Hero, Victim, Martyr I’ve Been

Hero, Victim, Martyr I’ve Been

The couple of months before my sober anniversary, I’m usually intensely introspective and reflective. Oft it leads to a degree of self-shaming as…

A Meditation on Uncertainty and Fear

A Meditation on Uncertainty and Fear

Sober, I’ve developed several practices, ways of being that I was unable to consistently use before. Awareness was, and can still be a source…

The Moon, the Sun, and the Stars

The Moon, the Sun, and the Stars

When I stopped drinking alcohol almost 13 years ago, I was left to face fears, anxiety, regret, guilt, shame and depression. It was overwhelming. The…

Spiritual Not Religious

Spiritual Not Religious

I sometimes worry I cross the line. I like my lines bold, thick, and clear. I identified as agnostic at about 8 years old as…

I Try To Remember It Wasn’t All Bad

I Try To Remember It Wasn’t All Bad

My first few days, weeks, and months newly sober, my emotions were raw. They often swept me away. Moments of peace rare. Fear was ever…

Three Poems About Love For Valentines Day

Three Poems About Love For Valentines Day

Love and intimacy have taken on new meaning for me these days. My spouse and I, in many ways, are an improbable, imperfectly perfect match…

What Are You Afraid Of?

What Are You Afraid Of?

Somewhere between my consciousness and subconscious, I knew that this was a question that I was even afraid to ask – this the power that fear…

Lo This Prison I’ve Made

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…

In the Darkness, a Bottle of Vodka

In the Darkness, a Bottle of Vodka

I remember the panic I would often feel when I reached for the bottle of vodka in the middle of the night only to realize…

Trapped: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die

Trapped: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die

Many January reflections align with various versions of Step 1 of 12. Most speak of ‘acceptance’, ‘surrender’, ‘letting go’, and for me the most troubling…

No Longer Hiding in the Dark

No Longer Hiding in the Dark

No Longer Hiding in the Dark began as three separate poems written over consecutive days. One was biographical and two were autobiographical. After a conversation…

Taking Stock (Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory)

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…

An Assured, Clear Distance

An Assured, Clear Distance

I’m glad I shaved this morning.
I feel more civilized – nicer.
I had an older AA friend named Dick who’s been dead a…

Finding Peace, Joy, and Hope in the Mundane

Finding Peace, Joy, and Hope in the Mundane

When I was ‘told – sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly’ that I needed to find a higher power to stay sober, I bristled to put it…

Burdens and Blessings of Living and Dying

Burdens and Blessings of Living and Dying

Sober, I’ve felt the pain of dying and death of those I love. Before I got sober, I avoided much of the pain associated…

Be Here, Be Here Now

Be Here, Be Here Now

Alcoholics Anonymous’s “live one day at a time” is a seemingly sacrosanct slogan. The interpretation that I hear from the Big Book of Alcoholics…

It’s a Generational Thing

It’s a Generational Thing

Sometimes my thoughts are a jumble. But sober, at least I’m aware that they are a jumble. I recently was excited to discover distant…

Sacred Stories

Sacred Stories

Our stories are sacred and healing is part of our intro for We Agnostics: Freethinkers in AA meetings in Madison, WI. Six to seven times…

I Wanted To Believe

I Wanted To Believe

Times it was/is hard to be an agnostic in Alcoholics Anonymous. Between all of the ‘let go and let gods’, ‘ask god to remove…

Words

Words

81,260 words 4,028 poems (or thereabouts) – a story I write, changing my life each day. I began writing and posting a poem each…

Darkness and Depression

Darkness and Depression

Sober 12 years and I still have bouts of anxiety and depression. Once upon a time, alcohol helped with anxiety symptoms and allowed me to…

About Intimacy

About Intimacy

Intimacy: “…The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being. This is the…

Transforming Fear

Transforming Fear

Recovery has been transformative for me. Upon reflection, transformation is the essential action explicit in many of AA’s twelve steps, not just Step 12…

My Journeys Thus Far

My Journeys Thus Far

My Journeys Thus Far – once upon a time, I was driven to seek, to escape life unfulfilled. I wanted more. More of what I could…

Groan. Groan. Not Another Gratitude Meeting

Groan. Groan. Not Another Gratitude Meeting

I’ve been to approximately 4,565,625 meetings since spring 2007. I heard then and I continue to hear now, people often apologize for…

Maybe We Are Doing the Best We Can

Maybe We Are Doing the Best We Can

The other day I was watching an episode of Monk. “Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine.” At some point after an obvious failure with considerable consequences…

