The Twelve Step Martini Drinking Program

Shree Marti Nee Swami

with a translation from
the original Sanskrit
W.B. Yeats

(by automatic writing)

an introduction
J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D.




There is a practicality assumed in all twelve step programs that addresses ways to improve oneself by either obtaining or removing a certain quality or habit. Let it be known heretofore that this Twelve Step Program assumes no such practicality, and perhaps in the face of its American roots, contends directly with the spirit of American pragmatism.

It must therefore be noted in our preliminary remarks that the twelve steps in the Martini Drinking Program provide a skeleton by which one may begin to apprehend the grades and intensities involved when partaking of cocktail hour--of course, whenever that may be; for cocktail hour occurs as an event of cosmic ubiquity from which emerges an enduring mystery and revelation from that mystery. Or if you prefer the cliché: "it's five o'clock somewhere in the world."

Why a skeleton? The answer to this question is not easy to state forthright. This is because the general notion that human understanding can be conveyed through reified systems and structures is a notion whose parameters cannot entirely, and therefore adequately, address the more complex and dense meaningfulness involved in rites or symbolism. The skeleton, therefore, must be viewed as merely a system of markers designating various stages of Martini evolvement. Each new step involves a new level of human understanding which corresponds, at an ontological level, with a new mode of being, or if you prefer Wittgenstein to Heidegger, new life form. If, within the dense make-up of the narrative of human life, mankind can be understood primarily as a thinking being who communicates by speech and fixed discourse, then it is not only true that "language is the house being," as the well known philosophical adage goes, but the house of man is therefore determined largely by his understanding of the sense of space around him. In view of this, we are proud to present in this edition of the Twelve Steps, and for the first time in the history of the West, Shree Marti Nee Swami's enlightening commentary on each of the Steps.

The commentary asks of us to recall the history of the Martini that has so far unfolded and proceed by a careful destruction of its current status in order to unleash its hidden source.

During its hiatus, the Martini was that archetypal drink brought down to every caste in society, from the blue collar worker to the high class social dabbler or corporate executive. Every drink poured could be and was considered a direct manifestation of the First Martini--a theophanic incarnation. But even this religiosity could not escape the hasty and unceremonious attitude that would demean the Martini as a simple drink of willy-nilly hedonism. The Martini became taken for granted. And the multitudes became like a pack of fawning publicans, unruly and taking their toll on the Martini experience for others. Yet the Martini itself can never be affected by such denigration. As the old lore tells us, the only evil that can be brought into Martinidom is that which the drinker himself brings with him. The chaos and calamity that derive from the cocktail hour are most fundamentally the amplification of one's own inner turmoil, a mirror held up to one's nature. The Martini's essence of gin and/or vodka is the truth serum. Indeed, it was Socrates who once commented that the power of spirits resides in its ability to reveal those aspects of oneself that are often hidden and perhaps closer to the true temperament of one's soul.

There is perhaps no purer form of drink than the Martini. It is pure spirit. Its oddly shaped glass contains a microcosmic creation, constituted by the essential liquid and stirred or shaken into being with the introduction of a potent drop of dry vermouth. Indeed, the great philosopher Origen once remarked years after his self-performed surgery, "If I were to become an alcoholic, the Martini would be my drink."

We should note accordingly the language of the Twelve Steps. The drinker is referred to as the "initiate", denoting the ritualistic and sacred aspect of both the drink itself and the drinker's role in "imbibing" what the Ancient Greeks would term kykeon, the holy elixir. I am reminded of a comment made by C.S. Lewis during our sojourn in the Cotswalds which was later transcribed into one of his works. Lewis, grand yet reticent, said: "The word 'Martini' cannot be uttered as are the words of common parlance, such as 'money', 'work', or 'holiday'. It is not a word of that order. In fact, the word should not even be used in the same sentence as them unless to show some large and uncompromising distinction. The word 'Martini', as the words 'Love' and 'Truth', can be said only in those moments of heightened understanding and perception, where the prosaic is transformed into the poetic, where man returns to that home, that world, into which he is only presently to delve."

