Notes on Serenity: An ABC of Addiction
by Merimée Moffitt



Merimée Moffitt, Albuquerque, NM, 2018. ISBN 978-0-692-11788-0.
Reviewed by Martha Meacham
Posted on 09/04/2018

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

The poems and prose in this book created a current of images and feelings that caught me up and swept me along in an unexpected journey. Notes on Serenity: An ABC of Addiction by Merimée Moffitt, is a rich and lyrical collection of recollections that offer an authentic voice for those who struggle with addictions and those who love the addicts. The mother of a drug addict, Moffitt reflects upon their lives together, seeking answers for how her son fell deeply into a life struggling with addictions. She muses how best to relate to him, given her own frailties and shares so much wisdom, artfully and playfully worded on these pages.

Moffitt explores her own relationships, too, probing into the corners of her self-identity and growth from daughter, mother and wife during the 1960's and 70's in a rural village in northern New Mexico.

Dear Mother, I at times malign you for
an affection you could not show, the touch
that neither of us knew; so you embraced
the art of butter and dough, the 5 o'clock drink
the proper tools of housewifery.

She shares the realization that through her son, she is also able to begin her recovery. Her writing encompasses a gamut of emotions. I laughed. I cried at the inevitable stark truths emanating from the primal conscious flow of some of the poems.

Tragedy in Haiku (newest)
Missing my son,
like being water boarded
and frozen alive.

This story reminds me of the self-discovery of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha as he contemplates the stream of his life events. In the same way, I felt I was led to "The Last Page" of this book and the floodgates of the dam opened to enlightenment. There is a peaceful feeling of hope.

As a contemporary of the author, I am saddened to know too many friends who are confronting the same task: raising grandchildren and great grandchildren because of a parent's addiction or death from drugs. The battle is truly life or death. This book is a gift for those many mothers and children who share the experiences of addiction. I will be sending it to several friends who both grieve and find joy where they live on this edge. It would appeal to a greater audience as well, for Merimée Moffitt speaks to the human condition and our universal need for love and kindness. For we who are seekers, perhaps all we have, in reality, are more questions than answers.


Merimée lives in New Mexico where she teaches writing in her community. She is the author of the memoir Free Love Free Fall: Scenes from the West Coast 60s, and the poetry collection, Making Little Edens. Merimée is also the co-author of the newly released collection, Berlin Poems and Photographs. Visit her website.

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