife. We do our best, but who’s kidding who, we are not fooling anyone. God bless all you women out there that clearly know we are not at our best yet you are gracious enough to not say anything. Although I am pretty sure you are laughing inside (and rightly so) at our self-induced pain.
We are always trying to find the best way to deal with a hangover. I have tried many different things and everyone has their routines. Here are a couple of staples.
Let’s start with the basic wait it out method. You wake up, usually a few hours after you passed out. The first thing to do is drink the bottle of water you hopefully thought to put beside your bed (or wherever you laid down) before you passed out. If you did not think to put the bottle of water there, hopefully there was a woman drinking with you that thought to put one beside you (sorry guys, but we are just not that thoughtful). Failing that, take on the impossible task of convincing yourself to go get a glass of water. You could also add some painkillers if they’re handy. Then go back to sleep. You may still feel shitty when you get up, but the good news is you can just lay there and do nothing the rest of the day.
Now this method is pretty easy, but requires wasting pretty much an entire day. Not an option for most. Who’s got that kind of time.
The “Rip off the Band-Aid” Method
Okay, so this one has really only been successful for me once in a very specific situation, but I think it could be adapted to work in other scenarios with the right drive. One evening while on a three-day tour of Fraser Island in Australia, they were serving $10.00 pitchers of beer at the bar. This seemed like a great time to start playing drinking games with the Scottish and British people that we met. What could go wrong?
Well, as it turns out, the next day’s tour had us taking the off-road bus to the giant sand-dunes. We were pretty much going for a desert hike. I cannot remember the exact temperature, but it was well above 30 Celsius. I can say with confidence, this was the hardest slog in my life. It was crazy hot and my head weighed about 50 lbs. After about an hour of heavy sweating, hangover gone. I felt great, although I cannot say the same for how I smelled. I am sure it was something along the lines of an old case of empties that has been sitting in a hot garage for a couple of months.
While this method worked very well to completely cure a hangover in an hour, there are a couple of major flaws. The first one being that access to desert hikes is not a reality most of the time. Although I suppose you could recreate it with a run or heavy workout. The second flaw that I see is that I did not have a choice but to go on the desert hike. I know myself, and I would have a very hard time finding the motivation to go for a run or heavy workout on the best of days, let alone when I am hungover. That being said, if you’ve got the motivation and a shower nearby, not a terrible option.
My Preferred Method (partial avoidance)
This is my tried and true method. I have done this to make it through Die Hard Day, guy’s weekend at the cottage and just about any situation where exorbitant amounts of alcohol are involved. I used the term avoidance, but don’t worry I’m talking about hangover avoidance, not alcohol avoidance.
What I do is drink a glass of water between every beer. Now the 1:1 ratio is not completely necessary, but after a while I lose track too easily, so I stick to alternating. Plus, I tend to drink fairly fast, so the water helps me to pace myself (at least a little bit). Every time I do this, I wake up feeling great. The only thing is that sometimes the next day I still get the pickled stomach feeling. For that I take a couple of ginger pills and I am good to go.
Whatever method you choose, know that I feel your pain and will not be the guy saying “I never get hangovers.” One final word of warning though, if you do happen to be near a desert for a hangover hike, don’t forget to put on sunscreen. At the very least, do not wear a tank top.