Experience, Strength and Hope; There is That Too

It took me over 2 months to pick up my mother’s ashes.

I did not want to go back to the mortuary.

I dropped off the Rosewood urn shortly after Mommy’s death.

I  had paperwork to fill out;


While I was filling out the paper work, the mortician

and I talked.

It was obvious to him my mother had been a life long alcoholic.

I did not ask specifics, but I can guess.

He wanted to know why I fought to have

Chronic Alcoholism put as cause of death

on my mothers death certificate

and I told him.

We spent a long time talking,

the mortician  and I.

We talked at length about alcoholism and death

and how to stop the craziness.

It was an odd visit.

The mortician, lets call him Harvey,

sees a lot of  alcoholics in his line of work

He sees a lot of drug addicts too.

rarely is the cause of death on the death certificate listed as

 Drug Overdose or Chronic Alcoholism.

Harvey has a personal stake in this battle;

his  kids are alcoholics.

They are parents of his grandkids.

They neglect their kids and drink all day.

Harvey’s heart is breaking.

I sat at the conference table with my mother’s death certificate in hand.

The box of tissues  was at the ready

and the display of caskets just beyond where Harvey sat.

I listened for close to 2 hours.

Harvey told me  story after story of how he has tried to get his kids to quit drinking.

We compared stories, Harvey and I;

about forced commitment of relatives,






And lies.

“She promised to quit and she is cutting back,”

Harvey said about his daughter.

He was hopeful;

until he wasn’t.

“Who am I kidding?

She said the same thing last time and the time before that.

She is lying to me. Again.”

I did not want to go back to the mortuary.

I did not want to pick up my  mother’s ashes.

I did not want to talk anymore about how little hope

there is for his kids.

I sure as hell did not want to think about what his grandkids were living through.

I did not want to talk about how little hope there is for these kids;

grown men and women with children;

Children like me;

growing up in chaos

and with lies.

I finally made it to the mortuary.

I have the ashes and Harvey and I sat for hours again

talking about the devastation  wrought by alcohol and drug use.

As a mortician he sees  the  devastating end result;

as a father he lives with the  devastation in the moment.

I have been thinking of Harvey and our conversations.

I have been remembering

forced detox of relatives,


alcoholics dementia,

and I have been counting my dead.

  I have also been        thinking

that there  is indeed Hope.

My friend Marcie was clean when she died

after a lifetime of  alcoholism and drug use.

A dear friend just celebrated 2 years of sobriety.

My dad quit drinking when I was 16.

I  am clean and sober.

There are people all over the world who are conquering their

addictions and moving forward with their lives.

My family?

Many of us have lost the  fight.


I have won it;

so far.


It  is the thing ” …that never stops at all”.

People need help.

People are struggling under the weight of their addictions

People need help.

People are meeting as I write this in church basements and halls

all around the world

sharing  their  Experience, Strength and Hope

in twelve step programs.

People are   winning the battle against addiction

in all manner of ways

all around the world.

People are winning the fight against addiction and alcoholism

right now,

a Day at a Time.

There is that too:

Experience, Strength and Hope.

Peace,   Jen

Mrs. Demeanor, Thank you for reminding me of Emily Dickinson and her poem,

“Hope” is the thing with feathers..

Please click on the link

“is the thing that never stops at all”

above to read the poem.

 Indeed, Mrs. D, Indeed!

~ by Step On a Crack on February 4, 2012.

15 Responses to “Experience, Strength and Hope; There is That Too”

  1. ok, once again, thank you. for your poem, and the link to emily dickinson’s. I started to read a few of your archives. wow. can you direct me to posts that are specific to your process with getting sober? if you have any that is, I know that this is mainly about your mother and Wernicke-Korsakoff. I’m struggling. I love your wisdom and honesty. I don’t want my kids to speak with Harvey.


    • Thank you SO much for stopping by again. I have not written about my journey to sobriety but it has absolutely been on my mind. I have been sober for 20 years now AND when the going gets tough, it is very important for me to remember that journey. I feel solid AND I know it is a slippery slope. I WILL write about my journey. If you have a desire to quit and you are willing to admit it your kids will NOT speak with Harvey, OK? I deeply admire your willingness to write about your struggle. I gotta tell you, that is half the battle. You KNOW you need to quit. You WANT to quit.

      I will write SOON about my journey, in the mean time check out these “Recovery Artists” as Al K. Hall refers to us. They are working it daily. You are on the right track. Keep going one day at a time. PLEASE stop by again and KNOW you are not alone in this. Peace Jen

      Check out Al’s blog

      and Sean’s blog


  2. I love that poem so very much. Sometimes that’s all there is to hang on to, isn’t there? Thanks for the long list of people who have made it through. So far, so good. 🙂


  3. Hope, always hope. Yes, yes! I am thankful you not only have hope but you have enough to share with others. You are doing a good work, my friend!


    • I could NOT be doing this, holding both Hope and Despair without this community.

      I am feeling terribly blessed by YOU and your presence. THIS community is God watching over me. You are proof of that.

      Angels, all…



  4. Thanks for the link to that lovely poem of Emily Dickinson. Hope is many things to many people, but I think Emily’s nailed it beautifully well.

    Writing about journeys in life brings so many things to the forefront of one’s mind. I’m sure, or at least I hope, that you’ve discovered much about your own inner strengths. Sharing your particular journey, through to your mother’s end to her life of suffering, has brought much to so many people.

    I thank you, my wise friend from across the world. Poetry brings me strength, and I know it has helped you to, writing it and reading the poems of others.

    I wish you peace,



    • Dear Carolyn! Hello my Poet Friend!

      Writing is the key isn’t it? The key to opening the Heart and the mind to new ways of looking at things and to uncovering what has been lost or misplaced. Poetry is medicinal and I KNOW you know what I mean. I know that writing has given me much; I hope it is of use to others too.

      I thank you for stopping by. It means an awful lot! I can’t figure out how to subscribe to your new Poetry blog. Any tips?

      Peace to you also my Friend,



  5. I marvel that you can write of hope and devastation so eloquently. I’m able to get online for a while again. Have a lot of catching up to do. Thank you for your share today!


    • Heidi!!!!

      Welcome back to cyber space. You have been missed and on my mind and in my heart!

      I want you to know how much I appreciate your presence in my life.

      YOU are a Gift!

      Love. Jen


  6. Sometimes we’re just managing to crawl. That still counts as resilience. If we keeping crawling until we can stand, and then walk, we can to begin to see possibility. Maybe it’s the belief in something to hope for that keeps us crawling. We do keep our “illness” front and center when sometimes we could gain strength for the journey by seeing our “wellness”.

    Your description of the “wellness” that surrounds you is its own reality.


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