Despite enduring some “personal turbulence” in recent weeks, I’ve never felt the urge to drink. Well, not really.
I’ve had momentary failings in my thinking – nanoseconds where I imagine what it would be like to indulge in a glass of wine or a cool cocktail to calm my wild mind. Thankfully, I am always able to imagine beyond that first sip, and remember what it always, always led to. That’s enough to stop my imaginings cold.
I’ve also made sure to call my sponsor or another AA friend if I find myself thinking along those lines. Or, I’ll pencil an AA meeting into my schedule and try my best to make it. This seems to work.
This morning, while surfing a poetry site (It’s National Poetry Month, y’all!), I came across this poem. Quite fitting, I thought. And quite the cautionary tale, for someone like me.


He tells me that
Sobriety makes him feel tawdry.
I laugh. But he’s not joking.
He doesn’t feel tawdry anymore.
You can see his relapse
In the way he won’t make eye contact.
In how he holds his coffee
Tenderly, like alcoholics hold their whiskey:
Like he holds whiskey.
Like he holds cocaine.
Like he holds his wife.
His eyes seem a little less green lately,
Less fertile, more empty.
Like ashes and dust.
He sits across from me
Looking like the patron saint of lost causes,
And I forget how to pray.
I know how he wants to be some kind of beautiful catastrophe,
And all I can think is that addiction isn’t a language I speak
At least, not the way he does.
He tells me how he almost died last night,
His heart almost stopped beating;
He’s too calm about all this.
I see him and think mythology,
Think Icarus,
Think Eden
I see the white powder Caesar saying
Veni Vidi Vici.
It’s just something in his hush that makes me think of falling,
He says he’s just trying to be human again.
But looking in those eyes,
I wonder if he remembers what that means.

5 Responses to “Relapse”

  1. 1 1markt

    I think, that does it! Only one who’s been there would know how apt this poem is.
    It’s good work and keep making a meeting.
    Marcus T.

  2. Powerful. Thanks for sharing and keep doing what you’re doing!

  3. 3 Chaz

    Hey C… havent “C-een” (ta-ha) you around recently. Glad you are doing well and made it through the meandering thoughts. I get them from time to time, but like you, I just keep realistically in mind what happens after the first sip. Chaos has always broken out in the past…. this time will be different? I am not prepared to find out. Sober/recovering life is gooood. Lets keep it that way eh?



  4. So glad to see you again…I will be back!!! Glad that you are well even with some stress and glad to know you’re writing and enjoying poetry.


  5. What a great poem. “Beautiful catastrophe.” Love that.

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