Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Good Woman

“A good woman is like a fine wine...” Said a man I once knew. I'm not sure what he was getting at when he was saying it but I'm reminded as I take another sip of the rouge.

Are you a good woman or a bad woman, Ms. M? Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do? I do drink a little still & smoke a cigar on occasion but whether I'm good or bad that depends on who you're asking and their...


I find it fascinating that people who don't bother to know you think they can label you... It's amazing what they'll come up without understanding their judgement. I've been on the ends of two rumors in the last six months and because I pitied these younger versions of myself, I didn't name names. Or lay blames. It's not their fault they don't have love within or bother to know me.

I'm hardly perfect. I wouldnt say a good woman or a bad woman. Mostly because it wouldn't be true. I don't hold out for love or look for it because I know it. I understand love, what it means to love & be in love with someone. There's no need to medicate my life with drugs or alcohol because solitude isn't the worst thing. So instead I'm always having fun every day & staying grateful. Here & again I meet a lovely fellow; I do keep me to myself for months sometimes. But when I do, I thoroughly enjoy the man who joins me and stays by my side... until we must part ways. I know it may seem callous but missing a man or his hands won't bring them back to me sooner or ever again. Sooner would be a lovely thought though... Instead of never. ;)

Like I said I'm not good or bad but I have had my past & vices. I don't regret them. And my truths I'll admit to... are the things you won't hear rumors about. For instance I've fallen in love with the wrong man twice in this life & ended a many years on&off again affair (with a single man) because a man didn't appreciate me anymore. I've also had an expensive brush with the law that included sobriety classes to remind me, that I lost control. There are more truths but these are what I'll share now...

So, I don't judge others for their past, I only relish in their accomplishments & future goals. Good or bad, you are who you are. Stop attacking yourself & you'll stop attacking others. If you can't stop comparing yourself to someone you won't see the beauty in yourself. Love yourself and you'll see what I see in you. :)

Here's a story that came about during a dark time in my life after I had a brush with the law. It's part fiction & a few pieces reality. Can you tell which is which?

Do you have fun?
Do you think you are good or bad?

Kisses, m.


When you go out with a drunk, you’ll notice how a drunk fills your glass so he can empty his own. As long as you’re drinking, drinking is okay. Two’s company. Drinking is fun. If there’s a bottle, even if your glass isn’t empty, a drunk, he’ll pour a little in your glass before he fills his own. Chuck Palahniuk.

We’ve all been there. Down and out. Too many excuses. Unable to see another other option. Just one more drink. It won’t hurt a thing. It’s early yet. I can handle my alcohol. Give me three more. For the good times. Let ‘em roll!

No one wants to be here. We all look as guilty as the next. Each and everyone in this room pretending we didn’t get smashed this last weekend. Some sit there quietly smoking avoiding eye contact. Others sit nervously biting their fingernails down to the nub. A few shakily drink another cup of coffee, most are on their fourth or fifth. 

The meeting will be starting shortly. Be early or be left out. Doors are locked promptly on the hour. There’s AA and then there’s this. Not only do I have to be sober nearly 48 hours prior but I have to pay for this. I didn’t ask for it. None of us here did. Yet here we sit, two days a week, week after week for as long as it takes. 




Something like that. 

It’s court ordered deliverance. Not at all an out-patient program. There are no sponsors. You will find none of that ‘Hi, my name is Whiskey Jane. I’m an alcoholic’  business here. It’s all on the Honor System. Ask a drunk how honest he is, and he’ll tell you “Ask me when I’m sober?” 

Look around the room. It’s the usual suspects. Six of us circle up to form our regular group. 

Across from me sits Ginny. 
Over to her left is Boots followed by Maja. 
Bringing up the opposite is Mr. St. Allen and little Sonny Sinclair. 
I bring the close to the circle. Who am I? The little girl who knew better. 

Well here’s the part you hear about and see in movies. The simple give-and-take where we all share our weekly little tale before disappearing back to into everyday life. 

