Things Could Always Be Better

The November 24 reflection from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life reference to Gabor Mate’s, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, reminded me of trying to quench constant craving for more by drinking alcohol. I seemingly could not be satisfied with what is. Childhood. Relationships lost. Relationships that never were. Success I earned but didn’t have. Success I deserved but never had. My father’s love. My father’s approval. Understanding why. These and more the hungry ghosts I’ve fed.

I often found myself, figuratively and literally, running towards pleasure and away from pain. For years academically and professionally, I rarely felt good enough, regardless of accomplishment or success. And the insidious part, was when successful, it felt unearned, undeserved. In AA, and especially in secular AA, I have found a tribe where I fit, belong, can be whole. I still find myself wanting at times, dissatisfied, ill-at-ease, but I am now able to be with dis-ease long enough and with new tools to see things as they truly are. Taking refuge in the present as it is – being good enough most days and pretty damned good on others.


Holding the moment with clenched fists
Beauty and joy die as I tighten my hold
Refusing to let go


I am sometimes a square peg in a round hole world
Waiting. Trying. Hoping. Not quite fitting in.


Oh if I only had wings and feathers I pine
As I watch an eagle’s dance, dance, dance in the sun
Earthbound I cannot see the beauty beneath my feet


There must be more
I oft told myself
And thus the bargain
I sought to make
Waiting impatiently
For want to fill my need
Searching high
And searching low
Why not me
I deserve more


And to think
Think and believe
Truly believe
That I was
Quite ok
All this time

About the Author

Robert B is sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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