The Triangle of Self-Obsession (video)

“Here’s something I wrote that was inspired by the 12 Steps:

Self-obsession
Is at the heart of my insanity
The illusion of control is like speaking profanity

Resentment
Is the way I react to the past
Reliving the moment
Don’t tell, don’t ask

Anger
Is the way that I deal with the present
A denial of reality
The consciousness of presence

Fear
Is what I feel when I start to think
Creating an illusion
And I start to sink
Six foot deep, and my eyes go blank
The Titanic’s going down but I don’t even faint

Running away from self-conscious
Is a terrible waste
Seared deeper and deeper
At a constant pace

Pain
Is the motivator I use to get high
‘Cause when the tough gets going
I get gone, goodbye

My approach to the disease of addiction
Is completely realistic
Thoroughly follow the path
Or become a statistic

Today
I have a choice over impulsive thinking
Stop and say no to compulsive drinking
So I had to find a new way to live

Guilty
Is the feeling I experience
For the things that I did

Hope
Is Hearing Other People’s Experience
Like nitrous oxide
Too fast, too furious

Obsession
Is that fixed idea that takes me back
Down memory lane
Or something like that
To recapture the ease and comfort I once knew
Quoting “pour me a drink – I’m feeling kinda blue”

So what do I do?
Relapse and get twisted
“Keep it simple, stupid”
My sponsor insisted
“Don’t get ahead of yourself”
“One day at a time”
When at the end of the road
What did you find?
Pain
Heartache
Jails
Institutions
Until I got clean with a simple solution
Also a plan of action that really works
It’s called 12 Steps for crash dummy jerks

So my troubles, I think
Are basically my own making
They rise out of self
The self-obsessed nature”

The NA pamphlet The Triangle of Self-Obsession was a specific inspiration for this poet.

For more poetry from our men, check out our Poetry page.

Video Postcards from Men in Recovery

This summer, Hannah Cherry, a Spiritual Life intern at Helping Up Mission, helped some of our clients create “video postcards” to send to their loved ones. Some of the men desired also to make their videos public, in the hopes that it would encourage others. Here are four of their videos, along with Hannah’s reflections.

Adam

When Adam came in to shoot his video postcard, he had not been here for long, and I could tell he was nervous. He was shaking a little. He told me he was going to read two poems he had written for his daughter. Adam’s video was the first that made me tear up; overwhelmed by his genuine words and love for his daughter. His poems were not cliché; they were absolutely beautiful. I was inspired, and I hope his video inspires others too. 

Charles

Charles is a persistent man who wants the world to hear the HUM choir sing. I kept telling Charles that I could film the choir singing, but he would also need to record himself speaking. So he did. He came into the office, unsure of what he was going to say. He was talking to Ashanti, another man in the program who helps me with the filming. Ashanti was leaning back in his chair, looking out the window, and he turned to Charles. Ashanti casually asked, “What does it all mean?” As Charles began to talk, I pressed record and he spoke from his heart.

Gerald

Gerald came into the office not thrilled about being on camera, but he had something he wanted to share. Not long into the video, he began to cry. After we shot the video, he was not sure about the tears or if he wanted them to be seen. But after reviewing it, he decided to let it stand: his tears were real and genuine. Gerald’s vulnerability struck me. I could tell he was the kind of man that did not want to seem like he was not okay, but once he saw his own tears on camera he seemed to accept them.

Lee

Every so often, a man comes in to film and he just wants to talk. Lee was just that kind of man. He came in after being in the program for only a few days, but he wanted to send a message to his daughter. “You can get another phone, but you cannot get another father.” He began to cry, and I fought back my own tears. Lee knows how fleeting yet precious life is. And he wants to be there in his daughter’s life.

Reflections on the Video Postcards Project

Hannah Cherry, Spiritual Life Intern, Summer 2017

“You must be so afraid.”

“You can never trust an addict.”

I have heard those two comments repeatedly this summer from some friends and neighbors. As I began my summer as a Spiritual Life intern at the Helping Up Mission, I was fearlessly ready to pursue this experience and learn as much as I could. Being a 20-year-old woman, I had fears that I would not gain rapport. I was worried that I would not be able to embody the confidence that was necessary to gain respect. Over the course of the summer, I have been challenged far beyond my limits, and I have had to wrestle with many of my own weaknesses. I have cried, laughed, faced deep disappointment, and grown.

