The Quiet Days

The Quiet Days

Being alcoholic is not a thing you can easily quantify and compartmentalize and put over there so you can get on with your life.  Being alcoholic colours every waking moment of your life – you have a demonstrated history, you have a clear Achilles heel and you have to manage some sort of life going forward knowing this.

For me, this image speaks immeasurably about being alcoholic.  The dry, clean skull with the imposing tusks propped delicately on a display stand in the unvisited bowels of the museum.  The stark honesty of pencil lines and simple architectural composition betrays no emotion, no feeling - just dusty silence.  The awesome  presence of the dead mammoth is still, unobserved and for all the museum visitors know, doesn’t even exist.

The power and might of the mammoth lies dormant, like so much furniture or something merely to be handled and packed.  And once you see the skull you gasp at the sheer size and wonder how fear-inspiring it would have been alive, thundering towards you.  But right here, right now, it is a relic amongst the shadows, a symbol of history and not so much something to be feared and flee from, but to quietly observe and reflect that it’s time has passed.

Being a sober alcoholic, you have that enormous skull sitting silently, away from the noise and bustle of the crowds, but ever present and just below the surface.  It is impressive and steeped in history, but today, and tomorrow and a day at a time, it is not for display.


  1. Beautiful post, Bwendo. The problem is we have the means in our hands to give the dry clean bone of that skull, meat and sinew and muscle allowing it to once again over power us and consume us.

    But the beautiful thing is, we also have the means to keep it stripped bare.

    We can do this.

  2. Allow it to sit and gather dust so thick that it becomes unrecognizable to anyone but you. Never forget it is there and how the power that Kary describes, but let it lay.

    We CAN do this.


  3. the (prehistoric) elephant in the room... interesting.

    it's kinda like that for me at the moment. my parents (both excessive drinkers) are staying for a month and i am surrounded, fighting for air and struggling not to be 15 again but to stay 40 and sober and strong and true.

    fuck it's hard.

  4. Enormous skull, yes. I think of mine as a wiry, hairy little fox and he's locked in a cage pacing around and around and around restlessly. Little bastard. Thinking of you Bwendo... remember ... these early stages are the hardest. You'll get through. xxxxx Sending love xxxxx

  5. Really great analogy, love the comparison with a mammoth.


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