Hippy cultist Simon Young
Joined to be a part of something Claire Harlington
12 year old who wanted snacks Ginger Krank
Meeting runner is deeply disturbed and the conversations always return to himself Frank Jones
One feels like they're invisible and are constantly interrupted Harry Jennings
Criminal sociopath who was bored and wanted to ruin the meeting Paul Opace
Vegetarian Christian Buddhist Jack Mooreling
The 'actual' alcoholic Roger Shoeman
The drunk one who had thrown a party the night before and was so drunk that they'd forgotten where the door was and decided to stay for the refreshments like the kid. Also, the refreshments suck. Sam Wellings
Hitch Hiker, Davis Dawn
Pub owner who sneaked in to sabotage the meeting and does a better job than the criminal James Cook
Joe (the one that doesn't really matter) “Hey, I'm Joe.” is the one thing he says because everyone else always talks for him
Joe's friend Jane who supposedly only came for moral support but actually does have a drinking problem.
13 chairs are placed in a circle. There is a small table beside them with a tray of stale croissants and other pastries. Everyone bustles around loudly taking a seat, except for Davis, Sam and Simon who haven't arrived yet. Everyone except the meeting runner takes a seat.
Frank: Hi, I'm Frank. Thank you all for coming. I know these AA meetings can be a really scary thing, I should know because I used to be an alcoholic but now I am better... Well, I wouldn't say better, I still have a lot of things to work through and no one can really ever be perfect. An-y-way. Thanks for coming. To start we will all go around in a circle and say our names and why we are here. As in what brought us to this specific point. We will start on my left until we get around to you there.
Frank points to Jane. Claire stands up.
Claire: Hi everyone I am Claire. I am an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Claire
Claire: Thank you, I am here because of my addiction to yeast based fermented beverages. Otherwise known as alcohol. My life as a whole has been pretty depressing and that is why I resorted to such a thing. I am 3 weeks sober.
Frank: Thank you Claire. You can sit down now. Is it just me or does that seem very possible. Okay, next.
Claire sits down, half heartedly waving as she does. The 12 year old, Ginger stands up.
Ginger: Hi, I'm Ginger. I'm 12 years old and I am severely addicted to alcohol. I have a very important question to ask.
Frank: What is it? Here is a safe space.
Ginger: When can we have the snacks?
Frank: Snacks will be allowed after the first round of sharing as we take a small break.
Ginger sits down.
Frank: Oh, okay, that was short. I suppose we will get back to you later. Okay, next.
Harry stands up.
Harry: My name is Harry Jennings and I have been an alcoholic ever since I turned 20 and felt it was the only way to get attention. I often feel as if I am invisible, but, I am trying to recover...
Frank: I said 'next'. C'mon we need to keep this as quick as possible.
Harry remains to stand but then as Paul begins to speak he awkwardly sits down again. Paul stands.
Paul: I'm Paul. The main thing you need to know about me is that I am a funny man, so, you shouldn't take much of what I say too seriously... Oh, and, I'm an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Paul.
Paul: Okay, that's creepy. Where was I? Oh, yes, I am a funny man and my humour is an acquired taste. So, try not to be offended by too many of my jokes.
Paul sits down.
Frank: Thank you Paul. We will all try to remember what you said. I also find myself as a funny man. I once tried to do stand up comedy at an open mike. It didn't go very well and let's just say that was basically the whole reason why I started drinking. I know people tell you that crowds can be tough but they actually started booing mid-act, it was hard to stay...
Ginger: Okay, who's next?
Frank: I was talking.
Ginger: I thought you said we needed to keep things quick and nothing important was being said so...
Frank: Oh... yeah. Who's next?
Jack stands up.
Jack: Hi, I'm Jack. And, the main reason I am here today is to enlighten you to a better future. I'm a catholic vegetarian hindu buddhist and I think you should join the Church of Everlasting Life to...
Frank: Jack, how many times do I have to tell you. Stop bringing your business into my meetings.
Jack: Enlightenment is not a business it is a way of life.
Frank: Jack I think you would prefer business to cult as people have to pay to turn up, you can stay as long as you don't talk about your church nonsense and we can get back to the issue at hand...
Paul: Elaborate schemes.
Frank: No. We are all here because of...
