Addiction

This is one of my very first poems.

It was written entirely as therapy for myself – coming to terms with something which I didn’t want to come to terms with.

It is in my first book – Walking into Eternity.

I debated with myself whether to include it but subsequently was very glad I did – it got probably the most response of any poem in the book – all of it positive. Including an email from a lady who thanked me for including it – she said her husband died, not from addiction, but from a particularly virulent form of cancer – the emotions I had expressed in the poem were however exactly the same as those she felt.

All that taught me three things –

1. I should never be reluctant about publishing deeply personal, angry or painful poems.

2. Once I put a poem out there it no longer belongs to me – it belongs to whoever reads it.

3. What a poem means is what it says to the reader.

David

Addiction

I hate this fucking illness.
I hate it with a passion.

Why must it
be so random
in the way
it picks the lives
which it chooses
to destroy?

But other illness
does that too.
This one’s such
a fucking bully,
that’s what
I really hate.

Why must it pick
out those -,
vulnerable
beautiful,
talented,
sensitive,
squash their potential,
waste their lives
and kill them young?

Why can’t it kill
the bastards too?
I suppose I know it must.
But every now and then,
what occurs to me
is that it’s them
– the bastards –
who survive.

Perhaps that is
the reason
that it’s me
who’s still alive!

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22 Responses to “Addiction”

  1. Sarah Jones Says:

    David,

    This is really what I needed to see, read, feel right now, as you know I suffered this vile illness too, and always will I guess, but not in the destructive way that it used to.

    Your poem really resonates with me as sometimes, maybe even right now, given that Liverpool is alive with the festival and people are out everywhere drinking, I feel angry, angry at myself for not being able to be a full part of it. Of course I could still join in celebrating whilst sober, but it just isn’t the same.

    I am so thankful that I am alive, in the fullest sense of the word, and that I managed to survive by the skin of my teeth. Alcoholism is such a selfish, self-centred and egotistical disease of the body and mind, but I am grateful as I am sure you probably are too that it didn’t rob us of our creativity. What you say about, once you put a poem out there it is no longer yours, I completely agree with that, writing is therapy for me too and sometimes its just nice to share the burden.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Ah Sarah, therein lies the great delusion which keeps so many of us drunk for so long – that we cannot “be a full part of” something without drinking. The reality for me was that if I was drinking I was never “full part of” anything – either I fucked it up or I could not remember it after. The reality of today is that if I do choose to take part I am fully there and not only that, I can remember all of it the next day.

      Let us, you and I, enjoy a quieter weekend, be grateful for what we have got and still be friends thereafter.

      And maybe some more writing as therapy would do us both good.

      My love to you
      David

  2. Sarah Jones Says:

    With reflection, of course you are right, just having a moody moment, thank-you for pointing out the reality1

    Maybe a poem may help me to de-stress

    I have never been as happy in my life as I am now and that is the truth, sometimes I just need it pointing out to me 🙂

    Yes I definitely needed this today

    Thank-you David, you may not know it, but you have helped me today

    Love to you too

    Sarah 😀

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I had a text today Sarah from a friend who reads this blog but chooses not to respond on here also thanking me for the reminder.

      Sometimes we all, me included, need reminders.

      And sometimes they come when we need them the most – Synchronicity methinks.

      And do let me know if you get that poem written *Smile*

      David

  3. That is the way of it, isn’t it? The self loathing that comes with it.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      That’s certainly part of it Rose.

      And the way out involves finding just enough self love to do the work

      David

  4. This is so powerful, David!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Good to see you Cheryl.

      Sometimes I go back and re-read some of my earlier poems just to remind myself

      Take care
      David

  5. This is a really beautiful poem David. For is power and and raw honesty.

    I think that’s part of the therapy in a subtle way. Part of becoming whole is that you can let it out and let it go to a wider audience and let it be what it needs to be for those others. It’s part of the magic I love about poetry. That it has the power to transform itself from your initial starting point.

    Your words resonate with me strongly. Even though alcholism wasn’t my addiction. Learning to live, learning to cope and function with my depressive disorders. It bought up similar sentiments to the ones you express in this poem.
    There is a reassurance in seeing the struggle to be whole is one that is shared by others in many different forms. We are never alone. 🙂

    You are most certainly one of the beautiful and talented. The world would be a pooer place without you poetry in it.

