i Know A Guy Who Killed Himself

A man i never knew committed suicide on Christmas Eve. He checked into a hotel room, mixed antifreeze with Gatorade and checked out permanently. He left a note online, in his blog, where he mentioned his alcoholism was a problem.

Things I Regret

  • My inability to conquer my alcoholism
  • The things I did because of it

i  never met Joe Bodolai but i knew him. Less than a year ago, i, too, overdosed on a mixed cocktail of pills while drunk and left ominous suicide notes online, only to be saved the next morning by my now wife and 16-year-old son, before spending 2 weeks in the hospital. The first thing i did after my release was to go to an AA meeting. On January 11, 2012, i will have been sober one year.

In an AA meeting room once, an old timer shared that he hit bottom and was faced with a choice between death and sobriety. He chose death. When that didn’t work out, he had no choice but to try AA. He’s been sober 45 years.

Alcoholism is a terminal disease. That i survived it is a miracle. Every day i am alive is a gift i tired to throw away and had returned to me. It’s a gift i try to share with my children, the rest of my family, and friends.

May wherever you are be better than the place you left, Joe. And may your family find peace in this tragedy.


About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on December 28, 2011, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Dear Al,

    This is perhaps your most Beautiful post. It is a post everyone in recovery and everyone considering checking out should read.

    I am at the family farm. My father in law ‘checked out’ here almost 7 years ago. He didn’t need to. I wish he hadn’t.

    You, my Friend, are an inspiration. I will salute your one year anniversary far from Yeamon.

    I would like to link this post to my blog. Do you know how to do that? (I am Internet-less but for my phone at the moment. I am looking for a solution today. ).

    This post is important. I would like to share it

    All the best to you my Warrior Friend,


    • Jen!

      Thanks so much, i’m flattered. Reading what had happened to Joe really shocked me and triggered a lot of what i went through earlier this year. i stayed up until 4am entering the first version of this on my tablet just to get it out of my system. i’m glad some of that came through.

      As for linking this to your post…what you need to do is copy the address in the address bar and, in WordPress edit, highlight a portion of the text you’ve written and click on the link icon over the writing area. In the “address” part, paste the link to this blog and there you go. i’m not sure how easy that will be on your phone, though!

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words, my friend!

      Al K Hall

  2. Thanks for talking to me about this guy while on Yeaman’s fantastic public transportation system today. I appreciated reading about it after talking with you about it, too.

    When we were talking about it, and now reading this post, I could not help but think about those he left behind, and how I was nearly one left behind. It’s really not fun to be the one left behind. I think of all the pain that he is causing others by his final action, and how it really was not necessary to cause them that pain.

    I also thought about my own dabbling in overdosing while drunk… I guess mine was a kind of half-assed attempt, but it felt full-assed in my heart and in my mind. And maybe not exactly for the same reasons as Joe, but definitely for the same reason: to not be here anymore dealing with the struggle. I get that really deeply, and part of me is happy for him that he is released. It’s not a good solution — that old saying about a permanent solution to a temporary problem resonates. But I get it, and it makes me really sad for him, sad for you, sad for me because we all wanted to be there at one point. But I am still just thinking how unnecessary the whole thing is — there really is no pain that is worth doing to others what suicide does to those left behind. It’s truly the most selfish act a person can do, even if I do understand the painful place from which it springs, and how that pain makes one irrational with the need to get out, to check out.

    I know for me it was my own “wake up call” in regards to my own depression and alcohol abuse, though. I’m glad it had the same effect on you.

    But poor Joe. It just goes to show that alcoholism and alcohol abuse lead to death, one way or another. If not death by overdose, then death by desperation to get out of the mental state alcoholism and alcohol abuse puts a person in.

    Hugs to Jen up there. I know she gets it from having been through this with a family member. As the grandchild of one who committed suicide, long before I was even born, I have to say that the ripples of his suicide have touched even me. I wonder if he could have known that the small children he left behind (my mom was three, my uncle six months) would be affected in such a way that it touched the next generation so profoundly — that I would feel so touched negatively by his actions — would that have stayed his hand from the shotgun he used to blow himself away?

    I hope that if there is anyone reading this that is on the brink of attempt that they would understand just how much it affects other people, people they have not even yet seen or met, just like my grandfather never could have known me. Suicide is something that affects generations. GENERATIONS, people!!!

    Permanent “solution” to a TEMPORARY problem. There are other solutions out there, folks. There is hope.


    I’m so sorry, Joe. I’m so sorry, Joe’s family. I’m so sorry, the generations after Joe that will be touched by his suicide. People he will never knew, and will never know — perhaps he could never have imagined he *would* know — will be affected. I’m sorry for them, too.

    • Angel!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      i totally get what you’re saying here and while it’s true people’s perception of their pain can lead them down this dark path, alcohol was a factor in all of these stories.

      If you ever need permission to act like an asshole, just ask alcohol.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. This is so unbelievably sad, and so unbelievably real. It is scary when sober. I don’t think you have clarity with you’re suffering with the Booze. It has you by the throat and suicide seems like an option in a mixed up-cocktail of a mind.

    You and Jen are gonna make a huge difference bringing forth these important facts, and stories of real lives that were shattered by the Monster Alcoholism.

    I am so glad you and Mrs. D are well. Godspeed. And i’m glad to be hooked up with your “other” blog. I’m in the barnone with barmaids, barflies and beerslingers … but this is a better fit i’d say. Both blogs are honest, well written and important to lots of folks. Great work!!! It’s almost one year! God bless!!!! mel

    • Thanks for the visit, M’dear!

      It is sad. Very. i truly believe i’m a walking miracle and one very lucky man. i like that i have this blog to share the softer side of sobriety, but it really is a labor of love considering how much time i spend on it and how few visitors i get! The Bar None is quite a bit more successful and i like having a place where i can hang out and let it all hang out, so to speak. i like having a place where i can let my raunchy side ramble. But both sites are different sides of my one personality, so they’re critical to my self expression.

      But i babble! Thanks so much for stopping by, Melis!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  4. Thank you for sharing your truth. We do what we can do to help, whereby we’ve been helped. Keep the voice. Keep sharing!

    • Thank you for reading, Heidi!

      i just visited your site and love how it’s so based on the Big Book! What a great resource! Keep up the good work.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. I read your “i Left Myself for Dead” post and it stirs up a lot of thoughts in my mind. About a year ago friend of mine from AA did something similar as you did. But instead of pills she chose a rope. Your teenage son found you alive and my friend’s teenage daughter found her mum dead, hanging from the ceiling.

    When I think of these two outcomes… the contrast is overwhelming. Here you are, soon celebrating one year of sobriety and here’s me the fellow alkie blogger (together with many others) eagerly following in your footsteps. All the words you’ve written and shared since that day, they may not have existed. Our lifes are so incredibly fragile… what if my friend too had survived, what message would she have for us today?

    I’m happy you are here, that your son still has his father to speak to, to love and to share his life with. My friend left her children and it’s not going well for her daughter. She’s messed up and punishing herself, she drinks and lives the wild and destructive life. Lost, the poor child.

    Your posts remind me of how valuable life is, and how we in alcoholism so easily can let that slip away.

    • Whoa, what a poignant comment.

      It mad me very sad to hear that someone else had been down the same road as i had with dramatically different results. It brought tears to my eyes and made me feel a little guilty as i don’t think the person i am deserves to be the one who lives. Anyway, all i can do is to make the most of the life i have left, to share the gift of these days i’ve been given with my family and friends, and especially to try to pull other people away from the edge.

      We are all miracles, River!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

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