Can’t Live Without It

In my drinking life, i tried to quit a handful of times. My record was six months. i tried to cut back countless more (drinking only two glasses of wine at lunch, drinking only on Fridays, drinking only outside the apartment, drinking only inside the apartment, only drinking what i had on hand…) and none of these ever worked.

If i had gone to AA at that time– before my bottom–, i think i would have stuck with it for a while before getting bored, telling myself a couple lies about maintaining and then bid everyone adieu.

i needed to hit bottom so hard that i woke up in a hospital with my arms tied to the bed rails while my wife waited to see if the damage the pills did to my liver was fatal. i needed to hurt my son so badly he refused to talk to me for three weeks. i needed to see my daughter sobbing in the hallway after visiting me where she thought she no one could see her.

i’m intelligent enough but i’m not very bright. i needed all of that crap to hit me in the face to make me realize that AA would continue with or without me, but that i could not continue without AA.


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 February 15, 2012, in AA Step Work, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I kept thinking about this while reading: if a person spends a lot of time at the deep end of the pool, or in the deep waters of the ocean, slowly sinking, then the only way to propel oneself back to the surface to breathe is to touch bottom and push oneself up, gaining a lot of momentum in the process. You used to be in a slowly sinking place, so it makes sense to me that the only way to get out of it was to hit that bottom. Hitting bottom showed you that you needed air and to breathe it, and you needed to surface, quickly! I’m really glad that you did not run out of air and could quickly break the surface of the water to keep on swimming. I’m glad that you keep this story in mind so that you understand yourself, you can understand that often you won’t keep at something unless the stakes are high/it’s something really important. I am glad that you are increasingly aware of the signs of sinking slowly. AA seems to me to be that life preserver that helps you swim and not sink, doesn’t it.

    Where are we swimming to? I have no idea. I just know that some of us prefer those deeper waters to being on the safe solidity of land. Maybe we are swimming for the shores of a comfortable land where the shiny, happy people live! Maybe we can walk among them, too. But, I guess I like to think there is an island of survivors who know the ropes, who know how to make it in the rougher territory of those who have chosen a more difficult path of life, even if it is just genetics triggered by environment. I still like a little more romantic view that some of us are just cut out of different cloth, and the dangers that await us are more intense. It does not mean that we have to stay in the life-threatening places, though. There is plenty of excitement on Survivors’ Island!

    I’m getting pretty narrative and metaphoric here, aren’t I, hahahahaha. Your good and thoughtful writing never ceases to do that to me? 😉

    • My goodess… how very excellent you visualized “the bottom” and AA, I am truly marvelled! I simply love this piece… must link to in from my blog.

    • LOL! Very nice image, Angel.

      Thanks for having the guts to get it all out there. You make me smile so hard!

      Keep coming,

      Al K Hall

      • Thanks for all the props on the comment. I just realized there was not supposed to be a question mark here: “Your good and thoughtful writing never ceases to do that to me?” LOL. Freudian typo or just clumsy fingers? 😉

        I have been thinking more about whether or not I have enough to say about recovery from a spouse’s point of view — the Al Anon perspective — in a blog of my own! I’m not sure if I am “there” yet. But I will keep complimenting what Al writes in comments as I can. Don’t want to steal his thunder and good work when I could and should put it on my own blog, though, so I guess I’ll see if I wind up having a “critical mass” situation “tip” me over to the blogging side of things!

        Take care, everyone. 🙂

    • beautiful. really. now where is your blog?!

  2. It’s scary to think this is what addiction does to us. I’m pretty certain that despite my brother already losing his wife and multiple jobs due to his first love, alcohol, it will make him homeless before he hits that ‘bottom.’ It is not a sight that any of us would like to see, but it’s a battle that can only really be fought by him. We are mere spectators.
    Your well written blog helps me to understand how deep the addiction rabbit hole goes. Stay strong.

    • Nonmaleficence!

      Thanks for stopping by. i think most members of my family can appreciate the difficult position you find yourself in at the moment. We hate to see our loved ones hurt themselves but then we’re helpless to stop. i can tell you that at my worst points i felt the love of my family and that sometimes it burned like holy water to a possessed soul because i felt that i didn’t deserve the love i was given.

      Still, while love is not the cure, the absence of it makes the addict / alcoholic feel worse and justified in their drinking, so your love does provide some solace.

      i don’t know if he’d be interested, but my sister site to this one ( is more hedonistic than this one and might be something your brother would like. It’s for drinkers / non drinkers but i don’t hide the fact i’m in recovery while i’m being irreverent. It might be considered a Gateway Site, lol.

      Anyway, hope to see you back here again soon and thanks for your support!

      Keep Coming Back,

      Al K Hall

  3. Damn this is good. Also Mrs. Demeanor, excellent and poetic explanation of the “middle-bottom” or the not-really-bottom. Boy, have i heard this story a lot.

    A great metaphor about AA (aka, Life) going on without “us”, the addicted. It will go on, and we may or may not go on without it (aka Life). Good chance we can’t go on without life. 😉

    Be well Al, and lovely Mrs. D. You ARE both very special. Our cloth is different, and we belong on a tropical, peaceful island with a bunch of creative, warrior, “new life” appreciation island/planet. For the Truly Afflicted with Recovery and new found joy. Life. xoxo m

  4. Geesh, alkies sure can drink basically on ANY kind of reason! Or for no reason at all… and yes, we can be the most clever people, but the alcoholic within is stupider than ever.

    Thank goodness for AA, it took me a few in-and-outs before I welcomed AA into my heart. What I find at AA cannot be found anywhere else, it is so very unique and a complement to life that I need oh so much.

    Al K, thank you for being you and for writing your wonderful blog – take care!

    • Hi River!

      Any kind of reason is good enough as long as it lets us drink!

      i’m so glad you found your way back into the program and that it’s working for you. It truly is a miraculous organization.

      Thank you as well for your support of this humble blog!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. Dude, I love your blog! And I concur with Mrs. Demeanor. Must check out her blog now!

    • Babe!

      Thanks for the visit. Indeed Mrs D is the real Deal, unfortunately she hasn’t started her blog yet! i’ll let her know you said this and hopefully it’ll encourage her to finally launch it!

      Keep coming back!

      Al K Hall

  1. Pingback: The pondering of mrs Demeanor « Rockdweller's Blog

  2. Pingback: The pondering of mrs Demeanor « Rockdweller's Blog

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