And I Believe You

March 5





“This will be easy,” says my sponsor.

“Oh, yes.  Simplicity itself.  I’m sure,” I respond.  “I’ve participated in these plans before.”

“We get good results,” she retorts.

“I love how you pick goals, which are intellectual straight lines and emotional roller coasters.  You do it with an open face, not a modicum of guilt.”

“Why should I feel guilty?  You keep getting better; I keep staying sober.  What is there to feel bad about?”

“The guileless look on your face; I fall for it every time, but no more.  I know you’re cunning.  You know this will be hard.  I remember when we worked on honesty.  What could have been simpler?  Or hope, how sweet a concept.  After thirty rounds on the floor with setting limits, I realized you’re like the bean seller that Jack met.  You say they are magic beans and I believe you.  You say they will grow to the sky.  I know they will and I will climb them.  Just don’t tell me it will be easy.”



Write an advertisement for your best quality.





A Duck Trying to Teach a Fish to Swim




Just because you’ve been in the water

doesn’t mean you know how to swim.

Just because you swim in the water

doesn’t mean you can teach me how.


Floating on top and plunging your head

under the surface occasionally

doesn’t qualify you to safe guard me.


Poaching is unpleasant to those of us caught,

we that were foolish enough to believe

that birds of a feather can teach school

are picked off and swallowed

by the benevolence of so much quack.




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, achievement, ego, Escape | Leave a comment

Dichotomy’s Embrace

March 4







Contentment and security bleed in through the doors and windows of my heart.  Peace blows its fine wind across my mind.  I fear for my identity.  I raise my hand to beat the drum.  Is my pulse still there if the beat of discontent is not?  The warmth seeps in, my fingers uncurl.  I resist the urge to tilt my face to the sun.  How can I be I, if my countenance is not bleak?  Mirth escapes my lips.  Am I a creature of laughter?

Shadows play across the shade.  My brain feels through levels of sheltered memory.  I am old and age hangs from my brow.  I am young and exposure stings my flesh.  In all this, joy?  Where can I enfold this antithesis?  A child of extreme, yes.  Brooding and rage; hounding and silence.  How have sprinkles and starlight added to the mix?  Purring, musing and sweet kisses.  What am I in this embrace?




Write a collage.




The Horse of a Different Stripe




When I arrived at the horse and pony show,

I saw all there was to see;

there were Morgans, Walkers, and Paints.


Yet I couldn’t help but return

to this particular zebra,

the spark of my imagination,

the inspiration of my dreams.


There was no help for me,

I want what I want and need what I need.

It was all about spirit, all about soul.


The fire in its eyes matched

the burning of my heart,

ignition at the point of recognition.


Then I stumble, then I fall,

bad behavior and wrong thinking,

the selfishness of the self-involved

takes hold and runs my mouth, “


Nice mount, great steed,

But can nothing be done about these stripes?”

The flash in those eyes,

the knowing knickers, said it all.


I was trying to stay in my small place

and that would never work with her,

if I wanted the Zebra,

I had to be willing to go to Africa.



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, Redemption, struggle, survival, Wrong, Yes, Zebra | Leave a comment


March 3





I turn the desk lamp into the eyes of God.  I put question after question to the construct of my childhood concept.  “Would you please explain?”  Or, “Exactly why did You do this, that, or the other thing?”  “Are You now or have You ever been a member of…?”  I put the pressure on; the beads of perspiration join, then trickle.  I have God in ‘the box.’  I will not relent.

“I don’t understand You,” I say disappointedly, as if speaking to a troubling adolescent.  “You have so much potential if only You would apply Yourself.”  The icon shakes Its head slowly and deliberately; I shake my head, too.  So much time has passed and I am no closer to embrace.

“You don’t understand Me,” says God to me.  Dawn breaks; I uncuff this mythic creature.

“You are not the one I am looking for.  You are free to go.”




New is neutral, not better or worse.




Stepping up



I look along the list of names,

look upon the sea of faces.

Are there any whose eyes I avoid?


I gaze across the landscape

are there any craters,

any pock marks, any divots.


I tick through my actions

those I’ve recently taken

checking for stubbles, glitches, snafus.


These combined facts and figures

create a portrait of my day;

I appraise the eyes, the hair, the teeth.

If I can smile at what I see

all is well if not I begin the repair.




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, survival | Leave a comment

If I Had a Screwdriver

March 2







If I had anything other than this hammer, possibly, I would discontinue pounding this helix into the side of my universe.  The slot is unused; the flat head of my sledge slams.  A wide void is punched into my abyss as the threads are pummeled not turned.  If I had picked up the right tools, if they had been displayed within my reach, if my granny had five wheels she might yet be a wagon.

I have picked up new tools but, having never seen them used, I bang with them.  Watching others twisting the wrist and angling the elbow, I try to wrap my mind around the posture.  Muscles I have never used, laminated to mental configurations unthought of, improvement in workmanship is slow.  Many a fine toolbox has remained full and untouched, the mind lacking the dexterity to grasp the in-workings, the body ill-equipped for the outer.  If I had a screwdriver, I pray I could bring to it the flexibility of sinew and the nimbleness of wit.



Remember the minutes; they belong to you.





Reality and Desire



“I know the difference between desire and reality,”

I whisper to my new found friend.

