Conservative Happiness

I wonder sometimes if they all think,

process, imagine, find futile,

an effort to push a boulder aside.

I feel the clammy stone of a permanence,

both hands taking grip on a monstrous image,

finding the will,

and yet realizing it is not about strength

at all.

 

When forgiveness occurs, we do find a way,

to lean, to count upon, the girth

of our boulders will

hold us up, give us strength,

allow our hearts and mind to know

that though it will never go away,

sometimes the offer

is meant only to be stability.

 

I was walking along the beach the other day,

noticed,

the footprints in the sand,

I could tell by their depth and lift,

a certain happiness in the owner’s gait.

Perhaps a burden lifted

the illusion of the rock,

set aside for now to appreciate another day.

 

Rather than move or alter or deface,

I will continue to cleanse the porous response

the rock reminds us all,

there is a constant reminder,

in our eternity,

to live by a mistake,

is to recognize the beauty of our

humanity.

 

 

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Eleven Years

One year,

still seek solace,

though the smiles

all around the centerpiece

seem more welcoming,

more genuine,

who’s the real one now,

everyone laughs.

Year five,

more celebration,

no longer dragged away,

suggested change,

a new day,

let go of previous pains,

set forth with a personal gain,

slowly.

Year ten,

a gracious reality,

this is probably begun to work,

the effort a daily focus

layered upon good will,

a desire to stay

happy.

Eleven years,

still the same,

grateful.

So Long Ago

I can still stand there,

feel the pain,

realize just how close I can become

again.

Take a drink, the slow heat flow,

there’s a certain sense of clarity

that first drink blossoms a facade,

dropping money on a strangers table,

a release of tension,

letting go,

taking one day at a time.

There’s such a reversal in the hypocrisy

of denial.

I remember hope,

imagine having piece of mind,

in a couple of ounces of smooth.

All this euphoria,

the notion of escape,

a reality I chose to put away,

all of the fantasy with departure,

is standing right here,

ready to open the door to hell.

Recovery is Truth

We might want to challenge,

our demons,

Perhaps we can manage

black ravens

in figurative form glancing upon our lives

while we do provoke

a resilient will, a desire to control, an impossible

passion to let go.

A society exists

makes rules

suggests mores

enlightens the soul

with truth

yet there are the waivers

a moment of freedom might easily

become the central torment;

only a clear mind, a thoughtful plan,

a willing participant in happiness,

will recognize the power in recovery.

It is that place

where

while the world continues

we step back,

learn to breathe again,

understand our truths need

inner strength,

help secure sanity,

letting go of crazy

 

Hiding From My Tormentor

I won’t allow you inside tonight,

keep you just at bay,

stay away from me you’re a fright

always getting in my way.

~

I remember the first time you spoke,

the words spilled out in chaos

a defensive burden, a speechless choke

the alarm of knowing my loss.

~

You took away everything I loved so far

in a life short yet incomplete

I didn’t understand you were my czar

to help me define my defeat.

~

I want this, I need this, I screamed inside,

with an external facade of grief,

To those I loved I continued, I would deride

for their inane illogical idyllic belief.

~

I was especially unhappy when defined

my world was wrapped deep within

a lifestyle I’d discovered far less refined

than certain peace you’d suggest a given.

~

I became dependent upon your own scrutiny,

that habitual creation of shattered will

my life wallowed slow toward certain insanity

while artificial stimulants would be my fill.

~

The crash and burn of a societal taboo

wandered into my livelihood.

Soon there began a surge of hiss and boo,

a spiritual gift is hope that I could

~

achieve new levels of sanity that remained

nearby if I chose, I had to believe

every aspect of relief and peace now gained

became a fuel to your loss; I still grieve

~

only in fantasy, only in the reality of dreams

can you ever master addiction, return it seems.

Wise Repartee

We like to be right, you and me,

yes you, not me, only us, we all seem to

never want to agree,

instead,

we’d like to be right all the time.

or do we just want to be

ok.

A couple of years ago, I fought the urge to be wrong,

didn’t wish to ever acknowledge I could be a

lying, cheating, insolent, self-entitled, inebriated

jerk.

Funny, I wasn’t even drinking then,

just begin to imagine how truly lost my soul was,

if I even could count on that part of my being,

still existing.

When is it we truly lose our soul?

