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The Spirit

Author: Adrian P.

He is
Here.

With me
In my place of
Peace?

He is
Here
With me
Through the most
‘devil’
Of
Nights.

He is here
In comfort
With me
In addiction.

And
Utter
Depression.

He is here with
Me.
My family
And one lover
My ‘real’
Friends.

That
Person is
Here
Now.

The Spirit Author: Adrian P. He is Here. With me In my

Author: Megan K.

Sober Struggle

Down I fall,

It grips me tighter.

My soul forgot,

That I’m a fighter.

It hides until I’m

Idle thinking.

I thought it stopped,

When I stopped drinking.

But it lurks around,

The corner store.

It doesn’t strike,

Until it’s sure.

That every piece,

Is set in place.

To distract me from,

My new found faith.

To remind me that,

It’s here to stay.

No matter how

I choose to pray.

This deamon will not

Leave my side.

But I’ll never run

Away to hide.

Behind the booze,

Or a drug house chair.

God will show me,

He is there.

Falling on my

Bended knees.

They say the bad

Will come in threes.

I’ve counted more,

Throughout my time.

I think God thought,

I needed nine.

These sober days

Have filled my soul.

A diamond made,

From pressured coal.

Rough days come,

I lose my sight.

If I reach out,

He’ll shine a light.

I’ll follow it,

And find my way.

My God is Love,

Amen, I pray.

 

Author: Megan K. Sober Struggle Down I fall, It grips

Author: Chris G.

Gonna be a problem.

From the second you entered my body,
And swept through like a warm soothing wave.
I knew instantaneously,
You were gonna be a problem,
I laid down in pain when I’d go without your embrace,
Feeling a dire sense of relief the moment I got a taste,
Being surrounded by many in the same situation,
All different,
Yet the same we were all in drug nation,
Some of us past and didn’t come back,
While those left behind talking like it was nothing while taking hits of crack,
All aware of how this fucking nightmare could end,
Unable to get past the drugs being our one and only friend,
This problem of mine leading only to death,
Never stopped me from stopping even til my almost last breath,
Been dead now too many times to reflect about,
I have to pull away Problem you can’t keep me in doubt,
It pains me to walk away from those ‘good times’ we had,
But reality of it is those ‘good times’ were truly all bad,
I miss you sometimes the way you hugged me within,
Til I think of how much of me you had actually taken,
So middle fingers raised high in salute,
To my old friend Problem who has finally gotten the boot.

Author: Chris G. Gonna be a problem. From the

Author: Sam M.

We meet again my vicious friends…
It’s been a while thought I was changing my style
Still I needed you that is no denial
Life constantly flows like the Nile
Everyone knows if I’m ill it’s you who I dial
Can never be true as I bundle my shit up in a pile
Out the door I try to go
You’re pissed I’m face down on the floor I know
I laugh then crack a joke
Pick myself up see change fuck I’m broke
I don’t fit in I hang with different folk
Hitting rails I pluck my guitar with a deadly stroke On edge so I shoot before I smoke
With death I’m flirting puking between burping Head in the toilet I’m hurting
Craving a buzz so I’m slurring
Later driving to cop lost in thought severely swerving
If I’m being honest the chaos looked good in the pot I’m stirring
My mistake I don’t abide I try an hide it with a tarp Is this real or fake on either side when failure cuts it’s sharp
If offered I take
Inhale the life in my heart that’s beginning to break Quickly kicking in “numbing” the pain as I shake
The come down vibe is gasping treading water in a bottomless lake
Puzzled thoughts as I keep up the doggy paddle for my daughters sake
I’ve no preserver I see a demon I yell “No I will not dessert her”
Proceed to decline last year was a blur
Fuck this chaos I ain’t having her lick the spoon right after I stir
I snap back…
I realize I’m losing to this demon
Farther I fall soon to be sleeping
After I’ll interact with objects to show y’all I’m speaking
Pitch black I fall deeper and deeper
Feels like I’m on a track blowing the lead to a sleeper or second half Atlanta losing big with no fans on a singular bleacher…I black out…
Hypothetically speaking to my Mother screaming are you proud of your oldest
“Son you have a warm heart but strut around the coldest five foot ten but forever pulling sticks that keep you the shortest”
Mom’s a heavily educated nurse see at the time medically she fought and prayed the younger me received help to a certain degree…
I can see the light
Been doing wrong so long this feels right
Then my eyes dart open…
I picture staring at my soul
The body’s way of trickery when there’s a taste of charcoal
Ranting and raving “I’m no longer a healthy host” Visions run wild of me taking the form of a ghost
I feel my heart barely skipping
The devil gained a resident I hear snickering
The demon says “sit down and reflect on the precious time you’ll be missing”
His evil face inching closer I’m scared shitless
Then out from the abyss with an angel as my witness I engaged fight or flight in an instant
A stern voice is now speaking “Your last chance too much time you’ve been stealing constant agony the opposite of relieving Sam hurt is necessary when you’re healing”
My head shoots through that blue ceiling
Chest filling with air it’s so appealing
Now whispers of an early death refrain from speaking
I reach land glance back at the deadly pair fading Courageously I 180 a pencil to practice erasing…Life is a rough draft continuously proofread floating on a poorly designed raft…
For me that’s heard at a different volume..
I keep myself on the forefront
When I unwelcome the generous offer of a shortcut
Irrelevant when I hear them judge
Carnage behind me it’s okay to hold that grudge
Numb to insults I will never budge
Knowing what spews out they mouth leaves a trail of sludge…
This is forever everyday I’m getting better I step outside regardless of terrible weather look up and thank God that we doing this together