    Thankyou for sharing this. This poem was a good reminder of how far I myself have come and the strength that is always there within.

    Take care.
    Arohanui
    (((BSH)))
    Tikarma
    xoxoxoxo

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      You bring to mind the words my Aunty penny gave me at the beginning – Trust, Risk and Share.

      I was aware of the power of that at a one-to-one level and at a local level throughout my recovery. Only when I got into posting my poetry on the Internet did I realise the global connection. Like you I take great reassurance in the knowledge that we are not, nor ever have to be, alone. Like you I also realise that the path we walk is often the same irrelevant of the starting point – there is great reassurance in that too.

      So I will continue to share – it seems to me I have a responsibility to do that.

      Take care
      Arohanui
      (((BSH)))
      David
      xoxox

  6. Hi David,

    What can I say but a fantastic poem! It is emotionaly raw and comes from a very primevil emotion. I always find that when one displays emotion such as this, it is the original animal of man speaking. And to me that is a good thing. Life isn’t fair. That is a fact of life. It doesn’t mean that we should ignore this because “everyone has a bad deal”. It is our right to scream “It’s not fair!”. During our deep grieving period, that is one thing I constantly told Tikarma (and myself). Yes, bad things happen to good people and sometimes what life throws at us is out of control. But we still have a right to say “It’s not f@#king fair!”, because it isn’t. We are alowed to make that statement, to scream it out loud in our minds or even our voices. We have the right to react to our most basic emotions that are a the foundation stones of the building blocks of our humanity.

    We are man and we are animal. And sometimes we must let the animal out in order to preserve the man.

    Thank you for your most thought provoking poem David. It has been a good reminder for me to let the animal out every once and a while.

    Beannachd leat my good friend,

    Jamie

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Jamie,

      You, as so often, cut right to the crux. I remember my Aunty Penny telling me long ago – “A feeling is a feeling, is a feeling David. It is neither right nor wrong, moral or immoral. It’s what you do with it that counts.” And sometimes, you are right, the only thing to do with it is to, as you say, “let the animal out in order to preserve the man”

      I am glad to have you as my friend

      Beannach leat

      David

  7. David,

    I can’t believe I missed this one through all these years. Simple straightforward honest. This shows how men succeed and survive in life. They move from rage to reflection to a wry humor. This piece is important. I’m thankful for the chance to read it.

    Steve

    • belfastdavid Says:

      *Smiling*

      It was learning to move through the stages which made a difference for me Steve.
      For years I stayed stuck in rage!

      Thank you

      David

  8. wonderful David..makes me think deep about “other illness” and destruction..addiction to love and co-dependancy can also take your life away. what an inspiration you have become, so very much more than those who give advice. xxx

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Marie,

      You are quite right – other illness – those you quote – can be every bit as destructive as alcoholism – they are after all other forms of addiction.

      Tough love helped me to get well – it is what is needed

      David
      xxxx

  9. David,

    Marie Claire has seen the greater importance behind this poem. Not to dismiss its impact for people coming to terms with addiction, but it is also therapeutic for people who are trying to get through other kinds of recovery phases. The process is often the same, because it is all based on one goal–survival.

    The one thing the poet says, without actually writing it, is: Hope is the next step of faith.

    Well done.

    Shirley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Shirley,

      You know, because we have talked often about it, that I firmly believe the road to recovery is, as you say, the same irrelevant of the starting point.

      Although I think that recovery is a good deal more than just survival. After all I did survive all through the drinking years. Recovery has to be more than that to make it attractive enough to put the work in.

      And interesting that you should say “Hope is the next step of faith.” For me hope came first – I had lived without any for years and to suddenly find it when I wasn’t really looking is I think the miracle. Faith sprung from that and, although fragile at first, it has grown stronger over the years.

      I hope you had a good weekend

      Take care

      David

  10. A very emotive & powerful poem. You have journeyed a long way since..& I sense may feel somewhat happier witihn yourself for more moments presently. Very different to your more recent writes (:

    • belfastdavid Says:

      A very perceptive comment Jeff, Thank you

      I find it interesting sometimes to compare my more recent writes to those from before – tells a story in itself methinks

  11. You are dead on with 1, 2, and 3.
    A powerful poem and I thank you for sharing it.

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