Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Columnist back from the brink

Via Romenesko, from the Chicago Sun-Times. Neil Steinberg begins this way:

THOSE COLUMNS I WROTE ABOUT MY HOME LIFE OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS WERE NOT A LIE. I really live in a rambling old house with a pair of eager, mischievous boys and a pretty, wisecracking wife. We really remodeled our kitchen on a pharaonic scale. We really have three cats.

But the stories in the newspapers (and on TV, and radio) last month were also true. I probably shouldn't say that. But you have come to expect a certain candor in this space and now does not seem the time to change. I got drunk and slapped my wife during an argument. I immediately knew it was a mistake -- I used to say that if I ever hit Edie, I would draw back a bloody stump, and that wasn't far from what happened. She called the cops, they came, clapped me into handcuffs and hauled me off to jail. When I asked her later why she had to have me arrested, she said, "Nobody hits me, buddy." Pithy as always.


The next day in court my wife made a statement that can be accurately condensed as "He drinks too much and needs help." When she had tried, again and again and again, to tell me that in previous years, I would always muster my charm, lie low a few days and wriggle out. Drinking was what I did, who I was, my comfort and my joy and I wasn't about to give it up for any lecturing wife. But after 14 sleepless hours behind bars, I passionately wanted to get out, and when the judge offered me the choice of going through the fine rehab program inside the Cook County Jail, or somewhere else outside, I eagerly opted for the latter.

Go to the link above for the rest.

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