I stand from my chair, hands placed idly in my pockets. "Hello. My name is Alex Beecher, and I'm an addict."
"Hi Alex." The chorus of middle aged monotony echos briefly, then dies quietly. The voice is one, from several mouths. Each, however, seems indistinguishable from any other. They are John or Jane Doe, respectively, animated only by force of habit.
I glance at each, eyes whisking past every anonymous visage, searching for a foothold. I lick my lips, open my mouth to say nothing.
A voice reaches out, saves me from drowning in the miasmic silence. "Welcome Alex. Have a seat."
I do have a seat, at least. That's about all I've got, but it's something. I sit and slouch, staring at my feet like they might start dancing. I rub my hands together, the friction generating a warmth I don't feel.
A sting, a pulse, a throb. A crack in my skull, and my sanity starts oozing out. To hell with everyone else here, these would be martyrs, trying to kick the habit that's already so thoroughly trampled them. Two dollars. That's all my reprieve would cost. Two dollars, and I could be content. I could walk right out of here, quit before anyone would miss me.
Would it make me weak? To fall of the wagon before I even sat? Maybe, maybe not. But it would make me happy. And what kind of strength might I find here? Is this strength, mumbling about some damnable addiction every Wednesday night? Let them curse that devil's brew. Let them lament past failures and wasted years.
I stand, resolute. My name is Alex Beecher, and I'm an addict. I don't want to be anything else.