Wait on that for another moment,

let’s stick to the topic of being real, honest, truthful

about who we are

again.

We do seem to start over quite a bit, y’know.

Especially us!

I know you know, and I believe you could be alright with yourself,

if you just might let your world become the safety zone

she once believed it might be.

Back then, he didn’t have a lot of faith in anything,

and until his knuckles dragged upon the glass lined gravel

nobody anywhere really cared,

anymore.

Fascinating and amazing how suddenly people care again.

Quite right!

Cleaning Up

I recall just how difficult it was. Every episode, battle to rationalize, reason to do the things I did, for myself and no one else. I remember weeks of justifying why, or who, or what need I was trying to fill. Driving through my neighborhood one night, just trying to avoid the lawns, staying in the middle of a fortunately quiet residential street. I kept wondering if everyone in the neighborhood knew I had them all fooled. Knew that I was a hard liquor guy that nobody knew. I remember wishing I could answer my own questions, but every time I tried, I needed to find another way to bury my emotions. I remember the day I decided to finally clean up my act.

I had been down this road before, that path of being completely detached from what is real, and only concerned with my next drink, the next card game, anything to keep the machine rolling, spiraling more than I wanted to imagine. I couldn’t, it was far too important to get my fix. In society we crucify the junkie for being such a mess, but the alcoholic, we call it a social disorder, that even though he made it to work everyday, he could still hold his liquor. I never knew of a heroin addict that could hold their high. Truth is I never actually knew a junkie that could fool the world as well as me.

For many years I blamed everything around me, rather than looking directly at myself. i would make a plan, this weekend I’m not having a Bloody Mary, and I would be drinking one an hour later. The socialization was attractive, I always figured that was my motivator, but in the end I came to terms with the idea, that chasing women was only caveat, the real pleasure was getting trashed and forgetting how miserable a human being I had become. See, the vicious cycle allows us to judge ourselves with extreme scrutiny while at the same time freeing our mind of any responsibility. I could always hide behind addiction.

My kids were young, and my wife was helpless to my controlling personality. She didn’t enable me, she feared for my life. She actually knew the harm I was causing to our family. I have often said I am glad my kids never saw me drunk, but that was an allusion. They may not have actually seen me or been too young to realize, but they always heard me in the middle of the night, and wondered why their Dad was never home. I lost a lot of years with my children and my wife due to my drinking and gambling.

I have been sober for 30 of the last 35 years, and I often speak to that five year window that was so indicative of my alcoholism. I couldn’t stop once I got started, and if not for some mild consequence, I would continue drinking until I killed myself or did something impulsive to ruin my life. If not for opening my checking account to my wife, I would have used gambling as an excuse to take my own life. I couldn’t find any solace anywhere, and I always had to bury the loneliness, of not being able to talk to anyone about my problem. The reality was, that anyone I spoke to would approach the subject with trepidation. I remember so many friends being relieved about my sobriety, shaking my hand, giving me a smile. This was so much more appealing than the serious expressions, the patronage a close friend gave me when I justified my drinking. The gambling was different. I could walk around and just look tired, without the stumbling slur of alcohol. The loneliness was excruciating. There was no-one at all whom I could reveal my gambling. If I told anyone that I was spending six to eight hours a night online playing poker, they would have no respect for me.

People say we don’t choose to get ourselves cleaned up. We get caught and we are forced to fix ourselves. There are some, that when deep in the mire their conscience just eats them alive. I’m pretty convinced that was my saving grace. If I didn’t feel the destruction I was actually creating, I would have kept on going. If I didn’t a loving wife that stood by my side despite the ass hat I was, I would have lost everything. I did get caught, but I am so happy, so delighted to have an opportunity to live a good life, and know the people around me are breathing a little easier.

I’ve been sober now for a decade, and the gambling ended eight years ago. I don’t judge people for their choice to drink or gamble for that matter. It is their choice, but I do suggest I will be there when the conversation merits a decision to look addiction in the eye. I still have my skeletons, but they’re a bit easier to manage with a clear head, one that is forced to constantly scrutinize the choices I make every day of my life.

To me, cleaning up means acceptance of my vulnerability as a human being. My actions were not caused by alcohol or addiction in any manner, those were my own. Alcoholism or addiction gave me an out. Today, I’d prefer internal peace.