Lo This Prison I’ve Made

Of late I’ve been in several 1st step post relapse meetings. The shame in the room is palpable – from the person coming back and all too often, beneath the veil of sympathy from those responding. To be sure, there is true compassion, but I wonder if sometimes, we ‘care too much’ trying to prod, goad, push and pull the person into our recovery.

In our secular meetings, and when I lead other meetings, I don’t ask if anyone is ‘back after their last drink’. We simply ask if anyone wants a first step discussion for any reason. Shame was, and sometimes still is, a prison for me. But today, I see it for what it is – a prison that I created and a prison for which I hold the keys to leave. One of the keys for me is self-compassion – seeing and accepting my human nature – seeing and honoring with respect and with gratitude my inner goodness. My very being is filled with goodness that I can share with the world when I am no longer a prisoner to my shame. I am loving. I am kind. I help those around me in 12 step groups, friends and family become better. I am so much more than my worst days.

Lo This Prison I’ve Made

Lo this prison I’ve made
No locks or bars you see
But here I am a prisoner
Trapped and alone
Solitarily confined
Hour after hour
Day after day
Night after night
A life sentence with
No possibility for parole
For I am judge and jailer too
Of this prison that I’ve made


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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