Camels and Sobriety

The Camel is one of the strongest symbols of sobriety.  Camels have earned the nickname of “ships of the desert” because of their ability to carry up to 500 pounds on their humps. Camels do not store water in their humps, as previously thought, but do store fatty tissue and that is used when water and food is scarce.  They have a third eyelid that protects again blowing sand and other elements.  It is noted by the University of Singapore that a camel can survive up to six months with very little food or water.  Another site stated that camels may go 2 months without a drink because of how their red blood cells adapt to their lack of hydration.  

The Camel Sobriety Quote:

“The camel each day goes twice to his knees.
He picks up his load with the greatest of ease.
He walks through the day with his head held high.
And stays for that day, completely dry”

Spiritual Principles of the Camel and Sobriety:

  • Prayer

  • Faith

  • Spirituality

  • Sobriety – One day at a time.

Dr Bob, physician, and a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous – “. . . would explain prayer by telling how the camels in a caravan would kneel down in the evening, and the men would unload their burdens. In the morning, they would kneel down again, and the men would put the burdens back on. ’It’s the same with prayer,’ Dr. Bob said. ’We get on our knees to unload at night. And in the morning when we get on our knees again, God gives us just the load we are able to carry for that day.’” Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers (1980), page 229


When I learned about the importance of the camel and sobriety while I was at Hazelden Treatment Center, I was absolutely amazed by their shear power and strength.  The ability to carry 500 pounds of weight without a drink connected with the proper tools / strategies I could use to remain in active recovery in the beginning of my journey.  One perspective I took was that I could carry the burden of adversity without a drink. Of course, a person doesn’t have to continue to carry their burdens as they should accept that they have an addiction disorder, or other type of disorder / disease and turn it over to a power greater than themselves.  Knowing that there is a creature on this earth that is able to perform such tremendous duties and carry the burden of thousands of men/women is absolutely astounding.  

I view the camel two ways: 1) A representative of the addict and 2) A representative of a ‘power’ a person can release their burdens to.  I have a camel medallion in my AA leather case and this is one of the first medallions I bought for myself while in treatment.  I was so amazed by the meaning of the story, I went and bought one as a symbol to give me strength and power in adverse times.  I also bought my parents a key-chain with a pewter camel that my mom still keeps in her car.  The camel is a very special symbolism of recovery from addiction to me and I try not to go a day without looking at it.  I once created a God Box to write out my burdens and place them in the box to physically hand them over to my higher power.  I think I might also make a Camel Box to place my burdens in as well.  The God Box has really helped me be able to physically see burdens and adversity given to my higher power and I highly suggest this as a strategy to use in your recovery. 


3 thoughts on “Camels and Sobriety

    • Absolutely. I admire you for working in jails / prisons and spreading the word of recovery and God. That is something I would love to do someday. Please share this with as many people as you’d like to. Have a Blessed Day! Mark C.


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