Holding Sorrow and Joy With the Same Heart

I used to compartmentalize my life, my days, my feelings. Sober I’m learning to be whole. I am willing to hold joy and sorrow in the same moment. This became possible for me when I stopped numbing, avoiding, and escaping pain, suffering and sorrow because they overwhelmed me. Touching sorrow I found joy. Experiencing fear I found courage. Meditation helps me be aware. Writing helps me find clarity. The first poem, Sorrow, written a few days ago, came from fear, helplessness, hopelessness watching a dear friend suffer relapse after relapse. The second poem, Joy, was written a day after Sorrow, after noticing how much joy the little ordinary and mundane moments of my life bring.


There you are crumpling under the weight of a world that has become too too hard
And all that I can do is watch you die or choose to live a choice I too once had to make
Today my choices are so often easy and my options they are I’m happy to say quite a few
But I remember the once upon a time when it was only this or only that and neither seemed good


What matters to me
Is so oft quite mundane
Books about books
Nostalgia for libraries
With seemingly endless stacks
That we talk about
Just before dawn
A little pot of tea
With dark brittle leaves
Now green unfurled
A cat that begs a scratch
And dogs demanding to play
Musical notes without names
Played lost in now
That remind me of home
Children smiling
And laughing
For no reason at all
These and more
What matters to me

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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