It almost sounds like the epilogue to Where the Wild Things Are, doesn’t it? Having left the Wild Things to return to his still-hot supper and a life in suburbia, Max adjusts to a world in which there are no Wild Rumpuses and his Wolf Suit is not considered suitable for daily wear.
But this is not the epilogue to a Sendakian fantasy. Rather, this is our engaging, challenging, honest-to-a-fault, to-some exasperating Max Lindenman, making a brave move:
My Higher Power must be pleased. I just returned from my first AA meeting in possession of a “24-hour chip” — an object that looks like an outsized arcade token, stamped with Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer. I’m told that if it melts in my mouth, then I can have a drink.I am fearful. As easy as I’ve sometimes found it to abstain, the gloomy fact remains that every single time something pushed me off the wagon. Usually, it was a snarl of problems that struck me as both unsolvable and undeserved. “As long as I’m screwed, I might as well be stewed,” does justice to the general drift of my thinking. Life having gotten no simpler or fairer since my last stretch as a teetotaler, I’ll have no choice but to keep my guard up as long as I live.
I am hopeful. If my experience means anything, not drinking can be as habit-forming as drinking. With my usual perversity, I took barely a drop during all four undergrad years. In ought-seven, I was able to swear off booze for the 40 days of Lent. In both cases, and during various other periods of abstention, the rewards of sobriety — more money in my pocket, fewer causes for self-reproach, and, yes, earning a BA, along with a magna cord, in four short years — were addictive in their own right.
The crucible is white-hot, and none of us gets to wholly by pass it. We all get a turn. Read the rest here.
(“Take up your cross” from The Imitation of Christ)