So Is Every Year –                         

March 13, 2020 – Despite the headline on this piece (a reference to the meme from the 1980 disaster-comedy Airplane!), it has been two and a half years since I got sober. The first time I sat down in an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, a chunk of text from the AA Big Book called “the promises” was being read aloud. “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,” it began, “we will be amazed before we are halfway through.” I closed my eyes and, behind my lids, rolled them privately. “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” Yeah yeah, I thought.

The promises — grand, impossible-sounding — continued, until one line brought me up short: “We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.”

This promise was a perfect encapsulation of just what I was seeking. Freedom and happiness were too distant to even imagine at that time, but intuitively knowing how to handle my life? That was the shit I was desperate for.


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