Life As An Adult Drunk Dialer


My name is Ross Bolen, and I’m an adult drunk dialer.

I’ve struggled with this issue for almost a decade now, first realizing I might have a problem when I called my grandma at three o’clock in the morning on New Year’s Day of 2007. But even now, at the wise age of 29, the unwavering compulsion to call other humans on the phone while inappropriately intoxicated will flare up from time-to-time. Once an adult drunk dialer, always an adult drunk dialer — that’s what they say. Mine is a disease for which there is no cure.

Almost all of my adult drunk dialing is done toward the tail end of the night, when everyone I’m hanging out with has either failed to hold my interest or abandoned me to sleep like a normal, responsible person. Maybe it’s a song that reminds me of a college buddy, the sudden impulse to talk sports, a Wheat Thins commercial that makes me miss my Mom, or a deep-seated emotional issue circling a sense of abandonment caused by emotional childhood trauma, but, whatever the reason, something rooted within my soul calls on me to call on others when I’ve been doing a bit of boozing. Assuming I’m drunk enough, pretty much anyone is fair game, but, just like the loved ones of addicts tend to suffer the most, it’s usually a member of my family that falls victim to my late night telephone stupidity.

Oftentimes, I’ll roll over and grab my phone after a night where three too many bottles of wine were uncorked only to check my call history and immediately become filled with shame. Why in the name of God would any self-respecting adult call his 74-year-old “Mimi” at 2:46 AM on what is technically Friday morning to have a 32-minute conversation about life in the ’50s? I don’t have an answer to that question.

I can’t count how many times my Dad has been forced to roll over in the middle of the night and grab his vibrating phone only to hear me slurring on the other end of the line about why the Texans suck or how awesome The Sopranos was or asking about the weather back in Houston like I don’t live in Austin just a couple hours away. He’s a more forgiving man than I. If I was him, I’d have blocked my number by now.

Calling someone for virtually no reason other than to “catch up” isn’t really a guy thing. Girls understand that sentiment, sure, but as a man, when you get a late night call from a drunk friend who “just wants to chat,” that shit is not normal. Dudes don’t really get down like that. I’ve been on both sides of the experience, to be fair, but I’ve been a dialer far more often than I’ve been an answerer, and the dialer is the one who just needs to go the fuck to sleep.

You might be thinking, “There is a pretty simple solution to this problem: tell your family and friends not to answer when you call them past a certain hour.” The problem is, I don’t quit. There are a lot of names in my contacts, some of whom I haven’t the slightest clue how they got there, and I’ll keep going until someone answers the fucking phone. I’m just a drunk guy with all the time in the world. You might also be thinking, “If I was you, I’d just try to have a little more self-control, psycho.” Well if you were me then I’d be you, and I’d use your phone to drunk dial people. You can’t stop me no matter who you are.

While it has taken me years to come to terms with my condition, I hear the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I admitted that I have a problem months ago and this past Saturday I still called my entire immediate family in succession while sitting cross-legged in my driveway eating late night Whataburger.

I just want to talk. I don’t know why. Maybe I’ll grow out of it one day, but for now, this is just who I am.

If you or someone you love is an adult drunk dialer, stay strong. And remember, if your phone rings late one night this weekend, it really just means that an adult drunk dialer out there loves you, or, at the very least, finds you an acceptable person to steal a few minutes of sleep from while they down a delicious Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit under the light of the moon.

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles: Game of Thrones podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover sports podcast, 2017 Masters attendee, bigger and more loyal Rockets, Astros and Texans fan than you, cheese enchilada aficionado, and nap god.

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