It is a long time
since I have stood
outside a pub
fifteen minutes before
opening time
waiting, waiting.

But this time,
I am waiting
for a poetry event,
for friends to arrive,
for a cup of coffee;
waiting, not craving

as I used to do
when it was alcohol
I was craving:
two hands around
a pint glass
to still the shaking.

Such a relief
when corner shops
got licensed
to sell alcohol.
No more waiting
exceptΒ  in the small hours.

A newspaper,
a packet of fags
and a bottle of scotch
because I am waiting
for visitors to call later

I would say,

dressed in a duffel coat
over my pyjamas
and a sweater;
unwashed, unshaven,
waiting – waiting
outside the shop.


44 Responses to “Waiting”

  1. Hi David

    This poem says it all… You have overcome that dark period, which is a great achievement, and since then you can enjoy life without boozing πŸ™‚ I am very happy for you and I hope you will have a nice Xmas with lots of friendly company ! It is wonderful you can now see what happend during those days and that there is a way out.

    This poem will inspire people to stop drinking I am sure. It shows that pubs can be places to have a good time without getting smashed!

    I will drink to that (tea !) and hope you will join πŸ™‚ Cheers to sobriety!
    Arohanui and a big hug

    • I have a cup of tea in my hand at the moment Ina.

      I will raise it in a toast to you.

      May you too have a very happy Christmas with your family.
      And don’t forget to look after yourself πŸ™‚

      Arohanui and a big hug to you too


  2. This poem has moved me deeply David, very deeply.

    What a vivid image you have captured of those days of despair.

    During the time I have known you in your journey of recovery you have been brave enough to make painful life changing decisions with faith that all will be well, and this is an inspiration to me

    You have guided me on many occasions in my recovery too.

    Accompanying you on your journey has been, and continues to be, an inspiration, a delight and a gift.




    • I am never sure Christine what causes poems to arrive in my head.

      But I do know that at this time of year it does none of us any harm to remember where we came from and to be grateful.

      Thank you

      xxxlotsofloveandhugsxxx to you too


  3. Elaine Randall English Says:

    So glad you could write this…..makes “Merry Christmas” worth it to be sober, doesn’t it?! Love ya!

  4. David, I feel a little as though I am intruding here as I have never tasted alcohol or been inside a pub ever, but I have been in other places of darkness and what I do know is that you are a brave and courageous man for not only travelling through that time but being able to speak so honestly and eloquently about it. Those things that happened to us in the past are signposts and markers that we walked that way once and we learn from our journeys. They have no hold over us now and we can embrace the future confidently. Please don’t be a stranger. x

    • Elizabeth,

      You are not intruding. You are always welcome here.

      And I agree with you – the places of darkness are what teach us the lessons we need to know.
      The key, of course, being to learn from them!!! πŸ™‚


  5. There is a sadness to this, or is it just my interpretation? πŸ™‚

    • Hmmm I wonder where the sadness is?

      But if it says sadness to you then sadness is there πŸ™‚


      • Ah, maybe it’s just me. I’ve always associated waiting with loneliness.

        This is L btw.

      • Now I understand L

        There are few more lonely places than desperately waiting outside a pub for opening time.


      • Hahahaha! I laughed at loud, but on second thought, the pub is where I usually spot lonely people. They are usually sitting at the bar, alone, drinking their problems away. I know it sounds horribly clichΓ©d, but I’ve seen it happen several times.


      • The snag with drinking your problems away is that when you sober up they are still there and probably worse because of the drink. Then you require more drink to take them away again and so it goes on!!!!

        Sadly there is a lot of it about and often it goes un-noticed until far too late.

        My only message is that there is a way out.


      • And as you said in the comment you left us, you’ve found your way out and have stayed out for more than 22 years. Congratulations. πŸ™‚ As Buddha once said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

      • What a wonderful Buddha quote.
        I have never come across that one before. I am going to type it up and pin it on the cork board in my kitchen. πŸ™‚

        Thank you for that


  6. I remember how those days were.. it was never one…one was too many and a thousand never enough.. loved this David!

  7. David you have come through very hard times, a dark tunnel, and now your into the light.

    More power to your elbow for doing that, you should remember that saying.

    You still see a few men doing the same thing to-day, sadly.

  8. This is such an honest, heartfelt depiction of your past and present. Wonderful poem!

  9. nice to be free, isn’t it? i was looking back today, wondering what ever made me want the distancing from reality at different points in my life. i think i have gotten old, and stubborn — and no longer allow the situations that would leave me feeling trapped in a miserable state.

    as far as the shame, and the past …….. i would give myself and you the same advice: let it stay there.

    it shows great strength to pen such an honest and honestly-felt write, and draws the reader into understanding exactly what you mean within the steadfastness and conviction for a life that offers better. every day. every day and make it count.

    much love,


    • *Big Smile*

      Ah Eileen, I still have the same stubborn today as I had then. Just these days I point it in a different direction and it gets called determination!! πŸ™‚

      And I do agree with you – the past stays where it needs to be!! Although it does me no harm from time to time to remind myself where I came from.

      And certainly, one day at a time, life is so much better today than it was then.

      Much love to you


  10. “Waiting” is a wonderful depiction of living multiple lives in the same moment or a few lives at slightly different speeds. Your ribbon of self maintained even as you spiraled in and out of the worlds you touched. I am glad you made it through intact. Excellent poem. Sherry

  11. Beautiful, once again!

  12. Heartfelt congratulations David. I am full of admiration: for battles won, for integrity and honesty, and for your ability to communicate with others. Best wishes for Christmas!

  13. A brave and inspiring read, David: that simple half-line ‘waiting, not craving’ seems to sum up everything you’ve been through and achieved. Thank you for sharing this moment so honestly and eloquently with us.

    • Thank you Nick,

      My earlier poetry contained quite a lot of poems about this topic – lately not so many. so, in a way, this one surprised me. But my Muse is very clear about what needs written. πŸ™‚


  14. I hope you all got enebriated in the poetic spirit of creativity. It sounds like your life has moved on in a great positive direction from what you’ve mentioned in your honest poem & in those gone by (:

  15. David, this must have been a powerful moment for you. A moment of realization? Life, in my experience, is never simple. It winds its tail around and whips you like a manure encrusted end of a cow tail right in the face over and over again. But sometimes you have a moment when you can go back over the old ground and it is not the old ground anymore, nor are you as in danger of having the old milk cow kiss you with her tail, and in that moment is remembering–old welts sometimes are still scars beneath the skin–but also something else, a joy that proves your humanity to yourself, relief that the past is gone, a looking forward to a night reading poems outloud. Good post.

    • Thank you Thomas for this thought provoking comment.

      The moment of realisation comes when you finally get so fed up with the cow’s tail that you suddenly wake up to the possibility of moving away from standing behind the cow!!!!

      Took me a lot of years to get there but I can remember very clearly when it happened. That was the miracle.

      The “looking forward to reading poems out loud” is one of the bonuses emanating from that miracle.


  16. I like the difference in perspective. We all can graduate from our past failings. Brilliant!

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