June 2016

Like Madison Square Garden

Hotdogs, newcomers, guitars, tattoos and plenty of AA coffee. This was no ordinary talent show

You wouldn’t imagine it was an AA event, the way people applauded at the end of each act—not out of politeness, but from the sheer thrill of seeing their fellow members put a guitar strap around their neck and belt out a song at our group’s annual talent show and auction. People stood and whistled and yelled. It didn’t matter what song or poem or comedy act it was: a heart-breaking rendition of their alcoholic bottom or the eight-minute, three-note solo Sonia played at my first talent show after she’d only a taken a month of guitar lessons. She said it was Zeppelin as she curled over the guitar, staring at each finger on the fretboard. But people applauded like there was no tomorrow when she finally looked up at the audience.

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