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By: Richard “Shane” Johnson

Nowhere to be, free as I want.
It’s either a dream, a realm,
Or could even be my hell!

Just taking up space, in this
“so called” Land of the free.
It Almost seems, I’m swaggering thee.

Yet, not so glamorous, but
Oh so “DARK”. Light sneaks in,
as to Post its mark.

Sun goes down, even the
sound. Night stalks in,
To free its sin.

It’s a weary feeling, since
Of confusion. As Angels rest,
Demons are flurrying.

They pull the strings, like
They are the masters. Puppeteering
people, to their disaster.

Controlling their minds, and driving
Their hearts. Into thinking,
“It’s better, to live in the DARK!”

By: Richard "Shane" Johnson Nowhere to be, free

By Tiffany Lace

Hello i am addiction,

I am also your all time low,

Im to blame for loved ones to leave you.

But by choosing me you must have want them to go.

Ive caused you so much trouble I’ve damn near destroyed your life.

Im more than whats behind the meaning of living and dying by the knife.

You see now you have no value nor the strength to make a drink im the reason your self worths demolished because of me you cannot think…

Makes me wonder why you haven’t left me yet like i made my all your loved ones leave you, or if your contemplating suicide the devils wins the battle for you..

Some people pay to go to rehab other people go to jail …

But even there you will crave me while all alone living in your little cell..

Your family they need you no holiday with out you is the same they never see you smile and my name is addiction so pick me to place them.

By Tiffany Lace Hello i am addiction, I am

By Leslie Cappiello

His death. Unexpected and sudden. Happy and grounded he seemed at this stage in his life at thirty and preparing for his 12-year-old daughter’s arrival. He had not seen her in five years, mostly because he was using or in jail or in another toxic relationship.  However, things appeared to be turning around after he was released from jail.  He began working right away, saving up for an apartment. I was blinded by hope. but in hindsight, he was hiding his return to drugs and girlfriend, also an addict.

As his mother, I could only pray and encourage him to make good choices; stay away from others that brought him down. To see himself worthy of a healthy relationship. He had a lot to offer with a big heart and a forgiving spirit. I overlooked the darkness that he struggled with and encouraged him the best I could with positive affirmations. I lived in fear but believing somehow he would make it out of the pit of discouragement that followed him around like a dark cloud.  But in my denial, I missed the signs. Could I have changed the course of his final day? I wrestle with this question and sometimes find myself screaming at God, but in reality, I know that we all make our choices, but oh, how I wish it had been me instead of him.

He had me, an older sister, and three other brothers; we were close and supportive of one another, but it wasn’t enough. He missed his father. He went to live with him as a teenager; little did I know that his dad would bond with our son through drugs. When it became obvious what was happening, it was too late. He was 18-years-old, and now a father himself. The responsibility of his choices closed in. I did the only thing I knew to do, hit the floor on my knees in fervent prayer. Hadn’t God promised that he’d keep those we love safe from harm if we believed for what we asked for? That was my daily mantra and continued the illusion that everything was just fine. After his dad’s death, the depression tightened its deadly grip. He couldn’t shake the pervasive longing for his father, though he knew their relationship was unhealthy. He chose to hide his mental instability by becoming the life of the party. And abdicating his role as a father.

As the years sped by, so did his drug use; continuing the revolving door of incarceration. Though he had many close friends who encouraged him to go back to school, he couldn’t let go of his sadness and move forward. When they started graduating from university, getting married, buying a house, and having children, the truth of his choices became glaringly obvious; however, the drugs roared louder.

We all encouraged him to seek help for his depression, instead, he pushed his pain and dreams into one more shot. The ache of loneliness over the death of his father, along with his fear of following a simpler path pushed behind the barbed wire of his mind, temporarily assuaged by the needle; became his dividing line. The temptation to use one more time, a last ditch attempt to fill the chasm of depression, finally closed the door to what could have been.

But the real story of who he was deep inside was known only to us, his family. From an early age, he grappled with anxiety and depression, though he was the class clown in school. I made sure I was home afternoons, holidays, and summers, and encouraged his love of reading. He spent many hours lost in the world of Harry Potter among other fantasy titles as he grew up, and countless books about history. He knew every statistic about every professional sports team; wrote clever sports stories, but never published. Though he was urged to. Step out and see, we’d say. His beautiful brown eyes and sweet smile energized a room like a power surge of optimism. He met no strangers and never complained, even in the depths of his addiction. His friends uplifted by his charisma and wit never knew he buried his dreams within. He was made for more, but he couldn’t see it. He sat his sadness through humor, masking his pain, and sealing his fate.

