Shadows Slight Return

 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 Return
I’ve walked among the shadows
Trapped in a never-ending trance
Bound to an unshakable story
I‘ve authored and yet cannot revise
For now matter how the story began
It ended with me and my shame
Hiding and cowering in the shadows
The best of me consumed by the worst of me
Desperate to change to become
Yet desperately afraid of change
So here I am walking among shadows
Trying trying trying to break free
From the grip of shadows in the dark
Searching searching searching for light
I don’t know when it happened
But I’m aware that it did
For quite surprisingly 
My shadow became my friend
My worst moments 
They did become my best
As they nudged and steered
Pushed and pulled me
From there to here
And from then to now
Weakness became strength
And despair gave birth to hope
As fear and courage danced
Doubt 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.

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Teresa J
Teresa J
1 year ago

Lovely Robert. Thank you so much for putting in words a journey many of us, certainly have traveled. Teresa