Taking Stock (Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory)

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are a time of reflection for me. My morning meditation often invites personal introspection in quiet moments throughout my day. My dreams too, vivid, windows and mirrors where past, present and future meet in my subconscious and greet me with the light of day. Sober and active in my own recovery and the recovery of others, I can sit with and be with my self as I am. Prior to recovery, I lived a life full of self-generated distractions, drinking alcohol to the point of not caring frequently, and brown-out oblivion occasionally. My alcohol-induced sleep was usually fitful and I rarely dreamt or if I did I didn’t notice nor remember.

I no longer make New Year’s resolutions, rather I make intentions to be open to my awareness, to be present for myself and others, and to not intentionally harm myself or others with thoughts, words, or actions daily. I believe that those in recovery and in recovery communities find the willingness, courage, support and ability to see with, to be with, to accept and to love ourselves as we are. Because we’ve looked at our past, the good and the bad, we have opportunities to live in the present, rebuilding and restoring relationships once broken.

But I know for me, and I’ve seen it true for countless others, it began with looking in the mirror, looking deeply and fearlessly, no longer blaming others, accepting personal responsibility and trudging ahead with patient resolve. I still feel regret at times looking back, but rarely sink into the morass of shame. Today, I can look in the mirror and see me, all of me.

Seeing Me As I Am

To see me as I am
There in the mirror
A visage of sorrow
From regret of days
Days gone by
Looking back at me
I see the scars
Blemishes of living
I want to turn away
Avert my gaze
But that’s never 
No never helped me
To find my way home
A return to me
So I look at the man
That I do see
Long nights they do
Become longer days
This time of year
A traveling and a turning
About the Sun
I take stock
Of days gone by
Life lived well
More than not
The joy of life once lost
Now slowly reclaimed
I smile at the man
That I do see
For now he is
Beginning to look
An awful lot like me
A me I always wanted be

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.


The featured image was created by the artist calling himself dub 13, and was posted on Ello, a social networking site for artists. Visit Scene 360 for more information. 

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Dean W
Dean W
1 year ago

Thanks for sharing your work, Robert, I really like this poem. I can certainly relate – the mention of brownouts in your intro especially caught my attention, as I did a lot of brownout and blackout drinking. I also relate to your introspection during the holiday season and the gradual emergence of a self I like.