The Road to Recovery – A Poem by Justin Farley

The Road to Recovery

I tried walking away from madness,
seeking peace.
But found I was bound and a captive,
unable to retreat.
Astonished, I looked down at shackles
clasped around my hands and feet.
I have hollered until I was hoarse;
solitude is the only company I keep.
What is left now other than to shrink
within my cell and accept defeat?
But wait...what if this freedom I seek
lies juxtaposed to relief?
Maybe I need to start asking why
these feelings run so deep.
Yes, the road to recovery
begins with acceptance
and ends with peace.

Justin Farley

Poem About Addiction to Drugs Alcohol and Recovery

Starting Today

If resisting was an easy task,
who would be a slave?
Who would part with a piece of themselves
for the chance at an early grave?
Willpower alone is enough to put you in hell
but not enough to pull you out.
You’ll never have a chance at getting well
until you accept living by a different route.
If change is what you want,
you’ll have to change much about you.
You’ll have to learn to become humble
and do what trusted advisers tell you to do.
The road is long and hard
but worth every step of the way
because you have the opportunity
to be free again starting today.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

The Clouds of Mourning – A Poem About Depression and Pain

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As we go through life, there are inevitable seasons where it seems the skies are always cloudy, always raining, and the forecast will never change. Anyone that has ever dealt with depression (or any mental illness for that matter) knows that it is like a ghost that haunts you no matter where you go or how hard you try to hide from it. Fight all you want, but you can never defeat the forces of darkness with strength alone. In these times of darkness and pain, how do we keep moving forward? How do we resist the temptation to give up and let the pain of life suck everything from our soul?

Typically, telling yourself to “cheer up”, “suck it up”, “pick yourself up”, or having someone else tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself only makes matters worse, and I believe does a disservice to our heart. Deep depression is not an easy thing to fix, and the reality is that sometimes there are circumstances in our lives where the only appropriate response is to mourn and cry. And sometimes we need that time to just embrace the issue and recognize that it is ok to feel pain. But how do we not drown in that pain?

I believe the only way we can move forward is by grasping hope and refusing to let go. It might not get better today, it might not be tomorrow, but as long as there is hope that things will get better, the ghosts of depression are unable to penetrate our locked doors and totally possess us.

The Clouds of Mourning – A Poem About Depression and Pain

The clouds of mourning
Hang and hover over me
Like ghosts – translucent,
Yet allowing only darkness to pass through.
Their pale gray sheets flap and flutter
In the breezes of life,
Dimming and drowning out
All traces of light.
Their wails send nails
Falling from the sky,
Raining down and driving like hammers;
Pounding their melancholic clamors into my heart.

My palette is stained,
Soaked in ashen gray paint.
Non-washable, permanent and persistent;
Resistant to the colors I attempt to cover with my brush.
The clouds of mourning
Flood my skies like ghastly Dementors,
Following me through the hours
And sucking at my soul one minute at a time.

Sweet angels,
Have you lost the fight to the terrors?
Have your hallowed halos burnt out like smoking embers
And lost their luster and glow?
Where are you hiding
In this dark and stormy night?
Where are your shields and swords,
Why are you overwhelmed by the demons of darkness,
Why do you refuse to fight?

What weapons do I pick up
To fend off forces invisible and invincible?
Is there an amulet I can hang over my heart to keep out
The ghouls that pass uninhibited through locked doors?
The icy rain covers my window pane
In sheets of tears running down in streams of solitude.
Winter’s wrath bars my path
And leaves me shivering in the cold wondering what to do.
The clouds of mourning
Hang and hover over me
Like ghosts – translucent,
But hope shall be my exorcism.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Titanic via photopin (license)

A Poem About Alcoholism and Addiction – “One More Taste”

“One More Taste” – Poem About Alcoholism and Addiction

 

Like an empty bottle of whiskey,
I’ve drank you down to the last drop.
The alcoholic in me is still thirsty,
But my rationale tells me to stop.

A madman feening, I sit alone with my demons,
Pacing, wrestling with racing thoughts.
Counting the minutes waiting out these hellish withdrawals,
But the hands sit idle on the clock.

