A Thousand Swallows

What is it like?

What is it like
to start each night
with a sip, then another,
then a glass, and one more?

What does it say
when we pour a wee hair
when we rise, or at noon
to rescue the day?

When does the pretense
that we seek the truth
convert to a tale, a lie,
a rationale?

What is this stuff
that boggles our brains
when our families
wait for our love?

Why do we drink
our minds into dark
when life provides such
a beautiful feast?

When does a pastime
become an addiction,
a lifestyle, a refuge,
a death by immersion?

Who can love us
when we can’t love ourselves
enough to stop killing
our very own cells?

How do we stop
Consuming ourselves?
A step at a time
For the rest of our lives.


I don’t usually provide any explanatory note following a post. I feel that I should in this instance. I have watched too many friends start their adulthood – or leave their adolescence – with a “celebratory beverage” in hand and succumb to this dreadful addiction as they matured. It is a story that applied to both of my parents, who were intelligent, successful, driven people with full lives behind them when I entered the picture, yet they were less than they could have been for my brother and me due to their retreat into the bottle at various times of the day for various unexplained reasons. It was more common in their generation than, I guess, in mine. That does not make watching it happen any less awful. I was lucky. I always drank too fast and was sick before I knew it. This set up a helpful aversion reaction that I finally recognized when I was 25. I stopped but I had never really gotten started. The patient load-in of ethanol is the mechanism that creates tolerance and, if not attended, addiction. Please be careful. There are many ways to have fun; find a bunch of them that don’t involve self-harm.

Featured image from Pixabay, no attribution required

Author: makingsenseofcomplications

I have an academic background in literature and, separately, science. My career has been in industry in positions of increasing responsibility assisting in the drug development process - one of the most amazing intellectual pursuits of the human mind, among many other amazing intellectual pursuits. I am interested in films, philosophy, history, art, music, science (obviously), literature (also obviously), some video gaming, human behavior, and many other topics. I wish there was more time in every day because we have a world that is full of amazing phenomena that are considered too superficially by too many. Although my first and last names are fictional, I think I believe in all of the stuff you read here, although I retain the right in perpetuity of changing my thoughts about anything written herein.

6 thoughts on “A Thousand Swallows”

    1. So many of us do, I suppose. We only have the one we have, sometimes large, sometimes not. If it is healthy, we emerge feeling good. If it is not, we tend to have more questions for the world than answers. I am pretty certain that there was never an answer plastered to the bottom of any glass my parents or friends ever drained. And thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A much needed message.
    I have seen so many patients suffer from the complications of alcohol addiction yet when I ask how much they drink,some proudly inform me of the amount, while others deny they even have a problem.
    Same goes for smoking.

    Liked by 1 person

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