Caroline Knapp

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Trying to describe the process of becoming an

Trying to describe the process of becoming an alcoholic is like trying to describe air. It’s too big and mysterious and pervasive to be defined. Alcohol is everywhere in your life, omnipresent, and you’re both aware and unaware of it almost all the time, all you know is you’d die without it, and there is no simple reason why this happens, no single moment, no physiological event that pushes a heavy drinker across a concrete line into alcoholism. It’s a slow, gradual, insidious, elusive becoming.

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There’s something about sober living and sober

There’s something about sober living and sober thinking, about facing long afternoons without the numbing distraction of anesthesia that disabuses you of the belief in the externals, shows you that strength and hope come not from circumstances or the acquisition of things, but from the simple accumulation of active experience, from gritting the teeth and checking the items off the list, one by one, even if it’s painful and you’re afraid.

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Was he smart enough? Introspective enough? Was it

Was he smart enough? Introspective enough? Was it just enough to love him, or should I attach myself to someone who seemed farther ahead of me, someone smarter and more ambitious than me, who’d be sure to carry me along into the version of adulthood I thought I should be striving for?

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