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Facing Addiction With Ink And Pen


The path to wholeness for those whose lives have been touched by addiction is always different. But for at least one group of Kansas Citians, that road has been filled … with writing. Poetry and prose that chronicle and process and maybe even transform the struggle. 

On Friday's Up to Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks two women taking part in an annual reading of work stemming from addiction.


  • Carrie Allison-Rolling,  founder of Recovery Reading
  • Susan Whitmore, vice president of development at First Call and executive director of the Writers Place

HEAR MORE: Recovery Reading will share their writing work at 7 p.m. Sept. 5, at The Writers’ Place, 3607 Pennsylvania. Click here for more information.

Here's a preview of the work from Recovery Reading:

"Tennis" by Susan Whitmore

In the hospital they told her, Pick a hobby, 
A new sport. Get involved. Two days out, 
Melinda’s found another high, the resident
Pro angling her racquet right with fingers
Wrapped hard around her slender wrist,
His palm kissing the dark blue underside
Soft as a bruise filled with new blood.
Yellow balls pock the air on catgut,
The clay court cleared of everything save
The few caught beneath the net pulled taut
Between bars – clean as her home swept
Free of gods glistening in glass bottles,
The kitchen knives locked in their drawers.
The pro leans in on her neck and back
To square the hips’ wave and vacillation.
This is as good as the first going down,
Melinda’s thinking, her wrist still stinging

Drive to Catechism by Carrie Allison-Rolling

I am trapped,
strapped in.
I am speeding
in the dark,
a bullet spinning
into the void.
I grip the sides
of my seat,
eyes squeezed.
My mother
beside me
drives, careening
into the rain,
eyes glassy
and empty,
a doll’s eyes.
I mumble
freshly memorized
while the cage
around me
hurls out of control,
dark and long,
the barrel of a gun.

As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.