Writing on the road to recovery

Writing on the road to recovery

Writers & Books, 740 University Ave, Rochester, NY [Photo: David Kramer, 2/17/20]

Recently a friend of mine – “landing like Dorothy” —  moved to Rochester, a city she hasn’t lived in for over 50 years. As part of her recovery, she writes of her experiences and impressions. So far, “Rochester feels exotic to me, what I imagine Oregon to be like minus the ocean. Grey skies and friendly people. I bought a new bicycle and have high hopes.”

Waiting for my outpatient orientation. Shit, I’ve done this before. I’m right back where I was last year. Just a different city. Another different city. I’m trying to be grateful but I am hating that my meds are making me gain weight. I’m going to stop taking the Zyprexa. It makes me calm but fat. I can’t stand being fat. If I start to feel crazy, I’ll go back to it but I don’t want to. I should be happy to be calm, not sedated but calm. I’m scared that the shift I’ve had in my perception of AA is due largely to the med. I’m supposed to use every tool I can find to stay sober but being fat?

I’m sitting in the waiting room across from a bar called Axes and Ales. Now that sounds interesting. I’ve never thrown an axe. A bunch of Vikings is what it sounds like and I find myself being pissed that I can’t enjoy drinking an ale and throwing an axe. Shit. Another  life experience that I’ll have to miss. Can I not focus on how much better my life is at 45 days sober. A month and a half ago I was throwing up into a waste basket and unable to walk. I have never been that sick and I’ve been pretty sick. I couldn’t even drink. I’m craving it today probably because of the unseen Norseman across the street.

The people in the waiting room are making me sad. Especially the fat girl sitting next to me who is lonely and awkward and breaking my heart. I don’t want to be sad but she keeps asking people if they want gum and then whispering “my name is Jennifer.” Now she’s kind of crazy and talking to no one in particular. So many lonely people. I don’t want to be like these sad and lonely people. I don’t look like them or sound like them and yet I’m just like them. I’m just like them.

Sometimes I just miss drinking. Stopped the Zyprexa, thank god. I couldn’t take getting fat. I’m going to go to bed and watch Dirty John. Making some tea. Chai with milk. I was imprisoned in the wilderness of my addictions. Alcohol and drugs and men and fear. I was addicted to fear and now I find that I have none. Do I really believe this? I do today. For today I will believe this. My father had a friend who could walk a whole block on his hands. He could balance chairs, one in each hand, on their legs. He was married to a woman whose mother carried her money in her vagina. My father knew some interesting people.

Writers & Books, 740 University Ave, Rochester, NY [Photo: David Kramer, 2/17/20]

I am so depressed that I never went to school. Never accomplished anything. Anyfucking thing. Am I stupid? I’m afraid I’m limited. How do I write something good? Something real. When my mother uses my addictions in her writing, I feel horrible.” Why don’t I write? I have to write.


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About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

1 Comment

  1. KJN

    I always appreciate authentic voices and I recognize the writer is definitely in recovery. Good for her! Tell her, “The truth can set you free.” Very courageous to share her experiences and may help others to not feel so alone. Well done.


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