5 Ways Roosters Help Me Stay Sober
Waking up early is just one way my roosters keep me vegan and away from alcohol.
Hi, my name is Melanie Jacobs, and I’m a recovering alcoholic. My full-time job as an addiction counselor keeps me busy, as part of my job includes helping people begin their recoveries. In my free time, I run a micro-sanctuary for roosters, where I also help them begin their recoveries from their prior living conditions. I have been sober for more than 10 years, and in that time I have learned that recovery from alcoholism involves spirituality and believing in something greater than myself. Having identified as an atheist most of my life, I assumed there was no place for me in recovery—until I met a rooster named Butler shortly after I went vegan more than three years ago. Through Butler, I discovered that spirituality comes in many forms, and that roosters are often viewed as loud, aggressive, and obnoxious, which was interesting because that sounded a lot like me when I used to drink. My drinking days might be finished, but I still feel as though my roosters are keeping me sober. Here are five ways I am thankful for their presence in my alcohol-free life.
1. Waking up early is not only for the birds
Roosters wake up early and crow. I used to be a lazy person who slept the day away nursing a hangover. However, my responsibility and commitment to our 14 birds gets me out of bed every morning, and I enjoy getting up at 6:30am to feed them. You couldn’t have paid me to do that when I was active in my drinking. Today, I look forward to letting each rooster out of his bedroom in the morning and listening to the tidbitting sounds that alert the others to the fact that there is food. Each rooster has his own personality, personality traits, and beautiful looks, and it’s this uniqueness that gives me gratitude for my life on a daily basis. Roosters give me a reason to get out into the world during the peaceful mornings that I used to sleep through.
2. Going to any lengths
During recovery from alcoholism, a question we often ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to go to any lengths for recovery?” What I have learned as a rooster rescuer is that I have to go to any lengths to protect our birds from predators and extreme weather. That means I can’t procrastinate, I can’t skip things, and I can’t take half-measures. Once, I drove round-trip from Minneapolis, MN, to Omaha, NE, in one day to pick up an ex-cockfighting rooster named Kipper. He was found almost dead after he escaped the horrid life he was living. Kipper was rehabilitated for a few months by a veterinarian prior to me adopting him. I learned that I was willing to do anything for this bird to help him live a peaceful life.
3. I can’t keep what I have if I don’t pass it on
In addition to my mission to rescue roosters, I also aim to educate. I have learned that in addition to the residents at our micro-sanctuary, I can also help many other homeless, exploited, or unwanted roosters if I educate people on how to adopt a one or two (or 20) as companion animals and by helping people understand and respect rooster behavior. My education has come from many mentors, including Chicken Run Rescue and The Microsanctuary Movement.
4. Life is not dull or boring with roosters around
There is often a fear for newly recovering alcoholics and addicts that sobriety will be dull and boring. For me, it was the other way around—drinking every day was dull and boring. Living with roosters is an adventure in itself: one day, I might be taking Cain to the veterinarian to get antibiotics for respiratory issues, and the next day I might be giving Sir Henry a bath in the tub followed by a blow dry to get rid of mites. One day I will have a rooster in my living room mistaking a towel for a hen, while the following day I can spread the ashes of a rooster who has passed on.
5. Roosters are not disposable, and neither are alcoholics or addicts
I have learned how similar roosters are to alcoholics or addicts because the common misunderstanding of rooster behavior is what often leads to their demise. This also happens in the addiction world. Family, friends, and loved ones stray away from alcoholics and addicts because of their past behaviors. I believe roosters are just asking to be understood and loved. Cuddling an ex-cockfighting rooster who was taught to kill is something that I cannot describe, and doing so makes me feel good inside. I know this radiates out to the animal, which truly helps me stay sober and vegan.
Melanie Jacobs is the founder of Rooster Redemption and The Chicken Lady, with a mission to smash the stigma put upon roosters.
Vegan Self-Publishing in 4 Easy Steps
Share your work with the world, and spread the vegan message? Yes, and yes.
Read More »
You're 8 Steps Away from Setting a Vegan Easter Table
This year, set your Easter table with cruelty-free plates, faux-grass runners, eggless-eggs, and compostable dessert plates.
Read More »
It's Time You Talked to Your Parents About Your Veganism
They might not understand at first, but with the help of documentaries and delicious meals, your parents will understand that your veganism is more than just a fad.
Read More »
5 Life Lessons I Learned in the Prison Garden
After being sentenced to 240 years behind bars, I wondered: how could I turn my dirt-filled life into something beautiful? I decided to dig deep.
Read More »
The 10 Vegan Swag Bag Items That Will Make You Wish You Were Going to the Oscars
From cruelty-free lipsticks to animal-shelter donations, the swag bag at the 90th Academy Awards is brimming with lavish vegan gifts.
Read More »
- Want to Make Sure Your College Choice Is as Vegan as You Are? Here's How
- 8 Vegan Etsy Stickers That Your Car, Laptop, and Water Bottle Need, Like, Yesterday
- Rapper Styles P's Juice Shops are Introducing More Hip-Hop Fans to Plant-Based Living
- Cafeterias Across the Country are Going Vegan. Here's Why ...
- We'd Love These 10 Celebs Even More if They Went Vegan
- Why Going Vegan Can Help You Relax
- Want Political Change? It's Time to Start Voting Vegan
- A Vegan Teen Guide to Ordering Food at Non-Vegan Restaurants
- 5 Reasons Your Next Vacation Should Be Aboard the Vegan Holistic Holiday at Sea
- How Do You Remember 100 Songs in 4 Days? For Pop-Punk Band Alkaline Trio, the Answer is Veganism
- 5 Woman-Owned Vegan Businesses You Should Be Obsessed With
- 6 Valentine's Day Gifts for that Vegan Curmudgeon in Your Life
- 6 Red-Hot Vegan Lipsticks To Drive Your Valentine Crazy
- How a Vegan Canadian Figure Skater Prepared to Win Gold at the Winter Olympics
- How to Be a Vegan Teen Valentine
- Vegan Valentine's Day Tips From No. 1 Best-Selling Author Kathy Freston
- 5 Vegan Turmeric Recipes for Those Who Are Slightly Intimidated by It
- How A Vegan Diet is Making ''Everything'' Easier for One Punk Singer
- Your Meat-Eating Friends Want One of These 10 Vegan Books
- 7 Ways to Veganize Your Bed, Just in Time for Valentine's Day