Foreshadowing, circa 1992

In the fall of 1992 I’d just declared my major in English and was taking a few literature classes as well as a 200 level poetry writing class.  I wrote the following poem about my grandfather and his battle with the bottle.  Little did I know that 20 years on, I’d be struggling with the same problem.

Keys Clunking

Hunched over the typewriter,
I speak to those after me
On the paper.
The breeze blows
Through the window,
Cooling the sparse room,
With its pair of beds
And that junk in the corner.
I recall the image
Of the old man over his machine
In the dining room of the old house
Where mom grew up.
A gray cardigan sweater
Draped over his body
Nearly touches the Camel, unfiltered
Cigarette burning in his ashtray.
Hints of bad whisky,
Whatever was cheep at the “sto’e”,
Mingle with the smell of smoke.
Only a drop of the poison remains
In the bottom of the shot glass
No matter how hard he tries
That final drop always dries
In the glass when the pint is empty.
In this house there’s not a sound,
Save the clunking of the keys,
Invading the silence.

— DED 1992

© @soberboots

Intention provides meaning

Two months ago today, I walked into the old sanctuary on the grounds of a local Presbyterian church.  The worn but functional building is no longer the main place of worship and now serves as a meeting place for a variety of groups and activities.  I was there for the Wake Up East meeting of AA.

I’ll never be able to fully express the sheer terror that I felt as I sat there, defeated and worn out like the floorboards of that hall that are covered in places with blue masking tape.  I knew that I’d reached the end of the line. As I sat there before the meeting started I felt completely alone.

I was no longer willing to hang on to the idea that I might be able to moderate my drinking.  The past several years had already proven the impossibility of that plan.  I was starting to accept that reality. And still, abstinence seemed impossible.

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I grew up in the country and spent my formative years close to the land. Everyone I knew hunted and fished. Friends lived on farms and had livestock and horses. After school and on weekends, my time was spent outside, usually with a bb gun and a pair of boots.

Farms were a big part of life. It felt like everyone had a pickup, usually with a gun rack in the window. My first jobs were on farms — bailing hay, painting barns, painting fences with creosote, splitting wood, and shoveling shit. The woman I lost my virginity to lived on a pig farm.

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I am @soberboots. I stand on my feet. I don’t crawl before anyone.

Yesterday, after a couple of days of agonizing debates between the committee members in my head, I changed my handles on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

After I started posting about going to an AA meeting publicly on this blog, I began to have some misgivings.  These misgivings are rooted in two things: a sense of self-protection and the debate around anonymity in recovery.

I’m really new to this and I don’t know how people will react — although the cat is out of the bag for the most part.  Continue reading