An Alcoholic’s View Of Hell

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The interior of the corridor felt familiar. I knew my way around the darkness. I held my breadth listening for any signs of the music that I had heard before but the silence was as complete as the lack of light.

The threads and risers of an ascending stair were on the right side of the space. I walked past it, letting my fingers caress the walls until my hands came upon a door handle. This was the door to the basement. I remembered it locked from a previous visit. I pushed lightly and the hinges groaned as the door opened. Another set of steps started right underneath the door, these going down to the basement level. The steps were illuminated by the reddish glow of a lighting fixture from below, similar to the type used in dark rooms.

I unscrewed the bottle of rum and took a drink. I held on to the door handle as I took a first step down. The wooden thread creaked and I waited until I could verify that no one was aware of my presence. The silence reassured me. I walked down, holding on to the railing with one hand and to the bottle of rum with the other. They both held me up as I went down. I lowered my head to avoid hitting the red plastic illuminated exit sign at the bottom of the stair. Pass the metal shelving and pass the meters, I sat on the floor. Near me, I could hear the flames heating the water inside the tank, their amber glow reflecting off the concrete floor. I stretched my legs and rested my back against the bluestone foundation wall. I closed my eyes, holding the bottle with both hands.

I felt a pressure against my buttock as if I was sitting on a pebble. I felt in the dark, dusting my bottom. I felt inside my back pocket and pulled out my daughter’s sailboat. I brought it close to my eyes to make sure. Bathed in the reddish glow of the exit sign I saw it, its silhouette reminding me of the sailboats returning home against the fiery sunsets of Punta de Carta and I was just a child that loved looking at sailboats in the sunset.

The mast was broken. I had cracked it when I sat on it. I could glue it in the morning, make it sea-worthy again. Bathtub-worthy. I held the bottle against the setting sun. It was half empty. I had enough. Then the bottle slipped out of my fingers and it smashed against the concrete floor, scattering the shattered glass between my legs. I felt the wetness of the rum soak through my pants.

I began banging my head against the stone wall, holding on to my daughter’s sailboat. Then came the sobbing and then the desire to lick the floor.

I could get most of it before it was sucked into the concrete slab. If only there weren’t so many pieces of broken glass…

An excerpt from a work in progress.

David Brooks on AA’s Bill Wilson

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From today’s NY Times:

On Dec. 14, 1934, a failed stockbroker named Bill Wilson was struggling with alcoholism at a New York City detox center. It was his fourth stay at the center and nothing had worked. This time, he tried a remedy called the belladonna cure — infusions of a hallucinogenic drug made from a poisonous plant — and he consulted a friend named Ebby Thacher, who told him to give up drinking and give his life over to the service of God.

Wilson was not a believer, but, later that night, at the end of his rope, he called out in his hospital room: “If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything. Anything!”

There’s more…

Eminem’s “Not Afraid”

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Not Afraid from Recovery

From “Recovery.” Here is the NPR interview from which I took the following quote:

When I first recorded the record and dumped it all out, it was a little difficult to listen back to. You know, it just reminds me of how I was feeling and why I would never want to go back to that place.