Voices in the distance. A woman yelling. A child crying. It sounded like a dream at first, but then became more clear. The man opened his eyes. Light poured in, but things were still kind of blurry. His head was spinning and he could smell the lingering scent of something sour. He glanced around at his surroundings. He was sitting lopsidedly on the ground, up against the bottom of the couch. Empty cans, broken glass, and spills of some kind of liquid were on the floor.
Oh no, was the man's first coherent thought. I...I've done it. I've done it again...
The cries and screams in the distance grew louder. The man covered his ears and tried to shut them out, but he couldn't. He reached into his pocket and found a small, circular object. He brought it out and raised it in front of his face. It was still hard for him to see clearly, but he squinted until the object came into focus. The number one was inscribed on the chip's red background. It was a one-month chip from Alcoholics Anonymous, signifying that he had refrained from consuming any alcohol for one whole month.
At one point, he had been sober for a month. But he knew it wasn't true anymore.
He shouted an obscenity, threw the small chip across the room, and let himself fall limp back against the couch. Small pools of water began to form under his eyes. Part of him wished that the blackness of unconsciousness would take him over again and let him forget all his problems, but he knew it wasn't going to happen.