What Do I Actually Believe?

What do I actually believe, I sometimes ask myself, searching for hope and finding none. What I sometimes say to myself is ‘… we are fucked … we are so fucked …’ Writing is something I do to be awake to feelings that I’d rather bury somewhere deep, dark and out of sight. But sober, I’ve come to ‘believe’ and accept that avoiding, burying, and hiding from the world and from myself, are not healthy for me or those around me.

As an idealist, humanist, environmentalist, humanitarian, progressive, the current state of the world feels overwhelmingly hopeless at times. AA Traditionalists will sometimes claim ‘… that’s an outside issue …’ So I speak / share as honestly but, generally and broadly as I can in meetings; sharing my heart, the fearful doubts, raging shake-my-fist at the sky (the irony of that gesture for an agnostic is not lost on me) with those closest. These verses I write, now a practice, are a way to see, a way to be, a way to not be alone, a way to hope, and a way to ‘believe’.

I

In my journeys

I’ve sometimes grown weary

Bone-tired weary

Pursuing truth

Too often only

To find pain

But therein is

The truth of the thing

Of living a life

Pain is real

But to touch it

To feel it simply

Simply for what it is

A thing that comes

And a thing that goes

For to seek truth

As it seems I must

I need be willing

To see and to feel pain

In order to be free

To be truly free

II

After the storm

I wade into the stream

The rapids rage and roar

I too rage and roar

Racing towards destiny

The storm abates

But still the stream roars

A residue of rage

Rage settles in the quiet of a still pool

And so do I – so do I

III

A

This world I sometimes see

Grown petty and cruel

More of this less of that

A culture of selfish greed

More the voracious desire

Can’t you see the pain

Feel the fear awake and asleep

B

This world I sometimes see

Hides the world that is there

A world of kindness and love

Those giving what they have

Without asking for more

Walking a path together

Hands holding hands

C

This world I sometimes see

When I widen my view

See a longer arc of time

Giving things room to grow

Seeds planted long ago

Become root and branch

Like ancient Yggdrasil tree


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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