Tuesday, February 8, 2011

tuesday afternoon reading

"I’ve been in jail more than once
on account of my drinking, but my
favorite time was a weekend I did in
Olathe, Kansas, as part of a DUI deferment.
The second day of the
jailed retreat, the counselor asked us:
“How many people here believe you
got here because you are an alcoholic?”
Of the twenty-five or so of us, I
was the only one who raised his
hand. I was honestly astonished. The
other members of the group looked
at me with surprise, dismay, or pity.
It turned out, as we told our stories,
that for most of the people there “it
was my first time driving drunk. I
just had bad luck.” I think they were
worried that we were being videotaped
and that somehow an admission
of guilt might be used against us
later, in court. But one of the younger
women approached me after the
session and said, “So you really think
you’re an alcoholic? I’m so sorry,
Clancy. That really sucks.”

"I don’t mean to suggest that these
people were all deceiving themselves,
only that I believe—though I may be
self-deceived; it’s so hard to know
these things—that I have become a
much more honest person since I
quit drinking, and that the cleanliness
of honesty is a big reason I don’t
go back to drinking when it seems
tempting. “But then I’d have to tell
my wife I had a glass of wine, and
then . . .” No. It’s easier to skip the
Burgundy and have an
iced tea."

--from "the drunk's club: a.a., the cult that cures" by clancy martin in the january 2011 edition of harper's magazine

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