Vox Populi

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Kate Daniels: Getting Clean 


You can boil yourself down

to the rudiments, all the way

to the very bottom, and sit there

pruning yourself to the compact form

of a bouillon cube, its salty bite

stuffed tight inside, and still

be suffused with mindless craving…


On the bad days, he said, before

I even get out of bed I have to pray.

I asked him if he would mind

telling me what he prayed for.

I just say, “Help. Help me.

Could you help me get out of bed…”


In the middle of the meeting, an old timer suddenly

yelled out, “Sit down and suffer, and shut the hell up.”


Hate to tell you:

the torment might

not dissipate.  And

though you think

it might have sunk,

don’t be fooled. It’s

not a ship. Think:

tumor.  Still alive,

still growing.  After

treatment, if you’re

lucky, slightly shrunk.


Shrunk or unshrunk,

the new thinking says

that craving lives on

hoarding its power.

Even the addicts

who are atheists

learn this lesson:

There is something

bigger than they are,

and unlike them,

it lives forever.

Copyright 2018 Kate Daniels. From In the Months of My Son’s Recovery, by Kate Daniels. Forthcoming from LSU Press (2019)

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