"I must find a way to escape
But this is hard because you are the way I escape"

Poet O’Meara has composed more than two hundred pieces depicting his life before, during, and after his lengthy drug and alcohol addictions. He began drinking at age eleven, and those problems escalated through the years. His poems describe the inner horrors he experienced, from troubling “Dreams” of murder (“I pulled out a knife and stabbed him over and over again”) to a sensation of “Falling Deep” into emptiness. Recollections of his time in military service also haunt him. His despair reaches universal proportions as he surveys the “Messed Up World,” seeing himself as one of “The Disabled.” But gradually, he seeks help, finding purpose in a determination to “change into the person Jesus wants me to be,” as chronicled in “Take Control.”

Arranged in two sections, O’Meara’s collection portrays a slow, difficult rise from the depths of drug dependence to a clarity and courage that have enabled him to turn away from that affliction. He writes in simple language, veering from the profane utterances of an angry young man to the plain speech of someone stolidly converted, even when he is “Ridiculed for Faith”: “I don’t know a medication that can change my mind about what the Lord does.” The one prose offering describes a military encounter, told as a dream but clearly based on real happenings. The subject matter of these works is widely varied, cataloging human loves and fears that are universally recognizable. Now active in AA and church while still dealing with mental illness, O’Meara here assumes his authentic role as a poet, exploring his vivid memories and expressing feelings that will be recognizable to others who have gone through or are still wrestling with the challenges he has faced.

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