I have always loved a raging fire. Bonfires, beach fires, fires in the fireplace, candle flames… I find flames hypnotic and inspiring. Fire is visual music to me.
In Portugal, forest fires are part of the late summer landscape. Sometimes a carelessly thrown cigarette butt will light up a eucalyptus grove and sometimes the fires are started intentionally. The weather map on the news in August is always followed by a map of the country with little flames representing the daily burn. Fire is expected here.
There are sometimes fatalities and property damage. Sometimes there are so many fires burning that ash falls from the sky like snow. When it finally does rain in September or October the water mixes the ash and oil from cars on the streets into rivers of soapy bubbles.
Fire is unpredictable and all-consuming. Its gentle dance becomes an awe-inspiring frenzy if it’s not contained. And I was thinking about that this weekend, following the news of some devastating forest fires, as I remembered what it was like to be consumed by alcohol. I’ve heard that fire is a healthy part of the life of a forest. Like we’ve been told that a few drinks a week is healthy for our heart or keeps our blood sugar down.
I’ve often built fires as the center of a social gathering. My bonfires at the beach are the biggest, warmest, and most welcoming to not only my family and friends but strangers walking by. Roaring fireplace fires are at the center of every Christmas party or family T.V. night. I’ve sung around campfires with a group and sat alone, introspectively watching the flames for hours.
In so many ways these contained, controlled, monitored fires have had the same sort of place in my life that drinking did until it consumed me.
And it did consume me.
With all of the ferocity of a raging forest fire.
That is something that I can never forget. I cannot control alcohol like a fireplace fire contained in a box.
Alcohol for me is a raging forest fire. If I drink again it may start slowly, it may begin to burn in a straight line that looks like it will follow a predictable path but inevitably it will become an all-consuming frenzy that destroys everything.
So I chose to not have that one glass of champagne to celebrate, or that one glass of wine to relax, or that one gin and tonic on a hot day.
The man takes a drink
The drink takes a drink
The drink takes the Man
That might have been written by George Bernard Shaw, or maybe it’s ancient eastern wisdom, but it is exactly where I was when I read it for the first time in an online community where I finally found the help I needed to stop drinking. I had been taken. But I got myself back!
If that quote describes you or described you please remember, just do the next right thing, don’t drink today… and day by day things will fall into place. You might feel a bit lost or bored now and then because drinking is an activity that needs to be replaced with something else BUT if you chose to do something other than drink… one day at a time… you’ll never regret it ….
More Reading from our Boozemusings Blog :
Hey, we’re here for you….don’t fade away.
You’re too beautiful to fade away
I know you think you’ll be ok
Just this one more bottle today
Who the hell would know
Or care anyway?
And if they did
You don’t have to listen
To what they have to say
Just one more and another
And it’s groundhog day
When your AV talks
You get easily swayed
You think it won’t matter anyway
What if it does?
What if now is the time to listen
To reach for solid ground
Out of the sinking mud
It won’t lead you otherwise
To anywhere good
Look around at the hands outstretched
You can choose to get out of this mess
No judgement or critics
Just encouragement to rest
And help you be you again
To feel like your best
I’m sure whatever fate for you has in store
For your life is to do so much more
Than sit with bottles and broken dreams
On the floor
I don’t think booze is what you think you need anymore
So blink hard
Wash your face and think
Of the wonderful things awaiting you
If you ditch the drink
Life is so much better
Free of the alcohol chains
That only keep digging in deeper now
And only cause pain
You’re just worth so much more
That sitting there wrecked
On your cold kitchen floor
Please, please don’t sell yourself short
Happy is within you
Not in a bottle you bought
In fact, the bottles around you contain sadness really
And if you looked at them closely
You could see it so clearly
Misery, cognitive dissonance, shame, guilt, anger, arguments, pain,
Fade affect bias, dependence, the wrong kind of fame
Sleep issues, crying into tissues, health woes, huge highs and lows
When it reaches a certain point
It’s decision time
And it shows
Where you are on your recovery path
Only you know
Please don’t forget that we’re here for you though
this poem was written by Floss
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma of addiction keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
If alcohol made you happy
if it cured boredom
if it solved your relationship issues
If it gave more then it takes
Would you be reading this?
Alcohol Lies !
This post was republished today from a post written in 2017 and originally published by the Boozemusings Blog in January 2019