Grrr! You're Sober. Now Shut Up!

You're sober. Congratulations.

Now let me buy you a nice tall glass of Shut-the-Heck-Up.

I don't mean to diminish the importance of cleaning up one's act. Conquering a demon as powerful as alcoholism is truly a feat. And having never been a victim of alcoholism, I don't pretend to know how hard it is to stay on the wagon.

But that doesn't mean everyone around you has to know that "you don't drink," or "you're sober now," in that I-take-myself-very-seriously tone. Such a statement is always met with something along the lines of "Well, good for you," in some faux enthusiastic tone in and of itself.

Seriously, just what is the purpose of announcing to your co-worker or new friend that you're sober? Why not just say "no thanks" to the drink? No explanation is needed, unless of course you're talking about a very close friend, or someone you'd like to be close friends with. Surely the guy who has you out on a sales call shouldn't qualify.

The Grrr! here is when the sobriety becomes the recovering alcoholic's very identity. There are millions of recovering alcoholics who don't wear their personal mission on their sleeves.

Last week I watched a profile on "Lost" star Naveen Andrews (search), a recovering heroin addict. The reporter ended her report by thanking him for being so honest with her, as the piece was chock full of inside information about his personal fight, and conquest, of his heroin and alcohol addiction.

Andrews spread the same message on the talk show circuit — "The Tony Danza Show" among them.

Wow, I guess I should feel happy that not only is he an Emmy-nominated millionaire actor, but he's also a rehabilitated drug addict.

"Good for him," I said enthusiastically to the television screen. I'm happy now that he's made it. I wasn't happy before, but now that I know he was a down-on-his-luck druggie before he became famous, well then, "more power to him!"


But the Grrr! is not just reserved for the ImporTant rehabilitated alcoholic.

The gym-going diet-conscious person is worse. He or she is the person who walks by your desk just as you're opening the Wendy's bag and comments, "Wendy's. That's a real healthy lunch."

Who asked you?

Or the person who approaches you in the gym to explain how to curl your arm just so, so that your bicep gets that baseball shape and hardness.

Thanks for the insight, but we're OK. Here's a hint, oh master of the gym ... unless you're depositing a check with my name on it and the words "personal training" written on the memo line, I'm not interested in your help.

And then there's always the unsolicited office help. You know the kind where your cubicle neighbor overhears the tongue-lashing you've just received from the boss, and she comes over to whisper about how to maneuver the political minefield of the office. Seriously, who asked you?

My favorite is the guy who likes to give unsolicited advice to women on how to deal with men. If you've got a guy who loves to tell you how to deal with your man, chances are he's hitting on you. Don't believe that he's simply "trying to help." It's his way of flirting, and it's cheesy.


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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, writes the Grrr! Column and hosts the weekly "The Real Deal" webcast on and