He lent his light to those who took but never gave.  His heart whispered, urging him to own his voice, his desires, instead of the agonized clanging rush hour of do. The beam of his truth flashing briefly then vanquished to the tightrope of doubt and confusion. Out, Out brief candle, life is a fleeting shadow of choice. My son chose to anesthetize his hurt, but his real story remains. He is kind. He is love.

I wish I would have talked to him more about his depression and anxiety, maybe one more time could have altered the course of his life. But I can’t turn back the hands of time, I can only offer his story in hopes someone will seek help, or know they’re not alone.

So, for now, I turn inward and feel the rain that comes to me in my nightly dreams, darkening its silent waste around me. I fold into my grief. My amputated heart throbbing with the weight of memories. The mirror tells my story of the unimaginable – the loss of my firstborn son.  I am a stranger to my own reflection. My hair white overnight. The anchor of despondency pushing me to the floor, supine; where I gladly want to remain.

I know I must get on with life, my other children and grandchildren need me strong; so I rise and wobble on wooden legs like a puppet floundering for the stage floor. I am no actor nor puppet, but a mother carrying deserted lanes of pain. In silence. The well-wishers gone. The weight of my sadness highlighting their unspoken fear that somehow my loss is contagious. Though by not talking about mental illness and drug abuse, we remain in the comfortable illusion that all is well; while the hurting sons and daughters continue to play Russian roulette, denying the fact the game is rigged. The game always wins, if played in secret.

I carry his smile, his voice, his dreams. He enriches my life, though I will never be the same. Nothing is as it was. His story teaches me to be kinder, gentler; fearless to be honest about mental illness, and the counterfeit high of drugs that offer everything, but delivers nothing.

Life has put me on a path that I never chose nor wanted. To honor my son, my lacerated heart must forge a new trail of living.  Walking now with a limp, I press on.

By Leslie Cappiello His death. Unexpected and sudden.

My possesion is depression

Depression
making me unable
to move
get up, well
get dressed then!
so obsessed
with no obsession
overwhelmed
by nothing
but it’s truly a mountain
so dramatic
I feel
when I fall into depression
slipping away
feeling num
but always feeling too much emotion
empty but way too overloaded
anxiety comes with it
and makes me worry
worry about nothing
and mood changes fast
agitated, irritated and,
quickly overstimulated
the light that was there yesterday
some how today has faded
depression
why ?
just go away
thoughts in my head
begging you to stay
so I can just curl up
and roll away
under my covers
a bottomless abyss
oh how I wish
it didn’t feel like this
depression

© Janelle Erin Elizabeth Peters
all rights reserved 2020

My possesion is depression Depression making me unable to move get

Recovery is harder than getting clean
being sick is a place that, I have been
but being recovered well,
that’s new to me

How do you deal?
how do you deal?
how do you deal,
with how you feel?

With anxiety
the thoughts of the drug
make me run
to the washroom
why does that excite me?

Been down this road before
not a hurdle I wanna jump through anymore
been gone so far
thought I couldn’t return

Did I lose all parts good of me,
and the parts you yearn?
tell me why with my first mistake,
didn’t I learn?

Recovery it’s part of me
I live it everyday
I just wanted you to know
I get through it day by day

Recovery is here to stay
it’s harder than you think
but it’s worth every minute for me
not to pick up that drink
or take that pill

Nights felt like dying
nights that felt unreal
but back at it again
only to make the same mistake

Thank God for recovery
and everyday it makes me live
without it,
I wouldn’t have this writing gift to give.

© Janelle Erin Elizabeth Peters All rights reserved

Recovery is harder than getting clean being sick

Friend of Bill

I am a “friend of Bill”
hope you don’t know that thrill
but if you do
trust me
Bill’s the hardest friend I had lately

Bill doesn’t take no duff
and doesn’t take no lies
Bill sees right through you
before you even try

I was friends with Bob sometime
before I met this Bill
and Bob was quite the slob sometimes
but he was really chill
Bob was happy stealing pills
and selling to the mob
at the time I thought to myself, I really like this Bob

but you see Bob, he drug me down
so deep below, was covered in dirt
only my fingertips poking through the sand
if you got down close enough
you could grab me by the hand

and then someone did they pulled me out
another “Friend of Bill*
they offered me the big big book
instead of a tiny thrill

In my position
I thought why not give it a try
another foot of dirt on me
I’d suffocate and die

So Bill’s my new best friend
and he’s a friend to many
he could be a friend to you to
if you feel Bob’s growing old on you

© Janelle Erin Elizabeth Peters 2020 all rights reserved

Friend of Bill I am a "friend of

If Addiction Could Talk 

by Leeanna Kligis

I can’t wait to escape all my problems.

