National Poetry Month: Words that Free Us

Monday, April 15th, 2013

WordsthatFreeUsApril is National Poetry Month, and we at Phoenix House are celebrating the words of wisdom, struggles, and triumph that our clients in recovery have written. Since the 2008 publication of Words that Free Us, a book-length anthology of our clients’ inspiring writing, the teens and adults we serve have continued to pour their thoughts onto the page and chronicle their recovery journeys.

This month, we’ll be posting client poetry on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram each week. Below are a few excerpts from the Words That Free Us anthology—simple proof that, as Morty writes below, “poetry is important” and creativity can help express emotions and fuel lasting recovery.

We invite you to share the words that free YOU as well; please email to submit a poem, and you just might see your writing featured in our collection!


Prisoners of words, confined to a materialistic society

Waiting for redemption, hoping for eyes that might see

What are we searching for, can it be simplicity?

–James, Florida 


Your poison held a heavy price,

I was not the only one to pay.

This road you led me down is done.

Now I see the way.

— Ellaika, New Hampshire


When you get what you want in your struggle for self,

And the world makes you King for a day,

Just go to the mirror and take a look at yourself,

And see what the man has to say…

–Anonymous, New York


All that was

And all that’s become

Dying demands

Building anew

Never thought

I’d do it without you.

–Melanie, New York


The conference room at Phoenix House,

with its plush high-backed chairs, kitchenette,

carpeting and long Board-room table,

makes me feel that poetry is important

and that we who are gathered here are

the “unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

–Morty, New York


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