Stage 1: Denial
Your first reaction to waking up on top of all your covers — spooning your laptop, crusted pasta sauce remnants sitting in a bowl on your floor — will be, this is not happening. Someone else decided to eat late night pasta. Someone else decided to wear flannel-lined pajama bottoms and open all of the windows in your bedroom. As you run around closing said windows in an inside out and backwards “going out top,” you agree firmly: This. Is. Not. Happening.
This defense mechanism shields you from the harsh reality of day until the next stage blinds you with rage once you realize your wallet is empty.
Stage 2: Anger
As denial begins to fade, the stinging pain of reality reemerges. This will happen after the fetal position but before the attempt to put on day-pants. The main slots in your wallet are empty:
2. Credit card
3. There’s no third thing. You never carry cash because hello, it’s 2015 and you’re a broke 25-year-old.
How could this have happened? Why do you insist on making drinks to drink and then drink them and get drunk?! You have no one to blame except for everyone you have ever met because this is all their fault. Help.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Helplessness and vulnerability have taken the wheel. If only you didn’t go out. If only you decided to work late instead. If only you stayed in and re-watched Harry Potter, numbers 5-8. (Goblet of Fire kinda sucks, gotta start with The Order. You’re hungover, not a moron.) And shots of tequila? Why?
Dear God, Dear Abby, Dear Prudence, Dear John — anyone! If you make this feeling go away, we all promise to do better.
Stage 4: Depression
You won’t do better. You are the worst. In this period of grief, sadness and regret dominate your every thought. Why did you even think to chose “Stay” by Lisa Loeb as your karaoke song when you know damn well that Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” kills every time? Every time! Perhaps, all you really need is a hug…maybe with some cream cheese, bacon, and tomato in the middle. With a bagel on the outside. You need a bagel. What you need now is actually a bagel.
Stage 5: Acceptance
With food, love and elastic-waist pants, you too can find acceptance. Whether it eventually takes the form of a 45-minute hot shower, a 12-hour nap or a Good Wife marathon, you’ll find solace at the end of a hangover. Misery loves company, Bloody Marys can substitute a meal if there’s bacon in it, and Sundays are only scary if you let the terrorists win. Enjoy your last hungover-free hours like an American and eat some goddamn ice cream.
You deserve it.