Stillness and Silence

To sit still, quiet, a thing of dread in early recovery (sometimes now). A meditator for more than half my life and my first weeks sober and months before, I needed to move, to fill my time, anything but sitting quietly. Crawling out of my skin took on meaning. I couldn’t read. I wouldn’t journal. I kept thoughts at bay by busying myself and by watching hours of BBC detective series on Netflix. At least I wasn’t drinking alcohol I reminded myself. That was true and quite possibly useful and necessary – keeping busy and escaping into television. But it was that word escape. Drinking alcohol helped me escape. And escape I did.

For me, I began to see others living with presence, with conscious awareness. That is what finding a path in recovery began doing for me. Learning to be consciously aware, fully present, living here now. I had to practice being still and being quiet. Five minute guided meditations. Making and drinking tea. Listening to music (playing the entire song rather than switching to another Pandora playlist). Playing music first on guitar and later on mandolin and banjo. And yes, even watching BBC detective mysteries on Netflix. The difference was, I was doing these things with intention, my intention to be present, living mindfully rather than mindlessly. I began to be grateful for moments of stillness, moments of silence. I began to get to know me, to be comfortable in this new skin I now find myself in.

I

Silence elusive
Evades me
When I need
It most
And so I
Seek unsatisfied
A moment
A mere moment
Of relief
Of peace
Between want
And need

II

In this moment of stillness
Voices rage in my head
A cacophony like last night’s storms
I beg and I demand their silence
But they ignore all my pleas
So I wait – some times this the only way

III

Sitting with noble silence
Aware of the urge to speak
To fill the void with noise
For the familiarity

IV

A moment of stillness
And a moment of silence
An invitation to just be
To let gravity hold me in place
A momentary pause
In all of my coming and going
Yet I often fill emptiness
With noise and chatter
For though silence I seek
It’s often unfortunately true
That it’s silence I fear


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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Murray J.
Murray J.

Silence I seek…and silence I fear. Very powerful with meaning for me. Thank you once again for your insight.