There is no joy for an addict
Walking away from his self-prescribed relief.
Yet knowing that somehow he must get clean,
But doesn’t know how to bear the grief.

I’ve sworn off the drink,
But the fire of your aftertaste still burns on my lips,
Memories on my mind, wanting to rewind
And get just one more fix.

I may be sober,
But the hangover remains.
Without my elixir to soothe me,
I’m left only to bear the pain.

This bottle remains empty –
A void of space that can’t be replaced.
I know that another drink could be my downfall,
So why do I long for another taste?

Going All-In For Recovery

_DSC0016One of the most detrimental things an addict / alcoholic can do to hinder their recovery is to believe the world’s view that their problem is an external one – that if only they’d quit drinking or drugging they’d be restored, good as new. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The belief that alcohol / drugs are the problem can defeat us before we even get started. Of course our using is a problem and needs to be stopped, but it isn’t The Problem. What is the difference between the heavy drinker and the alcoholic? Well, one is able to control or stop their drinking in dire circumstances, while the other cannot.

I believe that it is imperative to recovery to understand why two people, who seem to drink the same way externally, react completely different when forced to stop. Surely, there is a chemical / biological factor that the heavy drinker doesn’t have. But I think the main difference is psychological and spiritual.

Jim is a heavy drinker. Whenever he drinks, he almost always gets completely loaded, and it’s putting stress on his marriage. When his wife comes to him with an ultimatum, Jim agrees to quit and no longer drinks. He misses it, but it does not run his life. Bob, on the other hand, drinks just as much as Jim, promises his wife to quit as well, but doesn’t last more than a day before he’s drinking again. Bob was just as sincere as Jim about quitting drinking and loves his wife just as much as Jim, so why couldn’t he stop and Jim could?

It all has to do with intention. I believe the main difference between the two drinkers is the “why” of why they drink. The heavy drinker sees drinking as something fun, exciting, and loves to party. While the alcoholic’s drinking career may start off this way, by the end they see drinking as an escape, a necessity to deal with life, and medicine to cure an internal conflict so deep that they’d rather throw their life away than face life sober.

I can’t recall ever meeting an alcoholic or addict that didn’t have a serious mental or emotional problem. Whether it was depression, bipolar, anxiety, family issues, abuse, etc., there was always something they were trying to numb themselves to. We are all sick, hurt people and using is our medicine to fix the mess inside of us. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe heavy drinkers share the same view of their drinking. The reason we can’t stop using is because dealing with our shit sober scares us so bad that we’d rather live a lifetime miserable and high.

If all you do is decide to get sober without cleaning up the internal mess, you may be able to stay sober for a little while, but you’ll either go back out for the same reasons you started in the first place, change to some other addiction to forget your problems, or be absolutely miserable. There is freedom in quitting drinking, but if you don’t deal with your demons, you can never truly be free of them.

I know this message all too well because it’s one I didn’t listen to. My main reason for drinking was to deal with an anxiety disorder and be able to relax and be the fun, outgoing person I wanted to be. I finally came to a place where I decided to get sober because it was ruining my life. But I felt sorry for myself and decided getting sober was a hard enough mountain to climb as it was and never fully dealt with my anxiety issues. It’s a blessing that over 7 years later I’m still sober. But I’m still dealing with the same feelings that I drank away all those years ago. I look back at my sobriety and know I’ve never been free. I may have been released from my prison, but I’ve still got handcuffs around my wrists and shackles around my ankles.

I am working through these issues now, but I know it would have been so much easier had I dealt with them when I first got sober. And over these 7 years there have been some close calls when my anxiety almost drove me back to drinking. Not because I wanted to, but out of self-defense because I felt like I had to drink in order to remain sane. I’ve been lucky. I am an exception to the rule, and most people in my situation turn back to using.

When you enter into recovery, submit to becoming fully recovered. Don’t just live sober. Live free. I don’t think I speak only for myself when I say that all of us have something that was driving us to use. Clear that closet out and deal with those demons, or they’ll continue to haunt you and tear your life apart, sober or not.


 

photo credit: Zdenko Zivkovic via photopin cc