What if…

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

What if you can’t keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and it is affecting you,
What if you can’t trust yourself, and think all men doubt you,
and can’t make allowance for their doubting too;
What if you can wait no more and tired by waiting,
And being lied to, won’t believe the lies,
Or being forgotten, after all the waiting,
And so don’t feel too good, nor feel too wise:

What if in your dreams—your past becomes your master;
What if you can think—but all thoughts bring you pain;
What if you meet with Triumph or Disaster
But fear those two impostors just the same;
What if you can’t bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Blanked by apathy and painted you a fool,
Or recall the friendships you gave your life to, broken,
Because all humans, at heart, are vicious, cold, cruel:

What if you can’t make out all your winnings
But feel instead the weight of your own cross,
And wish to start again at your beginnings
And never remember about your loss;
What if you sense your heart and nerve and sinew
Turn against you and remind you, you’re almost done,
You can’t hold on as there is nothing in you
But a voice which says: ‘I can’t go on!’

What if you talk with crowds about that which owned you,
Or talk with strangers about your common touch,
What if neither family nor loving friends can save you,
What if all men count without you, and it becomes too much;
What if all you can fill the unforgiving minute
With is sixty seconds’ worth of life undone,
Yours is the hurt and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be this broken Man, my son!

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling
© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Dave. When you chose sobriety you chose life. You chose Dave. And I, for one (selfishly, perhaps) am so glad that you did. So many people in a similar situation don’t choose that. And most don’t survive, as you know. But you have a job you love, friends and family you love, a home and a car and an actual life. Please, please, focus on that. And know that you are treasured and loved.

    1. Thanks Mandy. I never forget, though there are days (like today, after 4 days of being cooped up inside my flat and more, inside my head) when you just want to push the big ‘Reset’ button on life, and ask for a do-over; where you question – out of nothing more threatening than headache-induced boredom – why the hell you bother. There are many light moments, but there are these dark ones, too. Putting them in my blog gets them out of my head, for a while.

  2. In all that depression there is one line “And wish to start again at your beginnings” like in life that has a silver lining. Each day we start at the beginning again whether we know it or choose to recognize it.

    1. There is a growing fear I will be overwhelmed and not able to recognise it. This is why I keep gratitude lists, and connections with friends and family – because they are the reminders, if not the saviours.

      1. Fear I have learnt is something that if not faced and destroyed is something that grows without nourishment, merely knowing it is there makes it stronger. I have not found help in medication or therapy, meditation and the search for inner joy are what keeps me going.

      2. You know my thoughts on medication. It is no different to drugs or alcohol. Meditation is a big plus, when I manage to pull my mind together!

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