In July 2013, I lost my father to a drug overdose. He was 45 years old and had been using cocaine and prescription painkillers for as long as I could remember. My debut poetry collection, More than you were (2017), was written as a way to cope with, explore and represent the impact of addiction on my family as well as consider how loving and losing an addict parent led me to experience disenfranchised grief. In this article, I reflect on my writing process and creative choices in relation to poetic form, metaphor, imagery, implication and accessible language. By discussing audience awareness, public appearances and reader engagement, I also consider what this collection might contribute to wider discussions about grief, stigma and bereavement by addiction.