Having cited this, let us now turn to the Twelve Steps of Martini revivification lest our heart should become so thirsty that we carelessly seize in haste the Martini, with a mind devoid of thanks and gratitude.


Step 1: Pre-Requisite

Step 2: First Drink

Step 3: Denegation

Step 4: Second Drink

Step 5: Third Drink

Step 6: Contextualization

Step 7: Ninth Drink

Step 8: New Attire

Step 9: Fifth Drink

Step 10: Martini Hour

Step 11: No Martinis

Step 12: Martini by Grace




The Twelve Steps: as revealed to the Sages in the Wildernesses of the World and written down over the centuries by many scribes and monks.


Step 1: Pre-Requisite (Getting out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini)  Back to Table of Contents

One must be extremely weary, having traveled only to be naked before the abode of being.

Commentary: This weariness can range from the superficial to the profound. The more superficial the weariness, the more that discipline is required to move successfully through the temptations that would uproot Martininess. For example, there can be weariness of the drinks that one usually drinks, such as beer, fruity cocktails, whisky and cola, and so forth. This is perhaps the most basic. In the middle, there is weariness of attire and attitude; in other words, the socially based revelations that men, for the most part, dress like slobs, that no one has class these days, or that being discontent with the rat race by no means removes one from its ranks. Then there is the more reflective weariness of the soul or the mind, what is often called the religious or philosophical: the discontent with one's life or the inability to submit oneself to the mystery of being as a whole.

We must note that without the proper attention and urgency each pre-requisite can easily be reduced into base forms of motives for drinking. First, the will to replace a drink can demote the Martini to the status of being "another cocktail". What then is existence when the Martini has become an ordinary, everyday cocktail? Second, the desire to confront one's existence within the rat race can turn into a capricious escapism: a martini after work to escape what should in fact be addressed within the third category: reflective weariness. Third, philosophical and religious discontent can become a blanketed spite, a unilateral rejectionism. Reality is seen to be an illusion in contrast to the experience of Martinidom, and existence becomes a complacent detachment void of meaningfulness and actualization.

Step 2: Initiation: First Martini  Back to Table of Contents

After proper pre-requisitation, a martini should then be imbibed. This martini must be straight up, with one olive.

Commentary: It is of great importance that this first martini should be had within the presence of a consummate Martini drinker. If one is of great discipline and discerning, however, then it is possible to have this first martini by oneself. It is also worth noting that the locale of this martini should not be in the best of places, but a mediocre setting that is known to have at least decent martinis. This is so that the initiate does not have to contend or worry about proper Martini etiquette, at least not until Step Eight. Gin is orthodox, but within the more liberal thinking, vodka is accepted. Whatever one's decision, the alcohol selection should remain unchanged throughout the Twelve Steps. The gin/vodka should not have as its source the rail or well unless it meets the standards of an acceptable grade, such as Gordon's. This is why having the advice of a consummate Martini drinker is invaluable. One should also avoid the highest rent alcohol. Having a high class gin/vodka would be like, as the Jesus said, "casting pearl before swine."

Step 3: Denegation of Negative Existence  Back to Table of Contents

Upon finishing one's first martini, one's reaction is decisive to what next follows. If one likes the Martini, one may skip to Step Six...with great vigilance of oneself. If one does not like the Martini or loathes it, one must continue to Step Four.

Commentary: It is true that physiologically speaking, it is more than likely that the initiate will be heavily inebriated. This is because the power of the Martini spirit, being entirely pure, blinds the senses and causes a slight lapse in ordinary consciousness. But aside from this effect, and therefore what is our subject in Step Three, is the initiate's opinion about the Martini.

Generally, the disposition towards the Martini after the first drink is dislike, or even disdain. The phrase "acquired taste" is often mentioned as a polite way of expressing one's dislike for the King of Cocktails. Not many can endure the fire of its baptism. And hence, the Martini has appropriately earned the name "Fisher of Men".

It is here that the guidance of a consummate Martini drinker again proves invaluable, especially when the initiate's reaction is one of violent irreverence. Indeed, convincing the initiate that one should remain with the steps requires either vigorous nurturing or uncompromising threats. No doubt, each consummate drinker will have his own distinct pedagogy.

