The Steps

by Shannon Peil

I sat in that warehouse for six months, playing foosball, sitting in circles of old chairs, befriending strangers, and telling stories. They had an odd custom of greeting each other with 'I love you,' and it didn't matter if they knew you before that statement or not. I stayed just long enough for her to break up with me, on the day I got my six-month chip - because kids in the program weren't allowed to date. I followed her there out of support for her decision to stop using, and then our relationship just ended abruptly at the end of a meeting. I walked out for the last time that night, leaving the cigarette smoke, strong coffee, and pointless 'I love you's' behind, tossing my sobriety chip in the gutter just out of spite. Bought one last cup of coffee, lit one more cigarette - nicotine and caffeine, two perfectly legitimate crutches for an addict.


Shannon Peil runs for kicks and accepts submissions year-round.