February 24






What happens to the dominoes that do not fall, the show cut short by my sobriety?  The tiles stand front to back; the least foul respiration will send them to their preordained destination.  I hold my breath as I glance over the display of generations.  The design is set.  Painstaking patterns lain with meticulous, ingenious deft.  Skill for falling, laying waste.  Sad pictures told and retold in speedy drops.  The rhythmic fall of dominoes turning eight blocks to a corner.  Direction shifts but the descending continues.  I can not occupy this ground.  I must not upset the arrangement.  I cannot clear it from this world.  I must walk away from the upright mosaic, a flower waiting to bloom with destruction.  I have to move.  Climb the steep slopes.  Vertical life, leaving the tumbling destruction for Yet.  Grasping the sides of the cliffs, I haul myself off the tableland, a place set for a show of lying down.  I build my strength and keep off the well-known flats.  This is a life apart.  The game is there if I return.  It is a game no one can win.




Carry yourself.






Over Troubled Water


Though God might be everything,

for a long time, God was a resident

of an unknown country;

a theoretical citizen of a theoretical land.

It took some time for me to spy yon distant country

and longer to realize what a miracle it was

that I could see my neighbor,

holding my optics turned around the way they were.


Turning over the binoculars came long before

introductions or interaction, but it was an important step

in relationship building nonetheless.


Having seen the island my mind fled

due to the trumped-up stories about its resident.

Open minded observation cleared up the fallacies

of ogres and super heroes,


But this only told me who God wasn’t

and nothing of who God is.

Direct knowledge was going to require direct contact.


I began throwing tethered balls of string

across the channel that separates us

and was shocked, delighted, horrified

to find that the far end would get tied to the far shore.


I threw twine next, then rope,

after a few successful repetitions

I was able to shinny across for the first time.


Filled with fear and trepidation

I arrived on the opposing bank

and stood shivering more from nerves than cold.


I saw no one and felt much.

I didn’t stay long and swam back.


The first plank bridge was simple and straight.

Having this link somehow emboldened me

to explore the land of my own country.

With great regularity I found narrow margins.


I crafted a new bridge for each slender passage.

The more I learn about me

the more regular my connection to that inner land.


Like something shy of my wrath,

God made an elusive sight.

The more I calmed the more often the sightings.


We made acquaintance and then we made friends.

I’ve widened some bridges and God has widened others.

We stroll together often hand in hand.

We talk and laugh, cry and joke.


Occupancy is fluid, times I live on the island

and others the surrounding continent

sometimes we live together

other times we are one another’s quests.


All the days are not happy ones

but we are always happy to be together

and more than that I will not ask.



You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault

Posted in 12 step recovery, aa, acceptance, desire, experiance, facts, Family, Family Dysfunction, Far Off Places, Feelings, God, maturity | Leave a comment

Coming to the Table

February 23






For many years, decades even, I stacked the table against myself and others.  I piled the sacred next to trifles; I deposited item after item and built towers to confusion.  After years of sobriety, I sorted the piles in earnest.  I made a place for myself at the table.  It is amazing what I can accomplish with a seat and a surface.  Over months, tediously separating the needed from the useless, I made a place for others at the table. There is a whole world of life I had missed while trying to keep myself safe from unrealistic expectations—expectations of who I am and what I can do, what I should do and who I should do it for.

Having strong boundaries and a clean table is like a homecoming.  I am coming home to me. The good games and happy meals had at this table are unexpected and surely welcome.  The wall I built held good times at bay because I could not keep the flood of trash from spilling in from every direction. I had to learn to hold my head up before I could look around.



Invent a new language to talk to yourself in.






Like an ace in my pocket

step one is the beginning

and end of my step work.


This step carries the high and low count;

its rise is so near to the ground

I didn’t have to lift my chin to clear it

as I crawled my way in here,


Its appeal so exalted that it is all I hear

when I finish the twelfth

and am on my way back around.

the high and low of any hand.


Plus the card I keep up my sleeve for emergencies.

The greatest blessing is I don’t need four of a kind,

not even a pair; as long as I have step one.


I am guaranteed a full house, full heart and full life

between you and me that’s just how I like it.