Frank: No... I mean yes. We are all here because of alcoholism. Except Jack of course.
Everyone mumbles 'yes' half heartedly.
Frank: You, who are you?
Frank is pointing at Roger.
Roger: I'm Roger. I have been going to AA meetings for 6 months now. Well, 6 months and a bit. I got my 6 months chip a week ago. I'm an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Roger.
Roger:... And, I think soon I won't need the meetings any more.
Frank: Well, welcome to the meeting. I'm Frank. I'm an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Frank.
Frank: And, I have been sober for twenty years now.
Ginger: How old are you?
Ginger: Ohhh... That explains a lot.
Frank: I don't know what you mean by that. But, lets continue.
Sam gets up from behind the snack table where he has been laying the whole time, unknown to the audience. Sam stands in front of a chair looking rugged and tired.
Sam: Hi, I'm Sam. What is this?
Frank: This is an AA meeting. Why don't you tell us a little about yourself.
Sam: Well, my name is Sam. I'm 23 and I just woke up from behind that table.
Sam points and everyone follows his finger to the Snack Table.
Sam: I'm pretty sure this place is a party house on weekends and yesterday I was invited to a wicked party. Now, I think I'll sit here for a while.
Sam: This is free right?
Sam: Are the snacks free?
Ginger: Yeah, we get the snacks at the end of this session.
Frank: Well then, welcome Sam. It's nice to have you here. Who's next?
James stands up.
James: Hi, I'm James. I'm not an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi... wait, what?
James: No, I happen to think alcohol is great. I am from the pub across the street and I come to these meetings just to make sure you have a balanced perspective on things.
Paul: Really? I have been looking for a place to have a pint. Do you want to head to your pub?
The two get up.
Frank: Paul, don't go. We've made such progress.
Paul: Actually I'm not an alcoholic. I'm a criminal and today was my day off so I thought I would screw up some lives but, this sounds more fun.
Everyone: Bye Paul and James.
Frank: Okay, I just want to be sure. Everyone here is an alcoholic right?
There are some guilty looks throughout the crowd.
Frank: Good. Then lets continue.
Joe stands up.
Joe: Hi, I'm Joe.
Joe sits down.
Everyone: Hi Joe.
Jane stands up.
Jane: Hi, I'm Jane, I'm not an alcoholic...
Everyone: Hi Jane.
Jane:...but I'm also not here to sabotage the meeting. I am a friend of Joe's and he has some trouble communicating so I will communicate for him. Its a pleasure meeting all of you. Joe is an alcoholic and he has been for 4 years now. He decided to get help about two weeks ago so he is very new to this and would prefer not to share much on the first day.
Jane sits down.
Joe: Hi, I'm Joe.
Frank: Okay, that's everyone. Apparently we have some late arrivals which will be coming soon but until then we can have a quick break. Please help yourselves to the snacks and we will reconvene when they arrive...
Frank looks at his watch.
Frank: Which will be about five minutes.
Everyone starts to chat quite loudly and they break off into 3 groups while eating snacks. The groups are as follows 1, Ginger, Joe and Jane by the snack table. 2, Sam and Roger chatting at the seats. 3, Jack and Claire by the door. Frank has left the room to wait outside. Harry standing behind a plant in a corner pretending to be invisible. Improvised dialogue from everyone.
2 minutes later...
Frank re-enters the room with Davis and Simon beside him. He pulls out two extra chairs and places them at the edge of the semi-circle. Frank calls for everyone's attention.
Frank: Attention everyone. The meeting is continuing.
Everyone comes back to the seats in a different order, Davis, 1, Harry, Frank, 2, 3, Simon.
Frank: Okay, thanks everyone for coming back. We will hear what Davis and Simon have to say and then...
Ginger stands up. Frank stops speaking and everyone looks at her.
Ginger: I have a confession to make... I only came here for the snacks and... the snacks suck. I'm about to leave but just to make sure I'm not crazy and its not just me anyone who thinks the snacks suck put your hand up.
Everyone except Frank puts their hand up. Ginger walks away, then she stops at the door.
Ginger: I'll be back next week, get better snacks if you want me to stay.
She exits the stage.
Frank: An-y-way... Where were we? Ah... Davis, tell us who you are and what started your drinking.
