Thursday 15 December 2011

The Twelve Steps

I look at myself in the mirror, at what I have become. A bitter and broken old man stares accusingly out at me, recriminating, but also pleading for a second, another, chance. I have lied to my friends and betrayed my family, but worse than that I have become powerless against a foe I once thought I could control.

I have tried hard to fight the demons that torment me, but last night I fell so hard and now the cruel daylight hurts my eyes; punishes me for my weakness. My hands tremble as I hold them before me. These hands that once held so much promise now quiver and shake and can hold nought. And what of my promise to live my life only for good? I need not be a Christian to do that, surely? I can be true to my own beliefs and still be good.

Dear God, can't I?

Apparently not. Not without support. As I ran, naked, through the streets last night, babbling deliriously at any passing stranger, I did not feel as I feel now. As the evil energy surged through my soul I was high and hysterical, seeking only further exhilaration. I could not see how low this disease has brought me. I felt not the shame that now courses through my broken body. I had no heed for the coming morn and recklessly disregarded those who tried to help me. Help me? I am beyond help.

All I can do now is atone for my sins and beg forgiveness from those I have wronged. I have to face my torments, recognise that I am of my own making and in my weakness have fallen prey to this dreadful malaise. That is the first step. The first of the twelve. I am ready to face my monsters now and pray I may yet be strong.

As I stand on the doorstep and wait to be admitted I consult the pamphlet in my tremorous hand. I know what I must do and nervously await my turn to whisper to the assembled throng, "My name is Nick Clegg. And I am a Liberal Democrat."

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