And this week we have a new counselor. Q. Devanders, a man-at-arms calling the corners and reintroducing us to each other. 

But we’re all well acquainted. Boots hosts a monthly poker game, two years and standing. Hard to believe it’s been a couple years but in the life of an alcoholic, memories can get a little fuzzy. 

Ginny kicks off the session tonight. 


Ginny is back from jail. She spent nearly three weeks in the county lock-up. And I’ll say it’s not the nicest of places for a lady of her stature. When the police found her she was beating her old man with an electrical cord while setting fire to his golf clubs. Now domestic violence, assault or arson wasn’t what they arrested her for. She violated her court order agreement mandating her sobriety for 150 days while in the program. She had just finished a bottle of 90 Proof before going after her husband. Can’t blame her, that SOB probably deserved it this time. Philandering and stealing her money were at the top of a very long list of offences. 

But that wasn’t why she ended up here in the first place. 

Ginny has been here the longest. She wasn’t an old woman but definitely getting on in years. Frank is her husband of twenty years. They had acquired all the things you’d want in life, a house, children and a comfortable living. I can’t tell you when she started drinking, but I can tell you why she ended up here. 

Imagine a life set in suburban bliss just about fifteen years ago. The kids. The car pools. The weekly sewing circles and book clubs. In the beginning it was welcoming. A new home brought relief to a struggling couple wanting to bring their family together. And all too soon the monotony can set in. 

Ginny would find herself alone, day in and day out with the routine. She drops off the kids in the morning, shuffling through a thousand errands before picking up the kids in the afternoon and somewhere after she finds the time to amuse her husband. 

Routines can be tricky things. Before long, a glimpse of her husband becomes a few and far between rarity in the monotony, the errands become fewer and the children can find their own way home. 

What becomes of the bored housewife? Have a little drink here, another there. It’s a little something to pass the time. No one will notice. She keeps a bottle between the linens in the hall closet, another in the space behind the toilet and then there’s always the lonely flask hidden in the laundry room behind the bleach. What’s the harm? 

There’s always harm and it comes without warn. 

On that particular day there was no warning. 

The kids went off without a hitch, on time for the bus. No sign of her Mister for a couple days. A day as any other, she settled into the routine; the hourly swigs and shots. Until the call came; your children are sick and need to be sent home immediately. The four alarm shock swept into her body. There was no one else. Getting there seemed easy enough. Remembering the ride home was something else. 

According to the police report she had been 3x times over the legal limit when the accident happened. The children remained under observation while in the pediatric intensive care unit at St. Peters Hospital. Despite a few scrapes the other driver was alive. Ginny never remembered that day clearly. It took ten surgeries and a steel plate in her head to repair the damage from the accident. Steel rod from the construction truck she rear-ended partially wedged itself into her skull. Court called it the worst kind of parental negligence. 

After a decade of repeatedly failing multiple AA programs the court mandated these sessions. That was five years ago. 

Will she ever recover? Who’s to say?  Her battle wages on every week. 

Ginny has finished her say about the last week. It was another tough one. You could see that when she walked in today. She slipped. We all had. At least she’s still out on bail. The newbie man in session throws his trigger finger towards the next person, Boots.


What’s his scene? Well you guessed right if you think it has anything to do with shoes. Boots is an ex rock-n-roller. Well for the moment he is. Comebacks are a gamble but always worth a shot. He’s been here almost as long as Ginny. Four years, three months, seventeen days, and six hours. Unlike other people here Boots has actually been through a twelve step program. TWICE. But who’s counting? 

The Rock-n-Roll thing. How’s it play in? Here’s the catch, Boots has a trick with the ladies and it involves his worn down ol boots. The girls all loved the boot trick. Every town, every gig, a new pair winds up back at his hotel room. His beat up ol boots got him the notoriety and new pairs made quite the souvenirs. Collecting broads and booze while leaving a piece behind. Rock n Roll lifestyle. 