When life gives you lemons make orange juice and leave them wondering…lastly I ask…a moment of silence for the still sick and suffering

Author: Sam M. We meet again my vicious

Author: Sydney L.

Men would envy, women crave him.
He might be president.
He pictured himself in a black limousine.
He’d be given whatever he might want.

He wanted wine, as a matter of fact,
Or something with alcohol.
And so, for all his aspirations,
He really didn’t do much at all.

Or in the life of his mind he’d become
a champion wrestler. His sweat
would lend a sheen to his rippled triceps.
But he liked beer. He liked it a lot.

And further, no one huffed with awe
As he played the guitar, though he’d planned
To dash into nationwide fame overnight,
Fronting a world-famous band.

It took years to see what he was: a lush.
It gnawed at him like a rat,
How much he needed the goddamned booze.
He thinks, it was three generations back

That he started drinking if he factors in
Milk from his grandmother’s famous
Breasts, then his mother’s. Then vanilla extract,
Everclear, Listerine mouthwash– you name it:

Whatever went down would do. He looked down
From what he believed was a tower
On everything, on every being.
But in fact he kept getting lower, lower

Than Miracle

Men would envy, women crave him.
He might be president.
He pictured himself in a black limousine.
He’d be given whatever he might want.

He wanted wine, as a matter of fact,
Or something with alcohol.
And so, for all his aspirations,
He really didn’t do much at all.

Or in the life of his mind he’d become
a champion wrestler. His sweat
would lend a sheen to his rippled triceps.
But he liked beer. He liked it a lot.

And further, no one huffed with awe
As he played the guitar, though he’d planned
To dash into nationwide fame overnight,
Fronting a world-famous band.

It took years to see what he was: a lush.
It gnawed at him like a rat,
How much he needed the goddamned booze.
He thinks, it was three generations back

That he started drinking if he factors in
Milk from his grandmother’s famous
Breasts, then his mother’s. Then vanilla extract,
Everclear, Listerine mouthwash– you name it:

Whatever went down would do. He looked down
From what he believed was a tower
On everything, on every being.
But in fact he kept getting lower, lower

Than almost anyone he knew.
He dwelt in a strange cold fire.
No flowers for him to smell, no skin
He could gently touch, no music to hear.

But listen. He didn’t die. He likes
Where he is just now, and how,
Watching through his kitchen window
A white winter hare in new-fallen snow.
almost anyone he knew.
He dwelt in a strange cold fire.
No flowers for him to smell, no skin
He could gently touch, no music to hear.

But listen. He didn’t die. He likes
Where he is just now, and how,
Watching through his kitchen window
A white winter hare in new-fallen snow.

Author: Sydney L. Men would envy, women crave

Author: Jessica S.

