THE EIGHTH STEP
In the Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the eighth step is one of the major steps to forgiveness. Those in recovery are asked to make a list of those who they have harmed in the past, a tangible, visible plan that displays the way their addiction has enabled destructive behavior. The ninth step requires confronting those individuals.
Name them. You might not
make it much further.
a little bitch you were
is enough to make you
want to drink.
Try it like this:
name them the way
you’d list the men you love
to swallow: Georgii, Johnny,
Jack. But it’s not as easy as that
is it? Afterwards, at least,
the bottle still exists. Sweet
elixir of fabrication. If it weren’t
for the liquor, you don’t know
where you’d be. It’s killed you
as much as it’s helped you
survive. Maybe that’s hard
to see. Maybe it’s just you,
addicted. Here’s the thing:
You don’t love it. You don’t need it.
You like to think you even have control.
But desire outlasts time, and these days
you pour a glass of wine
just to have it sit by your side.
Name them. You can’t. And it’s not
because your heart is empty
or cold or full of sin. More. You suffer
like the wind, in silence,
unseen, felt only in gusts that flush
the cheeks. To speak it means
you did it. Do it. Quickly. Name
them. Like a shot of vodka before
work, when the names hit your throat,
let them burn.