The Squirrels Died of Exhaustion

The Squirrels Died of Exhaustion

The Squirrels Died of Exhaustion

I was at a meeting at my home group several days ago and a man who was visiting our group from across town said two things that really blew me away in his share…. he said:

  1. “Alcoholics Anonymous is the only place where you can walk in the door and in one breath both ask for help AND give it.”
  2. “The squirrels in my head died of exhaustion!!!!”

I loved both of them, but I want to focus for a moment on the 2nd one….“The squirrels in my head died of exhaustion!!!!”  I have been around the rooms for many years and I had never ever heard that.  It, of course, is not in our literature anywhere but it speaks volumes to much that IS in our literature.

  • “Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.”
  • “So we shall describe some of the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem.”
  • “What sort of thinking dominates an alcoholic who repeats time after time the desperate experiment of the first drink?”
  • “Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned.”
  • “THE MENTAL TWISTS that led up to my drinking began many years before I ever took a drink, for I am one of those whose history proves conclusively that my drinking was “a symptom of a deeper trouble.”

The list certainly goes on ad infinitum.  I am so grateful that somewhere along the line I realized that alcohol was not the problem.  In early sobriety I kept hearing people say, “Alcohol wasn’t my problem, it was my solution.”  That didn’t make sense to me because I hadn’t fully understood the real nature of my malady.  I wasn’t ready to concede to my inner most self that it was my thinking that had gotten me to the place I had gotten to.  I wasn’t ready to admit that I simply could not manage my own life even though my life was pretty much falling apart around me.

The feeling I got inside when I heard that A.A. member share that statement that the squirrels in his head died of exhaustion made absolute sense to me.  I felt it down to my core because that is exactly what happened to me.  At some point, I just had to give up and surrender the idea that I could run my own life.  I was completely exhausted.

I’m grateful today that as we are in the holiday season, I know longer think a drink will get me through the holidays.  I am grateful I no longer fantasize about those things that were simply out of my reach (and not meant for me to have).  I no longer believe that a drink will solve my problems because it has been proven time and time again that it won’t.  I’m grateful those squirrels in my head (or the committee that used to meet all the time, or whatever you wanna call it) finally said, “No thanks, we’re done.”

As Bill W. said in the final lines of his amazing writing, The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety, ““Nowadays my brain no longer races compulsively in either elation, grandiosity, or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine.”

In love & service,


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