Dear addiction,
There is something about our veins that has attracted your attention.
Our names are on your lips again
As if we are something worth your mention.
You knew that we had left you,
You were never our missing jewel.
Still here you came uninvited again,
Back into our lives you fool.
I don’t blame you for your desperation to share life behind our wrists,
Because we are vessels of beauty
And you are just sweaty fists.
It’s true, you knew.
Children of God you were loitering through.
We will admit we unlocked our jewelry box for you, but, this is the day
The lord has illustrated.
And these are his children you have robbed and degraded.
We are blessed to have met you,
Though you will regret we had to meet.
You will be dealing with our father now,
And you can find us at his feet.

Author: Jessica S. Dear addiction, There is something about

Author: Michael A.

Trails are not Roads (2000)
Moonlight fed our skin at the base of the looming trees–a conspiratorial sentinel of conifers who whispered each to each in a language we no longer speak or hear. Here below, bare feet upon the forest floor as the mandolin played. Above a breeze strummed the pine needles so they fell as sure and quiet as the passage of moments. Around the campfire, cups held in loose hands as the tongue, stained purple and red, shaped the sounds and sent up voices carried with so many nights down. The white light of the moon upon dark hair. Her face was expectant and sure in the knowing that these moments would stretch on until, like a trail in the deepening forest, they do no more. Trails are not meant to become roads, and when they do they end.

Suburbia (2002)
Men measure lawns so they might not measure themselves. Who isn’t found wanting? To wave at the neighbor with courageous face, the garage door closes as my smile fades. Opening the tool bag, a bottle of vodka felt in the darkness. Removing the top like the loading of a gun. Pull from the opening as the greasy glug-bubbles race trapped to the bottle’s butt, tipped up. Child on the way thinks the man-child. And what can I do? Swell a progress or two? Stacks of paper to critique and the belief that this work will make wordsmiths/them, and a career/me. Entropy is real. Things fall apart. Dog runs in the backyard, wife cleans the house with belly full of babe. Will I be enough? Dutiful, willing, scared.
There are men standing alone in backyards who are looking up into what would be darkness if it were not the moon, stars and even the silent glide of the passing satellites. All is as mysterious as the information sent by those satellites that the few speak who will pave the next and the decades to come. The empty spaces in our pockets had not yet been filled with the dark monolith screens of the era to come. Necks, still straight, soon to be bent in reverence to the smartphone.

The Borrowed Garb (2004)
Sin on Saturday and church on Sunday. Our freckled-faced girl with an inchoate understanding of a parent’s brand of hypocrisy. I might have shrugged and at some point wondered, This is what adults do? Sit in the pews and let the words wash away the evening before. Midnight clock on the wall reflected the jostling shoulders bumping into each, and the couple lumber over to the crib and slur a speech directed at perfection. And why not? People speak of politics and do not vote. They trace stars with numb fingers afraid that there is nothing and shudder at the possibility that there is something.

Adulting (Then)
I am flawed. Envious, jealous, broken and often healed. A Heal-thyself-Physician stitching and removing stitches, and stitching and removing until scars are tougher than the hands that hurt. So this is what I must do? Not show them the version I want them to see but become? The toolbag in the garage has no hidden bottle to numb the times between work and sleep; none of my shame in the recycling bin; no awkward grocery store encounter as I hold a bottle of wine in one hand and a twelve pack in the other. It takes a kind of courage to look through the clear lens of reality without the dark hues of zinfandel and stout.

Adulting (Now)
I am yet another adult face that smiles round the long table. I had stocked the day with treasures, moments of value, so that my store of happiness would be full and a bulwark to face the many lights of attention that would be spent on me during the evening to come. Each interaction around me, I look at in a kind of awe. They are each seeming bird-feeders of joy and contentedness waiting for another to flutter about and feed before moving to yet another. These effortless conversations and I am fishing. A long line stretching from my hands to some depth beneath the floor. I pull a version of me up, hoist it, and it almost fits. I watch as this version of me, now caught and worn, tells a joke, smiles, tries to be witty. When none are looking, I rip it from my frame, press it back down my length, through the floor, into the darkened waters from whence it came. Another version of me caught and worn just in time for a conversation about food. Where have we eaten, a discussion occurs while we are eating. In the eyes I cannot lie.
Am I the only fisher of oneself at this table? This was easier when I could medicate with alcohol. It has been called a crutch but to me it was a filter upon which a mask was placed. An anchor of sadness rises up through the filter and just before this is permitted to slip from the pores upon my face, a smiling mask catches and converts. If the face is smiling than happiness will follow. Pascal intimated that if one were to kneel down and move their lips in prayer, they would believe. Updike wrote about the performance just as Althusser had. We are always reconstituted as subjects due to our relationships with each other and the institutions shaping us.
It does take more courage to do this without alcohol. Of that I am sure, because I can still remember the lightness of being after two glasses of wine and then–

Starlight,
reflection in the window,
well placed innuendo,
the easy breeze of a tete-a-tete.