But that little parlor trick isn’t what cost good ol Boots his lifestyle. It was what happened afterwards. Not the first time, nor the second for that matter. Third times the charm. It don’t help that she wasn’t eighteen. Sexy at seventeen. Child laws work differently state by state. You can’t blame the fall on the girl. Age had nothing to do with it. Probably would’ve still been nailed if she was twenty-seven. 

Well there he was in the backseat of a Chrysler, with his fresh catch of jail bait. A boot in one hand, bottle in the other. Seventeen teen queen playing merry go round. More than ten sheets to the wind by the time they’d wrapped things up neither realized anything had happened… until afterwards. Now this little gal either got ambitious or she wasn’t paying attention. Either way it was completely out of his hands. Boots couldn’t put heads or tails together about the situation. The police certainly didn’t know what to make of it when they cleared off the scene on account of all the blood. Figured he was a pedophile trying to beat the hell out of the poor thing before accosting her with his footwear. 

Now don’t get ahead of yourself. That little girl didn’t die or anything. About ten stitches later she’ll be ready for the rodeo. 

But after that, well things didn’t look too good for Boots. From the amount of blood spread across that backseat and his level of BAC, the long arm of the law was definitely against him. Pleading with the court was a waste. The two prior 12-step programs didn’t cure his alcoholism and sure as hell didn’t do a damn bit for his case. Wound up here for a five year stint along with a consecutive run of community service after the trial. The whole mess put a hinder on his professional career. While this court mandated run certainly helps get his career back on track it won’t help this tiger change his stripes. 24-steps didn’t sober Boots up and sitting around reliving the good ol days with a bunch of drunks can’t be good for business either. 

That’s the difference here. No expects you to be sober. The only catch about intoxication and the program is… Don’t get caught. Getting caught means you forfeit a session or two and it still comes out of your pocket. Small price to pay for not choosing AA and highly exploitable. In fact I’ve spent more than one occasion helping Boots avoid his old sponsor while on a binge. And hot shots are always a fun way to kick off the poker nights. 

Boots started the poker nights a year after I joined the group. He calls it Outside Therapy. It was his answer to the indoor mindfuck that the weekly sessions provide. What people don’t understand about the sobriety is the need to relate to another drunk. It’s pretty damn frustrating to listen to a sober person who hasn’t been through it. Damn hard for the saints to look down on the sinners. Shit happens. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Boots certainly wasn’t a bad guy. Truthfully, none of us were bad for it. 

Boots is sitting there telling the last few lines of his weekend story. Drunk driving a speed boat in the Delta for kicks. Topless women and some of the old band joy riding while he tried to keep the boat afloat. As the story closes the boat flipped three times after hitting a houseboat and a few bones and spirits are broken. Good ol Boots. Definitely still a rocker to the end. 

From the expression on the ringleaders face, he’s not amused. Yet Q doesn’t press the issue. No questions. The new guy’s always come in with expectations. How they’re here to help us alcoholics find sobriety. Find peace. Find strength. Granted not all of us are alcoholics. But I haven’t gotten to that yet. Surprises are always the best part of being here. 

People always have a story. Most of the time it’s completely different than you might think. One of my favorite sayings is never judge a book by its cover. People shouldn’t be so quick to assume things. Cause you don’t know a person until they tell you a little about themselves. Keep a clear head when you meet someone for the first time. 

Not everything is what you think. Sometimes the most obvious story isn’t really what’s going on at all. Hidden meanings and innuendos aren’t always what they seem or about anything. The same can be said about the people sitting here. 

Maja is next. She’s been quiet tonight. While most of us are laughing at the others antics and giving a two cents worth to the stories, she’s been watching. Q pushes back his glasses and gives a nod in her direction. 


Maja has been struggling with recovery for five years. Drug abuse. She wasn’t just an alcoholic. Not in the sense that Ginny or Boots were. Drug addiction is another way to find yourself in this program. Maja has lived a difficult life for someone so young. A childhood spent bouncing around in foster care while her father was incarcerated. Thrown out of the house by her heroin addicted father she started turning tricks to survive when she was fifteen. 