Step 4: The Second Drink  Back to Table of Contents

A second martini is to be imbibed either shortly after the first one or some duration after the first Martini encounter, but this time between martinis shall last no longer than one week. This second martini must also be "on the rocks." It is crucial that the initiate, whether continuing with the second presently or not, must avoid regurgitating for that evening, either as a result of the second martini or other drinks.

Commentary: The duration preceding the second martini varies according to the fortitude of the initiate. Some are not able stomach another so closely after the first. So it is necessary to imbibe a second martini some time afterwards. The purpose of having the second martini on the rocks is twofold: 1) so as not to repeat the first experience, thereby re-instilling the dislike or possibly escalating dislike to disdain; and 2) the wateriness of this second martini provides a great contrast to the first, purer drink. The initiate should be subsequently disappointed with this second martini's potency.

A "martini on the rocks" is a gainsay. A "martini on the rocks" has a martini status only within the context of these Twelve Steps. This is because it does not stand in and of itself as a representation of the Martini, but rather stands as an intermediary realm between non-Martinihood and Martinihood.

Step 5: The Third Drink  Back to Table of Contents

This third martini is straight up with two olives.

Unconditionally and by decree, the third martini is never to be had within the same duration as the first. And rarely should one have this third martini within the same duration of the second. This is because the third martini is the drink of re-vitalization and should not be co-mingled with any other emotion of the soul or reasoning of the mind.

Commentary: The third martini carries with it the significance of the first completion. The number three is the number of completion and we must bear in mind that the Steps occur as multiples of three. More shall be said of the Twelve Step nature at the conclusion.

Let us note here that as the first completion, the third martini is a return to the Martini drink with one change: the second olive. The extra olive is by no means superfluous. It symbolizes the return to the initial martini experience in Step One. Through the "last", the initiate returns to the "first".

The extra olive is often eaten by the initiate while enjoying this homecoming, a passage completed. Or, it is shared with a beloved or possibly even the consummate drinker (who may be the beloved) as a symbolic act of unity. We cannot put into words the significance inhering in this Step. This is where the change from dislike or disdain should be reversed: the eyes open to the pure, the soul accepting of the spirit. As first completion, it is synonymous with the outward act of procreation, the unification of female (soul) and male (spirit).

Step 6: Martini Contextualization (Martinization, or being shaken)  Back to Table of Contents

After the tides of discontent (with both the initial martini and human existence) have been turned, it is now necessary to offer contextualization for the new world discovered and consolation for the old world lost. Without such a step, the Martini and the initiate reside in a listless state of incompletion, which can then become fragmentation and possibly schizophrenia.

Contextualization occurs by providing the initiate with the stories of Martininess, either in film or literature. Such works include The Thin Man, The Sun Also Rises, My Man Godfrey, Casino Royale, The Tender Trap, or even works loosely affiliated with the drink, works that embody the ethos of Martiniacal rejection of mediocre existence or the struggle with it: The Maltese Falcon, The Killers, Charade, Laura, The Glass Key, and so forth.

Commentary: Such contextualization is best if it occurs within a punctuated period of time. The best occasion for this is during a week night or day-off from work. This is because this is when one feels most the burden of existence, the repetition of one's job. If the medium of this contextualization is in literary form, it is suggested that all reading occur during the moments just before sleeping.

It should be added that contextualization is not a single event. It should occur throughout the remaining Steps.

Step 7: The Fourth Drink  Back to Table of Contents

The Fourth Drink must be straight up with either one or two olives. Step Seven should commence either after the completion of Step Six or upon its near completion.

Step Seven is the Step of repetition. It is the deliberate participation in the New Drink, a re-statement of one's resolve to be within the letting be of Martinihood.

Commentary: There should be no variation of the Martini except within the allowances stated (one or two olives). Repetition is the key. It is hoped that in this Step, an appreciation for the Martini is solidified by means of greeting the Form of the Martini in its most common state and appearance (dry, shaken or stirred, one or two olives).

Step 8: New Attire  Back to Table of Contents

With the change in one's understanding of the Martini comes a transformation that is rooted in the center of Martinihood.

