Recently, the MARC clinical team and a segment of the MARC patient population took on a creative project: creating poems written by the patients while in treatment that expressed their thoughts and feelings in different stages of their active addiction and early recovery. This group of patients, with help from former MARC Primary Therapist Amber Berkhart, LCPC, during her Music and Written Word Group, then went ahead to gather the poems together. From this project came a book, “The Anatomy of Recovery: A Collection of Poems” that MARC had bound and published, to be given to current and future MARC patients. Although Amber has recently moved on to private practice, we are grateful for her spearheading this project and offering a platform for the patients to offer their experience, strength, pain, hope, and healing to those that might read the book.

Initially the project was just made to be an artistic and creative outlet for patients to express themselves through the written word during the Music and Written Word Group. However, as the work took shape through group and during the patient’s personal time working on their poems, it seemed that it was important that it be captured and shared. There is a power in the words of the patients and the experiences they were sharing in their poems, and it was felt that patients, current and future, would be able to identify with those words and find hope and inspiration in their own early recovery journeys.

Art and creativity are an important piece of the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center patient experience. Over 8 years ago as MARC was being created, the decision was made to create a space where inspiration and motivation could be found through art, so that patients could find their own creative outlets and realize that just because they were finding recovery did not mean that they would lose their creativity and expression. There is often a misconception by creative and artistic individuals suffering with substance use disorder that their art is developed through pain of their addiction, and that if they get sober and find recovery, they will lose that pain and therefore lose who they are and what makes them an artist. In short, they will lose their creativity and sense of self. In turn, this creates a self-imposed barrier to finding sobriety and recovery. So, throughout MARC’s clinical campus there is representation of many works of local Baltimore artists that are in recovery, from paintings to photographs to interactive art; a demonstration of rather than losing creativity, recovery can inspire and produce creativity and great works of art. The MARC clinical campus also houses prints of well-known artists, to surround the patients with examples of creativity and creative expression. This poetry book, “The Anatomy of Recovery”, is another example of a piece of artistic expression that will be available for patients to experience while at MARC. No personal or identifying information is contained within the book, and the names of the patient authors are not present.

The forward to the book reads:

“Dear Readers,


The poems in this book were written by individuals who have been going through one of the hardest challenges in their life by being in recovery.


What you will be reading is merely part of their journey and encompasses many parts of who they are as people. They were able to express themselves by being part of my group, Music and Written Word. There was so much love and hard work that came with the writings that the authors put in toward these pieces of work.


I admire each and every person who committed to going on this journey with me, and I am truly honored to be a witness to their experiences through recovery, sobriety, and emotional growth.


All my love,



Throughout the MARC clinical and community living campuses, “The Anatomy of Recovery” will be available to all patients in different levels of the MARC continuum of care, so that during their addiction treatment episode the books will be available to be read and enjoyed. Our hope is that patients will pick up the book, read it, find hope and motivation, be moved and inspired, and find out that the thoughts, feelings, and emotions they are experiencing are common during the early days and months in their journey of addiction recovery. Our hope is that through the power and creativity of the written word, this book will touch deeply those who read it and be an agent of change into helping them find a path of hope, healing, and sustainable recovery.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at