House of Cards and Day Counting - "F#@! the Zero"

House of Cards, a political drama series on Netflix, tackles issues of alcoholism and addiction in the lives of its powerful political characters. The show features AA meetings, discussion of recovery, and the up-and-down journey of people fighting for their sobriety.

In an AA meeting, Doug Stamper, a key character played by Michael Kelly, shares about counting days:

“One of the things I do for a living is count. Yays, nays, neutrals, obstaining. 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… I have to use my fear. It makes me stronger. Like everyone else in this room, I can’t control who I am. But I can control the zero. F#@! the zero.”

House of Cards portrays different characters the mistakes they make, the lessons they learn, and the different approaches they take for their recovery. For some, counting days is their recovery tool. For others, it is taking it one day at a time.

In recovery, we discover what works for us as individuals. Through honest and open sharing at 12-Step meetings, we discover our own recovery tools while also listening to others reveal theirs. It’s not about giving advice or directions to each other, it’s about using our own personal experiences, strengths, and hopes.

Hitting Rock Bottom takes you into the life of one recovering addict as he tells it all, honestly and openly. A different show than House of Cards, different backdrop, different plot, and different characters but with the same goal - to fight for sobriety. Whether in House of Cards, Hitting Rock Bottom, or a real-life meeting, every person has his own story to tell, and we all listen, and we learn.

Written by Corey Snyder
Director of Hitting Rock Bottom, a new webseries portraying real people and their stories of addiction and recovery, at

Help us finish the season! Together we can raise awareness about addiction. Please donate at