Who I am and what I am,

are a reality unto themselves,


Your recognition of that

and how you handle said recognition

are for you and God.


The vastness of the true you;

I hope to spend a lifetime surveying;

but not sampling.


What you want and your reality

are not mine to mind or mend.

If you are driving that train this is on you


If HP is the driver all the more incentive

for me to be still, enjoy the ride and await the outcome.

For in the end the question is never,

will you be mine, but what will I be to you.




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, creativity, desire, Living Life, Love, Relationships | Leave a comment


March 1





“Wanting to be alive is not as important as wanting to do right,” said my sponsor.

“I don’t want to be here,” I half blurted, half sobbed.

“I know,” came the reply.  “Many of us come in not wanting to live.”

“But sobriety is about living.”

“Yes, and you want to be sober,” said my sponsor.

“But I don’t want to live.”

“This moment.  This moment you don’t want to live but you still want to be sober.  You still want to do right.”


“And that is what you’ll do.  You’ll pick up the tools as you have done so often and you will try everything suggested.  You’ll see how you feel tomorrow.”

“What if it doesn’t go away?”

“You’ll keep it up and see how you feel the next day.”

“What if I never feel better?”

“Ah, well.  When have you ever had anything that dependable?”



Don’t force joy to simmer let it boil over.





Van and I

(Happy cleaning windows)




When the fog clears and I still can’t see,

I check my optics and wash my windows.

The mundane upkeep hones my pursuit.


After the weather and housekeeping concerns

are managed, eye exercises are next on the agenda.

I have to strengthen my equipment,

stay fit or fall prey to vagaries

of nearsighted limits or farsighted failings.


Myopia is an ever present danger

I must guard against as well.

A fixed focus is a death trap.


I must learn to track a moving target

while I wend onward.

Nothing in life is stationary;

concentration and a decent line of sight

are priceless rudiments.


Continual practice with the tools and tactics

build my confidence and sharpen wit.

Burdens are lightened

when I see my goal in stark relief;


I can chart my path and make my way.

Sobriety means if I can see it I can believe it,

so I best go get the Windex.



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, waiting | Leave a comment

One In A Thousand

February 28





“Did they tell you the odds when you came in?”  asked my sponsor.

“Yes.  One in thirty makes it to the rooms.  One in thirty of those stays for five years.  One in a thousand gets truly sober and is catapulted to another dimension.”  I responded.

“What was your response to that?”

“Well, I showed the proper amount of surprise and said, ‘Oh, my.’”

“Yes.  What did you think inside?”

“I thought. ‘Climb with me or I’ll climb over you.’  Not very spiritual is it?”

“It worked.  You’re still sober; a lot of folks aren’t.  The company you keep is sober.  There is nothing less spiritual than being drunk,” said my sponsor.

“Is that why it’s called a selfish program?”  I ask.

“I don’t know.  It seems to me sobriety is a gift you give to the world.”

“But I give it to myself.”

“Can’t give a gift you don’t have in your possession.”

“Point taken.”



Do what you can and try the rest.







The chase is on, round and round it goes

and where it stops no one knows.

I run after control and change as I grasp,

but can never quite get my fingers

wrapped around the thing.


An open fist is an adjustment;

no fist at all would be a feat.

The fool’s errand I send myself on brings suffering;

there would be suffering anyhow,


I feel I am the cause due to my attempt to avoid it;

another backhanded attempt at the illusion,

the goal, control.


Adjusting to reality is at first freefall;

rarely do I get to second.

The shape taken by the shift in my gears

to no gears at all dilates my pupils and the rest is white.


If the colors come back I don’t know when.

If the ground beneath me returns I don’t know how.

I am blinded by the light and can only follow the sound.



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, achievement, Oldtimers, One, Personal Responsibility | Leave a comment


February 27





Listening to what people say is a half waste of time; believing it is a full waste of time.  Truth wills out in behavior.  No matter what is said, what is done is the real deal.  What is done over time is the final test and the things which are repeated, resounding from one generation to the next, are to be counted on.  Believing in told truths is a snare and delusion, the trap of all traps.

If your sponsor has a sponsor you may sleep at night.  If your sponsor works with that sponsor you can sleep soundly.  Doing the right things, doing them over and over again, doing them with others, your group, your friends, your sponsees, will make you believable.  I can think of nothing else that will.



Tickle your age and laugh with it.



The Resentment of an Acorn



Because no one believed

that I was a giant oak inside,

I had to prove it and drop my little cap

and leave my shell behind.


Now I stand big and tall,

alone, board feet to the sky.

I have lost my portability in my quest

for the recognition of my potential.


My amazing growth painful due to its cause;

poor mental health is a bitter road to achievement.

As I stand head and shoulders

above the undulating canopy

reflection comes on a sweet breeze.


Am I sorry I’m here, it could have been worse,

could have been eaten by a squirrel

or glued endlessly to a third-grade art project

“my walk through the woods”


Bugs could have gotten me,

though that looms even now.

I could have disintegrated, lost my power and integrity.


Whatever the driver I am appreciative of the destination,

there were many darker roads on that map.

It’s good to be here.

It’s good to be anywhere sober.



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, Acorn, comfort, Common experiance, Intelligence, Oak tree, Observation, Old Ideas | Leave a comment