I wasn’t going to write today. We’ve been hunkered down since yesterday morning, while a “potentially historic ice storm” has painted itself across the province like a thick, cold coat of varathane. The power has been flickering on and off as much as my mood. There’s something about a wicked gale that seriously makes me want to curl up with a bottle or 3 of wine and warm myself from the inside out; to paint myself as numb as I imagine all the feral cats feel on a stormy day like today.

I have always been a marionette to the weather.

It’s not even the pretty kind of ice storm; where you wake up to a glistening wonderland of all the elements, where all the trees look like pieces of your grandma’s best crystal, their branches clinking and tinkling against each other under the weight of their newfound beauty, the sun lighting everything up as though you’re living in a glass chandelier.


It’s the shitty kind of ice storm.

The kind where it’s grey and frigid and the wind is gusting at 70 miles an hour. The kind where your premature patio furniture gets tossed around the yard and are only stopped by all the downed trees and fallen branches that you’ve given up trying to count. It’s the shitty kind of ice storm that just makes everything dangerous and damaged and crawls right inside you like a polar nightmare.

I wasn’t going to write today. In between the brownouts and blackouts (power related, not wine induced) I’ve had ten thousand thoughts about ten thousand things, and I feel as scattered as the birds out my window looking for shelter.

It’s amazing when you realize that even the weather is a trigger to make you want to drink. It doesn’t matter that I can rationalize the hell out of why I know without a doubt that I don’t actually want one – but the ice has been pinging off my window all day like stones thrown by a desperate suitor, and that suitor has wine.

But ask me again, in three months when the sun is high and the pool is cool, and I’ll likely tell you how the summer heat has fired up my sleeping thirst. Or how the rich colours of crisp October make me crave rum and cider; the flurries of winter calling for hot toddy’s and baths full of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Cabernet Sauvignon. Spring into summer through autumn and winter; the seasons will never disappoint in delivering reasons for why I should have a drink.

Even though I don’t want one.

But, back to the ice storm.

It’s addiction and recovery, personified.

It starts slow; a drizzle, some rain. Then it slowly gets darker, the temperature drops; the winds pick up and ice builds up. Layer by layer and virtually unnoticeable, until it’s grown thick and heavy, consuming everything in it’s path. What once was strong starts to break, branches begin to fall; everything becomes frozen in place.


Nothing is ever really the same, after an ice storm.

There’s always some damage, and luckily, some things grow back. Sometimes, better things come to replace what was broken, and stronger trees are planted to replace ones that fell.  And sometimes, when the ice storm passes and the grey gives way to better days, the beauty of it all is revealed in the melting.

When everything is slick and shining, lit up as though from the inside.

When light dissolves the ice and and slowly everything comes back to life.

Where branches were broken, healing begins.

And it’s from that great melt after the storm that it waters the earth like liquid lessons, never to be forgotten in the sweet thaw of sobriety.

You survey the damage, clean up what you can, and make peace with what you can’t.

I wasn’t going to write today.

But I felt another ice storm coming on.

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. I LOVE your analogies. Your ice storm is very much like the hurricanes that every so often jolt us South Floridians from our perfect weather slumber and force us to pay attention. Life is like that … we move along merrily until we don’t. Until, one day, the storm kicks us in the ass and shows us who’s boss. To prepare for storms, both those in nature and those within us, there’s only one thing we can do: BE VIGILANT. So happy you decided to write today, to be vigilant. Because drowning in a storm begins with just a drop of rain. #Peace


    1. Ugh…sorry to hear that LOL – I’m not sure how it played out for you guys up in Ottawa, but down here near London (ON) it was pretty brutal – inside and out!


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