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Telling Not Showing

Telling Not Showing

The above link is to an article on alcoholism written by Dick Cavett. I don’t agree with all Dick writes, e.g. Dick implies that he sees nothing wrong with some people taking a small drink as a means of coping with stage fright. In my opinion, using alcohol to self medicate for any reason is unhealthy. Addiction in all forms is a subject I have strong feelings about. Both stories in the link are compassionately written (there’s a link to a second story contained in the intro of this one, you just click on the word ‘here’.). They touched me deeply. My father was an alcoholic and I have battled various addictions during my life. Addiction and mental illness run like a winding river through my family.

I loved my dad and miss him very much. He had 10 years sober (bliss) when a chronic illness (not alcohol related) forced his early retirement from a job he loved, a job he’d held since he stopped drinking. He’d found his niche, took pride in his promotion to manager, I think he discovered his self respect in this job. Not long after his retirement he began drinking again, telling us (and himself) he could now be a social drinker. It only took a few months for my loving, gentle, delightful dad to once again become an alcohol obsessed, often morose stranger. He died just after his 67th birthday. We were all with him, and we all loved him.

My son adored his Poppa Thomas, and was devastated by his death. He wrote the poem, Thomas, after dad’s funeral. After years of battling depression then drug addiction, Ken , ‘followed’ his Thomas, 8 years after he wrote the poem. As many of you know, Ken died by his own hand.

I’m reposting Ken’s poem, Thomas, because I believe his words show far better than I can tell, what it’s like to love a person who suffers from any addiction. Ken’s words also show that it’s possible to see past the addiction to the heart of the person.

Tricia 1/2014


A picture is all I have
To remind me of your life
This emotion runs so deep
Oh why can’t I follow you

Your wisdom and your heart
Greater than your legacy
Of the ones you left behind
Oh why can’t I follow you

I long for the time
When your smile meet mine
Tucked gently inside a bottle
Oh why can’t I follow you

I weep at the reflection
In the eyes of your wife
For since you said goodbye…
O why can’t I follow you

A soul so weightless
The wind took you from me
I never got to show you
Just who you were to me

This lid is sealed so tight
On your final kiss
Tasting death on your lips
Please wait for me

Kenneth Bertram

Too Soon Dead

Too Soon Dead
A young man died the other day,
only a drug addict some would say,
no comprehension of the battle that rages
lives destroyed in agonising stages.
Picture this man as a little tyke
taking his first steps, riding his first bike,
a wealth of potential beginning to bud
yet the seed of addiction may already flow in his blood.
There are smokers and alcoholics in his family tree,
a history of depression, to name only three
genetic components that may warn of the danger,
a loving young man could become a glassy eyed stranger.
Glimpses of sorrow buried deep in his soul
with the death of a loved one become a gaping black hole.
What began as experimentation becomes a means to escape
the pain and turmoil of his bottomless lake.
Chasing the dragon becomes the focus of each day
but the dragon isn’t chased – he is leading the way
to destruction and death with his nectar for need,
humanity assists with their judgement and greed.
“Drug addicts are weak”  a common refrain,
no problem is solved by apportioning blame.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate, sidles up to any door
insidious epidemic, miss-diagnosed as war.
Erroneous perceptions keep the beast fed,
some addicts break away, others  too soon dead.
Yes a young man died the other day
I loved him, he was my son I’m proud to say.
Tricia  2000