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Childhood Lost and Found:
A teaching in verse -by Bill Watkins

Part One – Praying

I can’t go back, the avenues
lost, seemingly too crowded as
I look back and cry at a Spring that

Or did it? It never was
consummated or completed,
so sits bitter in the rear view
mirror every alcoholic has. We grow,
we overcome, we move on somewhat,
but we are anxious to complete
the incomplete, make amends,
let those people know you loved them.

I pray before I list the names; I am so
sorry I wasn’t a better person when
I came through middle school. Now
I’m middle aged, and know that
“better people” just means honesty.

And to get it, if you are alcoholic like me—
or maybe even if just shy—
You must pray, have a Higher Power,
a source of courage and strength.

Alcohol failed at that, became a lower
power… So did Doctor-prescribed drugs,
these substances never a substitute for
morals, ethics, will.

God, grant me strength, peace,
sunshine in rain to know that
under You I am alive and dreaming.

Help me to complete my childhood—lost
years ago in an ugly haze of traps
and dishonesty. When I loved
I did not let them know, and now
I grow old, certainly a failure.

I am at your feet, dreaming still dreaming
that I could embrace the people I loved
if only once to let them know


Part Two – Love

I am lost and hopeless, but yield
to a Power that gives hope, believe in Today,
where all of life lies in wait, hopeful itself—
just ask the birds!!

Spring came and went in my life. I had
no idea I was failing as badly as I was;
achievements in sports and the classroom
allows a young person to hold themselves

“I can’t go on, I must fall down!!!”
Is sort of what I said at Betty Ford in 1995,
black social worker, Lee Harris guiding me out
of pain, providing a platform
for spiritual awakening—just calling for
and getting the truth when I could
tell the room was safe.

33-year old virgins was not on my
mind then, but when they taught that
“Abnormal Psych” class in college
I listened intently as the forty-year
old virgin was discussed. That was going
to be me, I feared. This was long
before a movie with Steve Carell about
the topic.

Love instincts, crushes and the ability
to be a friend was what I had. The
vulnerability required for intimacy would
have to wait for sobriety and spirituality.

I loved, indeed I did. But I never told her
I loved her, never came clean.

Part Three – Paradise Lost and Found

Lee Harris, Betty ford, Al-Anon, then A.A.
Shovels and tools, excavation devices looking
for Spring and paradise.

Truth would be the great tool. Only God
could power it…

Vroom, vroom, the path goes back
to apologize and be real—try
to salvage a real life!!

On human power it’s silly, so
many of those I hurt have
moved on… Then, the irony of them
being afflicted possibly, with the same
disease!! Just because you are ready for
action, doesn’t guarantee they are!!

The art of patience comes in, my gosh,
Paradise was lost, indeed, but in honesty
I found it—that peace of mind from true
efforts, that inner smile, a real outer one!

Sitting with dogs now, reminiscing…
I’m lucky to be here, I have hope!

On Higher Power all is possible, perhaps
even a late Spring, a sign in the undergrowth,
a silver lining!

The weeding is laborious but manageable
in small doses every day…

Part Four – Every Day

How can I say it better than James Taylor?

Everyday, I get stronger
Everyday, The Path is clearer

Part Five – Found

What a hopeful paragraph with
so much work ahead. I dream
of more, accepting less by the imaginary
fire next to laying dogs and self-respect.

To know you didn’t know, and can’t
know ‘til you know is nice,
But better is the relentless effort
stopping short of self-will
To hope and help your past shape up
to support your present and future.

I repair holes, say hello to
wonderful people who deserved better
years ago.

They deserved my truth and got none.

Who knows, their tears have become mine
as I take in the pain of missing…

Emotions go on hurting, but thankfully
Peace of mind requires only maximum effort,
And peace of mind is still my Heaven.

“Found” is too soon, I’ll return to this
some day I hope, an achievement or two
more in hand—not from the arenas of work
and play per se, but from that third
area so bereft in my past.