A Certain Distance I decided to stop using alcohol and drugs after I woke up with a badly damaged hand and no recollection of having hurt myself. Mornings like this were not unusual, and I don't know why this time was different from any other. I didn't think I really had a "problem". I needed to know what real alcoholics and drug addicts looked like, how they filled their days. I wanted to find out how and why they got where they were. I was hoping we would have little in common. I put an ad in the Village Voice, and these are some of the people who answered.