Volume 3 Number 2


Spring 2005


Daniel James Wood

The guy with the shaggy hair and tattered clothes looks terrible. Unclean, unshaven. He's been to hell and back, we can tell. We've all been where he is now. He's only just emerging from the darkness.

He rises to his feet on skinny legs, buckling knees, and says: "Good evening."

We get together weekly to cheer each other on. We're all there to give support. We're all here to receive it. Lost souls finding more lost souls, rediscovering our souls together. All with the bitter taste of booze forever on our tongues; all of us with only one name, no surnames, preserving anonymity -- if that's what we choose.

The skinny guy swallows hard. This is his first time. With a tear in his eye, his voice shatters when he opens his mouth to speak, and he rattles off the list of ways the drink has ruined his life: countless nights in the arms of hookers, delusions and hallucinations and outbursts of speaking in tongues, a feeling of exhaustion like he's been dead for days.

I catch a glimpse of the guy's hands in the half-darkness.

A stream of blood trickles down his wrist, flowing from punctured veins. He's a cutter.

He lowers his head and speaks to the ground. "I realized I had a problem," he says, "when I drank a glass of water, and before I even realized it -- I imagined the water was wine." Now he raises his eyes and somberly announces to the group:

"My name is Jesus Christ. And I'm an alcoholic."