And forget that they’ll all come back in the morning.

 

I am trying.

But I don’t know how to do this.

 

I’ve been programmed with an addict brain.

 

A quick fix that gives me instant gratification.

 

It’s the only thing I know.

I constantly wonder if everyone feels this messed up.

 

I am so confused.

 

I’m not sure what I want anymore.

 

Or who I am.

 

I set goals but don’t follow through.

 

I am a failure.

 

I feel like I’ve tried everything, and nothing works.

 

I just want to fix me.

 

But am I even broken?

 

One last time.

 

No one has to know.

 

I’ll get back on track.

 

Am I addicted?

I’ll start tomorrow.

I’ll stop tomorrow.

It feels like I’m at war with myself.

People are scared to say these things out loud.

 

But I’m not.

Because it’s so spot on that I have chills running down my spine.

Fast..

Or is it fast?

 

My memory is foggy and things blur together..

It’s romantic.

How in love with escaping my life I am.

I don’t need anything or anyone else.

Besides snacks and sleep aids.

I want to be alone….

Party by myself.

 

I have no desire to be intimate since I started medication again.

Because no one understands what I’m going through.

I am content with my addiction.

Then I’m not.

I decide to quit.

And I do.

But lately I can’t control it.

It’s odd.

I just want to sedate myself.

I want to chill and sleep and escape.

I feel crazy.

I’m addicted to a feeling.

I miss my old life.

Way less thinking, that’s for sure.

I don’t even know how to be sober right now.

But it’s the last time… Right?

 

The old me is back.

 

For the night at least.

I just saw them in the mirror.

The old me is dangerous and sexy and exciting and way more fun than sober me.

 

I finally feel good again.

But I can’t talk to people about it anymore.

 

I have done this over and over again.

I’m like the person that cried sobriety.

 

I am a hypocrite. An imposter.

 

I have no credibility.

That’s how I feel.

What is the real reason we want to use substance?

To escape.

Escape what you ask?

That loud self-critical voice.

The harsh inner dialog that never quiets down.

Are the pills making me better or worse?

What’s the point?

To feel good.

To forget.

To remember.

 

To make it until tomorrow I guess.

I’m trapped in the past and racing toward the future.

I can’t handle my thoughts anymore.

They are screaming at me.

 

I feel so alone.

 

Will things ever get better?

 

I just want peace.

If Addiction Could Talk  by Leeanna Kligis I can't

Experts describe addiction as a complex brain disorder and a relapsing disease. Since it impacts all aspects of a person’s life, treatment usually involves a variety of approaches. Detox, medication, behavioral therapy, and group counseling are traditionally used in drug and alcohol recovery.

Treatment specialists have expanded recovery programs to include alternative therapy. Art psychotherapy is a form of holistic therapy and is used as a recovery tool to help people struggling with various kinds of addictions.

What Is Art Therapy?

Also known as creative arts therapy or expressive arts therapy, art therapy can be an effective way to treat alcohol and drug addiction as well as co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression. It is an alternative and positive way to deal with negative emotions. Think of it as a way to heal by using art instead of words.

Art is a form of healing that has a long history, although it’s a newer approach to helping individuals create substance-free lives. For millennia, people have used art to tell stories and express their feelings. These expressions include cave paintings and graffiti. They are symbolic ways to communicate, send messages, and express emotions.

The principles are essentially the same when it comes to using art as a recovery tool in rehab. Rehab residents have an opportunity to unlock their artistic skills and use them to self-soothe when they feel the urge to use alcohol or drugs. They can sketch, draw, doodle, paint, and color to express their emotions or release guilt, anger, or shame. They can reach deep within and empower themselves, reshape their self-images, and harness positive thoughts and feelings about the world.

Types of Art Therapy

Creating an art journal, sculpting or painting emotions, stress painting, and traumatic event drawing are all examples of expressive arts. But there is more to art therapy than putting a pencil to paper or a paintbrush to canvas. The art therapist facilitating treatment may use expressive methods such as:

  • Music therapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Drama therapy
  • Visual art

Important focus points of art therapy include imagination, expression, and establishing a connection between the mind and body. Therapists may ask clients to respond by using pictures, sounds, movements, and experiences. The therapists carefully observe the colors, shapes, actions, tone of voice, and facial expressions their clients use to convey their feelings.