So, what did I actually spend my summer doing? I have been helping clients at HUM create “video postcards” for their loved ones. They have created all kinds of videos; apologies, wish-you-well videos, bed time stories, and I-miss-you videos. We were blessed to have children’s books donated that could be read on video, and then sent to the children receiving the video from their father. The responses from the families were unanimously positive. We received many “Thank you, we love and support him” messages in response.

I distinctly remember one morning when I was trying to get several videos edited and uploaded to send, but technology was failing me. I was growing terribly frustrated, and I just wanted to quit for the day. However, I knew how important it was for these videos to be sent, so I continued to pursue patience and try to send the videos. After I finally finished all that needed to be done, I sent the videos to their intended recipients. Within minutes, a mother responded to me: “Thank you, Hannah. I was very worried, and this really eased my mind. God bless you for the work you are doing.” That message overwhelmed me, humbled me – in that very moment, what I was doing mattered to someone. It bridged a gap. It eased a hurting person. It was good work.

This summer has been so much more than these videos, though. These video-making sessions with the men have allowed me to enter a small part of their world for a few moments, but it was the connections I made as I walked to lunch or left my office that changed me. The times when men would show me photos of their kids that I had been hearing about for weeks, when men would run to get the Father’s Day cards they received, or when they would come into my office distraught because the family I have been hearing about is falling apart – those are the moments that have changed me. It has been the everyday laughs and tears that I will never forget.

If I could say anything about these men, it would be that they are good men. That I have learned to trust some of them, and that each man is more than his addictions, if you are willing to accept your own struggles and relate to him. I have been disappointed and deceived at times, of course – but I have also been uplifted, supported, and encouraged. Thank you, men of HUM, for this summer, the memories, and the growing we did together. Keep making healthy choices: you are so terribly capable.

– Hannah

Why I Run – Dom’s story (video)

Why do you run? Dom just ran in the 2016 Baltimore Marathon – his 2nd. He’s in recovery from multiple chemical addictions, and he considers running his new, healthy addiction. Watch Dom run along the Baltimore waterfront while listening to his powerful spoken-word piece, “Endurance.”

 

 

"I love running. But a year ago, I weighed 370. I couldn't lay on my back without choking, waking up in the middle of the night trying to catch my breath… That was when I hit my lowest point. The hardest thing for me to deal with was the embarrassment of knowing that a couple of years before, I was really in shape, and I'd actually run a marathon. How did I just run a marathon, and now I can hardly breathe when I'm laying on my back? I came in to Helping Up Mission a year ago, and I'm currently 239 pounds. I run with Back On My Feet. When I rejoined them in 2016, it was like learning how to ride a bike all over again. But as time went on, as each run passed, I said 'I can do this!' Running gives you endurance. When I relapsed, I didn't think I had the endurance to get up again and try to get clean and sober and get my life back together. I run to build endurance through life's struggles." —————- Dom, 341 days #clean and #sober, ran his second marathon in the @baltrunfest on Saturday! Running with @bomfbaltimore has been a huge part of his #recovery. Check out our video of Dom at the link in our profile #soberlife #runhappy #brf #baltimorerunningfestival #baltimoremarathon #marathontraining #marathontraining2016 #longrun #runner #wednesday #sobermovement #runnerslife #igrunners #wisdomwednesday #runalways #charmcityrun #charmcity #runnerscommunity #baltimore #onedayatatime #sobrietyrocks #rehab #12steps #addiction #relapse #wednesdaywisdom

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“My Life Story” – recovery rap (video)

For years, men in the addiction recovery program at Helping Up Mission have written poetry as a part of their recovery process. Now, they have gathered, edited, and published a sampling of their writings as a book: War of Grace: Poems from the Front Lines of Recovery. This video was produced in collaboration with the amazing team at Mozell Films.

You can download the ebook and audiobook: free of charge, at:
http://noisetrade.com/helpingupmission/war-of-grace-poetry

Josh’s rap about addiction (video)

Josh’s rap about addiction and recovery:

“And I can share with you the struggles of my heart
And how I’m swimming with the fishes but was living with the sharks
Listen, I was able to see the lining only because it was dark
Witness, your sister trickin’ just to get a hit of the hard
While me sittin’ indifferent hittin’ licks in my car
Drinking liquor as I wither just to get to tomorrow
My system’s quickly gettin’ sicker so I’m breakin’ some laws
And if it’s money I can’t deliver then I’m ticking ’em off

