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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Basic Needs

Fire is a funny thing; controlled, it will efficiently warm a house on a cold winter night.  Uncontrolled, that same fire will burn the house down to the ground and possibly bring death to the initiator.  Fire builds on three basic needs: oxygen, heat, and fuel.  Without one of these elements, it will die out.  

Our drinking turned into a thing as well. Early on, when there was control, drinking produced a flame of relaxation, relief, and warmth we could feel deep inside us.  A quaint, safe condition of the mind and body existed for but a flicker.  These feelings would soon fade to a simmer, and our minds sensed that throwing more fuel at the fire would rekindle what once was.  Our bodies, however, had moved on from the ring of control, and we were left in a place where logic no longer existed. 

We felt the overwhelming need for the drink—a burning desire.  Things had gotten out of control as the fire we started initially brought us heat and bled to hell. Flames quickly crept into all areas of life, ravishing the good that had once existed.  And, though our surroundings were ablaze, it was more fuel we reached for.  Sure that we would die without it, it was, in fact, the very thing that was killing us. 

Controlling the conflagration was impossible, so we just stopped trying.

Humans also have basic needs: food, water, air, and shelter.  These four elements, like oxygen, warmth, and fuel for fire, are required in our quest to survive. If any of these basic needs are unmet, humans will succumb to death. 

We now know that our basic needs are gifted by a power greater than ourselves and our sensible toils.  We understand what is healthy and what is not.  We respect what could be dangerous, keeping the flammables at a distance.

Our continued sobriety has needs like life and fire; openness, willingness, and honesty absolutely lead the list.  These three attributes make for a healthful existence and should be monitored and practiced as essentials for one in recovery:

Openness can be seen in one's imagination and creativity.  Are we open to trying something new?  Will we take suggestions for a better way to live from others who have succeeded in their life steps? Will we be open to letting go of our preconceived ideas to embrace curiosity and change?  Are we ready to be open to new experiences?  Will variants and variety lead us past a place of standards and constants?  Are we ok with disrupting disruption, or will we stay on a course of narrowmindedness? 

Willingness brings openness into action. Healing is hard work, and there is no avoiding it.  Commitment to the cause of creating a new demands a willingness to stand in the path of fear and pain.  Oxford defines willingness as the quality or state of being prepared to do something; readiness.  Are we prepared to ignite the spark of sobriety to its fullest? Are we ready for the obstacles that will surely come our way?  Rain will fall deterrents to the blaze we are building, and additional fuels will be needed.  Will we stoke and poke and care for our recovery with the willingness of a true survivor? 

Honesty is the ring of control that keeps all in check as we chase peace.  Honesty is the base log of a good fire, the very breath we take in and out.  It is the foundation of the purity we pursue.  Without honesty, there is no recovery.  Are we open to seeing where honesty is a struggle?  Are we willing to be hard-honest with ourselves and others?  Do we understand that our sobriety counts on this factor for ultimate success?

Yeah, there have been times in our life when things have been out of balance. Times when we lacked.  We have gotten ahead of ourselves, and the fires took on their own lives.  We still do.  But, we stay around the pit, tending in the name of safety and survival. 

We possess oxygen, heat, and fuel for our comfort, water, food, and shelter for our survival and openness, willingness, and honesty for our sobriety. 

What more does one need?



Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast #156, titled "The Session" -- Instagram LIVE -- March 2024”… The session dropped on 3/20/2024….Click here to hear the podcast. 


Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.




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