The Long Winter

A Tale of Two Saturdays: Celebration of Recovery and Celebration of Life

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 24, I’ll be yucking it up at the Hope Recovery Festival at Veterans Park. From 11-2, the park will be filled with chuckleheads like me celebrating the hell out of our recovering condition. Some folks will be dancing. Due to an emotional disability that prevents me from experiencing rhythm, I won’t be […]

Totaling a Car Five Years Before I Got My License

On a beautiful May Saturday afternoon when I was 11, I was in trouble. Saying I was “in trouble” was like describing me as being “in shirt and pants” or “in America.” Given my ways and, especially, my mouth, my trouble could have arrived for a number of reasons—talking back to parents or teachers, not […]

My Friend Larry is Likely to Die Soon

My friend Larry is likely to die soon. As director of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, I’ve seen way too many people die, either from suicide or drug overdose. Larry doesn’t seem suicidal, although none of us can know for sure. Larry doesn’t now really use illegal drugs. Still . . . My friend Larry […]

I Have Covid-19. It Sucks

December 1, 2021 Dear Hope Nation, I have COVID-19. It sucks.  Do whatever you can to prevent yourself from getting it, unless you like losing your sense of taste and smell, feeling sore all over, coughing, being chilled and needing to sleep 18 hours a day. If you’re not vaccinated, please get vaccinated. If you’re […]

Hell May Be Hot, But Cold is Hell!

All year round, Manchester has a huge homeless challenge. From now until springtime, that challenge is a humanitarian crisis. Without a place to escape the cold, human beings will lose fingers, noses, ears and toes. Some people may die. Think of it!  In a wealthy city more than 20 years into a new millennium, people on […]

An unorthodox Man’s Unorthodox Search for a Dog

As you look over this open letter to the universe, please understand I am not a bright man nor an insightful one. I don’t understand how the universe and existence work. To be honest, I don’t understand how a radio or a can opener works. Still, I’ve used open letters to the universe to find […]

Come to Hope Tuesday Night at Five!

Dear Hope Nation, Big News!  Happy News! Great News!  Hope will reopen from 5-9 pm Tuesday. For those of you who only read text in big letters: It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, not because I don’t miss you, but because I didn’t have real news to pass on, and felt […]

The Ones I Like Best

Dear Hope Nation, It’s Friday and I’m going to use that as an excuse to rub some feathers the wrong way. All it takes is a few sentences. Beginning . . . Now: I hate the 60’s, or at least the music of the 60’s.  I’m 62 years old, and started listening to the radio […]

What do you think?

Dear Hope Nation, Today’s letter will be shorter than normal. As it happens, I am chair of a commission to build a monument to honor people in recovery and to memorialize people who have died of addictions. Senator David Watters of Dover was the driving force behind this effort, and he deserves all the credit. […]

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Dear Hope Nation, Please remember to breathe. When you do, you’re doing yourself good. Although it’s been a long time since I got my gentleman’s D- minus in high school biology, I seem to remember respiration being one of those things that contribute to staying alive, along with getting enough sleep and eating Flintstone’s vitamins. […]

Baseball and Recovery — Sort Of

Dear Hope Nation, Writers should write what they know is an old truism, one I often don’t follow, not because I’m trying to be contrary—although I probably am—but because I don’t know a lot of stuff.  I mean, my brain is filled with facts and factoids, trivia and twice-told tales, but of real knowledgs it’s pretty empty.  […]

What Lies Beneath the Current

Ocean’s Depth January 25, 2021 Dear Hope Nation, As is often the case, I’m willing to embrace a metaphor without fully understanding the original image. In rhetoric, metaphors have two parts, the tenor (the subject of the metaphor) and the vehicle (the thing the tenor is compared to). For example, in the sentence: As a […]

My Relationship To Music

Dear Hope Nation, Saturday was the first day of a music group at Hope. Not a musical group like The Four Tops, The Four Seasons or Three Dog Night, but a music group, which will ultimately lead to music, but the first meeting was more talking. One of the first questions asked was, “What is your relationship […]

Self Interview II

Dear Hope Nation, This afternoon at 2, I’ll be part of the birth of a renaissance. I hope. And, yes, I know “birth of a renaissance” means birth of a rebirth, which sounds like I’m starting a new cult. I’m not. The music meeting is at 2, and I know I’ll see many of you […]

Mocking My Betters

Dear Hope Nation, I have a simple love of poetry—I like what I like and I ignore what I don’t. For instance, I like A.E. Housman way more than any other straight American male I’ve ever met. His plangent tone brings actual tears to my eyes, although they’ve never moistened my face. To most contemporary […]

Inauguration Day

Dear Hope Nation, I am an American. Today is a holiday, although not one that involves gifts or candy or days off work. Before the pandemic, it did involve parades of a sort, or at least large crowds. Today’s quadrennial celebration will be different in appearance, but not in substance. On Inauguration Day we don’t simply recognize […]

Ideas Are Dangerous Things

Dear Hope Nation, Reading books is dangerous, and I recommend against it. When I read—and here I mean real, challenging books, not just novels or history which take up most of my time—I’m forced to confront new ideas. New ideas are always dangerous, and I recommend against them.  Introduced to new ideas, because I’m cursed […]

“Do your little bit of good where you are”

Dear Hope Nation, Happy Birthday, Dr. King! Happy Dr. King’s Birthday to everyone else! Every few weeks, these letters consist of quotes from people wiser than I on topics deeper than my understanding. Luckily, neither is difficult to find.  In honor of today’s holiday, here are some meaningful quotes on peace: “When I say it’s […]

If You Say So

Dear Hope Nation, I don’t know what your recovery looks like, and, unless you want to tell me about it, it’s really none of my business. My role, and the role of all recovery coaches, is to support your journey no matter what path you’ve chosen. If that path’s not working for you, or if […]

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