Having new attire while drinking means having the appropriate attire. The attire of clothes must be fitted properly, to show temperance; it must be traditional, to show reverence and erudition; it must be clean, to show preparation; and it must be ceremonious, to show urgency and devotion.

Commentary: This Step has often been criticized for being the most superfluous of the methodology. This is because this Step addresses a change in attire, something that is often perceived to be rooted in vanity. However, when the text is given closer attention, one may notice that the Step roots this change in a transformation which itself is rooted in Martinihood. Here, change denotes the initial and still as yet unfilled transition while transformation is the subsequent result of what had begun in or as change.

The word "attire" means literally "row" or "line". It denotes the line of ascension from one state of being to another. It alludes to the Ancient symbolism of garb and the revealing of one's state of understanding through the "dresses" of the soul. Hence, we are left to wonder what it may then mean to undergo a transformation rooted in Martinihood, to wear the attire of the Martini.

Step 9: The Fifth Drink  Back to Table of Contents

The fifth drink is to be imbibed alone, preferably within one's abode in the wee hours of the morning. One is also to be dressed in one's new attire. And upon finishing the entire martini, which shall not be altered from its first or third state, the initiate shall then recite the Morning Song and Incantation once uttered by the sage Francis Albertos of Cici:

Here's to absent friends...fuck'em.

The initiate shall await the Sun, then carry on towards sleep.

Commentary: The isolationism required in Step Nine is intended to instill self-reflection, for the initiate has now progressed three quarters of the way. The impudence of the incantation is used to release any ill will or uncleanliness. It is also a playful proclamation of resolution to continue with the Program. It is a time of silence and preparation for the final Steps that lie ahead.

Step 10: Martini Hour  Back to Table of Contents

The Martini Hour signals the last moment contained within the purely transient. It is the hour often accompanied by five chimes, or gongs, or the mad rush of rats crawling out from beneath the weight of the business world.

The Martini hour may occur among friends or strangers. The single requirement of this hour is that no more than one martini can be had. No other drinks may be had. No conversation may be indulged concerning one's own martini, martinis in general, or the philosophy behind martinis. Failure to do so invites the seed of snobbery, and one may find oneself prematurely boasting of martinis and Martininess before one has actually understood the Martini.

At the end of the hour, the initiate must depart. There can be no hesitation; there can be no excuses. The initiate must leave and retire to sleep. No food shall be eaten, no amusement taken. The initiate shall repose with the essence of the Martini pervading his soul.

Commentary: The rules may indeed seem rather strict. Yet we should do well to remember that the Martini hour is synonymous with a casting off of the old self. It is the final renunciation of one's former self.

It was the Jesus who said, "Verily I say unto thee That in this day, even in this night, before the cock crows twice, thou shalt betray me thrice." One may liken this to the duration between the end of the Martini hour and the next dawn. It marks the plateau on which everything can be seen and is therefore tempting for the initiate to take.

Step 11: No Martinis  Back to Table of Contents

The dawn after Martini hour shall be accompanied by No Martinis. The initiate is not allowed to have a martini for at least a duration lasting one week but not exceeding one fortnight.

What must last is the letting be of the last Martini.

Commentary: The No Martini is the venturing into the wilderness or desert. It is a period of cleansing the soul, of clearing the body, mind and spirit for the final moment of contemplation and enduring. The enduring is not a simple feat of will and strength; for according to the Step, what must last is the letting be. The enduring is in this sense not a "waiting for" or a "hoping". It is the state of being that allows for the last and most profound Step in the Twelve Step Program.

Step 12: Martini by Grace  Back to Table of Contents

Martini by Grace means that the initiate's next martini can come only if it is given to him. If the initiate should hint, or invite friends to a bar, or make one in separate but successive steps, then the initiate has recanted all that has been thus far fulfilled. In this case, martini drinking heretofore can never transcend the realm of chatter and politics.

The Martini by Grace means that the initiate must be invited and given a martini. It's composition is entirely dependent on the play of the gods. Indeed, the composition may be considered the forebodence of things to come in one's comportment back to the source of all things.

