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Recovering Myself

It’s June 10, 1995, and I am standing at my kitchen sink, holding on and shaking. I am thirsty for something to fill up the emptiness inside that I cannot name. I down glass after glass of water even though I know it won’t do the trick. I am ready to head out the door and drive downtown to my first AA meeting, but I’m terrified. I don’t know if I can do it.

My breath comes in gasps. I know I’m all alone, isolated and miserable. My pride at the dissolution of my “perfect marriage” means I’ve not even told my far-flung friends that my husband had an affair and left me. Both my kids are angry with me. On Sunday, they wouldn’t even speak to me and, after a lot of yelling, I shut myself away in my room.

But as scared as I am, I get in my car and go find the meeting and take a seat.  When the person leading it asks if there are any newcomers, I find I have my hand up, and then I say the largest, purest truth I’ve ever uttered, one I didn’t even know as the purest truth until I heard the words: “My name is Molly, and I’m an alcoholic.” Though I did not know it at the time, it was the first day of a journey of discovery, of connections, of pain, and through it all, I have not had to disappear down a bottle of booze.


“Alcoholism is slow-motion suicide. Molly McKaughan endured unspeakable tragedy and sank toward despair.  These poems are quietly beautiful meditations on lives she lost and the one she saved, her own.  It is a guidepost on the path back from oblivion. Her reach and vision is panoramic. Congratulations on this collection.” —Jed Horne, author of Desire Street and Breach of Faith


“A collection of heartfelt and insightful reflections on one woman’s extraordinary journey searching to find her truth.” — Zara Phillips, author of Somebody’s Daughter—a moving journey of discovery, recovery and adoption 


“Molly’s poems reflect the miracle of AA, how we learn to live with both joy and sorrow without a drink in Hand.  Indeed, this is the miracle of our fellowship.”—Helen J

“Such depth and imagery.  Bravo, my sober sister poet.” — Phillipa S

“Every poem cuts deep and is beautifully written. It took great courage to write and publish these poems. Very highly recommended.” — Paul Jellinek

“This book is an amazing achievement, so heartfelt, and so fully honest and unflinching.”— Mary Nakashian

“These poems are wrenching and beautifully-rendered.” — Mary Geisz

“This book is gut wrenching and powerful and extremely moving! It truly will make a difference in the world! Thank you.” — Myra Armour

“I loved this book. Beautifully done, well said, deep, succinct, and personal.” — Mary McTigue

“The poems do what all good poetry should in my opinion do, which is to convey the essence of something in a way that prose is unable to.”— Susanna Riviere

       "It is not easy, in prose, to open up one's mind and soul to reveal the truth about a life fraught with     difficult relationships complicated by addiction and the death of loved ones.  To express all these complex   emotions and reflections in poetry takes a special skill.  Molly McKaughan has written such a masterpiece." 

                       Karen Shiffman Lateiner, M.Ed., author Timeless Dance: A Story of Change and Loss.  

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