Rigorous Honesty,

dressed in white,

sun at his back,

rode into town.


My gang took


in the wasted


of my mind.


False Pride

strutted on a roof top.



hid under a wagon.



lingered by the saloon.



looked unarmed

but wasn’t.


Suddenly, guns

erupted. Sparks

ignited. Smoke

prevailed. Then


calm. The air

smelled clean.


Rigorous Honesty,

stood alone.


 People who are familiar with a Twelve-Step recovery program understand the emphasis put on rigorous honesty.

 Newcomers who wish to follow the suggestions provided in the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous), often find it challenging to adhere to this fundamental principle.

 So much of what works in the field of addictions is about making progress, not anticipating perfection, and that applies to all of us.

 Earnest attempts at rigorous honesty serve as a basis for success in our families, our work and our friendships. I wrote this doggerel poem over 40 years ago. But whenever I feel my old gang of behaviors creeping back, I still look to the horizons of my mind for that honest, gunslinging hero.