In a world in which substance use disorders are no longer suffered in isolation, treating addiction is a challenging journey with obstacles, intermittent failures, and life-altering successes. A poem on drug withdrawal expressed through the eyes of a fellow in addiction medicine.
The frayed dignity of the patient described in this poem, his intelligence matched by the inexplicable intransigence of his alcoholism, moved this VA psychiatrist to describe the clinical encounter, apropos for April, Alcohol Awareness Month.
When a full-time writer's husband was diagnosed with cancer, she found writing poetry helped her cope. She guessed that others would, like her, find their experiences with cancer best expressed through poetry. So began The Cancer Poetry Project.
—for SusanneWe kneeled on the bookstore floortwo students scanning the bodiesof new books, checking outeach other's Principlesof Internal Medicine.Scores of textbooks laterwe're a pair of pagers and missed dinners,companions in sleep-deprived nights.We suffered the long delaybefore our only child while we ranto slashed wrists and ODs,sprinted from half-read journalto school play to board meeting.In conversation long as summer lightwe talked patients and drugs,recited the simple prayers of dying,learned how we both took medicineas a life-long lover.One hushed June evening in mid-lifescented rose and thick with fire-flies,the phone steals her.I sit with my half-filled glass