My Journeys Thus Far

My Journeys Thus Far – once upon a time, I was driven to seek, to escape life unfulfilled. I wanted more. More of what I could not say. I plotted a course and followed a path towards the sense of success I desperately sought. Education. Academia. My ticket out of life that felt impoverished (maybe it was). Community college. A subsequent degree in my chosen field – biology. A second degree more specialized in ecology. And an ultimate degree, even more specialized, freshwater ecology.

No matter the success, I felt like an imposter, qualified on paper and vocation, but the fear that I had ‘flown too high, reached for more than I was capable”, began to overwhelm me. I began to seek escape from anxiety, alcohol abuse and later alcohol dependency, depression and suicide ideation. By many measures, I was professionally successful, but I felt like a failure. I still have a recurring dream once or twice year that I really didn’t complete my degree because I missed an exam. I completed my last degree in 1988!

Before getting sober, I was always trying to get somewhere, anywhere, where I could feel okay. In AA, I found a path. Remarkable that a scientist, an often fierce atheist, found a path in AA. AA was a vehicle that carried kindred spirits, fellow travelers from the depths of despair, towards glimmers of hope, to moments of freedom and peace. Freedom from shame, peace even in troubled times, that is what I think that I so desperately sought. In many ways, I found myself, by losing myself. Too cliche’. Possibly. But mostly true I think.

I

I take a step into the sacred mist
And I wade into the water
I know is there
But cannot see
Full of fear – full of hope
And I pray river oh sweet river
Please take me from here
Carry me to another time
Another place please o’ please
Anywhere anywhere but here

II

Sometimes I long to wander
Wander about without aim
No worry about there to here
Just a roaming I’d like to go
So I let my mind go
Do a bit of wondering for me
From time to time now and again
And that seems enough these days
To fill my need to wander and roam

III

We walk through the shadowy woods
In the damp cool before dawn
Wet leaves scruffle and squish
Beneath our feet
Freeing earthy smells
Of sweet musty decay
A pileated woodpecker drums
In the distance a resonant
Thunk a-thunk a-thunk
And like so many times before
We realize we’ve lost our way
Though we’ve been here before
A reliable compass in my head
I’ve never ever had
That is I suppose
The art and beauty of
Knowing how to get lost

IV

There is a path
I do trudge
As I live my life
Day by day by day
Sometimes the path
Is quite clear
And sometimes ‘tis
Shrouded in fog
Times it grows steep
Other times not
It meanders about
Here and there
Oft others walk
Here too
Sometimes I fear
That I’m quite alone
But I’ve found
I need only wait
A little while
For another
To come along
I used to wonder
Where the path
Was leading me
The place
At the end
Until I realized
It was simply here
All along


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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