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This poem was written by a member of our Writing to Recovery Group. 

Content warning: this poem may cause emotional triggers. 

Rock Bottom
Below rock bottom,
there is a core of impenetrable rock
From which
As you drill downwards
(Because there's nowhere else to go)
Your screams become muffled
Your cries of help
Become cries of exaltation,
Your cries of despair
Become cries of inspiration and cheer.

Below rock bottom
Where no one can hear your muffled screams
You cannot upset those
Who are delighted with your 'recovery'
You cannot demur amongst the darkness
For fear of your conscience
Torturing itself over and over again with guilt.

And you cannot even cry
Let alone complain
The sounds of despair
Cannot be heard from this far down.
Emotions of distress, so severe
When they penetrate the buried rock
That there cannot be an echo.

Never ever.
This is the time
When for all the mountain of distress
For all the weight that stands upon him,
A man must listen very carefully

For somewhere in that buried rock
Is the voice of another.
The man who is this far down,
May be nearer the others

His own cries may be muffled.
But let his ears not be muffled likewise.

The depth of courage requires this strength.
From the place where none would willingly go.
To hear someone else's cries
When your inner world is screaming itself.

That is the definition of Rock Bottom
When an echo of your own despair is heard
When someone else is blasting through the rock
longing to reach you,
longing to touch your hand,
desperate for contact,
as they frantically drill through the rock to reach you.

That is Rock Bottom itself,
The Land of Courage.
Where to stop one's voice just for a moment
Reveals how loud the echoes really are
The strongest words do not come from oneself.

By Richard Candy

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