These serve as clues to the clients’ thoughts and belief systems and help therapists learn what triggers their clients’ addictive behaviors. The therapists later explain their findings to their clients to help them understand why they turn to addictive substances and activities to cope.

Art Therapy vs. Traditional Therapies

Many people struggling to kick addiction are also burdened with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or some other co-occurring disorder. As such, treatment needs to help them address both the substance abuse problem and the underlying mental health issue.

Cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies provide important tools to help change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that encourage addiction. Clients learn positive coping skills to manage cravings and other types of substance use triggers.

While these traditional techniques play a key role in recovery, treatment specialists agree that art-based treatment can have a profound impact on psychological healing from substance abuse. It provides an opportunity for healthy self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-acceptance in a nonverbal way it helps people deal with their cravings.

How Art-Based Therapy Can Help You Become Sober

Immersing yourself in various forms of art can enhance your emotional well-being and communication skills. It evokes authenticity, unlocks pent-up emotions, reduces stress, helps you resolve conflicts better, increases positive emotions, and builds self-esteem. If you’re not careful, you may feel as if you’re developing a new type of addiction — an addiction to the joys of artistic healing.

Above all, art therapy at an inpatient or outpatient alcohol and drug rehab centers can help promote long-term sobriety. Other programs and therapies that may be beneficial include:

  • Medical-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • 12-step and non 12-step programs
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Experiential therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual and group counseling

Keep in mind that the use of therapy is not limited to drug and alcohol abuse treatment. In fact, it may also be beneficial for gambling, gaming, sex, pornography, and other types of addictive behaviors.

Finding an Arts Therapy Program for Addiction

Dedicated medical and mental health professionals at local addiction treatment centers can provide structured and supportive environments to beat addiction. They can help you determine which treatment programs suit you and may recommend expressive therapy.

Art therapy is a powerful way to write, draw, paint, dance, or sing your way to recovery. While it can be an effective stand-alone therapy, experts say it may also be useful as part of an extensive treatment program that includes medication and behavioral therapies.

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

Sources

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – The Use of Art and Music Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Evidence-Based Practices for Substance Use Disorder

kundoc.com – The First Steps Series: Art Therapy for Early Substance Abuse Treatment

Experts describe addiction as a complex brain

Approaching 7 months of sobriety.

By the Grace of God.

This song makes me think of my addictions – and how they impacted my friends and family.

It’s entitled, “The Last Lost Continent” by La Dispute.

When I hear its lyrics, I think of my family members as they were trying to break me from the bonds of addiction.

Sometimes I think of myself as a sober person – looking to help my sponsees through the 12 steps.

At the end of the day though, God is in charge.

Only my Higher Power can save me and my sponsees.

I let Him fight my battles for me.

For He can destroy my demons as easily as the narrator in this song destroys his.

We are not the heroes in our recovery stories. Our Higher Power is.

We are the rescued. Saved from our addiction. Survivors of the same shipwreck.

Gaining power by the day.

Approaching 7 months of sobriety. By the Grace

You never would’ve believed it!
Just yesterday I was getting high.
Now I’m in this church dressed in white.
Flowers everywhere…it’s blowing my mind.
Funny how things can change in one night.
I used to be the Fentanyl Queen,
the pill chaser….a heroin fiend.
I admit my addiction had me down.
But I knew eventually , I’d come around.
Who would’ve believed it?
Looks like I’m about to tie the knot.
I swear last night was my last damn shot.
I mean it this time. I’m staying clean.
Just goes to show…never lose your dreams.
Me and my man are finally saying “I do.”
After marriage who knows? I may go back to school.
My family and friends came just to see me.
It’s all so surreal.  There isn’t one empty seat!
Nobody would believe it!
I’m out of pills and I don’t care.
I feel a change…like I’m walking on air.
My dad is crying.  I guess he’s afraid.
He doesn’t want to give his little girl away.
I have to go see him.  Why does he keep looking down?
I hope my man doesn’t see my wedding gown.
But halfway there my body goes numb.
I’m struck with guilt.  What have I done?
As I get closer I’m pained at the sight,
of my dad devastated, as he tells me goodbye.
Can you believe this?
My Cold feet and heart freeze my path.
I look down and see what he was looking at.
Then I realize it’s not my wedding day.
My family and friends aren’t here to celebrate.
It seems I’m here as my own guest,
to watch them lay me down to rest.
Just yesterday I was getting high.
Now I’m in this church dressed in white….
I never would’ve believed it.

 

Author: Tamara

You never would’ve believed it! Just yesterday I