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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


"And There's that damned knot again"

And there's that damned
Knot again
Swinging in my chest
A hangman's noose
Strangling me slowly
From within
Space open under my feet
I pulled my lever
Your trapdoor released
Here I am
My life dancing
At the end of that damned knot

Chris McQueeney 11/16/12

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving for those of us on this side of the pond. To some the holidays are a very stressful time...I think there are many reasons for that. For me they are a time to be enjoyed. I get to see my family,  or at least a good portion of them. 

A good portion of my adult life I dreaded the family gatherings. I wasn't sober  and would have to go around people that most definitely were. I remember not being able to look people in the eye, and coming up with some diversion to get the attention off of me. 

Fifteen years ago today I was sitting in the Depaul long term treatment center for my drug addiction...and again I was dreading Thanksgiving. I was sober, and the most sane I had been for eight years, and my family was coming to see me. For the first time in my life I was truly ashamed, actually it was the first time I was truly ashamed and sober at the same time. 

Looking back now, fifteen years later, I can see that that was the first holiday in over eight years that I had nothing to be ashamed about. Yes I was in a treatment center, and yes I went to sleep there every night to the sounds of cockroaches running in the walls, but I was sober. 

That was the first time in a long time that I was able to look my father in the eye...sitting in a shithole cafeteria, in a shithole building in downtown Portland Oregon, eating food that was mostly donated by local food banks. 

I am grateful for that day...that was the only sober Thanksgiving that I ever got to spend with my father. Enjoy the holidays, enjoy your families; Years from now those memories may be some of the best of your lives

Happy Thanksgiving to all of My American friends, and to the not so American ones as well.

Chris McQueeney    11/21/12    5:05 P.M.

Here is a link to De Paul treatment centers in the Portland Oregon area

Mailing Address for All Locations
De Paul Treatment Centers

PO Box 3007
Portland, Oregon 97208
Phone: (503) 535-1151
Fax: (503) 535-1190
Adult Center
1312 SW Washington St.
Portland, Oregon 97205
Phone: (503) 535-1151
Fax: (503)


Brian Miller said...

hugs man...i will be around tomorrow if you need anything drop me a line....holidays can be very tough...vivid description too int he hangmans noose for the heart...

Wander said...

You are a good man Brian! I will be spending the day happily with my family...I hope you and yours are doing well :-) I may drop you a line just to say hi though...

Indigo said...

I remember so many years without family, without a home to call my own. The holidays without sobriety were definitely desperate times. Here's to spending a day filled with 'not remorse' but joy at how far we've come. (Hugs) Indy

Natasha Head said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Chris....this was awesome

Ben Ditty said...

Breathtaking poem and your life story always helps me realize things about myself I haven't before.

Nadja Notariani said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Chris! So glad you are enjoying your holiday with family and friends.
Funny how something so awful can be so wonderful at the same time....a paradox of emotion.

Other Mary said...

Happy Thanksgiving Chris. Take care, and remember, in spite of that damn knot you're not damned.

She Writes said...

You know I love this poem. How perfectly it fit for this post.

"Looking back now, fifteen years later, I can see that that was the first holiday in over eight years that I had nothing to be ashamed about."

Isn't it odd how hard it is for us to see sometimes in some places what is so very clear when we look back. Shame can bring the rope, even when it's totally wrong.

You amaze me. And I am sure I am not alone. I bet you are the thankful that those who love you think of at this time of year.