I put my body through the wringer

Told myself I was strong, I could handle anything, my body would figure out how to survive, and amazingly it did

Now I know that battles are truly won in the mind

If you want to be kind, learn how to treat your body kindly, then do what you have to do to do it

You may upset a few apple carts from time to time because peers like to pressure and their addictions are strong, but you are stronger

Let them weep and wail, it will be well worth it to spare yourself the wringer


You struggle to breathe

Your lungs groan under the weight of a million cigarettes
Your body will not heal, nor will you allow it to
You prefer to smoke tobacco than to breathe, you tell me
Your liver is hardened
Fluid builds up in your legs, abdomen and lungs
You bleed into your GI tract
Again and again
Requiring dozens of blood transfusions
Until when?
You prefer to drink than to live, you tell me
Your blood harbors viruses and bacteria
Years of IV drug abuse riddle your veins
My eyes draw lines between the scars on your skin
And spell out your pain
Your body is massively obese
You’ve had just desserts
Your blood is dangerously sweet
The food on the menu is not nourishing
With vibrant foods, we could all be flourishing
Instead we are toxic
Now you’re turning hypoxic
Your own body gets in the way of breathing
Rather than a vehicle, your body is your handicap
Too much mass to move
Stumbling, you tumble into my view
Bullet wounds have torn right through you
Senseless violence, what kind of freedom is this?
We reserve the right to die at the hands of another at any time
I want to take all the suffering I see
Concentrate that energy inside me
And use it to wipe away cigarettes and liquor stores,
Smash opioids off the face of the planet, and while I’m at it
Take my magic wand and with a swish banish sugar from our lips
Eliminate weapons with one wish
I’ll water that seed of hope with the tears of those who know, so it will grow
And we shall be sheltered in our old age by the tree planted in our youth
We’ve suffered enough to learn how to thrive in our world- at least we’ve discovered what not to do.
I have a dream that tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, processed foods, and guns will vanish.
I realize that this is unlikely to happen for a while, as there are profits to be made and suffering to be had.
Taking into account the billions of healthcare dollars it costs to deal with lung disease, liver disease, drug addiction, diabetes and gun violence, let alone the immeasurable cost of lost lives and poor health, how can we afford to carry on the way we have been?
If a substance is harmful, let it vanish.
Why hold on to that which is no longer serving us?
We can do anything with our infinite human potential.
We alone can change our lives and leave the world better than we found it.
Let’s do what we can before we vanish
Do something today
There is no guide book
Vote with your dollars, your actions, your thoughts
Breathing in gratitude, I thank you

Alice in Recoveryland

Alice had her heart broken

When she was quite small
And healing a broken heart
Isn’t easy at all
So she drank
To forget it all
But she couldn’t forget,
Even when she felt tall
In fact, the more she drank
The more she felt like she was falling
And falling…
Until- kerplunk!
She hit rock bottom, landed on her badunk
She had no where to go but up
But getting up is hard when you are on your badunk
Though Alice was hurting, she was also incredibly strong
So she climbed and she climbed, though her journey was long
To this day, she is climbing still
She is higher than she ever felt when she was looking out over windowsills
In towers guarded by grumpy ogreish men
Alice is a survivor, and she’d survive it all again
Her heart may have been broken,
But it never stopped beating
Though the sweetness of love was fleeting
And the bitter years of sadness and tears
Left a sting on her cheek and made her feel meek
She is finding her true voice
She is exercising her choice
To express herself in this world
Hers is the story of one small girl
Who grew into womanhood
The only way she could
Smoking this, drinking that
Sleeping with men wearing mad hats
Alice is every woman, in a way
Doing her best to recover from her past today
Building herself a better future
Re-writing her fairy tale
After giving so many men happy endings
She is creating a happy ending for herself
Filled with love, hope, and peace


I spend my evenings dissecting out the lead bullets which you pummel into my chest throughout the day

I gingerly remove the palpable parts of your reckless barrage

Do you intend to hurt me so deeply that I must perform surgery nightly just to keep my sanity?

If I ever had any sanity to lose, that is…

Wisps of breath curl coolly around my open wounds, trying to soothe the painful sting of your attack

I am humbled by how long it takes me to heal from injuries that you were so quick to inflict

Don’t tell me you Kant follow the Golden Rule

That is the universal elixir we are all hoping for

Now I know where the true treasure is

It has been mine all along, my heart of gold

I choose to share it with the world

What will you do with your golden treasure?

