May 8, 2024 – These are some of the questions explored in Michael Deagler’s debut novel, Early Sobrieties, and questions that I, who also got sober in Philly, like Deagler’s narrator, and Deagler himself, acutely remember wondering.

I think he definitely struggles. There’s a certain amount of self-loathing, either as an underlying cause of addiction or as a result of it, since you keep doing things you wish you weren’t doing, and that doesn’t really go away immediately. It’s sort of cliché, but so much of the recovery process is learning to forgive yourself. For a lot of the book, Monk hasn’t forgiven himself yet, so he has this very bifurcated relationship with everyone where on one level, he’s extremely grateful to have anybody still in his life, but at the same time, he’s easily annoyed by people because he doesn’t quite jive with them for various reasons.