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"Handbook For The Newly Undead" by Sebastian Strange
370 words, Poem
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in your recovery, you will experience a great number of things. in your recovery, you will try every method that crosses your path.
you will eat vegan, you will not eat at all. you will eat an orange in your shower at four in the morning, hoping for a minor religious experience. you'll get juice, between your fingers and dripping on your feet. you'll wind up on your knees in front of the fridge in the afternoon and you'll peel slices of cheese straight out of the package to eat. you'll philosophize it as some weird primal dairy hunger, a longing for mother's milk. It's just hunger.
in your recovery, you will worry about everything. or you won't, and your breath will come easy; you will buy yourself chocolate. then, on saturday, you'll remember it's not supposed to be easy, and your breath will go out of you and you'll be back at step one. during your recovery it is common to fall back. we have all drawn that card, and the one that sends you to jail, and very few of us pass go. but we all go, eventually, in our own ways.
the truth about your recovery is that you lack a map. our program is a recursive folding set of steps that transform, when you look, into chutes and ladders. climbing to heaven or sliding down to where you are and the ground you always touch down on. and sometimes in your recovery, you kiss the ground. you hate heaven. you welcome your old evils back like a jazz band. this is a normal part of the process.
normal is as normal makes itself, by repetition. dust off the gravedirt and forget about your family curses, and pretend to wake up in the morning and drink coffee. the black beast in your mind is fooled by slow and careful motion. this is the very nature of recovery.
and in your recovery, you will not find your way to recovery at all. and in your recovery, you will eventually forget how hard this all was. and in your recovery, you will find a grave that was once yours, and you will say 'who or what was buried here?'
Sebastian Strange lives in Ohio but hopes to someday return to New England, where there may or may not be some Elder Gods waiting impatiently to be introduced to reality. He likes dark, beautiful fiction with a touch of light, and horror with an escape hatch. His stories have appeared in Mythic Delirium and Glittership, and you can find him on Twitter as @monstrousseb.