Tag Archive: Alcohol by volume

Charlie The Caterpillar…

The Brown Bottle by Penny Jones

Once there was a caterpillar named Charlie who lived in the Valley of Promises.

Gypsy moth caterpillar Category:Lepidoptera

Gypsy moth caterpillar Category:Lepidoptera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was nothing observably special about Charlie. He was an average looking caterpillar amidst thousands of others. Like them, he spent the majority of his time crawling from leaf to leaf, eating as much as he pleased, & dozing in the warm sunlight. Life was good & Charlie was happy.

As you know, there is something very special about caterpillars. From the time they are born, they are aware that something beautiful beyond imagination will one day occur. It is called The Promise.

Charlie was a believer. For as long as he could remember, he had loved The Promise. Its mystery filled his days & nights with dreams of anticipation.

In this way, Charlie was special, for his love of The Promise by far exceeded that of any normal caterpillar. He grew more & more impatient in his intense desire to receive its gift.

One day, as Charlie was exploring the valley, he was attracted by a bright, shiny object lying in the meadow. It was a brown bottle. The sun’s rays danced on the glass & gave it an aura of golden splendour. It seemed to beckon Charlie. Filled with excitement, he hurried as fast as he could go.

Charlie was a bit scared when he reached the bottle, for it was something entirely new & frightening. As he explored it, curiosity soon overcame his fear. He traveled its surface from end to end & top to bottom.

When Charlie entered the bottle, something magical seemed to happen. A soft mellow glow enveloped him in the warmth of a false utopia. After a time, he was lulled to sleep by the gentle voice of the bottle whispering pleasures yet to come.

At first, Charlie spent most of his time leading the normal life of a caterpillar with only occasional trips into the brown bottle. But as the days passed, he longed more & more for the mellow glow it offered & his trips became frequent. He began to venture deeper & deeper into the bottle to find the utopia he sought.

bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer...

bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer Flasche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, Charlie’s friends came to visit while he was in the bottle. As he moved about within its glass walls, he appeared to be different than he really was. Pleased with all of the attention he received, he would do silly things to make his friends laugh. Charlie loved being the centre of attention & his friends’ laughter made him feel important. Then, the bottle seemed to whisper, “Charlie, when you are with me, you are a very, very special caterpillar.” And Charlie felt, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true.

By the end of the summer, Charlie seldom left the bottle. It had become more important to him than the warmth of the sunlight, more important than the companionship of his friends, even more important than the Valley of Promises itself. He began to depend on the bottle for all of his needs. It had become his home.

With the coming of fall, the world outside the bottle began to change. Cold winds swept down from the north. Green plants turned brown & died. There was a rush of activity among the caterpillars for they knew that they, too, must change with the seasons & prepare for the winter to come.

On the final day of preparation, Charlie’s friends went to the bottle & called to him, “Charlie, please come out before it is too late. We must get ready to receive The Promise.”

Surrounded by the warm glow, Charlie gazed out upon the barren valley. “I would be foolish to leave this warm, safe place & go out into the cold with you. I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here.” Laden with sorrow, Charlie’s friends turned away from him in hopelessness & returned to their tasks.

One day, as Charlie gazed out upon the snow covered valley, the bottle again spoke to him, “Charlie, you have seen your friends suffer from the cold in their quest for The Promise while you have remained here, warm & safe, with me. Surely by now, you know that I am better for you than an empty promise.”

And Charlie knew, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true. On that day, Charlie deserted his belief in The Promise, & surrendered his dreams to the control of the brown bottle.

Winter passed slowly & Charlie lived in a hazy world within his glass confines. During his long stay, he had not eaten or taken care of himself. He began to grow frail & thin. The warm glow was slowly fading. The bottle’s walls were becoming cold & uncaring.

On occasion, Charlie tried to reach the bottle’s opening in an attempt to again find the outside world. But now the voice of the bottle was cruel & commanding, “Charlie, you cannot leave!” Weak from hunger & filled with despair, Charlie would slide feebly back into the depths of the bottle. At these times, he would utter quietly to himself, “I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here.”

