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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Last time

From that distant shore

One day may I
Walk the shores
Of that distant sea
And gaze in wonder
While seagulls fly
And waves break
Millions of shimmering
Ripples flowing out
One day may the light
From that distant shore
Warm me and offer
Comfort and safety
And peace, yes peace
Full days and nights release
While I wait for that day
I will live and love
Laugh and cry
And you will forever
Hear me say
I am grateful

Chris McQueeney    6/23/12    11:28   P.M

Where the fuck are you?
Those five words changed my life. Those five words showed up on my phone at four in the morning June twenty fourth two thousand nine. Today I have three years clean and sober. I was going to write what lead up to that text, but I changed my mind. Instead I will tell you some of the things that have happened since.
First thing was that I had a friend drag my ass around for a week solid making decisions for me because I was unable to make them on my own. One of the things He wanted me to do was to write out an inventory, an accounting of all the twists of thinking and character that compelled me to get fucked up and destroy my life. At first I told him no problem, and that I would write it that night. My agreeing to that ate at me for over an hour. Finally I took him aside and told him something I had never told another soul.
“I am not going to be able to write the inventory”
“Why not?”
“Because I can’t write”
Those four words changed my life. I read very well. And I speak very well. I cultivated those things so that no one would know one of my shames. To put pen to paper is not something I can do. I was so ashamed of that fact, and the result was that I was dying of a disease and a major part of the treatment plan was to write. For fifteen years I had struggled in and out of sobriety and not told a soul that I couldn’t write, not one. I have no idea why I told him. A friend of mine would say that I was cracked just enough that god had room to slip in and speak through me…I can’t take it that deep so I will let you be the judge of that. “Why don’t I write it for you?” And that is exactly what he did, and I have been sober ever since.
After that week he cut me loose, to sink or swim. Every step of the way I have had people to help me swim. At just over a year sober I went to Idaho to make some amends to people that I loved dearly. I disappeared for over ten years. Also to go back to all those places that haunted me, were killing me. I did that and for almost a month after I couldn’t function. I had a break down because I didn’t have alcohol or drugs to survive the torture and abuse I experienced.
One month after my trip I went back to school. The world works at times in ways that open vistas never before available, and this was one of them. While asking at the front desk what I would have to do to get in school the woman behind the desk got on the phone and got one of the school consolers to come talk to me. Out of all the consolers he was the one who I needed the most. He told me the name of the condition that I suffer from, “that sounds like dysgraphia,” and what to do. I have been writing ever since.
I reached a point where I was finally able to write out that inventory, and I did. I chose a man I had known for twenty plus years to walk the path with me, and I told him all of my baggage. I told him how angry I was at my father for dying, how angry I was that he didn’t save me from the damage being done, and how much I missed him. I cried, and he cried because he was a friend of my fathers as well. He heard all of the broken in me that day…and I was broken, there is no doubt about that. How could anyone live through what I did and not be broken. Telling him those things broke me again, but a good break; Like when the doctor has to re-brake the bone to set it properly so it has a chance to heal.
One day a friend mentioned his blog and I decided to take a look. That friend Is Christopher from  View From The Northern Wall. Growing up I was never exposed to poetry, and the impression that I got about it was that it was something to be avoided because if anyone found out that you read poetry they would gang up on you and pummel you half to death. For some reason I wrote a poem in response to one of his poems, I was expecting him to tell me what crap it was, but he didn’t, he told me to keep writing. I have been writing poetry ever since.
The last three years have been terribly hard to survive, but I have been given a gift that I have been searching for the last thirty years…freedom from the demons driving me. I have only written a little about the last three years here. I have been blessed with a family I didn’t deserve, and friends I haven’t earned. I am a different man than I was a thousand and ninety five days ago, and I am grateful.

Chris McQueeney    6/24/12    12:03 A.M

This post has now been linked to Open link night over at dVerse poets pub...give them a look see!


Frances said...

My God! The secrets we keep! Thank heaven someone gave you to idea and the tools to overcome the writing deficiency. You are brave, you are strong. I'm so proud of you! With deep love, Gram.

Brian Miller said...

i am glad that you found chris...and found poetry...and in getting clean found yourself...congrats on your three years man...the world does work in mysterious ways...smiles.

She Writes Here Now said...

This is quite a story! Wow! And wow to the men who have been with you along the way. Congrats on your sobriety and the hard work you have done. Nobody would ever guess you couldn't write three years ago. I hope you are as proud of yourself as you should be! So many people get lost and never find their way out. Bravo, Chris!

Anonymous said...

Inspiring, we have a lot in common, but you are some 3 years and a lot of strong significant decisions ahead of me.

Anonymous said...

when i used to be a good little girl and went to church...;) i remember this quote, "i never said it would be easy, i only said it would be worth it." we're all put on this path called life, and some people have hills, and some have damn mountains, but we all do it, every day...overcome.

i'm so happy you've done just that chris. you're a good guy, and a more amazing father.

and guess what?! you can write to boot! hehe you truly are a gifted writer. i know your words will bring you all the happiness you deserve. kudos!

Ben Ditty said...

You're a great man! And friend.

Claudia said...

oh heck..what a story..glad you had people that were there for you in the important moments and glad you were able to go that way...hooray on the three years..that's awesome

Heaven said...

Whew, you have a story to tell and share with us ~ I have never experienced what you have just gone through but I am proud of your achievements of keeping yourself clean and sober.

Writing is a good therapy and I hope you will continue ~

Cheers ~

Chazinator said...

This is a powerful story that should be got out to so many who suffer under this inability to write. I have heard that many people are as you were, and they do very well it seems. But at some point, I hope they realize what you did and that writing is a way out of many of life's puzzles and struggles. I have been sober myself for over 30 years, and I believe that writing has helped me in many ways, along with faith and family. Hearing your story reminded of how many blessings I have had, and I am so happy to have read that you are making it to a life filled with that peace and love that your wonderful poem expresses.

kulasa said...

you just got me inspired to love life and be grateful for each morning...wonderful writing, glad I found my way here...

Green Monkey said...

I don't believe the ending... "I have been blessed with a family I didn't deserve and friends I haven't earned."

as always, your writing makes me feel stuff.

Furtheron said...

Came here via your guest Amy and very very glad I did.

Utter privilege to read this post.

I've never met you (probably never will do), I don't even know you from Adam but I've read that with a lump in my throat and a sense of "Why the hell can some people get this shit quicker than you?" - but hey we all walk out own path at our own pace

I'm glad they helped you write so I could come here read this and go away feeling uplifted in the spirit of recovery.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, and for spoon-feeding me the link so I could find... you. Here. Now.

You are a powerful, compelling writer- the format, the frame, the function that flows from your words is indicative of a deeply analytical intelligence that just.won't.quit.

Thank you for writing this, for sharing this part of who you are and where you are going. I'm glad to have found you on this Journey and proud to be a fellow traveler.