The Cost of Freedom – Recovery Addiction Poem

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The Cost of Freedom

Confining walls, prison cell;
there’s no shame in wearing a straight jacket
if it makes you well.

Dirty dishes, soiled clothes;
it’s a heavy burden to keep
your house clean on your own.

Hidden secrets, concealed lies;
they are the extent of your sickness –
the enemy of recovery is pride.

Foolish illusions, blind in the dark;
the most harmful delusion is believing
you can trust your heart.

Death’s agent, the loser’s bane;
sometimes winning means folding now
to remain in the game.

The humble lives, the prideful dies;
better to trust in another’s truths
than to keep living by your lies.

Safety in numbers, self-reliance self-destructs;
an unchecked mind quickly becomes
unreliable and corrupt.

Freedom is sometimes choosing not to be free;
better to serve a great master,
than sit on the throne of insanity.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley

As a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for almost 11 years and someone who can become addicted to about anything that makes you feel good, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my recovery is the need to let go of my freedom sometimes. The hardest times in recovery are often the ones where we’ve still got one foot in and one foot out, believing that we can be both fully free and fully accountable living by our will power.

For me, I’ve learned that when I’m free I’m a slave, and when I’m a slave I’m free. Quite paradoxical, but I’ve learned that I can’t trust myself to do what I want myself to do. If I sit with temptation long enough, it will eventually over power me no matter how much will power I have.

We don’t want to accept defeat. We don’t want to admit that we’re weak. We want to continue to live by the lie that we’re able to conquer our demons on our own, despite file cabinets full of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes giving up some of your freedom is the only way to protect yourself from yourself. For addicts, I believe the cost of freedom is often freedom itself.

You want to be sober? Well, you’re going to have to give up the freedom of  being able to go to bars. You want to be free from addiction? You’re going to have to give up the freedom of hanging out with people that are still using. You want to be free from your shopping addiction? You’ve got to give up the freedom of carrying cash and credit cards.

Is it possible to keep all your freedoms and remain free from your addictions? Maybe. At least for a period of time, but it’s like playing Russian roulette, never knowing when your addiction is loaded in the chamber. Play long enough, and I believe you’ll eventually self-destruct.

For me, I’ve realized the cost of unchecked freedom is misery and death. And today, I choose to live.

You may also like my other addiction and recovery posts.

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Poem About Recovery From Addiction – The Streets of Delusion

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The Streets of Delusion – A Poem About Addiction Recovery

I walked the streets of delusion
where the streetlights glow
with golden spheres of flame.

Dancing like fireflies in a glass jar,
their seductive splendor tempted me,
whispering my ego’s name.

I walked the streets of delusion
believing them to be paved
with adventure and romantic ecstasy.

Each footstep outpaced reason,
while my sole pounded values into the pavement,
And my feet stepped over morality.

I walked the streets of delusion
until life’s traffic slammed into my body,
cursing as I fell on my face.

Pride poured out of every gash,
every cut and every broken bone,
yet desire still yearned for one more taste.

I walked the streets of delusion,
or rather crawled without care of judgement –
broken, but not yet ready to accept defeat.

But suddenly stopped in horror
when I saw Death approaching
from the end of the street.

I stared down the streets of delusion,
wide-eyed and finally willing
to see the truth of where they lead.

No one is exempt
from reaping death and ruin
when they plant Destruction’s seed.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

About the Poem

Every recovering addict remembers what it was like walking “the streets of delusion”. Inside every addict there is a point where you deceive yourself into believing that you are not addicted, that you just like to have fun, and that you’ll stop as soon as “x” happens. The elation that we feel while drunk or high is greater than the warning signs that surround us, and we turn our backs on everything that once mattered in our life for the brief comfort and feelings of power alcohol and drugs provide. The strongest and most dangerous lie that addiction tries to convince us of is that somehow we will outsmart a disease and won’t be like all the others that are on the same path we are on…that we can control it without recovery. We will somehow find a happy medium between sane and crazy, drunk and sober, addiction and recovery. Somehow we will keep ourselves and those we care about out of danger and prevent chaos in our lives, all the while brewing it wherever we go. The difference between active and non-active addiction is usually nothing more than an honest look in the mirror and having the courage to expose the lies that have led us down the path we’re on. Obviously admitting we need help is the next step, but until we get off “the streets of delusion” we will never see the truth of how desperately we need recovery and how out of control our addiction and our life has become.

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also enjoy my poem about alcoholism,“One More Taste”.