One of the things I do for a living is count. I count votes. Yeas, nays, neutrals, abstaining. And I’m good at it. But the most important count I do has nothing to do with work. It’s the number of days since April 4, 1999. As of this morning, that’s 5,185. The bigger that number gets, the more it frightens me, because I know all it takes is one drink to go back to zero. Most people see fear as a weakness. It can be. Sometimes for my job, I have to put fear in other people. I know that’s not right. But if I’m honest, like the fourth step asks us to be, I have to be ruthless, because failure is not an option. The same goes for my sobriety. I have to be ruthless with myself. I have to use my fear. It makes me stronger. Like everyone in this room, I can’t control who I am. But I can control the zero. F*** the zero.
Violence is a funny thing. You know, it’s not so much the physical pain that victims can remember. It’s the feelings around it. The fear.