Dear Kim

June 10, 1993

Dear Girl:

I saw a version of you today. She’s about your age and looks a little like you except she’s skinny and you are a miserable pudge. I bet she’s been living the life you live although you have cut out all the drugs by now. That near arrest scared the fuck out of you so now you have winnowed all your bad habits down to getting drunk every day. This girl slammed her car, going 40 per, into another car because she was high. She was unharmed and got out of the car and stumbled around in the crosswalk like you are about to do and like you, she’s horrified. What you are about to do will be inescapably your fault, but it is also true that you have no more control over your behavior than this girl does.

People like to say that addiction is a choice. There’s free will there, but only in small measure. You’re in trouble. You vomit every morning. You drink until you pass out every night. You’re nuts. Two weeks ago a guy broke the last bottle of vodka you had in the house and you attacked him because it was your last bottle. That’s crazy. You look in the mirror and you hate who you see and you wish she’d die before she hurts somebody (yeah, you think of yourself in the third person).You drink and drive. Sometimes you wake up on the sidewalk somewhere in the city and you can’t find your car keys. Usually you don’t know where the car is. You also don’t know if you were in an accident because there have been several. One morning you woke up in the fountain at the Hollywood Bowl. How the hell you got there is anybody’s guess. 

You’re fat, and you’re angry and rage defines you. What you’re angry about is hardly the point. Even through the haze of the daily self-abuse you can see how you got into this state, but so what? None of the knowledge gives you the strength to ask for help. Twice now friends have accompanied you to meetings. They really don’t know what to do, but they can see the danger if nothing is done. By the way they must love you to do that. You’re not a bundle of fun to be around. You should take note.

You’re terrified because you’re alone with this. You’ve called A.A. several times in the past weeks, but then you hung up or you attended a meeting and were so terrified of talking to anyone that you ducked out the back door. You think that you can’t do what A.A. says you should do and therefore you know you can’t be saved. You think that you’ve been in a skid for too long and you believe that you haven’t the will nor the courage to stop. I’m going to ask you to pretend that you do. Just once.

You’re going to wake up tomorrow, the day you make the mistake that will cost someone his life as he knows it. You’ll drink three bottles of champagne before lunch then finish off a pint of vodka after lunch. Later that evening you’ll drive to the restaurant. As high as you are that’s a high wire act in itself. At the restaurant you’ll down two oversized shots of bourbon, then you’ll go upstairs and write for a few hours in the office because it is always empty on Saturday nights and you like the quiet. You’ll make sure you have a fiver in your pocket before you leave the office because you intend to pick up another pint of vodka on the way home. 

I don’t think you can change any of that. I think that’s just destiny for you, but do this for me. Fucking do this for us. Do it for the man who was just crossing the street with a bag of groceries in his arms. We recover from this. We step into the disaster and we get better, but what you choose to do now can save him.

Sleep in the office tonight. Forget about how it looks. Go into your father’s office and pass out on the couch. Please. Then tomorrow there’s a Sunday morning meeting at the Good Samaritan Hospital. It’s an 8 a.m. meeting. You’ll feel like shit, but go. Ask Chris to give you a wake call for fuck’s sake. That girl still loves you too. Wake up. Throw up. Get some coffee and walk down the block to this meeting. There’ll be a lady there and she’ll see you. She’s not one of those creepy A.A. fucks who like to bolster their egos by collecting sad sack cases. She’ll introduce herself, shake your hand and you’ll know you can trust her straight off. She’ll be able to get through to the part of you that’s still healthy and that has been beating at the prison walls of the asshole youthat’s been in charge of being you for far too long now. This woman is the one. She’ll help out of the pit. 

Get drunk. You can’t help that. But tonight, stay in the office and then go to the meeting in the morning. There’s a deep well of hurt and hate waiting for you if you get behind the wheel tonight and you’ll deserve it. Stop. We’re a better woman now, but we wasted a life tonight. Please. 

You in the future.

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Kim Idol is a writer/instructor partial to dogs, guns and rock climbing and travel. Her short stories have been published in Danse Macabre, Portland Review, ToastedCheese, Dead Neon, Helen: A Literary Journal and submitted to the Kulka Best American Voices anthology. She is currently at work on a novel in between trips to the Middle East and Asia which is her passion of late.