Living Clean | Dennis Cockerham

My First Plug

There exist many programs that one may choose from in today’s world, should they be seeking recovery from addiction. Although each has the same goal in mind, the way they get there can vary widely.

Following this mannerism, the language used to convey the message, also changes. Each has its terms and their reasons for using them.

In my program, we call this process

“Living Clean.”

Last week
At a meeting
I attended

One of our members
Shared a conflict
They were having
At school

They were studying Horticulture
From a college
Associated with the prison

He had memorized
The name of every single plant
In common terms
This course required
That the students
Know them in Latin as well

He just didn’t understand
This necessity

He disliked it
Was totally against it

The question arose

Does his understanding of things
Hold any basis
On the curriculum
Of their course

This college
Was not going to change
To fit him

It was not
His program
What he makes it to be

It’s theirs

It has been around
For a long time
For a reason

A lot of degrees
Have already come from it
It is proven to work

If a student wants the degree
Has the desire to get
What this college
Has to offer

Then they must
To the program
As it is

As it is thought
That it should be
Their program and his
Are bound
To repeatedly

All of this

Over language

I too
Language is important

If anybody knows about language

We do

Labeled as felons
Back into the world


Things can be altered
Roadblocks put up
Detours appear
Issues arise

Due to these obstacles
Some of us don’t make it

Some of us
Return to prison

Some of us die

In 1994
Paroled from prison
State of Iowa

My release earned
Having completed
Alcohol AND Drug treatment

I set out
To live
A different life

I knew
I could no longer use drugs

They had ruined my life

I was not an alcoholic

I did not identify
The attributes
Related to alcoholism

Had never caused me problems
I did not
Wake up with the shakes
Have withdrawals
Detox from alcohol

Matter of fact
If I did get drunk
I was
For sure
Not starting my day
With a drink

I probably would not drink
For another 2 weeks

If I got high

2 weeks was just a warm-up

I did not have to stay sober

Let me tell you
Just how well that worked
For me

That was my 1st sentence

I am now
On my 7th

I never figured it out
Until it was explained to me
In this program

Alcohol is a drug
I have the disease
Of addiction

Once I start using
Any drug
I will eventually
Progress back
To my drug of choice


Who knew

In this program
We stay abstinent
From all drugs

Birthday night, clean date, i stay in treatment for the fun, recovery in action, riding the bull, having fun, staying away from drugs | Dennis Cockerham | Resilience2Reform

The term we use
To define
This new way of living
Is clean

That made sense to me
It still does today

When I hear people talk
About their sobriety
Being sober

I cringe inside

I fight myself

It is not for the reason
Most think

When I hear these words
I remember

I remember
My confusion
My misunderstandings

The hurt
It caused in my life

My reason
For disqualifying myself
From Recovery

I know that
No matter my
Personal views
Previous pain

This is not
A Dennis program
It is not
What I make it

It has been here
For many years
Worked for millions of people

If I continue to want
What this program has to offer

I need to continue
To surrender
To this program
As it is
Not as I think it should be

There is only one requirement
For membership
In my chosen program

That is
The desire
To stop using

How members share
Our message

The words that we use

We are each
To pick them
Express them
On our own
As we see fit

I have lived
The distortion

I do believe
In the unified language
Of this program

I do believe
In living clean

And now
You know
Why I choose to do so


More on Living Clean

Sobriety – The Unpopular Social Norm

Clean & Sober


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