(1) You’ve been drinking too much.

(2) And you’ve decided to do something about it. That’s great. Now let’s address how:

(3) You attempt to quit cold turkey. This works for a few days, so long as the people close to you are supportive and present, but when they’re not around you find yourself tempted, just a little bit at first, but it gets worse each day. Your friends don’t enjoy taking you out to parties and bars; they don’t say anything to your face, but you can see it in their eyes, the mixture of pity and annoyance, tempered only a little by their guilt as they sip from a martini while you enjoy your grenadine-and-soda, Shirley Temple, a name as suited to you as the drink. Eventually they stop asking you out. You spend too many nights alone at home. You relapse.

(4) But this is okay because you know that coldturkey never works, so you have decided to take a more tempered approach. This is the last drink you’ll have at home; from now on you will only drink in public, at restaurants and perhaps the occasional club, with friends, never alone. It takes a few tries but eventually you get the old gang back together for a night on the town, and you are good, spending a lot of time out on the dance floor even though you don’t feel motivated, staying away from the languishing puddle of boozehounds adhered to the bar, allowing yourself only two ‘lite’ beers over the course of several hours. This works fine for a while but eventually you realize that you look like a wannabe on the dance floor and begin retreating to the sanctuary of mediocre conversation with unattractive strangers and, when desperate, the bartender. This increases your rate of consumption, which in turn increases your desire for more alcohol. One night you stumble home alone, picking up a six-pack along the way. You wake the next morning in a puddle of your own vomit but shake it off. It happens again the following week. And again. Finally you realize that it is time to…

(5) Check into a rehab facility, where you are physically, chemically, and psychologically assaulted, by staff and cohort alike, until the very sight of a Collins glass causes you to involuntarily curl into a fetal ball and cry for Mommy. Fully recovered, dedicated to a long and happy lifetime filled with black coffee, vigorous exercise, and regular AA meetings, you return to the outside world, reveling in your glory as a complete human being, seeing the world with new eyes. The friends you meet in AA are supportive, codependent, boring. You seek your old friends, rediscover the pity and annoyance already depicted in (3), move directly on to (4), which naturally progresses to (5), rinse, lather, repeat, until

(6) Your liver fails and you pass on before a suitable replacement can be located; your climbing harness fails in a multi-day AA-sponsored climbing expedition in the Andes; your will to live fails, but your ability to purchase a handgun on short notice does not; your smoke detector fails and, with no family or lover to pull you from your bed, you expire from smoke inhalation; take your pick, it doesn’t really matter, you probably would have been better off remaining at (1).



Jon Peck makes his home in the various coffeeshops of the Pacific Northwest, listening in on others’ conversations.  Read his musings at and add to (or steal from) his speculative fiction idea-repository at

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