I stopped drinking on my way down the hill to the liquor store when two guys pulled up and tried to drag me into their pickup. I crossed the street then ran in the opposite direction, puffing against the incline. The stranger thrust into reverse and, when I wouldn't talk to him, threw a bag of McDonald’s trash at me, Stuck up bitch. I stopped drinking when I realized I was fighting for the vodka at the bottom of the hill more than I was fighting against the terrible things that could have happened to me inside the cab of that rusty Chevy. I stopped drinking before cell phones. I stopped drinking after Days of Wine and Roses. I stopped drinking even as I kept walking to El Prado Spirits and the guy behind the counter who recognized me asked if I was alright. I didn't tell him what had happened because he might have called the police and then I would have had to wait for them to arrive to fill out a report, delaying my Smirnoff. I stopped drinking even before I had that last sip, as I ran back up the hill squeezing a bottle by its neck.
Copyright © 2011 by Denise Duhamel. Used with permission of the author.