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Building a Sober Nest Out of A LOT of Small Sticks…

Building a Sober Nest Out of  A LOT of Small Sticks…

Building a Sober Nest Out of A LOT of Small Sticks…

I was walking up the stairs to my office last week and out of the landing window I saw a bird carrying a big stick. The ratio of bird to branch was so skewed, and the task so utterly fruitless, I stopped and put my bag down to watch.


Building a nest…

I think it was a sparrow – a sort of tepid brown bird, struggling with its load. She was actually staggering down the driveway and there was no way she was going to be able to fly with that thing – heavy and unwieldy as it was. What was the little birdbrain thinking? That she would accomplish the nest building task in one fell swoop? Or that she was somehow stronger than she looked to me?


I watched for a while, and then I stopped looking. I didn’t want to start the day witnessing an inevitable failure. At some point she would have to lay the stick down and try something a bit easier. Something she could carry piecemeal into the tall trees and sculpt as a home for her hatchlings.


You are probably going to scream when you read this, but it made me think of the process of getting  sober.


Struggling with that big stick…

I listen to people all the time talk about how they “plan to stay sober”.  And sometimes it feels like the act of getting sober is just too big. Because alcoholics are a bit rusty when it comes to carrying out a successful plan. And because we want it now, for ourselves and our families.


It’s like trying to build a nest with one giant stick.


Hopeful but practical…

Hope is an amazing thing. But, building lasting sobriety (and a bird’s nest) is a practical endeavor. It takes time and a lot of small successes. It takes a pattern of behavior that builds trust.





Today I’m not drinking because I’m walking softly (soberly) and carrying a big stick…

How come you’re not drinking?


Comments (4)

  1. Kim
    Apr 16, 2017

    Happy Easter beloved friend .
    FYI, if anyone can build a nest with sticks too big to carry ( compared to the norm) it’s you !!!

    • Marilyn
      Apr 18, 2017

      Same to you. And same to you on the big, heavy stick.

  2. Who the hell has time to drink?
    Apr 16, 2017

    That’s a good one, am going to share the story in my one-English-meeting-a-week-meeting this Wednesday. One member of our small group, a Canadian, sober 38 years, said: “I feel sorry for all those dumb bastards out there who aren’t alcoholics–because they don’t have the opportunity of living the Twelve Steps!

  3. Tim S
    Apr 16, 2017

    “Plan to get sober.” (Sigh). Yeah, I “planned to” get sober for 20 years or so — while I was living Chaper 3 in every awful detail.

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