A loaf of bread, a jug of organic apple cider vinegar drink, and thou.

In the stage play Bill W. and Dr. Bob, which tells the story of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob describes his addiction thusly: “I got a demon inside me… a real live evil spirit called John Barleycorn.”

That line always struck me as weighted, but it wasn’t until last night, on the eve of my eighth year of recovery, that I realized why: It’s fitting that I got sober a couple of days before Lammas, the celebration of the First Harvest, because when you think about it, I really did sacrifice John Barleycorn to ensure my own survival. And that was an uncharacteristically good decision on my part.

So here’s to you, JB, you irascible spirit. Thanks for taking one for the team.

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