At the ripe age of twenty-two she’s a veteran of the court system. In and out of juvie on more than one occasion. Multiple arrests included petty theft, possession, and prostitution before she was seventeen. Drinking sort of became a defense mechanism. A way to handle the urge to stick that needle in; a diversion from the John that wants more than he paid for a trick; a hope to get through the lonely nights sleeping on the streets. Alcohol merely provided a distraction, but the poison of the needle was her ally. She would have traded you a thousand bottles for just a stick in the arm. Heroin, the devil incarnate was worth every trick. Only thing worth surviving for every day was the rush. Money couldn’t buy anything valuable, but it could get you a sense of oblivion. 

Sitting in a void is exactly where they found Maja. Five minutes later would have been too late. Calming her soul with the sweet elixir of death. Coming to, in a pile of bodily filth is exactly where they discovered her body. The alley on 1st avenue between Jackson and Montpelier behind a delicatessen was almost her grave. The owner came out to toss the day old goods and caught a whiff of the deathly stench. He called the cops to remove the corpse on his back door step only to find out she wasn’t dead yet. 

For nearly a month she laid in a coma at St. Peters. Maja had never valued her life worth much before it happened. Something about nearly dying at the young age of 17 didn’t sit well on her mind. A couple of volunteers at the hospital encouraged her to join an outreach program for users. The group helped minors with a history of drug abuse. A halfway house provided shelter and counseling permitted you stayed clean. Like most junkies, she relapsed. Damn badly at that. Hell of a bender. 

Retuning to a life wandering the streets looking for another fix. Selling a couple tricks here and there for cash. Somewhere along the way, she’s cruising for death, not giving a fuck what comes or goes. In the span of a few weeks she’d managed to take anything that came her way. Eventually the downward spiral came to an end by shaking hands with the front end of a Cadillac. The aftermath was almost like slamming head first into a brick wall at 60 mph. She looked more like a ball of crumpled paper afterwards. 

The damage left her permanently scarred. Not what you’d call a pretty girl, but you could tell Maja was once attractive before the accident. The parole violation landed her behind bars for sixty days and a conviction. The court granted a conditional parole in exchange for mandatory drug and alcohol abuse counseling while returning to live in the halfway home. Four years later, she continues to struggle with sobriety and never misses a meeting. It’s hard to say what keeps her trying.  She never loses hope and continues to help others by counseling teens for the same non-profit group that gave her a second chance. 

Second chances are like flunking the fifth grade. You’ll learn something you missed the first time around. Everyone here is getting yet another chance. A second, third or perhaps fourth time on the wheel. Speaking of wheels, it’s time for another click over and the hand’s pointing in my direction. 

Crash! Over falls the coffee maker in the rear of the room. 

Mr. St. Allen, is surrounded by a sea of hot and black all over the floor. Before he can stoop down to clean it, Devanders lowers his eye glasses and motions him back to the group. 

The counselor’s seat rests like a 7th wheel crammed into the edge of the circle between Ginny and St. Allen. The helm shifts course again as the noise maker finds his seat. Eyes are all diverted and now the attention is placed to the opposite side of the group. 

Please share a few words… 

Mr. St. Allen

Mr. St. Allen. He’s a peculiar type of person. A saint among villains.  Mr. St. Allen isn’t a saint by any means. He’s the guy you never see coming. Come and gone before you missed your cue. 

There’s always a villain in every story, Mr. St. Allen just happens to be that kind of guy. You wouldn’t know it from looking at him. Think of the devious fellow in the old silent films, the one that’s dressed impeccably and tying the girl to the railroad tracks. 

Got it? 

That’s Mr. St. Allen. I’m almost waiting for him to show up one day strapped with a bomb made out of an old-fashioned alarm clock. 