“Yeah I may get jumped, hit in the jaw, and tossed to the dogs
But I got high so I couldn’t even call it a loss
I would sneak into my little brother’s room while he was sleeping and all
And I’m racing to ATMs and I’m replacing his card
And he was planning to join the Army or the National Guard
Yeah I been hurt but it was me who was leaving the scars
But I’m ripping out the stitches and I’m keepin’ the gauze
For the still-suffering addict and it’s all for the cause

“To keep it you’ve gotta give it
To preach it you have to live it
To beat it you have to witness
And see it through the vision of the victim in addiction
In order to make provisions

“Baltimore, 410, that’s my area code and that’s all I know
I’m from the land where the spring brings snow
It’s Joshua, as in Jericho
Man, let the curtain close”

——————–

For years, men in the addiction recovery program at Helping Up Mission have written poetry as a part of their recovery process. Now, they have gathered, edited, and published a sampling of their writings as a book: War of Grace: Poems from the Front Lines of Recovery.

You can download the ebook and audiobook: free of charge, at:
http://noisetrade.com/helpingupmission/war-of-grace-poetry

Guilt Quilt (poem video)

Guilt Quilt
by Greg L

It keeps in the cold and shuts everyone out
Alone with my anguish, self loathing, and doubt
Scraps of sorrow, remnants of shame
Shredded ambitions, knots tied with pain
Folded up neatly and placed on the shelf
I pull it down daily to hide from myself

——————–

For years, men in the addiction recovery program at Helping Up Mission have written poetry as a part of their recovery process. Now, they have gathered, edited, and published a sampling of their writings as a book: War of Grace: Poems from the Front Lines of Recovery.

You can download the ebook and audiobook: free of charge, at:
http://noisetrade.com/helpingupmission/war-of-grace-poetry

What Have I Lost (poem video)

What Have I Lost?
by Phil H

A loss in sense of being
What was I to do?
A loss of all I stood for
A loss of God knows who

Is there much missed out on?
Much I couldn’t know?
Is there really anything gone
Or gained which I could show?

A loss of who I wasn’t
A loss of who I was
A loss which I just couldn’t
Accept to be the cause

What am I to stand for?
What things have I still kept?
A loss I’d understand more
If I knew those things still left

My skull has lost some pieces
My back has lost some skin
Though my head has gained a thesis
On the things I could begin

My feet were torn to shreds
Slowly skin grows back
But know inside my head
Is what I’ve gained, not what I lack

To gain a brand new person
A person I could love
This is what I’m learning
Much respect for up above

To gain a brand new wisdom
Of a person learned to be
I guess I shouldn’t miss him
‘Cause that person wasn’t me.

——————–

For years, men in the addiction recovery program at Helping Up Mission have written poetry as a part of their recovery process. Now, they have gathered, edited, and published a sampling of their writings as a book: War of Grace: Poems from the Front Lines of Recovery. This video was produced in collaboration with the amazing team at Mozell Films.

You can download the ebook and audiobook: free of charge, at:
http://noisetrade.com/helpingupmission/war-of-grace-poetry

The Break Up (poem video)

The Break Up
by Harold Duppins

There was a time that we were inseparable
My love for you was such that I couldn’t live without you
I cherished you with all my time, all my willingness
I was so obsessed with you
That I was blinded by my own lust
Tortured by an uncontrollable need
To always have you near

I clung to you like a child with a new toy
Never wanting to let you go
Never wanting you out of my life
My heart and my mind was a batch of emotions
Thrown together in a mass of confusion

My eyes slowly became open
And I could see the reality of you
I could see the false love, the false passion
That captured me like a young lion
That strayed away from his mother

The more I saw less of you, the less I needed you
You can no longer seduce me
Nor tempt me with your deadly passions
I will no longer search for you
Nor call out to you in the middle of the night

I will not be persuaded by memories of past love for you
Our relationship has come to its end
I have a new love who is faithful and loving to me
She will not invade my heart with false hopes
Her name is Sobriety

——————–

For years, men in the addiction recovery program at Helping Up Mission have written poetry as a part of their recovery process. Now, they have gathered, edited, and published a sampling of their writings as a book: War of Grace: Poems from the Front Lines of Recovery. This video was produced in collaboration with the amazing team at Mozell Films.

You can download the ebook and audiobook: free of charge, at:
http://noisetrade.com/helpingupmission/war-of-grace-poetry

Defined (video)

Shame: we’ve all experienced it. How would you define it? And how can we move beyond it?

Watch as recovering addicts give brutally honest definitions of shame, vulnerability, and hope – showing how the path from shame to hope leads through vulnerability, not around it.

Produced in collaboration with Mozell Films.

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