The mellow glow was completely gone now & there was nothing special about Charlie any more. His good feelings about himself had gradually been replaced with guilt & hatred. He had become nothing more than a sad, frightened little caterpillar, trapped in a brown bottle.

Spring came. The valley was filled with beauty beyond compare. The sky was a rainbow of color as thousands of butterflies tested their wings for the first time in a never ending flight of freedom.


On the day of The Promise,
Charlie died.
in silent desperation.
No one knew,
no one cared.
Least of all, the brown bottle.


Alcoholism, if not controlled, is a deadly illness. It is the silent thief of hopes & dreams, the destroyer of families & love. It robs its victim of pride & dignity, offering guilt & self-hatred in return.

Hope does exist for the alcoholic. With proper treatment & sobriety, alcoholism can be controlled. The alcoholic is then free to live a rich & rewarding life. Achievement of one’s greatest potential is once again possible … The Promise can be fulfilled.

By volume

“When I was drinking I was 100% ass hole by volume.  Now i am only 5% ass hole by volume.”

This is what hubby and I talked about last night, the second he said it I wrote it down.  He laughs cause I carry a note pad all the time to jot down ideas or little says he comes up with.  He had his last class for substance abuse on Tuesday and had to write a closing letter.  It was truly touching and very heart-felt.  He really got a lot from the class.  We were talking about a few things from the past.  Not that we dwell on the past, but there was a lot there that was never talked about due to his drinking.  So every once in a while we touch back on ways that we both have changed.  I feel to know that I am moving forward I have to remember where I have been.  Learn from my mistakes and move on.  So that’s what we did last night.  We talked a little bit about how it used to be.

I can see this light in his eyes and a smile in his face that shows over his whole face, not just his lips.  We laugh and joke and teas each other, but in a nice manner not the mean bully teasing or our past ways.  I think now we are a couple.  The past we didn’t know how to be a couple, I think now we are finally learning how to be a couple and how to live and love one another.  I have always loved him, but the tools we used to leave with each other were being used improperly.  The instruction manual had been translated poorly and was missing some pages.  We did the best we could with what we had, but that wasn’t good for either of us.  Now that the tools have been dusted off, repaired and we have been shown how to properly use them life has been the way it should be.  Our life might not suit you, but that’s cause it our life.  I can only live life on life’s terms, and I can only do it one day at a time.

So was I just sweet and innocent in all this mess?  absolutely not!  I was allowing myself to sit on my pity pot and i was allowing my guilt and my fear transpose into resentment for who I thought was the cause.  and It was not a person, it was a thing.  Alcohol stole my happiness, my self confidence and my love for life in general.  How can an inanimate object steal something from you?  Alcohol is a drug, and drugs can steal more from you that you can imagine.  I lost my husband, it almost took him from me for good.  I fear that if he would have continued down that path he could very well been on a road to death.

I am not sure if it would have been either from health reasons, a fight or some other alcohol related incident – but I feared the worse.  I was also at risk of some health issues, I was in a sever depression, my blood pressure was so high the dr was messing with all my meds and food intake, I did countless tests the summer.  I have chronic migraines and they were out of control with all the stress.  I either didn’t want to eat or could not stop eating.  All the stress and panic I had hidden inside was starting to take its toll.  I blew through my PTO at work due to everything and was not happy with any aspect of my life.

Now when stuff is thrown at me, I ask for some help.  I ask help from my higher power, my husband, my friends and my family.  I would always try to do it all for myself.  I needed people to think of me as this strong person who could take it all on with a smile on her face.  I think that I felt that if everyone thought I was strong, I would too.  I would not feel the pain, physical and emotional that was ripping at my body and soul.  If everyone saw the iron hide then it must be there, right?  Truth was, I was a frightened, panic-stricken lost little girl who was in so much pain it scared her to death.  I was convinced that after some tests I was going to have something incurable.  well not incurable, but unmanageable is what my co-dependency had become.  So I got through step one, and now with step 2 – I can talk to my higher power and let them restore me to sanity.

So he may have been “100% ass hole by volume” But I was 100% co-dependent and insane by volume.  So now I look forward to a life with a lower proof on my bottle of insanity and I higher lever of understanding and faith.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

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