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The Best of All Hangover Cures

The has a selection of twelve celebrity hangover cures for those of you glazing dazedly at the too-bright New Year.  Many date from the Golden Age of American Drinking, those years between the onset of Prohibition when drinking became glamorous and rebellious, and the death of the three martini lunch when increased economic competition forced growing numbers of successful Americans to cut back on the sauce to stay sharp enough for work.

Others date from the Golden Age of British Drinking, which began in the days of Boadicea and shows no sign of stopping.

The hair of the dog seems to be the most common ingredient of these cures; looking at the list of celebrity hangover researchers, one is mostly struck by the havoc that alcohol wreaked in the lives of these gifted and sensitive people.

It was almost exactly ten years ago that I discovered the best hangover cure of all: it costs nothing, is easily made, and unlike other supposed cures, it is 100 percent effective.

The Mead surefire hangover cure?  Prevention.

In ten years it has never let me down.

A New Year’s thought: if you spend a lot of time thinking about or checking into hangover cures, your problem is more likely to be about the night before than the morning after.

I talk with a surprising number of college students who wonder whether they are developing a serious alcohol problem.  Alcoholics Anonymous has an (anonymous) test you can use to help you decide whether you have a drinking problem or just had too much to drink last night.  (They are not the same; many people who aren’t alcoholics have overindulged at various times in their lives.  Young people especially experiment with a lot of things, and alcohol can be tricky even for people who end up living very comfortably and successfully as social drinkers.)

The website is here: below are the questions, along with some AA comments about them.  According to the AA folks, if you answer ‘yes’ to more than four, you might have something more serious than an occasional hangover to think about.

1 – Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?

Most of us in A.A. made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to A.A. A.A. said: “Just try not to drink today.” (If you do not drink today, you cannot get drunk today.)

2 – Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking– stop telling you what to do?

In A.A. we do not tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about our own drinking, the trouble we got into, and how we stopped. We will be glad to help you, if you want us to.

3 – Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?

We tried all kinds of ways. We made our drinks weak. Or just drank beer. Or we did not drink cocktails. Or only drank on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we drank anything with alcohol in it, we usually got drunk eventually.

4 – Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?

Do you need a drink to get started, or to stop shaking? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not drinking “socially.”

5 – Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?

At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like most people, who really can take it or leave it.

6 – Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?

Be honest! Doctors say that if you have a problem with alcohol and keep on drinking, it will get worse — never better. Eventually, you will die, or end up in an institution for the rest of your life. The only hope is to stop drinking.

7 – Has your drinking caused trouble at home?

Before we came into A.A., most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us drink. We could not see that our drinking just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.

8 – Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you do not get enough?

Most of us used to have a “few” before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of party. And if drinks were not served fast enough, we would go some place else to get more.

9 – Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don’t mean to?

Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we drank because we wanted to. After we came into A.A., we found out that once we started to drink, we couldn’t stop.

10 – Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking?

Many of us admit now that we “called in sick” lots of times when the truth was that we were hung-over or on a drunk.

11 – Do you have “blackouts”?

A “blackout” is when we have been drinking hours or days which we cannot remember. When we came to A.A., we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of alcoholic drinking.

12 – Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?

Many of us started to drink because drinking made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into A.A., we felt trapped. We were drinking to live and living to drink. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired.

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  • Kenny

    You offer sage advice here, Mr. Mead.

  • Gary L

    Speaking of hangover cures, one of the great duos of English literature – Bertrie Wooster and Reginald Jeeves – first became a team as a result of a Wooster hangover and a Jeeves pick-me-up. The facts are related in PG Wodehouse’s 1925 short story “Jeeves Takes Charge.” Bertie, in need of a valet, conducts his initial interview with Jeeves while “feeling pretty rocky” after an evening of extended revelry. The omniscient Jeeves perceives Bertie’s distress, and provides the solution (the following three paragraphs are from Wodehouse’s story, which Bertie narrates)

    “If you would drink this, sir,” [Jeeves] said, with a kind of bedside manner, rather like the royal doctor shooting the bracer into the sick prince. “It is a little preparation of my own invention. It is the Worcester sauce that gives it its colour. The raw egg makes it nutritious. The red pepper gives it its bite. Gentlemen have told me they find it extremely invigorating after a late evening.”

    I would have clutched at anything that looked like a life-line that morning. I swallowed the stuff. For a moment I felt as if somebody had touched off a bomb inside the old bean and was strolling down my throat with a lighted torch, and then everything seemed suddenly to get all right. The sun shone in through the window; birds twittered in the tree-tops; and, generally speaking, hope dawned once more.

    “You’re engaged!” I said, as soon as I could say anything.

    Later in the same story, Jeeves manipulates events so as to end Bertie’s relationship with Florence Craye, a young woman who was wanted Bertie to read Nietzsche. Jeeves tells him, “You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.” I was much enamored of Nietzsche in my youth, but as I’ve grown older, I’m come to think Jeeves’ warning as yet another hangover cure.

  • David

    Mike Royko’s 1974 column on this is my standard reference: “try moaning.” Classic.

  • Luke Lea

    The hangover is the cure, if you are lucky.

  • dearieme

    @GL: have this one on the house.

  • Gary L

    Luke Lea says:
    The hangover is the cure, if you are lucky.

    That is true – which means that there are some species luckier than us. The following passage is from the first chapter of Charles Darwin’s “The Descent of Man”….

    “Many kinds of monkeys have a strong taste for tea, coffee, and spirituous liquors: they will also, as I have myself seen, smoke tobacco with pleasure. Brehm asserts that the natives of north-eastern Africa catch the wild baboons by exposing vessels with strong beer, by which they are made drunk. He has seen some of these animals, which he kept in confinement, in this state; and he gives a laughable account of their behavior and strange grimaces. On the following morning they were very cross and dismal; they held their aching heads with both hands, and wore a most pitiable expression: when beer or wine was offered them, they turned away with disgust, but relished the juice of lemons. An American monkey,an Ateles, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus was wiser than many men.”

  • DougS

    1. As stated in a comment above, and in a sense, by WRM, the hangover is the cure. I’m of the belief that Alcoholics must not feel the pain of hangovers as badly as non alcoholics.
    2. If memory of hangover pain has failed, Percocet.

  • David

    I have tried a few so called hangover cures in the past, most have only helped to dull the pain. I have finally found something that actually works, Alcotox. It claims to prevent your hangover. Well I am hear after a heavy session last night and woke without the usual hangover, thank you Alcotox. No one wants a hangover give it a try, if it works for pass the word on. I have done my bit.

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