She called just before midnight to tell me she wasn’t drinking. She said, “This is Maryanne”, but I couldn’t match the name with a face.

When I asked her how she was she said, “fine”, and told me she wasn’t drinking. She wanted to tell me why she hadn’t been back to meetings at the group.

Turning on the bedside light, I told her we had missed her. I asked if she was going to other meetings. She said she wasn’t drinking but it pissed her off that someone had said she was.

I commiserated and suggested she tell me about it. She told me she wasn’t drinking. There was a pause, long enough for a drag on a cigarette or a toke.

Please understand, she wasn’t drinking. But she hated the shitty way someone got the wrong idea and said they saw her drunk. All she did was see somebody from the Program in Walmart and she introduced them to her husband. “And that’s why I’m never going back to that fuckin’ meeting.”

Another pause, this time I could hear her swallowing. I knew where she was at. She sounded like me, back in the days when “Drink and Dial” was my alternative to late night television.

"An' you know wha'? I'm not drinking. I swear to you. I'm not. But I'm not goin' back to tha' fuckin' meeting."

I asked her when this had happened. "Four, five months ago."

And had she been to any other meetings? Another pause. "Look, I'm sorry I'm using bad language. But it makes me so FUCKIN' MAD that she said I was drinking." Again, a pause. "You gotta fuckin' believe me, I'M NOT FUCKING DRINKING."


We say that Alcoholics Anonymous will not guarantee your sobriety, but it sure will spoil your drinking. We suggest they call before they pick up that first drink; sometimes they do. We tell each other not to be discouraged when a newcomer goes out : You never know when the seeds you sow will start to grow. And, if nothing else, working with others will keep it green.

Yeah. "There but for the grace of God go I."