He’s the type of character that will help out another human being, as long as it suits his needs in the end. Feed the parking meter just so he can steal your car after shoplifting in the store; help an old lady across the street just to steal her handbag; volunteering at the local hospitals to steal pharmaceuticals that in turn can be dealt out for profit. 

To everyone else these empty crimes seem harmless enough. Shows up every week, most of the time telling the same story; Weekly trips to the market, helping the handicapped to cross the street, and drinking gin every Sunday night because he misses his dead wife. In fact the wife’s a lie. Holding up the liquor store and beating the crippled seem more his speed. But you’ll never see it up close, unless you pay attention. 

One night after session, I caught him laying into a man with a cane. In the dark foggy atmosphere of the street it seemed more sinister than it was. Quietly I crept after him, passing the downed man in the shadows, until catching up at the bus stop. There he was calm, collected, whistling as he waited for the next line. Tipping his head slightly in my direction then went back to his song. 

The room sits through the St. Allen smokescreen with controlled calm. Everyone knows the villain has a darker story behind the facade but refuses to press further. Occasionally he reveals just a little more. Those are the weeks when it gets a bit interesting. Sometimes he’s stolen the cash prize from a raffle as the crowd cheers him on, or he’s walked out of a bakery with a dozen fresh from the oven without asking or paying. 

Needless to say the fellow is exceedingly despicable in a charming way. Despite knowing his day-to-day antics, Mr. St. Allen remains quite mysterious. He’s been here for almost three years and managed to dance around the issue of his past. 

We’ve all speculated about his back story on more than one occasion. 

Ginny thinks he’s an impolite brute that’s escaped from a country filled with backwards politics and bad manners. 

Boots has a different theory altogether. According to him it seems Mr. St. Allen used to be a car salesman. A terrible one at that. Sold a lemon to the wrong sort of fellow and had to run. No name. No papers. No existence. It wouldn’t matter who you were or the awful things you did if they couldn’t be traced. 

Sonny thinks he’s super awesome and that Boots is a king among gods. What do young people know anyway? 

Maja calls him a professional liar and thinks he lives a delusional existence. 

But I know better than that. 

On the whole it not one of it may be true, but the reality of the situation is far from a lie. Mr. St. Allen quite a terrifying puzzle all wrapped up in a nice exterior. Often times I believe he has the gift of hypnosis. Mesmerizing words and charming smiles. Keep your eye on the ball or pay the consequences. 

Mr. St. Allen is wrapping up his spiel about killing the pigeons in the park and tying the bodies to helium balloons over the weekend. As he’s embellishing the finer points of the story I can’t help but notice that there’s an 8mm at rest on his lap. Both hands are delicately caressing the gun while all the eyes in the group are watching his mouth move. So deep in my own thoughts I hadn’t realized he’d pulled out a gun. 

See what I mean? Watch the ball. 

Carefully he proceeds. Slowly raises his left leg and lifts up the hem to reveal a gun holster strapped to his calf. In goes the gun beneath the pants. Quietly his voice falls back into nothing. The group reawakens without witnessing a madman brandishing a gun. Cheering at the end of the unusual story is the small man of the group. 

Like me, Sonny can see through the smoke and mirrors. Maybe it’s cause he’s young or not so easily fooled. I can only imagine that Mr. St. Allen has reached a level of godlike awesomeness in Sonny’s book for the 8mm demonstration today. 

Believe it or not it wouldn’t be the first occasion where St. Allen showed up with a weapon. Some occasions he brings the knives in. Under the guise of talking about cooking out comes the sharp dagger-like object. Perhaps right after the eyes glaze over and then the pretext of food preparation begins…?  It’s a wonder sometimes no one has been injured. Harmless enough I suppose. 

I give a nod and wink in Sonny’s direction. He’s getting a bit rowdy in his seat and caught the attention of the group. Too much excitement has Sonny doing a one-handed handstand and singing “We Will Rock You” ala Queen substituting knee slaps for claps. Spotlight and attention grabbing antics aside it’s time to talk about the little champ of the group.