Davis stands up.
Davis: Well, Hi. I'm Davis. I'm an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Davis.
Davis: I'm a hitch hiker and yeah... I don't know what to say.
Claire: You wanted friends and to be popular so you drank?
Davis: No! Don't be silly. Drinking in my opinion is cool. I'm not even sure why I came to be honest. Oh wait. Yes I am. Stupid Simon here wanted to stop here for some reason.
Frank: Don't listen to Davis. Drinking is not cool.
Jack stands up.
Jack: I don't think you should be telling us not to listen to someone.
Harry: I need to go to the bathroom... If anyone cares.
Harry gets up to leave the stage. Davis sits down. Jack continues talking over Harry.
Jack: At the Church of Everlasting life everyone's opinions is heard.
Jack: Hey what's your name?
Jack points to Harry.
Jack: Harry. Can you not talk while I'm speaking?
Jack: Where are you going anyway?
Harry: To the bathroom. (I did say)
Jack talks over the (I did say) of when Harry is talking.
Jack: This man here. He is an example of someone who will be listened to.
Frank: That's it! I did warn you Jack. Get out. Out!
Frank stands up and starts to push Jack off the stage. Roger talks to Sam.
Roger: This is not an ordinary meeting.
Sam: I don't know, if I thought they would've been this exciting I would have come a long time ago.
Frank comes back on the stage and sits down.
Frank: Sorry about that. Where were we? Simon. Why did you come here today?
Simon: Well, I joined this hippy church about a year ago, this woman kept asking me if I could move to her spectrum. I didn't know what the hell she was on about. I was just there for the free incense and the layed back attitude about the law. I'm not exactly sure what a spectrum is but I ended up saying 'I'm already there bro'. She left me alone after that. I don't actually think I saw her at all after that. She could have been kidnapped but I'm not sure if I should care because it seemed to happen all the time.
Now that I think about it a lot of the church had gone missing. It was only me and this guy called Derek left at the church, that does explain why I got a bigger proportion of incense than I used to. Anyway, I was 40% sure it wasn't me taking people, and 30% sure it wasn't Derek. And, I was 30% sure it wasn't the ghost. Based on who I had known longer I would say it is most likely the ghost that did it.
Of course it would be the ghost! I barely knew it at all. Although I felt like I did. Even though I have never seen it in the flesh, Derek vividly described it and he said he was 60 % sure the ghost was taking people. It was at that moment that I started drinking. Which broke the most vital rule of the church so I got kicked out and decided to have some help.
Frank: Well, thank you for sharing.
Simon: I was actually told that a new hippy church was being opened by someone at this meeting.
Frank: That probably would have been Jack.
Simon: Well, I'd better go find him. Thanks for the seat and all but I need to find Jack. His church doesn't care if you drink. Davis? Are you coming?
Davis: Nah. I'll stay here and find someone else to hike with.
Simon: Cool cool cool.
Simon gets up and leaves.
Frank: Okay, that concludes the first sharing part of this meeting. The next thing we are going to do is talk about why we drink? I'll go first. I drank because of deep self hatred and the belief that no one cared about what I did.
Joe: Hi, I'm Joe.
Jane: Joe drank because his girlfriend broke up with him and then he felt really lonely and like he couldn't talk to anyone. But, now, I don't understand why he drinks because he has me. I'm a stable friend. I don't drink that much.
Frank: How much do you drink Jane?
Jane: A beer or two.
Frank: Well, that's not too much.
Jane: Yeah, I once new someone who drunk six every hour on the dot.
Frank: You drink every hour?
Jane: Well, I've always been very afraid of a hangover so I make sure I'm always a little bit drunk. But, today isn't about me. I'm not an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Jane.
Jane: Today is about Joe.
Frank: Well, Jane, we'll get back to you later. But, who's next?
Davis: As I said before. I. Am. Not. An. Alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Davis.
Davis: But, a hitch hiker. On that note. Does anyone mind giving me a life to George Town.
Claire: Yeah, okay. When should we head off?
Davis: Now would be good because I need to get there before my plane leaves.
Claire stands up. As does Davis.
Claire: Guys, I feel as if I have wronged you. I am not an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Claire.
