What It Was Like Then and What It Is Like Now

I start my day with a 10-15 minute meditation. I’ve done this most days since I got sober. The form changes from time to time. Sometimes simply to relax. Sometimes to let be. In early April 2007, I needed to drink alcohol to get through my day. When I tried and tried sincerely to not harm those those loved me so dearly, I drank alcohol regardless. I simply could not stop drinking alcohol when I tried, no matter how high the stakes nor how great the consequences had become. Yesterday, I went to bed sober and was present with love and kindness shared with those around me. What changed. It began one day, accepting that I had become dependent on drinking alcohol to cope with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation and asking for help from AA, from my primary care doc, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist. 

This I believe is my first poem, my first Spare Verse. 


Sitting quietly
Thoughts rising
Thoughts falling
Breathing in
Breathing out
I look in the mirror
And I cry

Thoughts reflected feelings, often raw. Seemingly impossible to be with, to feel. The words helped me see see things as they were then and as they are now. With a first meeting, a first ‘going to bed sober’ even when I wanted to drink to escape, a first day of just surviving, a first verse of a first poem, I find myself here. My poems, written daily since that first, a story, a map of what it was like then and what it is like now along a meandering path of love and loss, birth and death, losing things, finding things, pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering


If I only knew
Knew then
What I know now
Would I
Could I
Should I
Change a thing
I look round
And around
The answer
Quite quite

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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