• Member Since 30th Mar, 2012
  • offline last seen Sep 21st, 2019


Work hard. Learn. And use your skills to better Equestria. That's a worthy goal for anypony!


When you fear the cure worse than the affliction, how can you ever hope to recover? For Berry Punch, there's never been an easy answer.

And when she is forced to confront consequences worse than any she could have imagined, it's just going to get harder.

With only her newfound desperation to drive her forwards, Berry Punch throws herself into what might truly be her last living attempt at recovery.

My appreciation goes to Simon_oSullivan, Tired Old Man, and Burraku_Pansa for their contributions.

Featured on Equestria Daily 05/04/2014

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 58 )




My computer seems to be malfunctioning , it's showing zero dislikes. Oh yeah, this story is too good to dislike. It's a great break from all the human in equestria, fallout , and apocalypse stories. It has nice realism and puts me (the reader) on the roller coaster along with Berry in her struggle even in 3rd person. Flawless fill in and you kept to the character's personality throughout. Very good.


This. this is how people should write Spike. Everybody takes the little guy for granted, but he goes through more than anypony without them even knowing. The greed thing for one, but he's given up most of his childhood to be a library assistant & general whipping boy 80% of the time. Plus, he has to know that his friends & family aren't going to be around forever. His lifespan is easily hundreds of times their's, but they can't really go into mortality on the show.

But anyway, great story! I hardly ever see good Berry Punch stories. roundstable.com/forums/images/smilies/flutterhooray.gif

This is easily the best Berry Punch fic on the site, and also one of the two best portrayals of Spike that I have seen. I hope it gets more attention than it already has, because it certainly deserves it.

(story time)

so here I am sharing personal stories with the men and women of the internet.... What a life.

so, about few years back I was introduced to a new drug by my older cousin. At first I didn't understand it, "what was so good about this." I thought. I tried it with little results, just a touch here and there took keep focused, and then when middle school was just coming to an end, my addiction picked up speed, soon I was doing it every day, cuz it was the summer and I had nothing better to do and I was home a lot, I tried to stop just before high school started, but soon the stress of my freshman year was to much for me and I slipped back into its grasp. Now, morning, night, right after I got home; I abused the drug and it became my best friend, something that really understood me, and I was hooked, but after a while, everything went wrong.

My mom asked me what I did with my free time and I guess I was too reluctant to answer for her taste, she started to inquire more and began to search my room, but I knew better seeing as though this was not a drug to be kept lest it be found in our relatively small house, so I went under the radar only doing it when I was certain I was alone, but the need was to strong and I was a very weak man, so in the privacy of the deepest recess of the basement, I found an escape.
until one day my mom stormed down stairs and caught me with my pants down. It was then as I saw my livid mother hunched over crying, that I came to a stunning conclusion.

>"masturbation has ruined my life."

...I am so sorry right now...

4156047 If I were a prude I might delete that comment, but you made me laugh and so it has earned its right to stay :moustache:

Very out of place given the tones of the story, but than again your avatar is a pretty good clue as well.

I just figured while the story had a happy ending some guys might be feeling down.... We couldn't have that, now could we?

This is amazing. Spike and Berry in this are just...wow. You've at the very least heavily modified how I see Spike as a character(whoo new headcanon!), but I'd never have imagined it might go like that...

Sir, have an internet :twilightsmile:

Very eye-opening experience, there are those who simply don't understand without having to fight something similar themselves. And there is never an end to it; one can go cold-turkey but still be tempted by the itch, others learn to moderate and find balance with their crutch, they are the lucky ones with willpower. Those that have reason to chase the addiction all the way to the bottom... :pinkiesad2:

As for Spike, bravo little knight :moustache:


I know it's always been something of a recurring thing in the episodes that as a character, Spike is not entirely self-consistent. He's played for whatever he's needed to be at the moment. And I, as I prefer to do, like to explain inconsistencies with in-verse reasoning than simply ignoring or decrying it.

And so I reason this - Physically, Spike is a baby. Mentally, he's a well read, well travelled, wry intellectual only a few years younger than Twilight and co, and a lot more socially adept than she is (even at the start of the series)

A mature mind in an immature body we might say. The abbot in Thief of Time is a good comparison, a monk who's technically hundreds of years old, but is currently wanna bikkit wanna bikkit! teething in his present incarnation, because he never actually mastered circular ageing.

I like to think that when Spike's body finally does catch up with his mind and heart, he's going to be a dragon like no other.

Congratulation on the EQD feature.

