Analysis of Not Waving but Drowning

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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The Pit of Despair The poem "Not Waving But Drowning" struck an emotional chord inside of me upon reading it. Stevie Smith's simple but poignant poem is an incredible description of my first detox from alcohol. Each line in each paragraph took me right back to that sense of impending doom I felt five years ago in my parents basement.

Five years ago my alcoholism progressed to a point where I couldn't picture life with or without a drink. My life revolved around a drink and my parents had just about given up on me. I tried to detox myself and didn't get out of bed for ten straight days. "Nobody heard him, the dead man." As I lied there neither of my parents seemed to think there was a problem. My mom thought I was hung over, and my dad thought that I was just plain lazy and needed to get a full-time job.

At the time I felt closer to death than any point in my life. "But still he lay moaning." Even though at twenty-one years old I felt like my life was over, I still was in denial complaining to myself "Why me?" and "How could this have happened to such a nice guy?" "I was much further out than you thought." My parents thought I was just drinking too much and needed to mature. They had no way of knowing the mental torture, suicidal thoughts, and complete hopelessness I was feeling in those ten days. "And not waving but drowning." I was in complete denial of my problem and couldn't ask for help. The idea of asking for help goes against the grain of every alcoholic. Therefore I was getting sucked down into a pit of despair which had no other end but death.