I’ve realized sober for a time, that fear of abandonment runs through my veins. My dad would disappear for several days a few times a year on a drunken binge. Usually, he also gambled away virtually everything we had. As a young child, I was terrified. As a preteen and teen, I was still terrified, but also, fantasized that he might never come back.
A divorce from a dysfunctional and mutually toxic marriage 30+ years ago threw me into a spiral of loss and shame and became a catalyst for my eventual dependence on alcohol. Post-divorce, I had two significant relationships, both with women I thought ‘the one’. They both ended without explanation leaving me with the persistent and damaging question – why?
In hindsight and the clarity that sober reflection provides – neither relationship was healthy. I now see, how my desperation and clinging to unhealthy relationships harmed my young son. In my fear of being abandoned – I abandoned him. I am ever so grateful that I got a Second Chance with my son. I learned to hide my thoughts and feelings from those closest to me from an early age. It’s only with awareness, clarity, and intention daily that I’m willing, to be honest with myself and those closest to me. Writing and sharing what I write let’s me be vulnerable in ways that otherwise would feel unsafe. My impulse to attach, to cling, remains – old patterns deeply conditioned run deep. Sober, my residual fear of being abandoned, I see it as it arises and I remind myself that I’m no longer an 8-year-old child wondering if Daddy is going to come home.
The Stone That I Keep Hidden Away
Daily I polish the stone that I keep hidden away
I polish it and I polish it rubbing and brushing away
The accumulated residue of living life
Of trying and failing endless cycles of samsara
I want to show you my precious stone I really do
But I’m afraid afraid you’ll toss it away
Like others did in a once upon a time
So I keep my beautiful stone in my pocket
With its chips and cracks and worn patina
Of life lived well not and mostly in between
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.