Claire: I only joined because I never really felt that I was a part of anything. But, now I know there are other ways to get people to listen to you... like a therapist. But, these AA meetings have so much tribe like behaviours to them, you get rewards for participation and there are snacks. And, its like a real family. Its like... You know what's really sad?
Claire: I feel like I'm in this movie, but, I'm not the main character. I'm just some random extra in the background drinking coffee or something. I don't even like coffee. It's like, all my life, all my loves, aspirations, memories are just nothing in the grand scheme of things because they all just lead up to this one moment in this movie I don't even star in. But, Things are good now. You know why?
Claire stands up.
Claire: Because there is a hippy cult I can join now.
Claire and Davis leave the room.
Frank: Okay. Enough distractions. Roger, why did you start drinking?
Roger: My wife left me and she fraudulently took my child by untrue child endangerment claims. Sure, I was playing with Joey on the roof after I had had a few drinks. Who doesn't?
Awkward silence. 5 seconds. Possible crickets sound effect.
Frank: Okaaay then. Sam, why did you start drinking?
Sam: I was 14 years old. I had just been hanging out with my friend Mikey in the back. We'd been on the trampoline. School had been going well, everything was fine with my friends. I go back in the house. My mum was with her friends from her book club. Mikey dared me to take a sip of her wine. So, when they were all saying their farewells I did. To my surprise it tasted okay. So, I drank a bit more. Then, before I knew it I was here today.
Frank: Okay, thank you for sharing with all of us. We really do appreciate it. You're a person who doesn't think they have a problem, right? The first step to recovery is admitting you have one. I don't want to rush you because my acceptance stage took quite some time. Just, come back in on Tuesday, there is another meeting then, and you can think really deeply about yourself.
Sam: Oh no, you're getting the wrong idea. I already got rid of my alcoholism. I did this online course then I was free to drink as much as I wanted.
Jane: I think you're getting a little mixed up there.
The expression on Jane's face changes to a worried look.
Jane: Do you know what time it is?
Frank looks at his watch.
Frank: Its about 11.
Jane: Dammit, sorry about this. I have to go have a drink, if I don't my hangover will come and I am not ready for it yet. Joe, wait here I will be back in a second.
Jane gets up and leaves the stage.
Frank: Well, it seems we haven't made much progress with Jane. Thank you for sharing Sam but, I think you might have been the victim of an online scam. So, now that we know why we started drinking I want us to think about why we stopped. For me it was money problems because whenever I drank I gambled.
Sam: Dude, that's why you should always have a drinking buddy.
Frank: No, Sam, the problem wasn't that I was drinking alone it was that I was drinking at all.
Roger: If you're that lonely you can always join the hippy cult like Claire. Maybe you shouldn't have sent Jack away so soon.
Sam: Good thinking Roger.
Roger: I do try my...
Frank: Guys! I don't think you're getting the picture of what this whole meeting is about.
Roger: I used to think alcoholism was a really bad thing but my new mate Sam here has opened my eyes.
Jane re-enters the room. She stands just inside the door.
Jane: Joe, I'm really sorry. I think I've gotten you all wrong. I was just having a chat with the bartender at the bar across the street, James is his name, and I now realise that I am an alcoholic.
Everyone: Hi Jane.
Jane: But, its not a bad thing. Joe, come with me and we can have a drink down at the pub. Loosen up, tell me more about yourself.
Joe gets up. Jane leaves the room and Joe stops just outside the door.
Joe: Hi, I'm Joe.
Joe leaves the room.
Roger: Sam, want to go down to the pub?
Sam stands up.
Sam: That'd be cool
Roger stands up. They walk towards the stage exit.
Sam: I'm really glad I woke up at this thing, otherwise I wouldn't have met such a good drinking buddy.
Roger: Yeah. (you've really helped me today)
End of conversation is muffled as they exit the stage. Frank sighs and gets up.
Frank: This must be the third meeting in a row where everyone leaves half way through, I finally see their point.
He pulls out a half finished bottle from behind the snack table and drinks it as he leaves.
10 seconds later...
Harry re-enters the room and sits back down in his chair.
Harry: So, I went to the bathroom everyone. Thanks for waiting for me. I think my drinking problem probably started quite young when no one really paid much attention to me and...