02/28/2013 12:59 pm ET Updated Apr 30, 2013

Self-Realization in Verse

I wrote this poem almost six years ago, shortly after writing this mini-manifesto, while sipping on a giant cocktail at the now-defunct Dallas BBQ on Broadway in New York. The drinks were cheap and the size of your head, so it was understandably a frequent hangout during my suddenly empty days.

See, I had just quit my office job in an attempt to "find myself." Though I didn't quit drinking as I had promised, quitting my job was the closest thing I could get to rectifying the damage I had inflicted on my body, particularly on my poor liver and my mind. I wrote a lot of what I think is really good poetry during this time, but eventually I found myself back in my hometown of Poughkeepsie, without money or direction.

As my friends were preparing to graduate from college, I was unemployed and openly drunk in the middle of the day and trying to rationalize my drinking as a necessity to my artistry, a frequent theme in my writing and my life. This poem was an attempt at understanding, and making others understand, my precarious position.

"I Think I'm an Alcoholic"

They walk by me
Do they see me?
Do they recognize me?
A fallen friend, classmate or colleague
In the middle of the day
What would they say?
Would I care to hear it?

I strive to recreate the world
As I see it
As I want it
Do they look at me strange?
Or with some sort of pleasure?
Morbid or otherwise
I finish my drink
The first
But certainly not last
Of the day
My world beginning to take shape
With each sip

For more by Lester Brathwaite, click here.

For more on addiction and recovery, click here.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.