So the only real thing I see that could use some attention in the story are the scene descriptions. It can be hard to tell what is going on sometimes. Lets look at the next to last scene for example. At the beginning is Berry sick? Is she drunk? If she is near unconscious how is she suddenly up and moving? She is presented as being very ill but after seemingly no time she is up and about. I think a few lines here and there to better describe the setting, the time and the actions would do the story a lot of good.

Okay now that we have the bad out of the way onto the good.

Addiction is a hard subject to write about, even more so to do it well and this is simply put an exemplar offering. I won't make assumptions as to the writer's experience but I can say with conviction that their understanding is uncanny. Many of Berry's thoughts and especially Spike's definition of an addiction are painfully accurate. I to lost quite a lot (all of my friends, my job, my home and most of my family) to rampant alcoholism after I decided I just didn't want to deal with reality anymore and drank it all away and it's far to easy to relate with Berry for her portrayal not to be perfect.

Additionally, I feel Twilight is also a nearly flawless representation. There are many people just like her in the world who simply have no point of reference when it comes to subjects like addiction. These people tend to come in two forms, the judgmental ones and the uncertain ones. Both want to help but have no real idea of how to given their lake of experience with the subject. Twilight's portrayal while leaning towards the latter catches the highlights from both and offers a genuinely believable "Outsider looking in".

Anyway, I'll stop my waxing on idiotically there. But know that there is a lot to this story that is all to real for some of us. And that at least I (and I'm sure many more) appreciate you being able to do the subject justice.

Also, what the heck is a Hearth's Warming Hamper? Is it like a gift basket?

Okay, that was probably one of, if not the the best story I have read on Fimfiction. :applecry:

I don't mean that from a technical standpoint, it does have a few flaws, although that kinda adds to it, being a little broken but still so very good.

I've been around both current and recovering alcoholics and you have hit the nail square on the head when it comes to the pleasant, yet uncaring drunk. You give us a Berry Punch that isn't funny and who's problems are horrible to look at. Though I've never had to deal with substance abuse personally, I have dealt with depression. The cleaning scene especially, I wasn't quite that bad about it, but I could have been and I've seen people who have let their home turn to rubbish around them because they simple can't bring themselves to care. :fluttercry:

And I've worked with children who's only crime is having parents who can't or won't cope with the world, leaving the child to take care of themselves until it got so bad the state had to intervene. Kids who have to be an adult because if they don't then they and their siblings won't eat that night. Watching Pinchy take care of herself brought back some hard memories. :fluttershbad:

But the part that took me from "good story" to "wow..." was when you brought in Spike. You wrote Spike the way he's supposed to be written, a way that many of the shows writers fail to. Part responsible adult who does things practically, part happy child who still finds the wonder in the world. And then the fact he's got an addiction that he has to keep in check or a literal monster could destroy everything he cares about. The focus on those and all the other little details that make up Spike, the fact he notices a lot of things that many turn a blind eye to, that he pays attention to and is friends with so many ponies besides the mane 6. You seemed to have picked up on all of that and made it work so well for this story. :pinkiesad2:

Add in that the story ends on a positive, but realistic note and you have a story that is nothing short of touching. I saw that several others left comments that say the same things and they're right. I usually only read something once, I can count the number of stories on Fimfic that I've read twice with one had, but I'm rereading this and going to bother my friends until they read it too. Great work and thank you for writing it. :twilightsmile:

That was amazing...I have no other words for it

Ah, this might be a cultural thing; some areas around here, around christmas time, certain charity groups go and make up a gift basket for the more, shall we say socialy struggling families, typically enough of everything in the basics to provide for a christmas dinner and a few meals before + after such. I imagine that most ponies wouldn't know either, simply on account of there being so little in need of getting such a thing. It's not an exaggeration to say that for many of the people who do receive the hampers that without them, their is no christmas. The hamper IS christmas.

With that point cleared up -

If she is near unconscious how is she suddenly up and moving? She is presented as being very ill but after seemingly no time she is up and about.

One of the fascinating qualities of noticed in the alcoholics I've met is that they simultaneously have absurdly high and absurdly low tolerances to drink.
Let me clarify - A single sip and most alcoholics are already wildly drunk, but regardless of this they just keep going well past the limits of intake that would drop other people. I suppose the a lot of the initial stage is psychosomatic, but whatever it is, it's a trend I've seen often. Similiarily there's a dogged disregard for self that could be mistaken for perserverance but really is best called apathy. So I don't think it's much of a contradiction at all to portray Berry as being both quite sick and still moving about the place, though I recognize that the core of the critique, that a few more tactically placed lines within the opening scene, would do the story well in clarifying such points.


