Tag Archives: AA

Day 11

Unc, man, you gotta give me some space.  I know

you promised to cart me around for all this,

but I’m a grown-up.  A real boy.  I got this.


When are you gonna start trusting me?

I said I was on board for the 90 days,

and have I let up?  That’s right.


You’re seriously gonna follow me

for the two-mile drive?  I don’t need you

to go anymore.  Show a little fucking faith.

Day 6

Hi, yeah, alcoholic, whatever.  So I had

an awesome experience yesterday…and

by “awesome” I mean I had a heart attack

on the shitter.  I was taking a piss when

my chest got all tight, like my ribs

had turned into a trash compactor

and my lungs were due to be cubed

into airless hunks of waste.  So I fell

on my knees, fly down and schlong out,

and I hunched over the toilet until

that wave of WHAT THE FUCK passed.

Sure, I’ve had my head in the toilet before,

but not when it was half-full of my own

fucking piss.


When I called 911, the EMTs

checked my blood pressure, my pulse, my pupils.

They asked if I was on anything.  When told them

“No, that’s the problem, fucking cold turkey,” I swear,

the fat one rolled his eyes.  The two of them traded

the same look I give my baristas when there’s

a diva in the shop.  They asked about pain in my arm,

if this had happened to me before, and when I said no

to both, they packed up, said it was a panic attack.  Said

to take it easy, then dashed off in their minivan ambulance.

Panic attack my ass.  Like taking a leak

is so stressful.

        Man, don’t get started

with that DT bullshit.  This was cardiac arrest.

End of story.  My dad died of a heart attack

at 39.  It’s in my genes.  If those guys stayed

for more than five minutes, I could’ve told them

there’s a family history of this shit.  I’m just saying,

if my heart taps out and I drop dead sober,

I’m gonna be fucking furious.  Yes,

even when I’m dead.  Yes, I’d rather

die drunk.  What kinda question is that?

Day 5

The only thing worse than serving coffee to the

“double nonfat sugar-free vanilla latte” crowd

is managing a bunch of loosely trained

stoners posing as baristas.  Customers

are a predictable pain in the ass,

but these kids, these potheads who

come back from their breaks reeking

of burnout, they’re killing me.  I have

inventory to order, new screw-ups

to hire, a budget to balance.  I don’t need

these high-flying jerk-offs calling in “sick”

and fucking up orders at rush hour.  At least

I’m in charge of Halloween morning instead of

Halloween night.  Small miracles, I guess.


I always leave work borderline homicidal,

but that passes after I get home and

pop open a can of whatever is strong

and cheap.  By the eighth can,

I feel great about people.

                                             Now, I just

stay pissed off until I get a headache

from clenching my jaw and thinking about

all the stupid people I want to scream at

but can’t.  The last thing I need is to sit

in a moldy community center basement

without a drink, listening to everyone else

and their costume party problems.

Day 4

No one told me about the nightmares.  No one told me

about the sweats and the shakes and the shits

and the fucking nightmares.

Last night I binged

with my brother and had to explain to my mom why

he was passed out on the kitchen floor, apologize

for hooking him on this ride.  She screamed at me,

cried.  I think she slapped me, and my brother

tried to hold her back but couldn’t even stand.

I couldn’t tell her when or why we started drinking,

and that’s when I woke up.

                                 Bed sheets plastered with

that god-awful sweat, heart pounding in my throat,

I realized it was a dream.  It’s not fair, feeling

like shit all day, just to fall asleep and think

I’m awake, putting everyone through

an emotional garbage disposal.  Makes me wonder,

why bother keeping up the act?  I don’t give a shit

what the dream means.  I don’t want a sponsor.

I know how to stop the nightmares, but

this goddamn program won’t let me.

Day 3

I called my uncle, said, I can’t today.  I’m sick,
I’m in no shape to leave my bed, much less
sit in a circle of shitty metal chairs
filled with people whining for just an ounce
of pity.  He said okay, he’d give me a ride
to the detox in twenty, reminded me
the deal was 90 days of this bullshit
or rehab.

I met him outside.

Sweating and shivering and
dry heaving, I met him.  He asked
if I got it now, if I understood
what they were talking about.
I told him to fuck off and drive.

It’s the worst flu I’ve ever had, aching
in every pore, freezing in a fevered sweat,
seasick on the sidewalk.  No Nyquil
could give me the relief that one
harmless shot would grant.  Instead,
I’m worse than sober.  I’m listening
to a twelve-step program that people keep
slipping down, or climbing up to find
they have no higher power, only
a higher number on a new chip
that they can’t cash at a casino.
Someone says, One day at a time.
Don’t dwell on the past or worry
about tomorrow.  There’s only
today.  Well, today I feel like shit.
What else is there?

Day 2

This is ridiculous.  Idiotic.
Why do I have to prove anything
to them?  “Them” who?
The intervention crew, these AA
attendees, whoever else thinks
I have a problem.  Fuck ‘em.
Yeah, I’m sober,
and it’s not any better.  My skin
doesn’t quite crawl, but it’s like
my blood has turned to icy maggots
that squirm through my veins,
make it impossible for me to sit still,
to hold my coffee without spilling
and staining this shirt that Mom got me
for Christmas.  No, I don’t want to talk
about my mom.  I just mean
I can’t run out and buy another
exactly like this.  I’d feel bad
if she knew I’d stained this shirt.
Okay, enough.  Hi,
you still don’t know my name,
I’m still sober,
and I can’t wait for that drink
in 88 long days.

Day 1

Too much,

they said.

You’ve changed,

they said.


they said.


They cried and threatened and

I didn’t care.  I wouldn’t go.

They compromised.  90 meetings—

90 sober meetings

in 90 days.

And then what?

And then

whatever you decide.

So all bets are off

on Day 91?

They sighed,

If that’s what you want.


I can do that.





Hi, my name is

none of your business,

and I haven’t had a drink in

about 3 hours and 45 minutes.

I’m here because

my family wants an excuse

to ship me off.  A reason why

I’m not like them.  I know

they hope it’s not their fault.

My uncle’s here

escorting me from meeting

to meeting.  They don’t trust me,

and I don’t blame them,

but I don’t need

a goddamn babysitter.  I have

three more minutes?  That’s okay.

give my time to someone else

who wants it.