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Book Review July 24, 2003
 
Rehab at Tiffany’s
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 2
 
I lay out the raw, searing details of life in rehab: "I...crawl under the thin sheet. The flat pillow under my head offers no support."

But after a few days I learn to respect even the fat, poorly-dressed people at the clinic. I join AA and hear some wonderful inspirational speeches about "...how we want the glass of water to magically rise up off the table. How we overlook the miracle that there is a glass in the first place. And given the universe [sic], isn't the real miracle that the glass doesn't just float up and away?"

I take all these deep messages back to the ad agency and naturally everybody's impressed: "I tell Greer about what I heard at AA the other night, about the glass of water.

'God, that's really insightful,' she says...."

Greer contributes some insights of her own: "'...all my books say anger is bad for your health.'"

Well, it's just getting too Dostoevskean by this point, so I put in a little more plot: I fall in love with a guy who's really, really rich and handsome, only he's a crack addict. And then "...my fucked-up inner child wants attention, wants me to know he's still in there." My AA friends call me on it: "You're defocusing."

But my new rich boyfriend has been in AA too, and he fondles me with real sensitivity: "He puts his hand on my head and his touch is warm and soft, his fingers intelligent. '...You're a survivor. You have strength in your sobriety, and making it through all you've made it through.' His hand moves to my stomach."

With AA buddies like that, how could I relapse? Well, I do -- hey, don't blame me, blame the alcoholic inner child inside me! I go on a location shoot in LA, and the suffering stresses me out: "Shutters was booked, so we're staying in bungalows near Chateau Marmont. This is a surprise to everyone. The client is so cheap, I'm amazed they didn't make us go to an animal shelter." As a co-worker explains, "'Normal people in America don't realize how stressful commercial productions are...They don't realize it's Hell.'"

As if that wasn't cruel enough, the lover I rejected years ago is dying of AIDS, and naturally I jump at the chance to get in on all that glamorous bedside drama -- I mean, to show how much I always loved him. I use my finest similes to describe the waste, the terrible waste: "His legs are the diameter of Evian bottles, and the mind that was formerly valued at seven figures on Wall Street probably could not add ten plus two."

All that money -- I mean brains -- lost forever. Naturally I relapse out of grief, then get back on the wagon, and end with a nice little Jimmy Stewart bit straight out of It's A Wonderful Life. My agent said since 9/ll, they won't buy downbeat endings. So I schmaltz it up and wait for the royalties. For a second I felt a little bad about using my ex's death to sell books, but I figured that was just my inner nag talking.

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