I love these comments, particularily for including aspects of the emotional response the story garnered, not just the intellectual considerations. I couldn't be more pleased.
Especially when it comes to Spike. A lot of aspects of his character (and Twilight's) came together in this story in ways that the more standard portrayals don't really allow for, and I'm it glad they worked out so well together in a Best Supporting Dragon kind of way.

I don't want to toot my own floogle-horn more than I already have, so I'll briefly end on a memorable saying:

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

This, this is beautiful.

Thank you.

This was awesome... I drink from time to time but never really liked the taste... beer is fine, wine is fine but other alcohol disgusts me...

but what I love the most about this is how it seemed to tell the emotions and hardships to get over some addiction (I used to be addicted to cigarettes not anymore though.)

so I give this a thumbs up. Kudos to you :pinkiesad2:

Wow. Just wow. I'm crying. Please please please please make everything okay.

There aren't nearly enough thumbs-up for this story, so I shall compensate by awarding a few moustaches: :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

This is such a great story. It really is. I'm just so surprised that it hasn't been given the love that it deserves.

Well, Teraphim got me to read this, so rest assured, he is 'bugging' his friends about it.

I have no words to properly describe how well you portrayed the subject of substance addiction. Read other comments, they already said anything I can.

But the characters... how'd you do that? You wrote them better than the show does!

Spike is a character I've always been able to relate to; that whole 'way too young to possess maturity' aspect was pulled off masterfully. Being able to equate Berry Punch's alcoholism to his avaricious desires was pure, unadulterated genius. I remember having to deal with my own mom through her alcoholism...but it was never as horrific as the very real depiction given to the character.

After she passed away, substance abuse of my own emerged...some legal, others...not so much.

I'm not sure what your final goal in writing this happened to be, but I saw a little of myself in every character.

Twilight: the lack of understanding from someone who can't appreciate it.
Punch: the abuser who just wants to get better for the sake of those around them.
Pinch: the child who watches...and regretfully learns.

It hits close to home... so thank you for writing this.

That was sad as all heck, but it had a perfectly uplifting ending. :pinkiehappy:

I love it when people write Berry Punch's supposed alcoholism as a serious issue rather than as just a stupid joke. You did so and gave a great characterization of Spike to boot!

Good job! Keep writing and keep inspired!

Never once did I expect to see Spike to be the voice of reason.
You have no idea how much I love this fic just for that fact alone.

That and, well, it was well written. I think you captured the hopeless feelings of one caught in addiction really well, and highlighted how it affects others. Berry's struggle felt all too real.

Good job.:twilightsmile:

We'll done. I spent about two years in this hole, and it's astounding how relatable this all is. Workplace stress and general lack of contentment had me picking up a bottle more and more frequently, mostly just to "check out" for an evening or weekend. After about 6 months, my job required me to leave my wife for a year and a half and move overseas. There, things snowballed quickly. Without family to keep me in check, and relying on taxi's to get around instead of driving, I became well acquainted with how fast "a couple drinks with dinner" can just-one-more-won't-hurt into a stained toilet and a massive hangover.

I got careless around the holidays and ended up having a lovely skype chat with my entire extended family on Christmas that I don't remember. I tripped over my own two feet and broke my collarbone. My wife came for a short visit once, and ended up getting pregnant. When she called to share the exciting news, Not knowing, I silenced the ringer on my phone and ignored it for hours because I was drunk from the night before and didn't want her to know.

When I got back home, I made a concerted effort to fix my shit, for myself, my wife, and as-of-then unborn son. It's a terrible pit of self confirmation, because the more ashamed or depressed you feel, the smoother the whiskey goes down. You hit all the right notes, and it was felt from the second Berry started rooting around for her spare bottle in the fridge. If nothing else, an excellent reminder to me of all the reasons I don't want my eyes swimming anymore.

Also, Spike as the addiction counselor? Brilliant.

This.This is just. Amazing!

I'm tearing up here. Spike as the addict under control makes so much damn sense. He really could be the only one to be able to truly understand. I may not have any physical dependencies, but I know the depression spiral all too well. That pit has very slick edges.

Extremely good story. I like seeing Berry Punch / Berryshine's alcoholism taken seriously rather than just being played for laughs or (worse) titillation. Your portrayal of the effect it's having on her child Berry Pinch and the fact that caring for her child is a strong motivation for her to want to go on the wagon is very realistic. Also, of the way that her addiction is slowly and pathetically destroying her life.