Sitting and standing as a performance. It’s as easy as lying to another, and with enough I become so light as to float above myself. Look. Effortless. Content to wear this version of myself until the drinks are spent and metabolized.
I have, for extended periods, caught the version of me that fits and stays and is even there in the morning when I rise and move in sunlit rays. But this? This is not that day.
Where do I go? There are times when I feel the light of another spent my way, and I feel both deserving and worthy. Times when I can hear the music beneath the music. Times when I share my own bird-feeder with others.
Maybe all those would-be fishermen of self are at home perusing their walls or backyards. Was I courageous enough to grapple with my own fishing line between two bird-feeders or is arrival just the powerful flow of social currents bringing us to a destination the community agreed upon?
I wish I could explain how I might be tussling with my own line and for a moment I see you there. The light catching your eye. A smile so real that it is I who is, for a moment, fed.

Author: Michael A. Trails are not Roads (2000) Moonlight

Author: Alicia R.

I let out a sigh but not one meant for frustration,
More like the one when your landing home from vacation.
Looking back two years prior
When my only concern was to get higher.

That darkness creeps over me like fallen smoke,
Stealing my breath and I choke.
From memory of the sickness that once consumed me
Maintaining how grateful and fortunate that I am now free.

With demons gone, those that I abhor
Pure bliss, laughter and love radiates through my core
I can give my children the life they deserve
These new memories I can now preserve.
If and when those temptations arise
Fleetingly come and go but will not be my demise!

Let my strength and faith shine hope for others still in a dark abyss
There is a way out and you can overcome this!
With enthusiasm to live and a hand reaching out
There is no blackness that you can not surmount!

Author: Alicia R. I let out a sigh

Author: E. Goodwin

When the sesh ends and your heart starts to shake
The high has gone, oh no, for goodness sake
We’ve all ran out of money and no one will tick
Reality kicks in, we begin to feel sick
We need that feeling of euphoria, when the pain is numbed
Anyone knows we will always be succumbed
When the sesh ends and your heart starts to shake
Only in time others and your heart will break
When the come down kicks in and you want to die
Your anxiety takes control, no more of that high
When you act out of character and send that unkind message
Get thoughts in ya head that are of a paranoid wreckage
You feel lonely in a crowded room, don’t trust ya friends
Convince yourself this is a phase but it never ends
When you feel shame, hatred and remorse for yourself
And constantly worry about your physical and mental health
Another guy in your town has died
Another one you used to hang with, his hands now tied
Too many sleepers caused a seizure in his sleep
My life suddenly flashes before my eyes, life becomes so bleak
I look at my life and how I try to change
Addiction brought us down these bad lanes
Can we ever break these vicious chains?
When the sesh ends and your heart starts to shake… your life goes on, keep going, don’t break.

Author: E. Goodwin When the sesh ends and

Author: Tricia L.

There is an
ACHE
a heavy-hearted feeling, I cannot equate anything to…

A shadow of sadness behind my smile as I mention your name
because of what
LIES
beneath….

I try each second to engulf you with all the layers of
LOVE
my body can give to make this pain disappear from your being…

I try to remain in SILENCE,

convince myself it is not there….
I try to welcome their presence… but they insist on remaining
HIDDEN

Small GEESE colored GREY trailing one another,
The BIG and small BLUE SKYY, seen below
Ostentatiously organic, RAIN drops in volume
A Representative special of its kind, with refined ingredients from The Capital City of Russia, stoic STOLI.
The FOREIGN UNCLE… PAVING THE WAY AND WAS THE ONE & ONLY… TIL THE OTHERS BECKONED TO BE PART OF THE SECRET

I try to
BLINK
them away, a figment of my imagination
They continue to
REAPPEAR
surprise, and catch me off guard

I try not to succumb into
TEARS,
to crumble in my vulnerability
To remain
STRONG, COURAGEOUS
I try not to buckle, I fell in heaps of sobs
I try not to continue in the evening

Author: Tricia L. There is an ACHE a heavy-hearted feeling,