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…

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 not say. I plotted a…

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 suggesting gratitude as topic 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, Sharona, his assistant, attempts to…

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 Adventures of Ion Tichy (my…

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). I feel too much at…

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 my conscious contact with the…

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 the past nor shut the…

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 parts of me; drags me…

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 by my count, but who…

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 I felt lost, alone and…

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 female, I’ll add, said…

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; I buried my mom after…

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 I alone made. Few people…

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 … we are so 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, brought something together that I…

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 my parents would die. I…

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 to stop drinking for a…

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 AA feels good,creates hope…

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 part of recovery. Though I…

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 how I felt. I did…

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, not wake up. The day…

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 in the same moment. This…

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 rope. The death of an…

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 I could no longer face…

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, the miserable mess I created…

God is Everything or Else He is Nothing

God is Everything or Else He is Nothing

I heard it again this morning for the umpteenth time “…we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is…

Stillness and Silence

Stillness and Silence

To sit still, quiet, a thing of dread in early recovery (sometimes now). A meditator for more than half my life and my first weeks sober and months before, I…

Anger

Anger

“If we were to live, we had to be free of anger … but to alcoholics these things were poison … anger is a luxury we cannot afford “. Various versions of this…

Seeking

Seeking

Sometimes I find myself desperately seeking and searching for answers to quench my thirst to know. My greatest drive seems to be answer a never-ending quest for why. Why…

Bearing witness to the pain and suffering of ‘those who still suffer’

Bearing witness to the pain and suffering of ‘those who still suffer’

In my home group some that chair that meeting preface the prompt to join in the first part of the Serenity Prayer with ‘for those that still suffer inside and…

Christmas on Tobacco Road

Christmas on Tobacco Road

I grew up on a little hard scrabble farm in the hills and hollers of eastern Tennessee. Our farm was on a gravel road that connected to two more gravel…

What It Was Like Then and What It Is Like Now

What It Was Like Then and What It Is Like Now

I start my day with a 10-15 minute meditation. I’ve done this most days since I got sober. The form changes from time to time. Sometimes simply to…

Science and Spirit

Science and Spirit

When I was newly sober, my feelings overwhelmed me. I began to write and share poetry as a way to be with overwhelming feelings. Writing helped me observe and accept…

All This Rage

All This Rage

I wrote the fragment -“Greed, Rage, Fear, Hate, Such a tightly wound knot”- about a month ago. It felt uncomfortable and uncontrollable and so I left it in a drafts…

Things Could Always Be Better

Things Could Always Be Better

The November 24 reflection from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life reference to Gabor Mate’s, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, reminded me of trying to quench…

Tales of the Star Child

Tales of the Star Child

I wrote this over eight mornings, a few years ago, writing a pair of verses each day not knowing what story would unfold. In fact, I didn’t know until…

Awareness

Awareness

Eleven years sober and I recently began to be swept away by politics, career and change. Anxious and depressed. Afraid and sad. It reminded me of how hopeless and helpless…

Poems to Shine a Light on Dark Times

Poems to Shine a Light on Dark Times

Of late I’ve found myself struggling again with heightened anxiety and darkening depression. I’ve been here before. Before getting sober and learning to cope with highs and lows…

Learning from Others

Learning from Others

Renga is a form of Japanese poetry of linked verses written by and with others. A couple of years ago, I saw a stately green ash by an old farmhouse…

Brief Poems About Time

Brief Poems About Time

Sometimes I notice that time rules my days. Appointments and deadlines. Calendars. So much that pushes and pulls me out of the sweet refuge of the present moment. Urgency often…

About Grieving and Grief

About Grieving and Grief

My first experience grieving, newly sober, was our 10 year old rescue dog. She became suddenly ill and had to have her euthanized at an emergency veterinary office. I held…

Us vs. Them

Us vs. Them

When I got sober and as I grew in sobriety, watching sports became less interesting and consuming. Underneath this, other things mattered more than what had once been lost weekends…

Storms

Storms

Looking back I see patterns and themes. Though these four poems form an arc about emotional storms and my relationship to rage, they come to a place of awareness, acceptance…

Recovery Through Poetry

Recovery Through Poetry

My writing seeks to let readers take what they need and leave the rest, to share my awareness as unfiltered as I can, to avoid telling the whole story and…

Monkey Mind and Beginner Mind

Monkey Mind and Beginner Mind

Long before I got sober, in fact, long before I had alcohol use disorder, I fancied myself Buddhist because I meditated a few times, a week to relax and I…

Notes From a Childhood of Mine

Notes From a Childhood of Mine

Sober several years, I still struggled with pain and childhood trauma. Prior to recovery, I buried it to the point of ignoring my childhood. These poems helped me appreciate the…