You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault


Posted in Hope, 12 step recovery, aa, Food, honesty, Blessings, Kindness, Ace, acceptance, behavior | Leave a comment

Safety in my Chair

February 22





Sometimes I have to sit with my knees tucked up under my chin.  My feet can’t touch the floor at these moments.  I hug my legs to me, I feel contained but somehow adrift in my chair.  I center my mind on breath and pulse.  Pure fear flits and flutters while I gain my composure.  When I feel safe enough to put one foot down, then the other, and connect with the world again, I am leaving home to embark on this earthly trek.  The journey is there for me every day but some days I curl up in my chair.



Complement your feet with your shoes.







I never killed my father.

Why finish a job that

someone is completing all on his own.


It’s not that I didn’t wish him dead;

I did and do for that matter.

Don’t misunderstand me,

I wish him no harm,


It’s just that he is like a creature so tortured

that he is nothing but a danger and a misery.

Left to live he is a hazard to everyone he has contact with,

an agony to live inside.


What can I wish for him,

but departure and rest,

something he can never give to himself.


I don’t plot, don’t scheme,

I only know; know in part,

the terrible lie he lives

and hurt he drags from place to place


Acting like it is not there and nothing matters;

let’s just get by.  So, if he is not dead he should be.


He is the embodiment of the hurtful impotent god

and I don’t kill that man

but I kill the image, perish that thought.


You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault

Posted in 12 step recovery, aa, abandonment, abuse, Family Ties, Father, Fear, fearlessness, Feelings, good girl, Grace, gratitude, Patricide | Leave a comment

Time is Here to Stay

February 20







I have passed my days emptying them like breadcrumbs onto a trail of rescue.  Expecting them to facilitate redemption, and if not that, at least retreat, I release an audible sigh as I let each evening slip to the path behind me.  The future I view as a cliff I am nearing.  I hope to be ransomed before the edge.  I plan carefully how to stay in sync with revision; things must be resolved and revert.  But this is not the way.  The past is there to be mined.  Inert gold, as well as land mines, linger beneath the surface; the days stream on.  I am not nearing the limit; I am shrinking from hope.  I turn my eyes from expectancy with a shudder.  Deeply, I realize I must leave my fairytale life and walk away with my days in my pocket, a treasure that is mine to spend.



Tie a string around your hopes then let them go.





Katie’s Wish



Does G-d arrange for my parking spot,

foil the Colts opponents,

release the stains from my dry-cleaning?

Can I ask for the petty and pedantic?


All One G-d Faith,

reads the side of the soap bottle,

but really is there only one?


Like Santa?  The Tooth Fairy?  OZ?

Is my life better or worse for the whimsy?

How would I know?  Why would I care?


As long as I live with what I get most times,

it truly is okay to ask for what I want sometimes,

I mean hell, the Superbowl is only once a year.

I’m allowed to be unreasonable and happy.



You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault

Posted in 12 step recovery, aa, acceptance, survival, Time, timing, waiting | Leave a comment

Life Is Unfair

February 19






Assuring myself I will not be permitted through the gate, I walk the perimeter, assessing the fence, looking for a place to exploit, a wire slightly high.  Trying to look graceful, I duck under the fence, telling myself I prefer life on the edge.  The water is less dangerous here on the fringe; I wouldn’t want to be swept away.  I stay clear of my peers.  I stand in the baby pool and feel confident I won’t drown, brushing from my conscience that I won’t swim either.

Struggling to the top of the pile or scurrying underneath is a blatant lack of humility.  Skirting the margin is the same.  Facing life and finding it unfair, I take to the world of exception and hope to slip through the cracks to a life of safety.  In that act I discount my talent and ability.  Worst of all, I disconnect from God.



Toy with your thoughts, play with your food.






Though ignorance may be bliss,

living in the shadow of someone else’s

ignorance is sheer hell.

The confusion is bad, but the lies are worse.


Want to cripple a child for life

give it to a well meaning fool

who has the rule book to the wrong board game,


That child will grow to need crutches they don’t make

and medicine they can’t brew.

Dependent on misguided insanity the child will require

a miracle cure and may lack the ability to ingest it.


Best case scenario the kid makes a brave escape

into a world she can barely comprehend,

worse case she turns the rule book upside down

and reads it backwards to her own unfortunate brood.