Please don’t keep it buried all your life

It is already within you, yours to share whenever you wish

If only I could get this message to you somehow

I’ve sent messages in bottles before

But bottles can lead to ripples

And I’m trying to calm my water


I’m learning to dodge the lead bullets of your matrix

And melt them into gold

Treating others how you want to be treated

Is a rule that never grows old

Dance with the Devil

I’ve met the Devil plenty of times
He’s a man with a drink in his hand, asking for mine
He’ll buy me a drink and drop a few dimes
But in the end, he’s just another waste of my time

I’ve seen the Devil at close range
I feel his eyes on me; he looks at me strange
When I hesitate to perform his every wish
(Whether or not I know what his wish is)

At first I make him happier than he’s ever felt before
Until I leave his heart panting on the floor
I survive with him til I remember how much I’d thrive without him

Like anesthesia, my amnesia wears off eventually

And when it does it’s like I wake up in the middle of surgery

Open heart in a bloody mess, I struggle to pick myself up and get dressed

Headed for the horizon, under duress, yet determined and strong, I sing my single song

Until I meet my sacred Devil again

And he gives me another chance to burn, another opportunity to learn

How many times must I learn how to get out of a toxic relationship?

Please, let this be the last time

The key lies in prevention, so I laid down a one simple rule:

Never be alone with a man behind closed doors, especially when alcohol is involved

The Devil likes to dance naked with me
His dick points at me like a compass needle
And I’m due-North, though I’d like to head South
His dick feels like a poison mushroom in my mouth
I want to spit it out, and shout:

Devil be gone- we’ve been dancing too long!
My feet hurt and they’re caked with dirt
Haven’t we made each other suffer enough?
Surely, your attachment to me feels rough
When I rip myself away

I’ve ripped myself away from the Devil
Plenty and plenty of times
I hope that I can quit him for life
You are my witness by reading this rhyme



Even though I’m a feather-light lightweight
Out of practice with drinking like I used to when I lived with heavy alcohol users
My tolerance still seems to be high
Perhaps because my anxiety is so high
It takes a drink or two just to get my heart rate down to a normal range,
It takes a couple of drinks to get my nerves to simmer down to a normal level of inhibition, before I can start to be uninhibited
Perhaps that is why even when drinking
I am good at keeping secrets
And skilled at seeming sober

Or at least I think I am                                                                                                                     Perhaps the only person I’m fooling is myself                                                                     Maybe I should clean up my act and let the toxins stay on the shelf                                            My body deserves better; it has already endured enough                                                            I am ready to feel smooth; I already know what it’s like to feel rough                           Maybe being a lightweight is a gift                                                                                                    If I listen to my heart and stop drinking, I’ll gain a spiritual lift

Alcohol takes from me far more than it could ever give

I’ll trade date-rape and hangovers for a vibrant life to live

Worse Things

Sometimes when I drink alone-
One cold beer on a hot summer’s night,
At the end of a long day,
to wash lingering anxiety away
I wonder if I am an alcoholic
But then I think
There are worse things to be

Like those who destroy the earth
To feed their insatiable greed

Like pedophiles and rapists
Serial killers
Users and abusers of women and children

The dramatic and manipulative
Who are unnecessarily cruel to their loved ones

Those who blame everyone but themselves for their own egregious behavior
Instead of looking within

The judgemental and cold-hearted
Who raise their voice when they should be listening


I use drugs all the time
In a dizzying balancing act between
‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’
I grow and shrink
As my energy soars and sinks

I zonk myself out then pep myself up
With sugar and supplements: pills and gummies
Coffee, tea and alcohol rummy
It’s all legal but I wonder
If I am smart or a dummy
Or just trying to do my best
Or failing to do my best
Or just getting by
The best way I know how
Or the only way available right now

Letting Go of the Bottle

Letting Go of the Bottle
Have you ever noticed any undesirable effects that alcohol has had on your body, mind, wallet, or relationships?

I didn’t think I had a problem
I only drank as much as the people around me do: my beloved family and friends
I learned it from those I trust and admire most, those I look up to as role models and peers. My peers have a fondness for cocktails and beers.

I learned that alcohol was used as the pinnacle of fun, the ceremony of celebration. I am trying to un-learn that lesson now.

We drink so much, too much for our own good
Without ever stopping to realize or question it
Drinking the recommended daily maximum amount (one drink for females, two drinks for males per day) on only the lightest of nights, but usually much more

Today I remind myself that just because the drink is offered doesn’t mean I have to drink it
If it ‘bothers’ people that I don’t drink, they only bother themselves with their complicated relationship with the substance, and would probably benefit from contemplating these words I write
They would benefit from looking deep into themselves
Visualizing their ideal life
And asking what role alcohol plays in that life

As much as I enjoy how alcohol helps me feel relaxed, I don’t want the side-effects:
The dependency and toxicity
How it makes me feel weak, self-abusive, and magnifies my sadness
Keeps me down in a rut, spiraling emotionally
Each time I use it, it probably gets harder to stop
I don’t know because I’ve yet to stop using it indefinitely

Too much to drink in one night can kill a healthy person.

