The Stone that I Keep Hidden Away

The Stone that I Keep Hidden Away

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…

Second Chances

Second Chances

“… We may feel that we are making up for lost time but we are not; we are making the most out of a second chance…

The Whole World Sighed

The Whole World Sighed

The past several months I’ve felt captive to ‘what if’s’. What if he wins? What if he loses? What if this happens? What if that happens? I spent…

I Sit By This Little River

I Sit By This Little River

Rivers are special places in my life. They are a physical setting that I seek for refuge and to find peace – to feel okay when I am not. Rivers serve…

I Close My Eyes Though I’m Quite Awake

I Close My Eyes Though I’m Quite Awake

Sleep evaded me at my bottom – unable to fall asleep without drinking alcohol – unable to fall back to sleep without drinking alcohol. Lately, though sober for some time, I’ve…

Once Upon a Lifetime or Two Ago

Once Upon a Lifetime or Two Ago

In my struggle to find sobriety in AA, I unexpectedly became Buddhist by doing the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous…

I Once Wrote a Letter to Myself

I Once Wrote a Letter to Myself

Writing, including gratitude lists, parts of my personal stories, essays about principles, and steps in Alcoholics Anonymous, and for me most importantly, poetry, has been an essential part of my…

Despair and Desire

Despair and Desire

Of late, I’ve noticed despair and desire arising and sometimes becoming a distraction and a focus of my meditation for several days. I, at times, intentionally try, and impossibly…

A Meditation on Storms

A Meditation on Storms

A pandemic seeming without end, a stark political divide, hurricanes in the gulf, raging fires in the west all creating anxiety of an uncertain future that can overwhelm me. Being…

Crying Alone in the Dark

Crying Alone in the Dark

Of late, I’ve been aware of how important light is to my well-being. Fall has sometimes been a signal of occasional seasonal symptoms of depression. Before getting sober…

The Desperate Dance

The Desperate Dance

Once upon a time, I lived as if I had no choice but to drink alcohol in good times and in bad. I was ‘powerless over alcohol’ and I made…

Swept Away by the Raging Storm

Swept Away by the Raging Storm

Of late, I notice how desperate I am to hold on to happiness and joy and to push away anger, sadness, and grief. I often try to insulate myself and…

Looking Back

Looking Back

I realize that I used to live a conditional life – ifs, thens, whens, etc. And at times I still do. My impulses to stop drinking alcohol for a time were…

Shadows Slight Return

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…

Some Days Are Hard

Some Days Are Hard

Living sober has been full of nuance. Sometimes simple. Sometimes complicated. Often complex. Sometimes ‘the next right thing’ is clear and easy to see. Other times, I am hopelessly confused…

Coming Undone

Coming Undone

Like the Guess Who classic, She’s Come Undone, my life began to come undone, to spiral out of control into dependence on alcohol, frequent paralyzing panic, hopeless, demoralizing depression…

I Wanted to Dance and I Wanted to Sing

I Wanted to Dance and I Wanted to Sing

Though I’m not trapped in a depressive episode now, I remember what it is like. For me, depression has proven chronic. Something I manage with medication, meditation, mindfulness and…

Seeking Wholeness | Returning to the Source

Seeking Wholeness | Returning to the Source

My spouse and I were recently conversing about who we’ve been before and after. Before and after we met. Before and after I hit bottom and got sober. Before…

A Life Torn Asunder

A Life Torn Asunder

Facing a harsh reality 13 years ago of a reality that I had created, filled me with hope-consuming shame. Until that point, I protected my denial by blaming a…

These Masks I used to Wear

These Masks I used to Wear

Of late, I’ve been in several meetings where the idea of imposter phenomenon or imposter syndrome came up in more than one share. Now in my sixth decade of…

Amidst the Chaos About Me I See

Amidst the Chaos About Me I See

Amidst the Chaos About Me I See: Aubrey and Floyd, Cooper and Karens, masks and no masks, pandemic and hoax, guns in state capitals and Minneapolis burning…

Breath

Breath

I’m easily swept away by uncertainty into a spiral of fear. Fear-created,- heart beating out of my chest- panic. For much of my life, I woke gagging on…

Trapped in a Trance

Trapped in a Trance

 The notion of character defects that need be removed in Steps 6 and 7 and in popular books such as Drop the Rock, “…A big part of Twelve Step recovery…

Fragments

Fragments

So often, my thoughts are fragments. Unknown fears that grab me and will not let go. Regret that I cannot forget. Scars I thought healed, plucked revealing old pain born…

Surrender

Surrender

I’m and idealist in a practical realist body. Or maybe it’s the other way round. When I first came to Alcoholics Anonymous, Acceptance Was The Answer was quoted…

My Last Drink of Alcohol Day

My Last Drink of Alcohol Day

Thirteen years ago, April 20, 2007, I went to a special place for me, a wildlife area on the edge of town. I go there annually, much like the waterfowl…

The Boon and the Bane

The Boon and the Bane

The Boon and the Bane: Boon and Bane; Blessing and Curse these they bring me joy and they steal my joy. Gratitude and Resentment; thoughts and feelings that free me…

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 I remember weekends and weeks…

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 of anxiety for me. Sometimes…

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 universe that I had lived…

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 a child in a devout…

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-present. My life seemingly teetered…

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. It’s not the first…

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 held in my life. I…

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 all too often, beneath the…

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 that it was empty. The…

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 of all ‘admitting complete defeat…

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 with a friend (he was…

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. My dreams too, vivid, windows…

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 good while now.
Before I…

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 mildly. My first thought was…

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 with loved ones dying by…

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 Anonymous is more along the…

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 ancestors from 1600’s Scotland…

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 each week, I sit on…

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 all of these defects of…

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 day beginning in my first…

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 be engaged and productive. It…

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 baffling feature of alcoholism as…

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. This holds true for pretty…