Hello, I’m Tom. I am a partial alcoholic—partial to the whiskey Mickey Nickels concocted in his basement still. I did most of my hard drinking while living with Mickey in Reno, a dusty place full of loose cash, loose criminals, and loose women—my kind of town. I should have known not to mix whiskey and hookers. Her name was Rosie. She found me at Harvey’s Late-Night Diner, where the eggs are greasy enough to lube the carburetor of your father’s Lincoln. Rosie leaned toward me at the counter and said, “I prefer my bacon as crispy as a brand-new $20 bill and my eggs over easy like I want you.” I was out of my seat before the heat came off my coffee.

This began a long alcoholic romance. Each day, I’d play three-card monte in the alley, rolling suckers for extra cash. Then Rosie would roll me over at her place. The day she lost those pasties and that G-string in her grimy apartment was the day I found religion. Then I found cheap bourbon. Then Rosie found me in the alley, necktie around my head, talking to the trash cans. She stomped on my heart like a barrel full of grapes, and then left me and a bottle of cheap wine to find our way home.

I tried to quit on my own after that. I smoked a lot of Camels—so many it made my throat hoarse. I soothed it with a bottle of tequila—14 bottles, actually, and a 14-day bender. I barely remember that last Saturday night. I cruised the streets in my old Oldsmobile, watching the streetlights gleam like diamonds on the windshield (tequila makes you hallucinate). I came to, parked on someone’s lawn, my head pounding like a ham-fisted piano player.

I went to find Rosie. I found her with her new boyfriend, Mickey Nickels, who had pockets full of cash from whiskey sales. He and my sweet Rosie tossed out dollar bills to the vagrants like he was the King of Sixth Avenue. Sure, my porkpie hat was dusty and my coat had more patches than the tires on my uncle’s old Coupe de Ville, but I knew I’d hit bottom when Rosie tossed me a fiver like I was some kind of gin-eyed hobo. It was then that I realized that I was a gin-eyed hobo. I didn’t drink again.

My final words to you are: remember to Keep It Simple, live One Day at a Time, and, most importantly, to Let Go and Let God—but don’t let your two-bit-loser bootlegging buddy anywhere near your dusty old hooker girlfriend.