Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

“As much as I liked the fast pace of that hardboiled world, in the slow moments I wondered about the point of it all.”

“I learned quickly that there’s an intrinsically desolate feeling to being homeless. It was something I did not expect, and it cut far deeper than the simple, logistical difficulties and social stigmas of being dirty and unhoused. There’s something specific about not having a place where you are welcome or safe when the sun goes down. For an underage girl fresh on the street, safe was not really an option—but after a few days, I found welcome: the Family under the parking garage. The Family was a motley collection of a couple dozen young homeless goths and assorted street people dwelling beneath the first level of the curving parking garage across the street from the Alewife train station—the end of the line.”

I’ll have a year clean on the 20th and I won’t get a certificate for that, but it’s the only thing that I deserve one for. But then, I guess maybe nothing really important in life can be validated by a piece of paper.

“I was not tempted; drugs finally felt like a past life, an escape I did not miss. Unlike so many of my friends, I was not haunted by cravings or drug dreams, and I felt like I’d almost cheated my way out of addiction. Sometimes, I’m still not sure to what extent I got sober and to what extent I just found more socially acceptable obsessions like running and crosswording and writing.”

“When the end is near (in prison, time slows to a trickle. Not the way it does on the ice at Nationals, when adrenaline moves faster than the ticking clock. Not the way it does at the top of a gorge, when the world is frozen. And not the way it does in The Place, when the hours blend together and disappear. This is not reality fading away or closing in but simply refusing to move forward, with such stubbornness that it seems physically painful—like the struggle of a wild animal trapped in a tar pit and straining to break free. In prison terms, this is getting short. That’s the word for when your bid is almost over, and you are about to go home.”

Keri Blakinger, random excerpts from Corrections in Ink: A Memoir (St. Martin’s Press, June 7, 2022)



  1. It takes, a whole lot of strength, to, not be tempted by a vice, especially when you were once, an, addict, and, every milestone you reach for staying clean, should be, celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mighty powerful words, beautifully and painfully put on paper

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annnnd another one onto the reading pile…😉

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “…nothing in life can really be validated on a piece of paper” – and yet, her visceral words validate her struggle and survival, and ultimately, her life.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Sometimes, I’m still not sure to what extent I got sober and to what extent I just found more socially acceptable obsessions like running and crosswording and writing.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, the title sounds like an emphatic declaration of her self-validation! I guess it’s the psychotherapist in me, but I notice her appreciation for intensity and speed coupled with, “in the slow moments I wondered about the point of it all.” So appreciative of her gift of sharing her insights and perplexities with (us) those out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Her writing is outstanding. And thank you. Dammit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bulletholes says:

    Down at my NA Group we have a whiteboard. There are columns for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 6 Months, 9 months, 1 year, and 2 or more years clean.
    It’s a big deal for a lot of people to get to put their name under a column for that month.
    Its an even bigger deal to watch your name move across the board for the next two years.
    Its sad how few actually make it to the end of the board.
    It reminds me of a seminar I went to where Joe Gibbs was the speaker. He said they had a special chair for the player of the game to sit at at team meetings the week after a game. It was a recliner, with footrest and massage, and these million dollar players all wanted to sit in the chair. And that a guy making 7 figures a year would just light right up when you handed him a new Walkman.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This made me unbearably sad – those struggles, the danger of ‚never quite making it‘…. Having a recovered drinker in my close vicinity I will never be ignoring again the incredible strength it takes an addict to get really off their addiction. And then writing about it! That is something I can hardly bear to even read – all that pain, the memories, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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