The little man, Sonny Sinclair, is about twelve years old and been here less than six months. People don’t think very much about the youth in America. Well I’m the first to tell you otherwise. Sonny is without a doubt the oldest twelve year old I’ve ever met. 

Sonny’s been taking care of himself since he was five years old. Responsibly he handled a multitude of daily tasks. He saw himself off to and back from school everyday. Prepared his own dinner via the microwave oven as soon as he could read the dial. And more often than not paying the overdue bills his mother couldn’t remember. There’s something inspiring about a six year old writing a check when most thirty year olds don’t know how to sign one. 

Sonny was the child of a single mother who worked three jobs to keep a roof over their heads. An ambitious and savvy mind wrapped up in a small body. It’s no wonder things went the way they did. By the age of eight, Sonny was delivering newspapers and making his own money. Extra money didn’t hurt, especially when mom didn’t remember about groceries. It doesn’t take a genius to realize what happens when you forget to watch your kids. Even the best child can go wrong. 

On top of the world that Atlas carries there was the possibility of one more thing to bring it down. Even the lightest feather can topple the weight of the world. At age ten, Sonny’s flunking the sixth grade. Too many questions. No one to talk with at home. Not knowing to ask for help, he carries the burden alone. Alone, he was always looking for answers. 

Most kids imitate what they see around them. In instances of dire emotional need his mom always took out a bottle of Kentucky bourbon, especially when she wanted answers. He would watch as a wave of relief would wash over her. Calmness and the tears would slip away and she’d love him so much more. Sure enough the first time it tasted so bad, he threw up. Persistent in his need it didn’t stop him. 

Everyday afterschool, the little overachiever pursued the answers at the bottom of the bottle. Unlike most adults, Sonny never stopped his regular routine. He continued to attend school, which improved despite the drinking, delivering newspapers and making the regular bill payments. If it wasn’t for the slip up with the newspapers no one would have known. For one week he delivered evening editions to the morning customers without noticing the mix-up. 

Several complaints led to a visit from the managing editor one evening when Sonny was alone. Alone, he was sitting sound asleep with his glass of comfort when the unlocked door swung wide to reveal the careful little secret. Needless to say he was fired, after the editor reported the incident. But it wasn’t a bad thing. 

Sonny’s mom brought him to the group after Alateen didn’t exactly fit. It’s no wonder he’s a mixture of maturity within youth. Now she only works two jobs in order to spend evenings at home, while trying to help her son work through this setback. There’s always hope in youth, certainly with Sonny. 

Brightest future ahead for a most remarkable young man. And he’s a remarkable young man indeed. 

Sonny’s spent a half hour reciting the last week of algebra class homework to the group while balancing on his head. Apparently there’s a new girl in class that he likes. By like, I mean, he threw a ball of paper at her while saying something about her face being lame. 

Devanders clears his throat as Sonny pauses briefly. The master of the house is quite tired and the session is winding down. Sonny is being motioned to get down. Sadly the clown makes his way right side up. After he complies, I shoot him another wink and smile. Ginny claps for him once more. Boots fires at him with an imaginary pistol. Maja rolls her eyes while Mr. St. Allen sits too quietly. 

The pencil on the clipboard beats in my direction. Stella Andrews

Why yes. That’s me.


The one whose mama said ‘Don’t’ to every little thing. And I listened. For so many years I heeded every word and obeyed every warning like it was law. But where’s the fun in that? 

I wasn’t looking for a good time when it found me. Like love and trouble, it seemed to come when I wasn’t looking. Somehow the party came and never stopped. I spent a couple of years having a blast. The parties, the clubs, and the people. 

Who’s who among the crowds. 
Nights out with the girls. 
Drinking champagne like it was water. 
Dancing until dawn.  
Owning the night like there’s nothing else. 

The nights never started early enough and the days were always too long. Of course there was work, but then there were the parties. And they happened to be wonderful.

