Kissing someone you don’t love is so much more delicious than kissing someone you do.

Drinking for the first time in a thousand days is like sipping gold.

I would have been okay if I hadn’t picked up the phone, squatting there in its insulting puddle of sunlight.

You have a list of things that are precious to you and make life worth living; you have another list of all the things you draw the line at doing.

Lying is a reflex, then a burden, and finally just a habit.

Scott sat next to me with his plastic coffee cup at that night’s meeting, and we went for more coffee together after, displaying to each other the rawness of our hearts in the way the group had taught us to believe was okay with strangers.

Once the switch switches, your lists dissolve into nothing.

I could see Jamie deciding to believe me when the lies crept over my tongue and stained the air between us.

We spoke of our lists, our years of sobriety, as if they were solid things.

The phone was ringing, but before I answered I held my hand over it, as if by blessing the device over which Mum-news came I could somehow make her well again.

Noting the crooked canine in Scott’s smile at that meeting was the moment the switch switched.

On Monday I would go back to Jamie and my family and my meetings and the real world.

Dad’s voice told me everything even as he said “Ali, love?”.

I had been clean for three years, two months and six days.

What I’ve learnt is that the door into my darkest cellar will always be unlocked and easy to spring open.

Staying true to yourself is the heaviest burden of all.

They were a beautiful, savage forty-eight hours.

Really, we’d chosen each other because we were both a hair’s breadth away from that next drink, that next hit, standing on the edge of the pitch pit of smashing teeth hoping to fall.

Jamie held his face together with a few crucial strands of hope.

The one and only thing I have to not do is the one and only thing I will fall headlong into doing.

For all its poison and violence, that weekend was a way of trying to get pure again; to feel I was at the beginning of something, instead of being always close, so horribly close, to so many endings.


Photo by rochelle hartman from somewhere in the midwest (Old Fashioned) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.