By Michael P. Lambert
She felt dozens of dull needles being pressed into the side of her face, a pain so searing that she froze in terror. In the distance, she heard crows calling to one another, their screeches piercing the low hanging fog with plaintive warnings of impending wickedness.
She lifted her head up tentatively and brushed away the gravel stuck to her cheek. She had been lying face down on a driveway. She started to sit up, emitting a low moan as she did so, and there was her dog, Riley, staring mournfully at her with his moon pie eyes. His leash was tied to her ankle.
She found herself looking across the blacktop road at the fog-bound hay meadow. The crows continued their cacophony. She was in her own driveway, that was clear. And she was leashed to her dog. A waterfall roared inside her skull, and every joint in her body was on fire. Bile was rising in her throat like volcanic lava.
She untied the dog, scratched his droopy ears and limped, shoeless, into her house. The door was unlocked. She stopped to look in the foyer mirror. Staring back at her was the face of someone she scarcely recognized. Her dark red hair was matted against the side of her skull. Her cheeks were swollen and mottled, and her bloodshot eyes looked defiantly back at her.
The last thing she remembered was standing in the backyard of her boyfriend’s house drinking grain alcohol and grape juice. It was a post-softball game party with dozens of people, and most were drinking keg beer from plastic tumblers. But that is all she could dredge up.
The counselor had told them many times: You will know when you have hit bottom. And when you do hit bottom, you will have a choice. Get back up again and try, or continue the spiral downward to an inevitable end. It comes down to making a choice, and only you can do it.
It was her turn.
“Hello,” she said in a halting whisper, staring at the floor. “My name is Megan. And I am an alcoholic….”