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The 12 Staggering Steps

12 Staggering StepsThe major difference between a drunk and an alcoholic, as the saying goes, is we drunks don’t go to meetings.

Oh, we may go to clubs, night spots, taverns, bars and dives, but those gatherings have more in common with pirates looting a Spanish galleon than an organized meeting.

And that is the great advantage reformed alcoholics have over us thoroughly unreformed alcoholics. They are much more organized. They have rule books and charters and coins celebrating how many days they’ve deprived themselves of the sweet nectar. Where are our coins celebrating thirty-day benders? When was the last time you stood up in a bar and declared: “My name is John Smith and I am a drunkard!”

Another advantage the quitters have is their 12 step programs. We drunks didn’t have any equivalent guide to achieve our aims — blissful oblivion and the nagging feeling that that the cop in the cruiser behind us knows what we’ve been up to. Until now.

The Twelve Staggering Steps

1. The realization that we need a drink. There are two reasons for this. Either life has become unmanageable because the job sucks; the boss is on our case; our spouse is a real nag, or something really good has just happened, like finding a forgotten five dollar bill wadded up in your pocket or, for the first time in a week, it is Tuesday.

2. The belief that there is a higher power that can serve us, the bartender.

3. Make the often difficult decision of whether to sit on a barstool or at a table. This should be determined by observing where the service seems faster.

4. Make a searching and fearless inventory of our pockets to determine if we will use cash or max out the credit cards to obtain a fluid that will remove all our cares, at least until we wake up the next day.

5. Admit to the server, be it bartender or waitress, ourselves, and the other drunks in the joint that we really need that drink.

6. Be entirely ready to down quickly whatever brand of booze the place has.

7. Ask for another round.

8. Keep in our heads a list of all the people who bought us drinks before, and try hard to avoid making eye contact with them if they are holding an empty glass.

9. Let them buy you another drink if they offer, and assure them that you will get the next round.

10. Continue to search your pockets for loose change and breathe mints to be sure you can afford one more drink and fool the cop who stops you.

11. Make loud threats, plead, whine or beg for just one more when last call is announced.

12. Throw up in the bathroom sink, urinate in the alley, and sleep it off elsewhere.

K. L. Jones