“Your voice matters.” “You matter.” Two powerful statements which capture the purpose of this blog, to give encouragement and voice to male survivors on the journey from survival to thriving. In this post Phil shares a poem and a little about himself. Remember we want to hear from you. Do you have a story, a poem, a painting, a song you want to share with other survivors? Let us know about it through this form and we will be in touch. Remember you are not alone. You matter. Your voice matters. —Mike

Phil says:

My healing journey began 4 years ago when I sought help to address my alcohol abuse. I had become angry, depressed, and emotionally insulated from those whom I loved dearly. My behavior toward others was passive-aggressive. Shame and guilt were always standing nearby my whole life. While in therapy I came to understand that I had locked my 15 year old self in a dark room with my perpetrator. Over several months we helped bring my 15 year old self out of that dark room to begin our healing journey. I was fortunate then to discover the MenHealing organization as well as maintain sobriety. I attended a Weekend of Recovery where I was able to “raise my hand” in a safe place with safe people. My life has changed in so many positive ways. I am now participating in a Weekend of Recovery Support Group with great co-facilitators who are helping our group members live their best life. We begin our meetings with a grounding exercise. I wrote this poem for one of our meetings: “A Gathering of Friends”

A Gathering of Friends
Everything that makes us who we are culminates 
in Autumn, that space in time as we know time, 
when we pause to gather in what was planted, 
what nourishes and sustains us in our time 
remaining when temperatures drop  and daylight 
diminishes. I hold this time up to the slanting light 
like a color slide. 

I gaze upon this captured moment and I see a 
harvest of friends, each like a tree-ripened peach, 
dripping with sweetness, golden yellow and orange. 
Friends who season after season feed my being, 
my heart, my dreams. Friends who year after year 
confirm that they are there to help me grow, 
with their fruits of loyalty, kindness, understanding, 
trust, and unconditional love. 

Autumn yields a table groaning with riches as we gather 
to recount harvests of past and present friendships,  
fruit that makes us who we are and who we are becoming. 

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