I never planned for any of this to happen. But fuck, who does, I think to myself as I stand outside smoking a cigarette. It’s cold out. Winter approaches. Sky full of stars. Trees are all dead. Car windows frosted. It’s two in the morning.

“HELP” Original art by Aaron Perry

Can’t sleep but that’s nothing new. I like the cold. It tells me I’m alive. After all, I should be dead.

Two hundred and fifty days ago I tried to end it, the only way I knew how. The only exit I could see was to die. That’s a lie. The only exit I chose to see was suicide because the other ways out scared me more than that. Now isn’t that some fucked up shit. I would rather swing from a tree than face the truth. To admit my wrong doings. To ask for forgiveness.

I was a multi-decade drunk, an opiate junky, a thief, a liar and most of all ashamed.  I did so many horrible things, unforgivable things.  How could anyone ever understand much less forgive me?  I thought for sure my family would disown me.  And I had already failed my new born son.  I was no father.

But something intervened with my plans.  I tried to OD.  I tried to hang myself but somewhere in there, sometime during those final days, somewhere in me, something reached out.  And I called for help.

These stars tonight, the ones I wouldn’t be seeing, I know are shining down on a world full of people just like me. Lost. Confused. Fighting. In the mist of the battle of addiction.  On the front of recovery. And I know I’m not alone. That we are not alone. There is comfort in knowing there are others as broken as me.

Stars hang like buoy lights in a sea of black. As Virgil wrote “rari nantes in gurgite vasto.”  We are the “rare survivors in the immense sea.”  We are the rare survivors of our own war, a war often fought inside ourselves.  And the battlefield is a vast sea indeed.  A sea of black.  A sea of stars that are fighting to not burn out.

at night colored
“At Night Colored” Original art by Aaron Perry

I finish my smoke, check the stars one last time, give them a nod to say I see you out there my brothers and sisters, and I walk back inside.

I go to the bedroom to check on my son.  Tiny snores comfort me. He is ok and sleeping well.  A love like no other over takes me.  Two hundred and fifty days sober and clean today.  My son is safe.  I am a father now.  A good father.  And we will be having Christmas with our family that loves us.

So in a way I did die that Sunday two hundred and fifty days ago. A part of me that I needed to let go, I finally surrendered and let pass away. So here I sit at 2am the oldest eight month old I know, talking to these stars tonight.


Check out Aarons website here to see more of his work.



  1. Wow. Just wow. Aaron!!! You amaze me. I’m so honored to be your friend. And I’m so, SO proud of you.

    Love love love.

  2. Love the honesty. So glad you are here to see the stars. And to share yourself with the world.

  3. Terri Bonfiglio Reply

    Wow. Beautiful! Thank you Aaron. I’m glad you’re here.

  4. This is such a beautiful writing – a perfect vision!! I just happened upon this, and I’m so glad I did – you just made my whole day and I thank you!!

  5. I admire people like you. To carry the message… To all the addicts…. Still out there sufferings, my only kid included who just relapsed again. God bless you !!✌ Much love

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