Fathers and Sons, Parents and Children, Forgiveness

Fathers and Sons, Parents and Children, Forgiveness

I recently found my first gratitude journal tucked away between two books, The Soul of Rumi, by Coleman Barks, and Stanislaw Lem’s, The Further…

Finding Joy Again

Finding Joy Again

Sober, I experience joy. I came to realize that drinking alcohol and the addictive, obsessive, compulsive desires to escape drinking alcohol stole my joy…

Sometimes Life’s Hard – Too Much for Me

Sometimes Life’s Hard – Too Much for Me

Sometimes life’s just too damn hard. Pain everywhere. The past several days – Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton (who knows where by the time this posts…

Shhh. Don’t Tell Anyone, I Sometimes Pray

Shhh. Don’t Tell Anyone, I Sometimes Pray

In my head, when I heard or read Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous, I always revised it to simply be, ‘sought through meditation to improve…

Regrets – I’ve Got A Few

Regrets – I’ve Got A Few

Regret. Guilt. Shame. That was my pattern for ever so long. It still grabs me and binds me now and again. “We will not regret…

Brief Poems for Desperate Times

Brief Poems for Desperate Times

In times like these, filled with screed and greed, it is so difficult for me to be. Seemingly all that I see consumes the better…

A Day at a Time They Said

A Day at a Time They Said

I heard this at my first meeting of AA, and I’ll bet that I’ve heard it at every meeting since. 5,226 meetings…

The Watcher and Me

The Watcher and Me

The Watcher first showed up in poems I was writing in about 2013 or 2014. These three connected poems were written years apart during times…

To the Spouses

To the Spouses

Early days. I was on shaky, newly sober legs and my marriage, more likely to dissolve than survive. A few of the elders, male and…

Nine Years Later, I’m Still Sober

Nine Years Later, I’m Still Sober

June 23, 2010, our daughter, my stepdaughter, died. Sober, I had euthanized a beloved dog and cat: my best friend of 25 years died unexpectedly…

My Shadows and Me

My Shadows and Me

My shadow self, as I’ve come to know, is dominated by regret turned to shame. Shame that bound me in chains and a prison…

What Do I Actually Believe?

What Do I Actually Believe?

What do I actually believe, I sometimes ask myself, searching for hope and finding none. What I sometimes say to myself is ‘… we are fucked…

Reclaiming My Spirit

Reclaiming My Spirit

The AA Agnostica article, “Spiritual, Not Religious” The Hollow Claim of Alcoholics Anonymous”,  and a conversation with an agnostic friend in AA about higher powers…

What’s Your Greatest Fear?

What’s Your Greatest Fear?

I asked this of myself recently, as I shared in a meeting, and I’ve thought about it frequently since. As a child, I feared…

Transformation

Transformation

I just wanted to stop drinking alcohol because, that’s all that I thought that I needed to do. Truth be known, I just wanted…

Restoration

Restoration

Restoration – I recently visited my son and his family—his wife and one year old daughter. A relationship once broken, now restored…

Wonder and Beauty I See

Wonder and Beauty I See

I just completed my annual 4th and 5th step. I’m lucky in a sense that I first got sober in spring. Spring cleaning in…

Resilience

Resilience

For three decades now, I’ve studied the ability of ecosystems to respond to change, to ultimately adapt. I’ve never thought about resilience as…

And One Day I Realized That I Was Creating My Own Mythology

And One Day I Realized That I Was Creating My Own Mythology

When I first began to write and share poetry, now approximately 4,383, but who’s counting, I sought to describe what I saw and…

Just One More Day Was All It Took

Just One More Day Was All It Took

The day before I went to my first AA meeting, was almost my last. I was either going to kill myself or with any luck…

Holding Sorrow and Joy With the Same Heart

Holding Sorrow and Joy With the Same Heart

I used to compartmentalize my life, my days, my feelings. Sober I’m learning to be whole. I am willing to hold joy and sorrow…

The Worst Days of My Life (Thus Far)

The Worst Days of My Life (Thus Far)

I’ve had many worst days of my life. Too many to count. Dark days when I stopped wanting to live and I bought a…

When I Lost Everything

When I Lost Everything

What was your bottom? Twelve years ago, I truly believed that I was losing everything that I valued. Dying seemed a relief from a life…

When Want Became Need And I Became Free

When Want Became Need And I Became Free

I remember how uneasy I felt newly sober. Consequences still rained down on me, affecting health, relationships, finances and career. And it was my mess…