11/16/2012 05:01 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

Sobering Experience - The Bold Italic - San Francisco

When first getting sober, my biggest problem was figuring out what to do after 8 p.m. The beginning of the day was easy: wake up, go to work, go to 12-step meeting at lunch, go back to work, go to evening meeting. Then came the gap until I went to sleep. My former self was usually wasted during these hours. What do fully alert adults do at night? I had no idea. The weekends were even more perplexing.

I needed to stay away from places where I drank. The problem is that I drank everywhere. I went to poetry readings, comedy clubs, and rock shows where alcohol was common and drugs were acceptable. I took a flask to the library. I never went to a movie without a pint of whiskey. One day after hitting bottom for the third time, instead of just making plans or talking about it, I really quit for good.