Of late, I’ve been in several consecutive first step meetings. A gift of these for me has been a rear-window view of what it was like then and what it is like now. As I reflect and sink through the layers of my recovery, causes and conditions reveal themselves by listening with compassion and sympathetic joy to the stories of others.
I once thought dependence on alcohol imprisoned me and in part it did. But beneath drinking alcohol to cope, a time when want became a need, was unacknowledged and untreated acute anxiety and chronic depression. With time, meditation, mindful awareness, setting daily intentions, being accountable to others and myself, AA, Buddhist practice combined with a variety of wisdom traditions, willingness, courage, and effort, attempts to change with equal parts success and failed attempts, I began to see how being honest with myself and others freed me and how being dishonest with myself and others imprisoned me in the shadows.
It began with a laser-sharp focus on not drinking alcohol today (that first day) and grew into developing an honest and loving relationship with myself, between me and my shadows that I nurture daily today.
Shadows Slight ReturnII’ve walked among the shadowsTrapped in a never-ending tranceBound to an unshakable storyI‘ve authored and yet cannot reviseFor now matter how the story beganIt ended with me and my shameHiding and cowering in the shadowsThe best of me consumed by the worst of meDesperate to change to becomeYet desperately afraid of changeSo here I am walking among shadowsTrying trying trying to break freeFrom the grip of shadows in the darkSearching searching searching for lightIII don’t know when it happenedBut I’m aware that it didFor quite surprisinglyMy shadow became my friendMy worst momentsThey did become my bestAs they nudged and steeredPushed and pulled meFrom there to hereAnd from then to nowWeakness became strengthAnd despair gave birth to hopeAs fear and courage dancedDoubt became a seed for faith
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.