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The Man With The Brown Paper Bag


This poem was inspired by an article I once wrote about alcoholism, and peoples perception of an alcoholic.

The Man With The Brown Paper Bag

If you ask for a visual description

you might just be taken aback

At how many still see alcohol addiction

as the man with the brown paper bag.

You see him sitting in the park

his coat tied closed with rope.

What do you think has left its mark?

to make him give up hope.

You only see the end result

of the long road he has travelled

Who found it got more difficult

as he saw his life unravelled

If only he had found the strength

before addiction took control

And not kept the world at arm’s length

for fear of vitriol.

We all encounter trauma

and find different ways to cope

Then worry about the stigma

as we go down that slippery slope

If anyone when reading this

are seeing that red flag

Get help to step back from that abyss

don’t be the man with the brown paper bag


Charlie Halliday (author) from Scotland on June 11, 2020:

Thank you Ann

Ann Carr from SW England on June 11, 2020:

It reminds me of a parable, the style of this. Well-crafted and strong message.


Charlie Halliday (author) from Scotland on May 26, 2020:

Thank you Lora.

Lora Hollings on May 25, 2020:

Wonderful poem, Charlie. I really like its message. None of us are immune from going down this road. Some use alcohol, others opiates, and others sleeping pills to escape pain. I like your alert at the end as well. Wake up before addiction takes over!

Charlie Halliday (author) from Scotland on May 24, 2020:

Thank you Lorna. Yes one of the main obstacles that stops someone seeking help (not just for addiction) is the fear of being judged. but I don't need to tell you that as you probably encounter it from many clients.

Charlie Halliday (author) from Scotland on May 24, 2020:

Yes John it is very easy to judge. One of the main reason stopping people seeking help is the fear of the stigma attached by peoples perception. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 23, 2020:

What a wonderful poem full of real truths. It is so easy to judge without knowing the story behind a person’s current situation. “Don’t judge unless you are willing to walk a mile in their shoes“, comes to mind.

Lorna Lamon on May 23, 2020:

It can be so easy to judge without trying to understand. This poem is full of honesty and is a reminder of the pain of addiction.

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