Pamphlets for alcohol rehabs are printed every day. Sure their existence is essentially commercial, but they also serve hope. They serve help. They serve connections. As a patient in alcohol rehab, you learn to tell your story. Over, and over, and over again. I think it is fair to say, that as a result of learning to tell your story repeatedly, the literature of recovery and all of its tolls, trials, and tribulations breeds every day. Thank God it does! It is with the words of others, written or spoken, that I have been able to stay the course post-alcohol rehab when sobriety is at its most fragile, most voluntary stages. I could call my newfound love for recovery literature just a symptom of that basic human need for connection, for acceptance. I could call it fate. I don’t have the answers, but that won’t stop me from looking for them in the pages of magazines and books written by others who have been where I’ve been, seen what I’ve seen. Today, I found this gem of literary wisdom:
In memory of Earnie Larsen
Let me but live my life from year to year,
With forward face and unreluctant soul;
Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal;
Not mourning for the things that disappear
In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
From what the future veils; but with a whole
And happy heart, that pays its toll
To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.
So let the way wind up the hill or down,
O’er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy:
Still seeking what I sought when but a boy,
New friendship, high adventure, and a crown,
My heart will keep the courage of the quest,
And hope the road’s last turn will be the best.
It is difficult not to fall in love with everything I read these days. But I particularly loved this poem for its whimsical nature and genuine optimism. It speaks a language that can be heard, and almost felt, by those in recovery and those who understand nothing of addiction. “Journey” is one of those words that I use more often than I used to, and here you can see the honesty of the journey the rough or smooth. The imagery in this piece is hopeful but honest, true but ambiguous and simply parallels my daily routine. I imagine it does the same for others struggling with their newfound sobriety. It is my sobriety that gives me the clear insight with which to analyze the simple beauty of this poem, not to mention the world around me, and I have my alcohol rehab to thank for that!
I used to want to keep my alcohol recovery quiet and private. But once I really thought about it, I realized that there are probably a lot of people around me who can just tell. For one, I’m positive the mail lady can tell I’m in recovery. Between the brown packages suspiciously book-shaped from Amazon.com and the magazines and the alumni letters pouring in, it must be very obvious. But hey, maybe she knows someone who should try (or even return to) alcohol rehab too. Maybe the literature inspires her to spark that difficult conversation or call that interventionist. I’m starting to realize that you never know when a fated connection will occur. If it wasn’t for the amazing people who prevented me from throwing away my life, if it wasn’t for the amazing counselors at my alcohol rehab, if it weren’t for the select few bridges I haven’t burned, if it weren’t for all the recovery literature, who knows where I would be?