Samara O'Shea

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

I’m taking a certification class in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Recently, our instructor mentioned a poem entitled “Autobiography In Five Short Chapters.” She says it’s something she shares with clients on occasion to help them take responsibility for their actions and to emphasize that change is gradual. She didn’t bring the poem up on screen, so I made a note to look it up later. I’m so glad I did. I think we can all identify!

This poem has been known to resonate with people in recovery from substance use problems. I also think it’s tailor made for the unrequited love population. How I wish I had known of this poem when I wrote Loves Me..Not!

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit… but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson

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