A Poet's View

When Cedar House invites clients to “Come Grow With Us,” we are confident that they will grow in many ways during their treatment here.  Nothing is more encouraging than seeing young clients grow with us, find clarity and discover their talents.  That’s exactly what’s happening for Sonny, and he was kind enough to share not only his personal story but also his poetry with us.


Sonny had a difficult upbringing in an abusive household.  As a teenager, he turned to drugs and drug dealing in an attempt to fill the void of a missed childhood.  His life of substance abuse and crime hit a new low when he was caught robbing a home and sent to jail.  After his sentence, he came straight to Cedar House determined to change his life. 

Since he’s been here, he’s discovered some important things about himself.  He’s learned that he’s a gifted poet.  And he’s learned that writing poetry is bringing a new kind of serenity to his life.  He’s finding that his poetry is filling that void he never thought he’d be able to fill.

In his first weeks at Cedar House, Sonny wrote a poem he titled “Steps.”  The poem takes readers through the journey he went through as he settled into our residential treatment facility.  He says that he struggled to acquaint himself with the other men at first and internalized his feelings of how he would fit in here.

“I sit back and watch them pretend
Hoping my patience won’t snap and bend
Like bamboo in the wind
Like the wind that blows in my face
As I continue to race this race
But I’m falling out of place
And I can’t keep pace.”

As the title indicates, Sonny continued to take steps toward recovery and reflected that in his writing.  Becoming clean and sober helped to shed light on some of the emotions he was experiencing.
“Cast aside I have made my problems a maze.
No need to paint a picture.
Just read this story.
I’m awake now to tell this tale.”

He continued to grow in his understanding of how the other clients here could help him achieve that by relating to each other’s experiences.  They learn from each other every day they’re here by sharing their stories, their art, their music and their poetry.

“That’s what I mean to say,
And I know it to be true.
But just for today we are both awake and dreaming,
Dreaming of still waters and pastures of green that are teeming.
We are all awake now singing sweet songs of courage and achievement.
Don’t doubt it. You can just go ahead and believe it.
Believe that we all have made it.
There can’t possibly be a lie or a way to fake it.
We are here awake and clean.
Forget about the past
Because those things are not what they seem.
We have made it, and it is our time to shine.
One day at a time,
As I pray for your victory I will go ahead and find mine.”

The personal growth Sonny has achieved at Cedar House is incredible.  By opening his mind and heart to the possibilities ahead of him in a clean and sober life, he’s discovered that he has so much more to offer the world.  He believes that the friendships he’s made during his time here are that of a lifetime brotherhood.  Their encouragement of each other’s recovery is remarkable.  His Cedar House family has inspired him to write a compilation of poetry to publish, and that’s exactly what Sonny plans to do with the changed life he’s received here at Cedar House Life Change Center.  His steps will pave the way for others like him to reach for their dreams and achieve greatness.

* Excerpts from "Steps" are posted here with the poet's permission.