Here’s what an AA meeting is like.
First to get your question out of the way: yes there is pussy. Top shelf pussy. The pretty girl is there. The perfect girl. Distant and cold seeming in the way perfect girls are. But she’s not important. Because the girl one notch below her is there, too. That’s who catches your eye. She has to sit in a room once a week with that pretty girl. She is second best and she knows. Fucking happens when a girl is second best and she knows.
But there’s no way you’re getting anywhere near that girl. You’re all raw nerve and there’s a weasel gnawing at your heart. She can go fuck herself. Unless she has a superpower where she turns into a pint of Christian Brothers brandy, at the low cost per fucked up ratio of six ninety nine at Royale Junior Liquor Mart. Passed from behind three inches of Lucite by a smiling man from Calcutta like a fireman handing a mother a baby from a burning house. Fuck her. She won’t make you feel better. Only the sweet precious booze will make you feel better… sweet precious booze… get a hold of yourself man.
You go up to some building. Church, community college. It’s night time. One door is open and lit. Outside, nervous bearded men smoke. One pulls another aside. Can I talk to you for a second. They go behind a dumpster. Murmur. So and so relapsed. They found him in his car inside a school with a family’s bloody scalps lodged in the hissing radiator grille. Just wanted to give you an update.
You go in. The same cafe au lait colored metal folding chairs, always. Ninety per cent of them taken up with a pack of camels, always. One of them is yours. You placed your pack in the chair where you can see the side of the prettiest girls face and the top inch of the the second prettiest girl’s ass crack.
A person speaks. The secretary. The secretary introduces the leader. Two white vinyl sheets on the wall. Twelve steps, twelve traditions. People read from them. Then a chapter from the writings of Bill W., founder of AA. Bill W. filibusters about God. He’s a godawful writer and complete cretin. Simple words but the sentences are still obfuscatory. The group really is a miracle, in that his rape of the English language doesn’t inspire his readers to guzzle 55 gallon drums of ethanol. Some mush mouth reads. You think: Jesus Christ. What the fuck am I doing here. This is a cult. These people are idiots.
Someone speaks. Tells a story of how bad they were drunk. Now they’re not that way anymore. Three act structure. The way it was, what happened, the way it is now. The way it is now is: I found God and AA is great. The Big Book is the best and everyone come to AA, stay in AA, etc. Sales pitch. My dad beat me so I drank a fifth every day. One day I beat my wife. Then I went to AA and it’s a new life and God God God. Applause. A cult, you think. They’re brainwashed.
The secretary asks: does anyone want to share. The room is quiet for a second. Then people raise their hands. Nancy, alcoholic. Hi Nancy. Bob, your story really hit home with me. When you beat your wife it reminded me of this morning. The copier was broken. My boss snapped at me. I snapped at him. It reminded me: I really need to work on my emotional sobriety. Get back to the Big Book. Work the steps. Thanks Nancy. Steve Alcoholic had a hard week. So has Barbara Alcoholic and so on. But they are gonna study the Big Book and work the steps. They stagger through stupid bland stories and you are trying not to laugh. Thanks Steve. Thanks Barbara. Trying not to fart. You think: God, what the fuck am I doing here. I should leave and go to the liquor store.
Then one old guy with a white beard and fake leopard coat pipes up. ”Patrick, Alcoholic. Jesus fucking Christ. All I’m hearing tonight is everyone bitching about other people. Never yourselves. And God, God, God. Work the steps. You sound like you were fucking brainwashed into a cult and you’re giving a sales pitch. Why don’t you chickenshits just admit you want a drink. You want a drink and you can’t have it and you’re one raw nerve and a weasel gnaws your heart and it’s fucking fucked up and terrible,” he says.
No second act. That’s it.
Thanks Patrick. Everyone applauds. You the most.
AA sucks except there’s always the one guy. That’s why you go back. I’ve been to a bunch of them now. And it all sucks except fifteen seconds out of the hour is perfect. Plus the ass crack.
And it does help you not drink. I don’t even know why I’m not drinking anymore. Five days in and looking back, drinking doesn’t seem so bad. Sure I’d spend money. Almost get my ass beat. Scream at cops. Sexually assault women. Wake up three days a week at noon in my shoes. But is that worse than this? Three mornings a week used to suck. Now every second is a thousand lifetimes.
But it works. I don’t know why I don’t drink. But I don’t drink.
You say a prayer, all holding hands. You hold the pretty girl’s shaky left hand and it’s weirdly delicate. Like holding a baby sparrow. They make church announcements and then you leave. Hang out on the sidewalk after. Nice people smoke and tell me it gets better. They seem happy. Yeah, but what about the God shit, I want to ask. And who gets to fuck the girls. I keep it to myself. They’re brainwashed but I believe them. I’ll give it a month. See what happens. Serenity, you cocksuckers.