This is the story of one person's journey from alcoholism to recovery and sobriety.
Dan was your average native of the Boston, MA area. Dad worked as a subway janitor, and seemed to come home angry every night. Taking it out on his family, Dad reached new levels in Mean, Rotten and Nasty. He was the person in the neighborhood who would loudly complain if the local kids were making too much noise, or if someone rode a loud mini-bike past the house. Mom was not much better. A number of times, she stuck her head in the oven, wanting to commit suicide. The rest of the time, she would take Dad's side against her children. Dan's older sister, who had no problem in standing up to Dad, packed a couple of suitcases, and practically ran out of the house the day she turned 18, never to look back.
During adolescence, Dan discovered the "joys" of alcohol and drugs. He would stay out all night nearly every night, drinking a case of beer daily. Soon, he was drinking all day, too. There were several smashed cars and run-ins with the law. Somehow, Dan graduated from high school, after which, he too left home. Marriage, and 2 children, soon followed. They moved to a small town in Tennessee, where they opened a pizza place. Their total lack of experience in running a restaurant was not important. For a couple of years, the place was thriving. Dan turned the restaurant into the local after-hours drinking establishment, which was not a good idea (he was still drinking heavily every day). He also upset the "wrong" people in town. After the restaurant failed, he decided to try again, in Atlanta. This time, Sue, his wife, wanted no part of the new restaurant. Still drinking heavily, this one failed pretty quickly. Dan finally realized that he had hit rock bottom, and agreed to rehab.
He though very little of the 12 Steps in Alcoholics Anonymous, and of group therapy. His attitude must have showed, because he was named Most Likely To Fail by his counselors and the rest of his group. He was also kicked out of the program with only three days left to completion. After much soul-searching and sleepless nights, he reduced the 12 Steps to only 3 Steps, and held on to those very tightly. Is he stiil an alcoholic, or did he kick his addiction? Did his vital organs shut down from all the beer he was drinking? Can the 3 Steps also work for any other addiction?
This is a very inspirational story. Farish is also a really good writer, who does not sugarcoat anything. The 12 Steps will not work for everyone; perhaps the 3 Steps will work. Anyone affected by alcoholism would do very well to read this book. It is very much worth the time.