Sometimes Life’s Hard – Too Much for Me

Sometimes life’s just too damn hard. Pain everywhere. The past several days – Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton (who knows where by the time this posts). I feel too much at once. Too much to even know / feel what I feel. I feel helpless. But, thankfully, I am not alone. I have you and I don’t even know who you are. But I know you’re out there. And that, like many times that I lost hope and felt helpless since I got sober, is a refuge for me. Alcoholics Anonymous (you, we, us) not only helped me get sober and stay sober (this far), it helps me show up for myself and others in my life when the shit gets too real.


They didn’t know better they usually say

Seeing red yellow black and white

Slaves and stolen lands

Giving them names that made them less than we

But now we know ‘better’ or how could we not

And yet we see red yellow black and white

Giving them names to make them seem less than we

They didn’t know better will our children’s children children say


The past is the past

Or so they often say

But it keeps repeating

And therein is the crux

Sometimes I wonder why

We relive these old stories

That caused nothing

But pain and despair

Then and now

Same story different times

That look much the same


Blood in the streets

Ideas become thoughts

Thoughts become words

Words become deeds

Some scream

Some cry

Some pray

Many die

Better words

We need

Stronger voices

That know

How to speak

Rather than shout

Less not more

Blood in the streets


Hey you – Yes you

Over there

High in your

Castle keep

Pretending to care

Easy to say

Safe behind

A gilded facade

Pretend walls

Shits gone down

For a lot of us

I know you see

What you don’t see

And can’t seem to grasp

Is one day it will be you

Or someone you love

And then statistics get real

Because you see

One day the unthinkable

Well it happened to me

Though it was 1 in a 1000

There it was I was the 1

And statistics mattered not

Because it happened

It happened to us

That’s how compassion grows


Sometimes my heart cries

A river of tears it cries

Invisible tears buried deep

That only my soul can see


A wandering soul

Lost out here in a world

Every day grown cold

And getting colder

Doing what I can

Another wandering soul


One breath at a time

I learn to breathe

One moment at a time

I learn to see

One day at a time

I learn to be

One lifetime at a time

I learn to be free

About the Author

Robert B. is a 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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John S
2 years ago

We played this song at our meeting following the shootings and had a discussion about forced optimism. It’s an appropriate song for the times we are living.

2 years ago
Reply to  John S

What exactly is “forced optimism”? Is it fake it til ya make it or something else entirely?
Thanks for any clarification you would be willing to provide.

John S
2 years ago
Reply to  kyo

I would say it’s what you think it is. During our meeting the chairperson played this song and we sat in the room quietly listening to it. I found it to be a nice experience to sit quietly in the room and listening to the song. The song was interesting in that the music was was sad but some of the lyrics were funny. It was like the song was suggesting that we can choose to focus on the positive. Forced optimism isn’t a thing as far as I know. I didn’t intend it to be thought of as some… Read more »