Archive RSS
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/kat47/month/6-1-2024
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: 13+ · Book · Community · #2226993
Just my opinions and outlook on life
The end of 2020

The very first entry I made for The Writer’s Cramp was my best. It tied for the win and I was happy about that but it really made no difference to me. It was a poem written after Thanksgiving about my own recovery from addiction. That was 26 years ago and it totally changed my life. I checked myself into Drug Rehabilitation when I first realized that I might have a problem with substance abuse. I had no idea what changes that one incident would make in my life. When I was discharged, I had a lot of major decisions to make and the poem spoke to how conflicted I still was. The prompt was Closely Watched Trains. It was easy to take that one and run with it. After all, trains take you places and where you go can change your life forever. My journey had just begun.

Closely Watched Trains

I stand alone in blinding rain,
waiting on an unknown train.
My future life, a choice to make.
Only one I can take.

Two tickets lay in my hand,
don’t know where to stand.
One path leads to a familiar past.
Comfort once lost; now peace might last.

The other takes me far away.
Unknown future, a bright new day?
Strangers can become friends.
A new life, old wounds can mend.

Last time I waited on a train,
a filthy walkway, urine stains.
Crying frightened, shameful tears,
burdened with pain, unknown fears.

The smut on me wouldn’t wash away.
In pores so deep, I had to stay.
If I hung in, worked the steps.
A cluttered mess might bring rest.

Been running too long and fast,
towards a certain fatal crash.
Smoke the gin, drink the powder,
Alice of Wonderland in troubled water.

I did hard work, washed my stains.
Princess in a castle, I glow, no shame.
I found answers for all asked of me,
climbed the Magic Beanstalk tree.

Now, I wait on my wish filled train.
I pray a light shines true in dark rain.
God, I have come a long, long way.
I need to love myself enough to stay.

By Kathie Stehr

Learning to love myself enough to make necessary decisions was the key to future happiness. If you don’t love yourself enough then you cannot love other important people in your life. I left a marriage that I knew was over after twenty years. We had two children together and were happy for many years so it was devastating to even think about starting over. Our lives had changed so much over those years. Now, instead of working together, we were destroying our lives and it was affecting the kids.

I also ended up leaving my job as a registered nurse because the stress of all of it: the marriage, the job and no time for my children was taking a terrible toll. I had been diagnosed with a neurological disease that was painful and hard to deal with for me and my family. The final straw was taking medication for the symptoms and making the potentially harmful mistake of mixing it with alcohol. Thankfully I only did this when I wasn't working but if I had continued, I would have made mistakes at work and could have hurt or killed someone.

Working with the hospital, I tried different areas to go back to work but could not physically do it. I applied for and got on the hospital's disability benefit. This step began a whole new way to live an even better life. I helped with the national organization for dystonia, became a support group leader, I also was a motivational speaker that traveled the country to talk at our national symposiums with physicians and scientists. It was a different way of being a nurse/caretaker by taking caring of me first then other people who needed information and guidance. I loved meeting the people and the symptoms, that I was trying to cover up at work, showed others I was just like them. I could give them hope.

I remarried, in time, to a man who loves me and helped me with my volunteer work. He has been by my side for surgeries and many painful procedures. Of course, I have reciprocated for him but it is hard to deal with a partner with physical disabilities. We have been together for over twenty-five years and have a large combined family who love each other. I will be 68 in 2021 and we are enjoying a more laid back retired life.

All of us should constantly take an inventory of our lives. How are we living them? Are we serving ourselves or others? I believe we are put on this Earth to help others and we must be willing and honest to do that. I follow the principles of AA and NA and it hasn't let me down. It is progress not perfection, like a marriage. If you make a mistake, you own it and begin again.

I hope any future entries I make are as true to my convictions as this one was. Fiction is fine and I enjoy it. All writing comes from the inner well of wisdom that says so much about its’ author. I try to end all my writing on an optimistic note. I want to grow in my writing, sometimes I touch my inner feelings more than others and this was one that did. It was a great prompt.

2020 has been a very hard year for more people than I can ever remember. There are so many people out there that are ill, have lost someone they love, can't feed their families and are falling into the darkness of addiction. I pray for all of them and do what I can.

I wish for the judges and all the people that belong to Writing.com that they are at peace within themselves and bring more joy to this planet than they take from it. I know I have to make that choice every day, to spread love and remain sober.

I wish you all a happy new year, may it be a much better year for all. Thanks for letting me be a part of this family.

Kathie Stehr
December 31, 2020

** Image ID #2267445 Unavailable **
This book is currently empty.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/kat47/month/6-1-2024