Taking one sip puts me on the same track towards death as the young men who die while pledging to their college fraternities by binge drinking.
Are you strong enough to say no?
You don’t have to say anything, just stop

I don’t want a life with the bottle; that third wheel that gets unhealthy relationships rolling
That slippery slope that dopes me into apathy
The every-day date-rape drug
The bottle numbs my senses
I deftly let men undress me
And pleasure themselves using my body
My most traumatic relationships began with booze, and ended with booze, as I was horrified to see who my partners were when they were drunk, how undeveloped their capacity for self-control, how lacking in self-awareness and empathy.
Their insecurities would come to the surface, and they were so mean to me then,
Repetitively, because they had forgotten what had just happened, so we had to have the same conversations over and over and over again…
Few things frustrate me more than not being heard
Especially because expressing myself is so damn hard

My family never let me be myself
If I was anything other than ready to serve their needs with an energetic smile on my face, they gave me hell
They still do; ‘Why did you look tired? Why did you have that serious look on your face?’ ‘Uh-oh, you don’t have your happy face on.’
Mother-fuck you! I don’t want to look fucking happy because I’m not fucking happy (I shout in my head as I crumble inside)
I got that grief from my parents today, with the familiar accusing, intolerant tone.
Mind you, both comments were made after they watched me without my knowing that I was being watched
Rather than attempting to listen to or talk with me, they only mandate commands so that I fit their picture of what they want me to be.
Is it wrong for me to ever let my true feelings be seen, even when I think I am alone?
No, it is not a crime to be myself, and I will not live my whole life hiding my feelings, although at this moment I don’t yet know how to feel safe enough to share my feelings with anyone else, even myself.
I only know how to be what my family trained me to be: a loyal servant to everyone but myself.
After decades of this mental conditioning, my mother once commanded, ‘Respect yourself!’, as if self-respect is something that one can suddenly do after never having done it before. She commanded self-respect after learning that I was a sex-worker, which did not fit her pre-determined vision of what my life should look like. I realize now how much her own vanity, rather than sincerely caring for me, lead her to tell me to respect myself. She only wanted to keep up with the Joneses, which is probably why she only yelled at me that I was ‘fine’ after I told a friend that I wanted to kill myself in seventh grade. I’d like to think that if my daughter ever did that, I would meet her with concern, empathy, and get her the help she needs.
That same mother killed my self-respect when she pimped me out to play with abusive children throughout my childhood, and discouraged any sort of truth telling through her emotional explosions anytime I showed signs of how I really felt.

I learned to act cheerful in order to keep the peace at home. I still do.
Obediently, I did whatever was desired of me.
What has been ‘wrong’ throughout my life was that everything was wrong and I had no safe place to express that. No safe place to go to when I felt unsafe, which was all of the time, and still is.
I’ve spent my life in fear of displeasing others.
That fear makes it so easy to enjoy alcohol
Because it lets me taste something similar to relaxation

I’m so tired of having sex in the name of ‘keeping the peace’. It wages war within me. Oftentimes men cease to communicate with me once I withdraw the possibility of sex from them. Was I merely a potential place to put their penis? I guess so. Perhaps their ego is all wrapped in that one small piece of their anatomy.

I want a life where I am able to relax by relying on my innate ability to calm my body and mind
I want a life where I start and end each day lucid, ready to welcome each moment with all my senses,
Instead of desperately dulling my senses in order to ‘get through’ or ‘deal with’ situations
Drinking does not deal with anything

I want to feel safe to express my golden truth, to look tired or serious when I feel tired or serious
I want to feel safe to have sex when my partner and I want to, instead of every time only they want to

I want to process the past, present and future experiences of my life in mature, conscious ways, instead of throwing a substance, legal or not, into my body
I want to surround myself with people who feel the same way

Knowing how our ancestors, through their genetics and parenting techniques (inflicting childhood trauma) have predisposed us to develop dependency on alcohol and other drugs, I say:

Let us beat the odds, let it stop with us
Let us rise up to meet ourselves with open eyes, fully aware, and break the multi-generational habit of abusing substances, ourselves and each other
Let us care for ourselves using our inner resources
Instead of weakening our innate power by dulling it with drugs

Let’s raise children who don’t die of overdoses or drunk driving accidents, who don’t abuse substances, their partners or their children
Let’s let go of the bottle and ask ourselves, what have we got to lose?
Let’s look beyond the bottle and envision everything we have to gain: our ideal life, our real life, our best life