grieving together

Grief by Tessa Maurer

We learned of the death of one of our former writers last evening.  K had been released from Chittenden Correctional Facility a short time ago.  Her central aims were to beat her addiction and be reunited with her children.  Tragically, her addiction won out.

Last evening’s circle of 13 writers provided a life-affirming, sacred space in which the women could process the loss of their friend and write about their own addiction fears.

By happenstance, three of K’s longtime fellow writers were back ‘inside’ due to probation violations, so they too were able to process her death in the healthiest of ways–within the womb of supportive community.  It was a rich session in which one woman gave thanks that K was now free of this great burden.

K was wide-eyed that addiction was her downfall.  She wrote about this on more than one occasion.  Here is the last piece she wrote with writinginsideVT:


It’s hard to believe I have two beautiful babies. Who would ever know considering that I, their mother, do not care for them the way mothers do. I, a selfish, rotten, junky, drug-addicted mother, care more for drugs than my children. I know what you’re thinking, “How can a mother be so heartless?” And I can’t answer you! I know it’s a awful thing, but at least I can admit it. I wish it were not true. I have lost everything and didn’t care, but I tell you now–there is only time left to care about my children and not myself, and that means doing what it takes to keep my family together.

Our prayers and positive energy go out to her children.

calling upon her God

Cupid & Psyche
by Antonio Canova

Brave souls, all, agreed to write this week about their personal connections to God (or the Divine).  We utilized the open-hearted poetry of Rumi to get us started.  TD moved many of us with the prayerful invocation she penned, calling upon God for mercy in healing her cocaine addiction.  She utilized the prompt, “God is an ocean of mercy….Collapse into God’s arms and you’ll weep like a child.”   Read on.

It is me, your daughter.

I am here, I am in your light.

Your grace has given me many blessings.

It is me whom you loved,

no matter the number of my faults.

I am here, broken before you,

ready to receive your glory.

I have taken many paths in this life,

and it has taught me not to fear you,

for you gave me breath,

you gave me life,

and through these many circumstances,

you let me live.

I am of love and have been forgiven.

Please, show me what it is

you want from me.

I am at your mercy,

I am on bended knee,

asking for you to hold me,

comfort me from the world.

Show me how to control my fear

of the world.

Give me the strength, the power

to rise from the bondage of my addiction. Continue reading

kneeling at the foot of patience

“Patient Tree” by Bhamgal

Middle-aged women who have managed successful careers and families–and lose everything due to addictions–tug at my heart in a particular way.  This week, LN joined our circle of 13 women to write about the diamonds of patience.  She wasted no time sharing her life-story and ongoing battle with alcoholism.  The final line of her piece caused eyes to well up with tears.  Read on…

Patience is not my strong suit. I’ve had to work diligently to acquire this most humble virtue.  Patience, as modeled by my mother, father, brothers and grandmother, did not run deep in my family either. So when it comes to my own patience, my only role models were family, outside of priests, nuns, and school teachers, and that didn’t run as deeply as you might think.

I humbled myself with my conversations with God – He alone showed me that His will be done was what I had to accept in His, and only His own time. 

I had major back surgery when I was 15 years old.  I convalesced in a full-body cast, flat on my back for six months.  I had my first taste of my true human nature when all was taken from me so quickly.  I lost my freedom.  I lost my spirit.  I gained humility and patience.

When I became a nurse in 1981 when I was just 21, I learned that my patients didn’t always tell time by my watch.

When I married at 24, I didn’t realize that husbands could also be as impatient as their wives. 

When I went on to have three sons in quick succession, I had to really put on my thinking-cap to keep up with their demands and needs.

When I went to prison in 2004, I learned to wait for all my most basic needs, like nutrition, health and medication.

My final challenge has been accepting that family and friends have set boundaries around my alcoholic words and behaviors. I am aware of my Jekyll and Hyde personality when actively drinking. 

My family’s love comes now in the form of tough love. I only know if I have patience now, those I love and hold dear to my heart will come back to me, even if I arrive in heaven first.


It’s been a while since we posted a ‘found poem’ created by lines of women’s writing from a previous circle.

In this case, the lines were gathered at our ‘public’ reading of a number of pieces from several months. Therefore the theme is one created by the proximity of lines to one another and their entirety, rather than being in response to a particular prompt.

Behind me must be forgotten –
addiction, The Devil
critical of my hair
untamed, unhinged;
cupid’s careless arrow
plucked from the sky
swatting the air thick with
trust, love, hope and dreams
vulnerable to the game;
thinking there’s no danger is absurd. Continue reading

Could new approach to addictions treatment reduce recidivism?

Marybeth Redmond’s  latest commentary aired on Vermont Public Radio this evening!  She speaks in favor of Governor Shumlin’s proposal for an integrated addictions treatment system statewide.

“Vermont has long been in need of an integrated system for addictions treatment, where doctors, clinicians, caseworkers and databases are all coordinating. Vermonters need a model of care that treats chemical-dependency as a chronic disease like diabetes or depression, where daily medication and relapse-management are the norm not the exception.”

Click “LISTEN” to hear more.