Since it was Grandpa's first offense, he was given the option of prison time or going into rehab; he checked into a recovery hospital in Glendale. I only went to see him three times in the course of his treatment, but the first time alone was enough.

Grandpa had gotten through detoxification and looked better than I ever remember him. He was chipper, and funny, and he and Grandma actually argued. I had never seen that before.

Then it was time for family therapy. The dozen or so patients and their families all sat around in a circle on folding chairs in a conference room. The leader of the discussion ("Hi, my name's James. I'm a recovering alcoholic. I've been sober for ten years, two months, and five days.") asked each of us our names, who we were with, and how we felt. I got to go first.

"I'm Adam. I'm Paul's grandson. And I'm confused."


"'Cause I've never seen my grandparents bicker like this before."

I had never realized it, but they had always argued. Grandpa was just too bombed not to fight back. Now he was actually standing up to Grandma.

"Do you remember any experiences with your grandfather and alcohol?"

"Well, there was this place called Sparr's that we used to go to when I went to visit my grandparents. Grandpa and I would drive over there, and I'd sit at a table while he sat at the bar with his friends. He used to bring me orange juice with a maraschino cherry and sit and talk with me. I remember liking the cherries."

And that's when I realized Grandpa was crying.