"Ninety in ninety"--that's what they tell you when you quit drinking--ninety AA meetings in ninety days. Even for a decent cop like Lennie Briscoe, those first days can be hell. A slice of life we haven't seen before.



Thirty-three Days
By Boom Boom


No getting out of it. They closed the doors behind me. I wasn't locked in, but I might as well have been. If only I could get my hands to stop shaking.
I just had to say it. Stand up and say it, in a room full of cigarette smoke, coffee-fumes, cheap folding chairs...and forty other drunk...formerly drunk...cops. Cops just like me.

(life's a bitch, ain't it, lennie?)
(all cops drink, lennie)
(just one drink, lennie)

If only it was that easy.
In my pocket was THE CHIP. The THIRTY DAY CHIP. Today was day thirty-three. Thirty-three days, nine hours, an odd number of minutes. I looked at my watch. Twelve minutes. The rest of my life. It couldn't be the rest of my life. Could it? No. It was only today. They all said so. It only had to be today. Yeah. Sure. They had more than thirty-three days. Some of them had years. Those were the ones who knew their Higher Powers like they used to know their drinking buddies. Those guys popped up like happily sober puppets.
"Hi! My name is TonyMaryLeoAlan, and I'm an alcoholic!"
"Hi, TonyMaryLeoAlan!"
I wasn't at all sure I wanted anyone chanting "Hi, Lennie!" in that relentlessly cheerful, self-righteous, way they had. Yippee. Yippee for me. Right. Right?
Days longer than other days. Nights longer than other nights.

(got a sponsor yet, lennie?)
(still on the wagon, lennie?)
(ninety meetings in ninety days, lennie)

Oh, yeah, I was still dreaming about the booze. Especially when I couldn't sleep because of the dry mouth, the aching head, the shakes that wouldn't stop. How was I supposed to do day after day of dead bodies without the booze?
Cool, dim bars. Cop bars.

(buy ya a drink, pal?)

Chatter. Cop chatter. Then home alone. DWI.
All the empties at home. In the closet. Under the sink. Under the bed. Each one stinking of the body count of the day, of the week, of the year.
I wanted it back. Oh, God, did I want it back. Couldn't do the Job without it. Couldn't have a life.

(maybe your daughter won't hate you anymore, lennie)
(get your life back, lennie)
(save your damn career, lennie)

The CHIP was cool and hard. It looked just like a poker chip. I figured I wasn't the only one understood the irony of that. It was stuff like that that made me such an ace detective.
The department shrink told me sobriety was a gift. Some gift.
Thirty-three days.

(one day at a time)
(one day at a time)
(one day at a time)

I wasn't ready to say it. I dropped the CHIP back in my pocket and watched my hands shake.

end


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