My story Collateral Damage, while mostly about other things, is in part about the deepest roots of Berry Punch's problems, though she's very young in that tale. You might find it interesting.

Holy crap. That was intense. And gorgeous. Several people have stated it better than I ever could (notably
4191165 ) so I'll simply add my admiration. It makes me thankful that I've never really slipped into that particular hole.

First time I've ever gotten praise for a comment. Thanks. I just wish I could get more people to read it. :twilightsheepish:

Well done.

This hit a bit deep for me. I lost my mother to the bottle many years ago.

This story is an exceptional entrant in the "Berry Punch is a Drunkard" genre. I quite enjoyed it. It is a story of particular quality. I like these stories, although I'm not sure why sometimes.

My biggest complaint is one that really applies to most of the "drunkard pony" genre, because most of the "drunkard pony" genre is focused on Berry Punch. It doesn't fit in well with the cutie mark system. If somepony's talent is alcohol-related, that should include a talent at respecting their own limits. That is certainly a talent some real people have. It's not like a bottle of alcohol is a bottle of mind-controlling evil spirits. Most people who drink aren't alcoholics. People who respect their own limits almost never are.

I'd say people who know their limits are never alcoholics, but I once knew a man who drank every day without ever being drunk. Large amounts of alcohol vanished into him without obvious effect. He spaced the drinks according to a schedule. I believe he was self-medicating for something subtle or unseen.

That anecdote aside, people read Berry Punch as an alcoholic because of her grapes-and-a-strawberry cutie mark. General fanon is that she has talents related to the production or distribution of wine. Such a person may be more likely to be an alcoholic in the real world, but in Equestria, I would expect their talents to cover that. I would expect alcoholic ponies to be instead ponies who have too much alcohol and a special talent with no relationship whatsoever to alcohol. I believe I once read a "Drunkard Lyra" story that avoided this issue.

Beautiful characterization of Spike, with an absolutely rock solid portrayal of addiction and what it does to the psyche. You have my admiration, and all my mustaches: :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:


I really respect your comment, particularly that Berry Punch seems to be a drunk because she is, in a manner of speaking, predesignated to be one; there is an availble 'village drunk' archtype slot, and she is chosen to fill it. So it stands to reason to see that it seems to betray a legitimate meaning to her standing and talent, she just has a relevant talent only as a means of justifiably seguewaying her into being the drunkard.

And I ain't gonna lie, I didn't consider not using Berry Punch when writing the role, because that above paragraph isn't wrong, it simply is.

There is, albeit brief, a fleeting moment that mentions what lead BP to her situation. Though I'd stress that the story isn't about justifying how a person gets to that state, but rather once there, how they cope, or not, and what options they now have. In that regard I suppose that it's true, the story doesn't look back very much, but I don't count that as a mistake.

To my mind, Berry Punch didn't fall into alcoholism because she was talent-specced towards alcohol, as if that necessitated the afore-mentioned preordained drunkeness niche, rather; she fell into alcholism because that was a pertinent, relevant thing to her personal life. She retreated into something that was already there in her life. To say it best I can, she didn't have to fall in this particular manner, she just happened to.

From the more meta standpoint, this story works best with Berry Punch exactly because people expect her to be the town drunk, as is the case in fanon. The deconstruction is less applicable if any other character is used. Though maybe Rarity...Or Cheerilee... Creative Juices a'sloshin' here...

I like your anectdote about the dude. It reminded me of an observation of my own - that alcoholics become disproportionately drunk to the actual amount of alcohol consumed. Somehow that first can of beer gets them rightly hammered, and then they keep on being hammered well past the amounts that would flatten most other people/ Always made me feel that being drunk in their case is as much embedded in the mind as it is in the inebriation.

Similarily to your dude, it seems a lot of historical figures were known to do that sort of thing; sipping at fine brandys and such all day long, but because it was all day long it wasn't at all like the Drink-To-Get-Drunk-Meaning-Lots-Quickly mentality we seem to have societally developed since.

Anyway, you raise a good and valid point, and it is a good and valid criticism of the story. That being said, I think there's also good things about the choices that were made in appealing to the fanon consensus here.

This was fun! :rainbowkiss:


I did enjoy the story. I certainly understand that appealing to convention makes characterizing easier. (If it didn't, this site would be weirder and less awesome.) It's not like I think you're a bad author for writing in well-trod ground. You contributed nicely to that path. Here, have a more praising review:

(Beware to the readers of the comment thread! Specific details are described! Ruinous spoilers inbound!)