Commentary: The Martini by Grace occupies a dual role as the last and first martini. It is the last in that it is the final martini calling to an end the Twelve Step Program. With the acceptance of the last martini, the initiate becomes whole again and returns to the world that always was. The last martini is therefore the first martini. It welcomes one to the world as a new being, a being centered upon Martinihood.

What the Final Step mentions as a "forebodence" suggests that from Step Twelve arrives a way of living in Martinihood. Because the Last Martini is gratis, one's response is a way of giving thanks to what has been bestowed. But here, thanks is not a single act or event immediately preceding and ending after the Martini Gratis. From the moment the Last Martini is received, how one lives by the Martini hereafter is how one shows one's thanks; for indeed that Last Martini by Grace, that is, the welcoming into the New Life is Martinihood.

It is thus fitting to end with the thoughts of the eminent drinker himself: "And thus Glaucon, the Steps have been saved and have not perished, and will save us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely over the river of Soberness and our soul will not be defiled. Wherefore my counsel is, that we hold fast ever to the Martini way and follow after gin and vermouth always, considering that the soul is immortal and able to imbibe every sort of cocktail. Thus we shall live dear to one another and to the gods, both while remaining here and when, like conquerors in the games who go round to shake their Martinis, we receive our reward. And it shall be well with us both in this life and in the pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have been describing."

On the Structure of the Twelve Steps:

As mentioned earlier, the Twelve Steps are divisible by three, thus equaling four sections. Each section has a specific role and meaning within the whole composition of four. But first some remarks on numerology.

The number three is a traditional symbol of completion. One embodies wholeness, for it is One and in-itself and by-itself whole. Nothing stands outside the One.

Two embodies duality. It is the number of manifestation from the One. Where there is One, now there is Two. But the Two should not be seen as conflicting with One; for without One, there can be no Two. Nonetheless, Two is the first number of division and multiplicity. It is Manifestation and Immanence.

Three is the unification of One and Two. It is the bringing together of One, in and by itself, with the Manifestation of Two. Three is the return: from Immanence to the Transcendent One, and the One back to the Immanence. Three is therefore the quality of Unity in Multiplicity.

The Twelve Steps are in themselves composed of four three-part sections. The end of each part marks the completion of a part of the whole. Each part, or section, must be successfully completed in order to move onward; but more significantly, it shows the initiate the underlying meaningfulness of what has been completed.

Section One (comprised of Pre-Requisite, First Drink, and Denegation) represents the break from everyday existence, the mundane. After the initial break, allowed by virtue of the initial discontent with existence and the shock of a first martini, denegation, as the last step in this section, propels the initiate to nurture the metaphysical rebellion...onto the second section.

Section Two (comprised of Second Drink, Third Drink, and Contextualization) brings together the solid, philosophical and devotional foundation of the initiate. It approaches the midway point from which the initiate can progress to and beyond all self-imposed limits. As we mentioned, the Third Drink is the drink of first completion. It allows the initiate to return to the Martini properly after being entirely shocked by the first drink. It thus completes the first half of initiation. Thus this section ends with Contextualization.

Section Three (comprised of Fourth Drink, New Attire, and Fifth Drink) is characterized by repetition, and renewal from this repetition. Its structure is cyclical. It begins and ends with a martini, that is, it begins by entering once more into Martininess, reaches the middle point of disclosing New Attire, then returns to a martini in order to affirm what has been comprehended in the change of attire. Indeed, as the New Attire, it is preparation for the final section that is a leaping ground back to the source.

The Fourth and final section (comprised of Martini Hour, No Martinis, and Martini by Grace) is that of death and resurrection. While the New Attire signals both a change in outward and inward appearance, the uniquely spiritual quality of Martinization is brought to bear fully with the taking away of the Martini and its final bestowal by Grace. It is Martini Revelation, the Martiniphanic moment in which the World is no longer merely a sphere, but a sphere centered and resting upon the point of an upside down Martini cone (glass). Hence the Martini toast within this sacred and geometric perfection: "That is perfect. This is perfect. All is perfect."


This Page and NDS Logo © Copyright 2001, by Todd Mei