 I was never an alcoholic, and can’t say that I am now. Don’t worry it isn’t denial. Counseling teaches you the difference. 

Fond of a glass here and there, I never enjoyed being tanked. Well not as much since those days. Those days have come and gone. The party does in fact stop. And it comes to screeching to a DEAD halt. Watch out. 

Part of me thinks it was for the best.

However, surviving the demise of my old life was harder than getting through the initial steps of recovery. 

Ever been arrested? Make sure you were having fun first. When the police pulled me out of the car I wasn’t injured. Still drunk and pissed off. The front end of my car was wrapped around a service pole after I flipped it five times down a hill. Coming home from the party of the century and overcorrected. 

Worst part of it for me? At the time was the destruction of my shoes and dress. Asshole made me walk the line in three inches of mud, in turn ruining in my favorite pair of Manolo’s. Falling twice in the mud soiled the dress. I never did salvage the shoes or the dress. The process of the situation was less than comfortable. Besides, getting frisked in skin tight anything is a pass for any girl. 

Where was I going to stick a weapon? You better believe I put up a protest. Soon enough I was cuffed and put in the back of the car where I used my cell to call everyone I knew to get me out of jail. They couldn’t find a weapon, but the dumb ass cops didn’t know where to look for the phone. Once I was booked there was no more phone, no more calls. A night in the drunk tank. 

Sobriety is a funny thing. Clearly you can see the people on your side. No one came to get me that night. Not that it matters, in the morning you’re free to go. Two very humiliating phone calls later I got a cab ride home and few days off to clear up my affairs. 

Several court costs, lawyers fees, and miscellaneous expenses later, I’m broke. Apparently taking out a service pole will cost a pretty penny. 

Several months later, I’m a social pariah. No boyfriend, he ran on sight of the accident. In fact he kept on driving that night after I went around the bend. And the social invites have dwindled. 

No more anything. 

My world winded down. 

On account of my parole agreement I’m stuck in these court ordered sessions for three years, which isn’t the worst thing in life. Sometimes this can be amusing. My life spent in recovery isn’t nearly as painful as the others. When it happened I wasn’t remorseful. Afterwards, I couldn’t begin to beg for my life back. 

Truthfully I wasn’t an alcoholic then, but my life was out of control. If it didn’t happen then, it would have happened later. Maybe I wouldn’t have lived to see another day. And now I like to think I’m a better person for it. Things are always more complicated than we would have planned. 

Week to week, every day is a complicated turn in life. Courteously I’ve spared the group any wild antics as I don’t really think the new guy could handle anymore and I don’t have any to share this week. The world will live without another drunk’s wild night. 

Two and half hours later, watching the room seems like a lesson in calm. Everyone has finally settled down. It’s a miracle since there are nights when being here makes you want to hit the bottle. Especially when Ginny’s absent cause of a relapse, Maja is having a hard time coping, or Sonny’s mom can’t be home on time. When the nights are filled with the tales of despair it’s hard not to find doubt within. But I suppose any drunk will just make an excuse to take a drink. 

Session is over. There are no more guilty faces. We’ve purged our sins and made confession for the evil that men do. Well all of us except Mr. St. Allen. There’s no hope for that one. 

The room comes to life with sound as the doors are unlocking. Freedom. Everyone wants out. 

Sonny is standing on the back of his chair before jumping on his skateboard. Boots announces a party this weekend at Olly’s Bar on his way out. Ginny and Maja are exchanging hugs as they stand in the doorway. And I’m making sure St. Allen leaves before me. 

Almost as quickly as we shuffled in, the group disbands and leaves the room. Any closer to redemption? Probably not. Only if you believe those two days a week can cleanse the soul. 

Deliverance doesn’t come just because its court ordered. Unlike AA this isn’t free and there’s no follow up. No one’s going to call you and make sure you’re staying on the line. You’re the only one you answer to in the morning. 

Will I stay sober? Ask me again next week. 

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