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The Bottle

by LexiMorseth


What am I chasing at the bottom of the bottle?

Whatever it was by now I've surely swallowed.

Now my body is heavy upon waking as I just crave relief

My wallet is light from chasing my high by any means

My moral compass changes as I run low on funds

Now I'm contemplating doing things I never would have done.

I hear a voice in the back of my head saying "Stop this isn't you!"

But I've already gone so far I respond "What else do I have to lose?"

I'm just another addict who resorts to the bottle when I'm in pain

but how much longer before I'm dead or decide to change?

Through wasted times I have lost my purpose

Even the thought of life, well, it makes me nervous.

The bottle was a thief robbing me of peace

attempting and failing to use any substance as a release.

I've been filling a void for so long the old me is lost

Now though each day gets clearer and I'm no longer engulfed in a fog.

With help I don't need the bottle to satisfy although at times I still think I do.

I'm being taught that once I get it and the high passes I'll just be back to craving something new.

I lived as an extension of the bottle but am now finding a new identity

Knowing now beyond any doubt if I start using again my using will embody me

The success I am aspiring to is now within reach, but I'm still hungry for more

so I keep going to every meeting letting fellow recovering addicts move me forward.

I tell myself that I've got to stay sober and I know I can "one day at a time"

Those 5 words are what I grasp onto when it feels as though I'll lose my mind.

All those past years I had spent wasted never essentially went to waste,

for they can be put to use as an example of how not to live my old way


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1257 Reviews


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Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:59 am
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi there Lexi! Niteowl here to leave a quick review.

This poem tells a compelling story of an addict and their transition to a sober life. There's some standout lines, including the first couplet and this section:

but how much longer before I'm dead or decide to change?

Through wasted times I have lost my purpose

Even the thought of life, well, it makes me nervous.

The bottle was a thief robbing me of peace

attempting and failing to use any substance as a release.


Where I think this poem could be improved is in the structure and rhyme. Some lines flow really well, but others seem to mismatch, the lines getting rather wordy in pursuit of a rhyme. I would try to be more concise and have the lines match each other in length so they flow better. I'll pick on the final couplet for example.

All those past years I had spent wasted never essentially went to waste,

for they can be put to use as an example of how not to live my old way



As is, this is kind of clunky, but I do like the wordplay of the first line.

All those years I spent wasted didn't go to waste
because now they show how I can't live that way.

This says the same thing, but a bit snappier, so it reads more smoothly. In general, it's always a good idea to read your poem out loud and see what flows and see what sounds odd/clunky/repetitive.

Also, I noticed you repeat "the bottle" a lot, which can work, but it's not always necessary. Think about if you need to repeat it every time.

Overall, this is a solid transformation narrative, but I would look at the structure and rhyming to make it flow better. Keep writing! :D




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Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:51 pm
Glauke wrote a review...



Hi Lexi! I'm Glauke, here for a review. Nice to meet you, and welcome to the site!

Description

This poem is about addiction and recovery. It focuses on alcoholism, but other substances are alluded to. In the beginning, the speaker describes feeling hopeless and lost, and laments the way his/her life is becoming. He/she wonders "how much longer before I'm dead or decide to change" and carries out an internal monologue depicting the cognitive dissonance of wanting to stop using a substance and simultaneously relying on it physically. The speaker depicts the years he/she spent in the throes of addiction as "wasted times." However, he/she gradually gets stronger and more hopeful, describing the recovery process and finally realizing that those "wasted times" weren't wasted at all, but in fact an important lesson about personal growth.

What Works

The raw emotion in this poem is very powerful. I can really feel the narrator's struggle with addiction and their profound change during recovery. The first half of the poem is written in the present tense, then past tense is used momentarily, then we're back to present tense. This conveys a sense of how time is moving during the addiction/recovery process. It also allows the beginning of the poem to feel more immediate and urgent. The rhyming pattern also works very well in some parts, though I will discuss this more in the next section.

A few standout lines:

I'm just another addict who resorts to the bottle when I'm in pain

but how much longer before I'm dead or decide to change?


My moral compass changes as I run low on funds

Now I'm contemplating doing things I never would have done.


For Revision

So, the rhyming pattern. Getting this right is very tricky, and you totally nailed it in some parts. Specifically in the first part, when the line lengths are a little shorter, you did really well. Those first two lines really pack a punch. What I would recommend is reading this poem aloud while clapping out a beat. I know it sounds silly, but it will help you realize where you could change around words to fit the rhyming pattern. The idea is that it should sound sort of rhythmic and musical in the reader's head. For example:

With help I don't need the bottle to satisfy although at times I still think I do.

I'm being taught that once I get it and the high passes I'll just be back to craving something new.


This couplet sounds much better if you just tweak a few words here and there:

With help I don't need the bottle anymore, although at times I still think I do.

I'm being taught that once the high passes I'll just start craving something new.


I'd encourage you to take your time reading through the poem aloud to see where else you can tease out that natural rhythm. Also, I would consider breaking this poem into stanzas or couplets however you see fit. I think it totally works the way it is, but formatting it a bit differently might aid cohesion and help the reader see exactly how the ideas connect.

Final Comments

This is a really excellent piece! I think it's very important to write about experiences like this, for many reasons. You've done a beautiful job encapsulating all the complex emotions that come with such a serious struggle. With a few minor adjustments here and there, you'll have a really polished poem. Please feel free to send me a PM or post on my wall if you want any further feedback on this piece or others. Finally, I want to say thank you for sharing this piece. Writing about such a personal topic takes a lot of courage and vulnerability. You've managed to express yourself in a such a poignant and meaningful way. You should be proud! Looking forward to reading more of your writing.

Warmly,
Glauke





Always do what you are afraid to do.
— E. Lockhart, We Were Liars