Six years into my drinking career, I was getting pretty close to shelving the bottle. I mean, getting smashed for weeks on end was really starting to get boring. I’ve done everything from escaping a hillbilly party by driving 80 miles per hour through an orchard with no lights on and two cops on my tail to cheating certain death by diving into a taxi while a furious Mexican gang chased me out of Rosarito.

With the sheer amount of shenanigans that I’ve found myself wandering into thanks to boozing, getting piss-drunk for the sake of it really lost its luster. I’m positively ashamed to admit it now, but I had turned into a casual, couple-of-beers-on-Friday type of drinker. With my 21st and all that it entails looming, I just wanted to pick up a nice six-pack and kick it easy style.

As if any of my friends were going to let that bullshit happen.

Alcoholics Anonymous calls them enablers, and I’ve got no shortage of them sitting around. After a week of hard boozing, all I asked for on the Monday night before my birthday was a little bit of calm before the storm. We agreed that a little beer pong would be the right way to get some liver stretches in. I was five wins in and feeling like a champ when a few more friends showed up with some large bottles of Sake. Continuing in the enabler tradition, Sake was immediately dumped in every cup in the rack, in my side beers, in my hands — basically everything that I might drink got Sakefied. Riding the wave of Sake Power, my pong superteam pulled out another four wins.

Just one win away from the 10-rack/30-pack club, the clock struck midnight and I tried to fend off the wave of birthday shots that started coming my way. What I didn’t expect was a fucking off-duty stripper to show up with three stolen DLG cups filled with God knows what. Random Stripper gently told me that it would be good for me to drink the substances, and who am I to argue with a stripper? After three cups of stripper juice, another I.V. blackout descended around me. I hear we won game 10, though.

Tuesday morning should have been great. I always enjoy waking up knowing I’m a year older. But this particular day I was less joyful and more confused as to why I would get a sleeve of abstract tattoos the night before. The confusion disappeared when my “tattoo” washed off in the shower. Thanks, Random Stripper: I slept in the puke you caused. After lying on the couch dead for most of the day, my good enablers got right back to work. A friend just started bartending at a new restaurant, and he promised drinks if we showed up. With a bunch of drunks poking me on the couch, trying to get hooked up with dinner and free booze, I finally relented on the single stipulation that we all dress like assholes.

I didn’t think things could get more awkward than a bunch of neon cholos rolling into a place full of rich geriatrics — how was I supposed to know that a friend of mine would be able to get a job at a classy joint? But more awkward times became when I was eventually surrounded by an obscene number of drinks and more permed individuals than a beauty parlor. Finally finding solace at the bottom of one cocktail after another, I blurrily left the awkward stares and my sobriety behind. I wouldn’t have minded going comatose at this point, but luckily I had an all-star team of peer-pressurers with me to keep me going. With the blanket of blackness comfortably wrapped around me for the rest of the night, I guess they did a good job.

I don’t remember Wednesday.

They tell me drinking can be dangerous, but I think I’m scared of sobriety even more. With the evils of self-composure and a willingness to follow social conventions plaguing every sober moment, I’ve found that having a large number of people encouraging me to make the right decision — you know, Keystone or Beast, Taaka or Heritage — is important to get through the terrifying grip that long bouts of sobriety can have on a man. Thankfully I’ve got good friends.