Ignorance is always a twilight proposition,

half agreement the other half handcuffed nightmare.

Full consent is by necessity impossible

while blameless innocents is similarly unachievable.


The only suggestion I can make

from this side of the looking glass

is to pick your poison and plan your getaway.




You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault

Posted in 12 step recovery, aa, abandonment, abuse, acceptance, achievement, Danger, Delusion, Denial, isolation, Keeping Score, knowing, Letting Go | Leave a comment

Thin Ice

February 18





The ice is brittle, transparent and breaking away.  I brace for destruction, turmoil and frigid descent.  I am stuck in my topside thinking and can not realize the chance for freedom the cracking expanse promises.  I am an oceanic creature.  I can escape my watery bonds with the splitting of the ice.  Trapped in a hole I keep open only through the friction of my unrest, I am kept from the community of life to which I belong.  My reflection mixes with my view of the sky and I forget my place, forget my name, forget how I have come to be trapped here.  The pining after what is not mine to have has brought me to this thin edge.  I must break through to be who I am; in doing so I shatter the illusion of who I thought I was.  Zeal to zenith I must move away from the phantasm and mockery and take refuge in what I am.





Remember your genius.





“Defeat is what you make of it,” says my sponsor.

“Fighting a thousand secret battles

when you claim that you want peace is not right.

The agony of defeat is when you keep on fighting.

There is no honor in waving the white flag,

but never laying down your arms.”

“I can’t just give them up

they have been in the family for years,”

my whining retort.

“I’m sure they have, darling, I’m sure they have,

and haven’t done any of you a lick of good either,”

her smug reply.


“They are good for sabotage,”

I begin my running start at her.

“Sabotage is something you only do to yourself,

because who else can you really sabotage?

Who do you really hate enough other than you?”

“My hobby is denying that, you know.”

“Yes, and sweet lot of good it does you,


The war rages within you

and outside you say it’s harmony,

no matter all the signs of discord.”


“And if I were to really give up.  If, I were really tired enough,

how can I insure my safety?”

I asked with my hands nearly in the air.


“Tell the truth, even if it’s only to yourself.

Put space between you and weapons of mass destruction.

Oh, and make sure you surrender to a friend.”




You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault


Posted in 12 step recovery, aa, achievement, Conformity, Connecting with God, consolidation, Courage | Leave a comment


February 17





“Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”



Talking to a chrysalis about flight is like talking to a fetus about dry land.  Descriptions of future events and possibility are lost in the translation.  To the uninitiated, these realities sound like gibberish and flights of fancy or foolish dogma.  Yet, I am drawn to talk of these things, imagine and describe them.  I am changed by this procedure.  I am transformed in the details.  When I can accurately depict it, I am taking the stride into living it.  I am my own pig.  I have taught myself to sing and have wasted no time at all.




List your favorites so you don’t forget yourself.






Suzy Q’s Mother

Through process of elimination

I have had to learn who G-d is and who G-d isn’t.

When it comes down to my understanding

everything incomprehensible is off the table

and what is left is mine, all mine.

I can’t fathom an all powerful G-d;

therefore my G-d is not all powerful.

I cannot begin to comprehend a vengeful G-d,

as you might have guessed; my G-d is not vengeful.

Because of these constraints I have

a non-omnipotent G-d, one with limitations and bounds.

This doesn’t mean I love my G-d any less

in fact it may be why I love my G-d so very much.

And G-d loves me with a Mother love

that trails me to the depths and heights of the path,

but like any mother, she can’t do everything.

My G-d is accomplished and wonderful,

but there are days that I need things,

which lay outside my Higher Power’s area of expertise

and I must turn to help beyond our little circle of two.

This is not easy at first.

We both feel awkward in the attempt,

but Suzy Q lives two houses down

Her mother still has her hook shot from college

and since my mom’s experience of basketball

is that it’s the court you walk through to go play tennis,

I ask Mrs. Q with help making the three point shots.

I don’t have to understand Suzy Q’s mother,

I leave that to Suzy.


I just have to ask for help,

learn the jump and go home when I’m done.

It’s nice to be able to slam dunk,

but there is no place like home.




You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault


Posted in 12 step recovery, aa, acceptance, Access, God, good girl, Strange, Stretching, survival | Leave a comment