The Complicated Dance

            Ain’t no cup of coffee like an AA cup of coffee
            Anyone who’s had one will tell you so
            You can stop at a coffee shop
            Have a cup of joe at the convenience sto’
            But ain’t no cup of coffee like an AA cup of coffee                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         -Sober Robby

What good does it do to identify yourself as a recovering alcoholic? Why don’t you just say, “I don’t drink?”

Plenty of people–including loved ones–have quit drinking with the support that one can only get from 12-step meetings. But, Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t the only way to quit. To tell someone that a 12-step program is the only way to quit is dangerous. What if they go through the program and it doesn’t work?

When I returned to Virginia, I acquired a wine habit. You can’t get wine at the grocery store in Tennessee. There were days when, by noon, I was so drunk could hardly stand. Just before I quit drinking for good, I bought and drank a six-pack of beer every day for a month. Do I qualify as an alcoholic?

My addictions were alcohol and cigarettes. AA preaches that you shouldn’t try to quit smoking until you’ve been clean for a whole year. Bullshit. Who makes up this crap? I did it successfully in half that time. (I had one advantage with breaking the nicotine dependency, though. I lived alone.)

It’s impossible to claim that AA is not a religious organization. What higher power are you referring to? Non-Christians are belittled. The first word of their signature statement is Lord. Judges order people to go to these things!

In Narcotics Anonymous, you can’t even say the name of your “drug of choice.” You can’t solve a problem by denying it. Every drinker has had good times while drunk. There was a brewery in Nashville called Blackstone. I got plastered on a regular basis. It was fun to have goofy conversations and shamelessly flirt. Actually, I annoyed the hell out of the barflies on several occasions.

Anyway, I just got tired of paying over $200 a month just to have everything I owned smell bad. I quit smoking, but continued to drink. Eventually, the urge to smoke became unbearable. I was standing in my bedroom, trying to figure out what to do next. I couldn’t afford to smoke or drink, let alone both. So, I told myself that if I go to the convenience store and buy a pack of cigarettes, I would never have another sip of alcohol. And that’s what happened.

I was a bourbon man. There are late night commercials advertising expensive bourbon. When the brown liquid goes into the ice-filled glass, I can remember exactly how it tastes.


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