Your descriptions are very visceral without retreating into the gross. I'm going to be rereading this story again in the future to mimic some of it. A well-placed red stain makes a point more eloquently than a misplaced green one. Not that there wasn't some of that, too. Having her think to herself about not even thinking about drinking was bleakly comedic. It was true in the way anyone who has ever tried not to think about something will relate to, but this time attached to a trailer hook at highway speeds.

The cleaning frenzy preceding was also a very interesting variation on what is usually written as just a morning worshipping the porcelain throne. That cliche is bad. If waking up with a hangover could really make an alcoholic turn over a new leaf, there wouldn't be alcoholics in any serious number. Having Berry Punch wake up painfully sober and zealously attack the detritus of her life is a rarer and more persuasive kind of breakdown. It's also a better example to set for people. I have a certain faith in cleaning therapy. Hope shines brighter through clean windows.

There's a subtle horror that occurred to me about an early moment. "I wanted to stop being sad," is probably something that Berry Punch told her daughter while drunk. Scary crying drunk. Why else would a filly think alcohol would fix sadness? Since Berry clearly doesn't want her daughter drinking, it isn't like she would've been praising the stuff while sober (or even while modestly tipsy), and it isn't like anyone around her would've been singing its praises either.

The contrast of the "one drink drunk" versus the "slow burning liver" is interesting. Both of these are anecdotes about alcoholism. They aren't healthy patterns. Sometimes I think alcohol's effects are overblown, both by those who drink it and by those who don't. People can get "hammered" if they know what to expect and don't realize they're drinking convincing substitutes rather than actual alcohol. It's like the effect is, or is seen as, a comforting change of mind. The oblivion-seeker is trying to throw off something that has a hold on them. Is the person who drinks slowly over the course of the day trying to hold onto something?

Man, that quote, about addiction being part of you. Not something that you can fix but are always fixing. That was beautifully put. I've lost and am continuing to loose more and more friends to addiction. I shared that quote with them. That was good, hit home.

Hey, I wrote a review for this fic. In case you are interested, it can be found here.

I absolutely adore this story, and quite frankly, my review is little more than me gushing uncontrollably about how great it is. Characterization, themes, plot, imagery, I love it all.

I really enjoyed this. But I just can't see Spike being able to relate after turning into a grown dragon once. No matter how great it felt, it only happened the one time. It's an ok analogy, addiction as a rampaging dragon, but that still wouldn't compare to years of alcohol abuse. AJ or Big Mac would seem to be the more likely choice. I can see one or both of them turning to cider after their folks died. Then struggling with it while trying to maintain the farm. And hey! Just think how much more you could twist the knife while you told their story too!

5259030 I like the way you've presented this.

Relating to Spike, I agree to an extent. It's certainly an iteration of him that earns the spotlight by being a little more developed here than any canon can really be accredited for. But it's not an addiction to being a rampaging giant he has, but an addiction to the hoarding that triggers it...It's not too much of a stretch to think that after that onetime scare, he's eversince been wary of having/getting too many things, despite, and here's the clincher - having just the same desire to have them he's always had.

Also, Spike needs more love. The Apple thing could have been done...and has been done. Many, many times.

Wow, what a fantastically written story. This is the kind of character focused writing I love, an in-depth and real feeling exploration of a serious issue and the struggle that comes with it.

Have a thumbs up and a like... And please keep writing. :twilightsmile:

This is one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I've ever read.

Thank you for that.

I don't have words. Just take my favorite, you magnificent bastard.

As a recovering alcoholic myself, this story portrays the struggles of withdraw not only physically but more importantly mentally.

This was made a long while ago but has yet to get a dislike, a solid like bar spanning 218 likes. Thats impressive, like really something the author should be proud of. :scootangel:

Ok, who's the one guy that down voted this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmLRTVYgEq4

This remains my favorite story on this site. Have a ribbon:



and two hours had passed with gritted teeth in a kind of focused insanity of house cleaning.

From experience, I can say that few things are more therapeutic. Good choice.

As for Spike, when your caretaker is a neurotic super-genius who relies on you more than you rely on her, I guess it's only natural that you grow up really fast.

Damn you. Here's your 250th like. Take my favorite too while you're at it. How dare you make me feel.

Author Interviewer

guh, dammit, that was beautiful

Here's another promotion of this fantastic and beautiful story.

Login or register to comment