“The loneliness is receding, day by day…”

“I don’t always have an answer, but I do have an ear to listen.”

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"I started using heroin when I was 15. No one knows what it's like to need to put $50 in your body before you can brush your teeth – no one knows what it's like unless you've been through it. It's like waking up with the flu-times-one-thousand. Every night I'm not going to sleep, I'm laying down and resting my eyes for 3 hours, getting right back up at 4'o'clock in the morning. I'm getting picked up from a small town in Carroll County, Maryland, by older white men that would otherwise not talk to me at all, so we can go down and I can get them their fix, their money can get me mine, and I can get dropped back off to get on a school bus and go to school and perform, pass tests, give speeches, and act like nothing was wrong. One teacher my senior year spoke to me. She said 'You know, Eric, I know you've had some problems, and if there's something I could do to stop you, I would… Only you have the answer. Please let me know what I can do to help.' I looked her dead in her face and said 'There is nothing wrong with me.' What can you tell a teenager – especially a teenager who feels like he or she is in charge? When you're not done, you're not done. And I was out to do harm to myself. I couldn't do enough drugs. …I didn't have enough to live for to worry about dying. I believe that's what's different about this time around. I'm never gonna say 'I've got this, I'm okay,' but I'm definitely alright. I now work for a prominent local hospital, linking people with the help and the hope that they need to possibly seek treatment. I don't always have an answer, but I do have an ear to listen." —– Eric, 11 months #clean and #sober, shares some of his story on @drugstoriesproject – listen at the link in our bio!

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Listen at https://www.drugstories.org/stories/eric-whitaker

“Today I understand what life is really all about”

“Come sit in this chapel and let tears fall like rain”

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"I used to come into the chapel, and sit in the end seat on the third row, and just cry and pray. I could see where yesterday's tears had dried on the floor beneath my chair. Meanwhile my wife is in Georgia, alone on her birthday… I didn't know how I could stay here for the year, but I knew I had to. One day I wrote this poem⠀ ⠀ I can't seem to remember⠀ My very first step⠀ For what lays before me⠀ There's no way I can prep⠀ ⠀ The path of addiction⠀ So dark and so bleak⠀ My body is broken⠀ My soul is so weak⠀ ⠀ Iv'e danced with the devil⠀ Now it's time to come home⠀ Forget what he told you⠀ It hurts to be alone⠀ ⠀ The floor of this chapel⠀ Has been painted with tears⠀ Of brothers in the struggle⠀ Letting go of their fears⠀ ⠀ Put down the guilt⠀ Let go of the pain⠀ Come sit in this chapel⠀ And let tears fall like rain."

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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.

Outdoor Retreats for Men in Recovery

The Appalachian Trail

We went on a two-day wilderness retreat with 10 HUM clients and 5 men from St. Mo’s Church. Together we walked and talked the 17 miles of the Appalachian Trail that end in Harper’s Ferry, WV.

Video edited by HUM client Ashanti.

Camp Wabanna

As we have each spring and fall for the past several years, we took two groups of 40 men to Camp Wabanna in Edgewater, Maryland, for an overnight retreat experience.

Day 1 photos by HUM client Jesse.

 

Day 2 photos by HUM client Ashanti.