Drug Addiction Poems: Mugged
By Dan Geeding
Spending nine years working in an addiction treatment center in Oklahoma City gave me the opportunity to meet some marvelous people in recovery. One of these people was a counselor, who was in recovery himself, named Mark C.
Part of therapy
Mark wrote this wonderful poem about an alcoholic in the early stages of treatment making a ceramic mug as part of his therapy. Mark handed this out to those just starting their treatment so that they would know that they weren’t alone. For me this poem really captures many aspects of alcoholism and recovery.
An alcoholic muses as he struggles to make a mug in occupational therapy.
Behold this ceramic; made personally,
...Designed not for liquor, just for coffee or tea.
A pottery project, a study in clay,
...To be “in one’s cups” in a whole different way.
To some folks, I guess, this is a great recreation
...For me, I confess, it’s no match for libation.
Hands shaking, room quaking, I can’t seem to stop it,
...It’s all I can do not to fumble and drop it.
With help from the nurses because I’m unsteady,
...We mold and we paint and by then we are ready
To fire this fine piece, this great work of art
...By this child that’s grown old, this drunken old fart.
I’m not really sure just how things got this bad,
...I partied and drank some, but not like dear DAD.
Worked hard for my family, our kids, and her cat,
...But never felt worthy, I now realize that.
Yet turning to whiskey to get some relief
...Became the main source of my trouble and grief.
My life fell to pieces before I found out
...The impact of drinking is felt roundabout.
An earthware cup that set hard on its base
...May chip but won’t break thus retaining its grace.
But crystal decanters, twinkling good cheer,
...Can shatter at noises that no one can hear.
The glass that I lived in was thin but opaque
...Shakespeare says “Devils assume pleasing shape”.
Disguised as a savior, this bottled solution
...Dissolved all my guts with internal pollution.
Now friends discouraged, the family may leave,
...No rescue forthcoming, no well-timed reprieve.
Reluctant and frightened, I’m forced into treatment,
...I’d take a long walk if I knew where my feet went.
In spite of myself, I admit that this cup,
...Reminds me again that I just can’t give up.
The urge to create has returned after years.
...To mold a life that’s formed free of fears.
I’ll face the hot flame of painful mistakes,
Paint bright the future, in spite of the shakes.
Build sturdy the walls of this transforming crucible,
...Less glaze and more depth will, like me, be more usable.
They talk some of God here, it still makes me flinch,
...But it’s spiritual thirst that I know I must quench.
It’s here on the inside, the place I must go
...Reforming takes place where it rarely does show.
All that is needed for me in the end,
...Is simple surrender and will to begin,
To empty my vessel of grief and yearning,
...Become a container for growth and learning.
What comes in a cup?
...Much more than you think,
Especially for those who have lived on the brink
...Of drowning in sorrow from too much to drink.
Here’s raising my mug for a toast without malice
...Communion for life with my little clay chalice.
By Mark C.
What a great gift Mark has given us and especially for those moving into treatment and recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. It’s a suitable metaphor the mug is for this process.
Rev. Dr. Dan Geeding, the chaplain at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, whose dissertation: Ministering to 12-Step Oriented Persons Through Biblical Curriculum in the Context of Parish Nursing served as a catalyst for this project.
One more drug addiction poem submitted by Hika about Hope:
Birth. The Grave. Resurrection.
This poem is about my boyfriend and his road to recovery from a prescription pill addiction.
Addiction is him feeling lifeless and alone in the middle of bustling family dinners.
Addiction is him popping 1,2,3 Vicodins in but telling himself that it's not as bad as heroin.
It is him telling me “if you had my DNA strands then you’d be like this too.”
It blinds his eyes with his troubles and crams his ears with countless excuses, guiding him toward the dark until he can’t even recognize his own body or thoughts.
It stuffs his mouth with clichéd reassurances of “I promise” and overused phrases of “I'm fine”.
It fills his hollow body with soon to be regrets, denials, and various poisons of deception.
It seals his lips with his sins and tells him that he’s not worthy to redeem himself through the truth.
Addiction is making him yell at me over the phone “Leave. Me. Alone.” so he could run away from me and into its arms.
It’s watching him get chipped away pill by pill while I just stand by his side and do nothing.
Addiction is the love of his life; it wraps its arms around his head to muffle the concerned world around him.
It is telling yourself that tomorrow will be better when you know it won’t be.
It is feeling alone.
Being the addiction is when he is forced to recycle the same lies over and over, because there are no more left for the world to offer me.
Being the addiction is hope turned into betrayal, and happiness turned into suffering.
It is him accusing me of being too controlling when he doesn’t even realize that its overbearing presence is tying his hands blinding his eyes and muffling his ears.
It soon lies down by my side at night and rises with me in the morning, eating away at my mind.
It is me trying to stay strong for him despite its burdening weight pressing down on my body.
It is me trying to help but only pushing him closer to the edge of the cliff.
Being the addiction is him wearily wandering through the day, but sleeplessly staring at the wall at night.
It gushes into every crevice of his life until all that is left of it is a lingering apathy.
It makes his empty body go limp, being the only life-like feeling he can turn to.
Being the addiction is weakly lying down in the grave that it has slowly carved out for him.
It is kicking back and screaming only to be smothered by the piles of dirt that it throws on top of his face.
Being the addiction is him digging his chewed fingernails into the crumbling bleak dirt to haul himself back up into reality.
Being the addiction is begging me to come back and pull him out of the black abyss.
It is being alone.
Beating the addiction is him finally listening to his loyal heart, not his poisoned brain.
It is peeling this infernal costume off of his body.
It is him coming out clean, becoming clean, and staying clean.
It is gluing together broken hearts and sewing back damaged relationships.
Beating the addiction is admitting the agonizing truth that has been buried for weeks on end.
It is blurting out that first word until all of them come tumbling down onto the coffee table in front of everyone.
It is him trying to recall his tragic emotions but being unable to explain his horrid actions over and over and over and over to the therapist, the alcoholic, the aunt, the high school friend.
Beating the addiction means potential relapses.
It is him impulsively dragging himself into his parents room and reaching for the key to the safe of pill bottles.
He snaps his arm back and runs crying to me as I comfort his struggling soul.
It is him taking Adderall before work because he still feels demoralized.
It is me dropping my life in order to drag him up from the ground below my feet.
Beating the addiction is feeling stronger day after day as we slowly plummet it to the earth.
It is him starting to enjoy things he couldn’t bare to face without it.
It is him feeling capable, clear-headed, content with himself.
It is him not reaching for the safe for a whole week and the word NO finally making its way into his blocked ears.
It is feeling alive.