Thursday, September 18, 2008

September is National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, and in honor of all the hard work and dedication of those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction (and the friends and family members who are by their side), Plains Song Review Online is proud to feature a poem by Kelly Madigan Erlandson.

Rarely Have We Seen a Person Fail

I have not come to sobriety without reason.
The rim of the glass itself insisted. I was collared by bottles
let loose from their cardboard cells, who brandished photographs
of my unborn children. The clerk, crushing a cigarette
behind the liquor store counter, clucked his tongue
at my purchases. How could I continue, when the cubed ice
hurled curses from the cradle of my palm?

I have not come to sobriety
of my own accord, and no one does. The alchemy failed.
Weary of medicating the problem
with larger and larger doses of the problem, even I
could see the futility. I tried to persist,
learned to vomit in order to make more room
in my stomach, to prime before events,
to hold one hand with the other, to interlock
day and night. But longing has distended
itself beyond my reach. My organs have drafted
armies and built fences at their borders, a yellow dog
has rubbed against my skin.

I have not come to sobriety without quarrel. Tarot
cards foretold a better outcome. I knew the mixers
were the culprit. Stringing Jacob's Ladder
full of promises hasn't quelled the gag reflex, and now
my hands are tied. Otherwise I'd raise them
over my head, otherwise I would have already surrendered.

(Poem previously appeared in 32 Poems, Volume 5, Issue 1, 2007.)

Kelly Madigan Erlandson is the author of Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days (McGraw-Hill). Visit her web site at

For more information about National Recovery Month, please visit the Recovery Month Website.

For local information and assistance visit the Bryan LGH substance abuse treatment center website.

For some informational recovery podcasts, check out

No comments: