Alcoholism, Waves, and Fire – a personal story

We recently published a post about how cravings or urges come and go like waves and how one might go about riding out these waves instead of giving in to them. This post has touched one of our website visitors so deeply, he decided to compose a sonnet about it and sent it to us along with his very personal account of a long-lasting struggle with alcoholism. He graciously gave us permission to share his writings with you.



(A sonnet by Timothy J. Verret)


The wave came crashing toward me; it hurt.

I stepped back to find shelter from the pain.

But the wave drifted away to avert

the damage it had done, the pecking crane.


The wave is walls of water swelling up.

The wave takes prisoners who frightened fall.

The wave makes cages to lull the ‘lil pup.

The wave is mercilessly cruel to all.


But there is hope from the ways of the wave,

that hope arrives as the wave comes and goes.

It can’t stay still; it will not seek to save

the lost, the wanderlust, those prone to doze.


When waves hit hard, stand strong in hope.

Because waves can’t kill your desire to cope.



By Timothy J. Verret

Thanks to Diana Shaffner for her article that inspired me to write this sonnet, The Wave.  Not being a fan of the beach, I don’t give much thought about waves and seashells and sand but as an animal lover, I do give thought to those beings living in the sea and care very much about their well-being.  As an addict, one thing was for sure when I was in the clutches of alcoholism; I didn’t give a hoot about my well-being.  I cared only about how I would get my next drink.  I didn’t care what I had to do to get that next drink; I just knew I had to get it no matter the costs.  And those costs were not just financial (although it certainly took its toll in that area) but more so mental, emotional and spiritual costs.  For many, many years, the wave had washed itself ashore my shore, and it never went back to the sea.  I wouldn’t let it.  I held onto the wave for dear life.  I thought I would die without the wave to hold me in its grasp.  I didn’t realize in time that the wave would betray me, that it would go over my head and consume me in its steely yet watery grip.  The taste of alcohol was not the salty taste of the sea’s wave but a taste so sweet that I followed it into the depths of hell.  What started off as a nice, calming wave became a wave with sharp teeth and painful kicks to my stomach, head, and most regrettably my heart.  And then I was the wave.  And if I went back to the sea, I would be swallowed up by it.  I came so close to that happening.  Suicide attempt after suicide attempt after suicide attempt after…well, you get the point.  Death wanted me and I wanted death.  But I never died but I did lose EVERYTHING.  There’s a movie I don’t think I’ve ever seen, but I believe it’s based on a best-selling book entitled, Things We Lost in the Fire.  And that is exactly what happened.  After my last suicide attempt by carbon monoxide poisoning, I inadvertently set my residence on fire (this happened in a previous suicide attempt where I was arrested for arson and sent to prison).  I didn’t want to start a fire; I just wanted to burn the charcoal until it gave off the carbon monoxide poisoning so I could die.  But someone had other plans, and that someone was God.  God saved me, a wave on fire, by washing me in the blood of Jesus Christ.  I entered salvation by surrendering my entire and will to the care of someone I knew nothing about.  It was hard, really hard, at first (still is some days) to digest God and Jesus Christ (I was sexually molested by a priest), but this wave of fire that was my life had to be extinguished.  I had to surrender so that the wave could go back to the sea where it belonged.  And now, almost 6 months sober, the wave is still there, comes and goes as waves should, but I don’t fight the wave’s innately-ordained rhythm of coming and going.  Instead, I “go with the flow” of it.  The wave was never mine to hold, to keep it from its intentions.  I surrendered to a new way of living where waves, and people, places, and things, have to come and go.  My sole responsibility is just to stand still and remain calm and let it all be as God intended it to be.  It’s His wave, not mine.  It’s His “things,” not my “things.”  Indeed, His Grace is sufficient enough for me.  I am, yes, free.


  • Timothy James Verret

    Thank you, Diana, for posting this. I hope it will give someone out there hope because it’s their for his or her choosing. You are a blessing, Diana, for all you do to help humans and nonhuman animals. I believe that is the True Work of A Loving God. Blessings, Timothy

    • Timothy, hi, thank you for writing this! And for sharing it on Shepherding All God’s Creatures Prayer page, too! I am a recovering alcoholic myself of 28 years. It will be 29 in February! PRAISE GOD! I can personally attest that it gets easier. NEVER give up, don’t pick up the first drink, if you attend AA, follow the Big Book’s plan, the twelve steps are a fantastic tool AND make Jesus the Lord God of those 12 steps. Celebrate Recovery, the Christian version, is excellent, too! Early in my sobriety, I went to an AA convention and heard a speaker who spoke these words that never left me, I still refer to them today at times and pass them along to others who appear could need them, in and out of 12 step recovery programs; I pray they help you as they have me, and God bless you richly! Glad you are a part of the SAGC team and if you ever want to write another article to publish, we would be glad to post it! Consider being a contributor if you would like, too!
      Here they are –
      1. Begin where you are
      2. Reach out in faith
      3. Do what you can comfortably
      4. Expect God to help

Leave a Reply