Join the Peaceful Revolution Against the Tyranny of Addiction

Today is independence day in Portugal, the country I’ve lived in for the last almost 30 years. Portugal is famous for its bloodless, red-carnation revolution, and also famous for its progressive drug policy. The Portuguese decriminalization of drugs ended the heroin epidemic that began shortly after this country opened up to the modern world. The focus on health care and compassion, rather than incarceration and prosecution, has changed the conversation about how to beat the tyranny of addiction.

I had just moved to Portugal during the debates on the solution to the heroin epidemic and I never gave the drug decriminalization policy much thought until, while in my second year sober, I read Johann Hari’s book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. In reading Hari’s book, I became fascinated with how we have learned through public policy to focus on illicit drug use while ignoring the ever-increasing epidemic of alcohol addiction in the United States where the War on Drugs began.

Alcohol is perfectly legal to use and abuse not only in Portugal but in the United States where I was born and raised. My addiction was to that mundane, everyday drug that we can buy in the grocery store and serve at our family dinner table. Alcohol was every bit the tyrant to me that we see heroin, meth, and other illegal drugs as in our culture.

At the turn of the last century, we tried to stamp out alcohol addiction with prohibition in the same way we have tried to stamp out drug addiction by prohibiting drug use.

Prohibition does not work. It’s an easy answer to a complex issue that creates more problems than it solves.

It’s a challenge to live free.

What I have learned in over 8 years alcohol-free is that it was community and compassion, not a strict authoritarian penalization, that freed me from the tyranny of my addiction –

Today is the anniversary of the bloodless revolution in Portugal and in their unique approach to overthrowing a totalitarian government, the Portuguese set another great example of how to beat the tyranny of addiction.

On Avenida Liberdade

April 25, 1974

Red Carnations in the barrels of the guns of the military,

placed there by the people,

who then celebrated together

It’s a beautiful


joyful image

Tyranny was overthrown quietly and joyfully by a people united

But there was bloodshed of course and torture and the imprisonment of people’s hopes and dreams for many years before the peaceful overthrow of Salazar’s Dictatorship

And of course for many years after the overthrow of the dictatorship, people had to learn a new way of life

Freedom after years of mind control can be uncomfortable

When I moved to Portugal in 1993 there were still people who missed the false security of the dictatorship

It is a challenge to live free

To be responsible for your choices and the fulfillment of your dreams

to be responsible to your community

but I don’t want to live any other way ever again

Now that I’m free from the mind control of active addiction

Dia 25 de Abril in Portugal

A day when tyranny was overthrown by hope

and an awkward but essential freedom returned to a people who came together

at the sound of this music coming over the radio

If you’re controlled by alcohol


Unable to stop once you start

no matter how much pain and shame that supposedly soothing liquid is causing you

Pour it out and stick a red carnation in the top of the empty bottle

turn on this music

then join hands with your community and learn how to live free

Go to a meeting if you have a group in your world that works for you


open the link and come Talk to Us in BOOM

Alcohol was My Bully

Community was the Cure to the Addiction

ReThink the Drink

Private, Independent, Anonymous, Free On-Line Community

Fight Back!

More Reading :

Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it?

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Have you ever asked yourself the question To Drink or Not to Drink? If you ever wonder if you have a problem with alcohol, or if you ever considered taking a break from the booze just to see how different your life might become chat with us a bit and see where it takes you – BOOM Rethink the Drink – Here are some thoughts from members of our community :

How is Your Relationship With Alcohol?

How do You Know You Have a Problem With Alcohol? Is It Time to Stop Drinking ?

But I can’t be an alcoholic! I didn’t hit rock bottom!

What is the Life Expectancy of an Alcoholic

Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying

“I think I have a problem with drinking”

One response to “Join the Peaceful Revolution Against the Tyranny of Addiction”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at


%d bloggers like this: