No. Regrets

“I have no regrets.”

i used to say this all the time. i don’t know if i thought i was cool or deep or philosophical or what, but now i disagree with myself. i was wrong.

See, lately i’ve had these flashes of things i did while drinking. More specifically i have these memory shards of things i did that hurt people and you know what? i regret doing them. i can honestly say i regret hurting people in my past.

Sure, these mistakes made me the man i am today, but i would be a better man today if i hadn’t mistreated people i care about.

What about you? Do you believe in a life without regrets?


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 March 1, 2012, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Might be selfish, but more than anything else, I regret the things I did to myself. Some decisions that I made either because of or under the influence of drugs or alcohol altered my life significantly, and not in a positive way.

    • Hi Moderation!

      Good to know i’m not the only one down on this whole, “i have no regrets” BS!

      i need to start realizing i can do nothing about the past regrets other than to build a future with fewer of them!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. That’s hard. I don’t think anyone has a life without regrets unless they have no conscience.

    Forgiving yourself is a good thing. I regret putting myself in bad situations to help me cope. In college and late high school, the binge drinking made me act out. I was shy, and what i did under the influence was not what a shy girl would do. But i belonged, i thought. I regret that i didn’t belong to the Debate Team ;-). I regret some of the “safe houses” i built around me to keep me from living real and living large. But that is spilt milk now … and perhaps “regret” isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s, Mourn those choices and days … Thanks for the thought provoking question.

    • Melis! Thanks for the input!

      i definitely mourn some of my past as well, but for me, mourning is more about being saddened by their passing, whereas “regret” is being saddened that i caused things to pass.

      As for thought provoking…i just babble a little and then sit back to let y’all do the hard work!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. who doesn’t have regrets? seriously? liar! or, didn’t get out much.
    no really, “better man”? I’m thinking different man.
    oh, and did you make those cupcakes??!! dude! 🙂

    • Dudette!

      Right on! That’s what i wanted to hear! Didn’t get out much or didn’t love enough because most of my regrets center around hurting people i love…

      As for the question about me and the cupcakes…

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      PS Or scroll down!

  4. Funny iamnotshe, as I read your comment, I felt that it could have come from me. But, then again, I bet it describes many of us problem drinkers.

  5. OUCH!!

    I used to think “I have NO regrets…”

    Then I got clean and sober and (gulp) did my 4th step.

    Ouch. I got regrets, man. I got em.

    Thank HP for that. Or Bus # 59….

    I did not know you could bake. Did you use a mix?

    XO Jen

    • Jen!

      That 4th Step is a real hard step…and then the 5th is tougher because i felt all bad about all the 4th step stuff and then had to go and open up about all of it. Tough love at its toughest, and loveliest.

      As for the mystery about me and the cupcakes…

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      PS Let’s see if Mrs D can tell us if i’m the cook who had to eat crow and bake the cupcakes.

  6. First off, I think iamnotshe is totally spot-on with this: “I don’t think anyone has a life without regrets unless they have no conscience.”

    To say, “I have no regrets,” especially when it comes to hurting others, is incredibly selfish, I think.

    I totally have regrets both about things left undone as well as things done to others (aligns perfectly with that whole idea of “sins of commission” and “sins of omission,” although I don’t really believe in the whole construct of “sin.” Still there are things we have done that have hurt, and things we have left undone that hurt, too. That’s the idea I am after). The regrets could stretch on for miles and miles.

    For me, with the struggles I have, it is hard for me to not live completely in regret. Sometimes in my life I have felt so many regrets, I think it would be better to end things (i.e., my life). One of the reasons I have not taken that path, though, is that I have watched the survivors of suicide, and the hell it causes them, and I don’t wish that on anyone. So I muddle through, trying not to let my regrets drown me.

    It’s where I think people can be kind of on the opposite ends of the spectrum. There are those that say they have no regrets, yet probably should be more conscious of how they have hurt others. Then there are those who live so completely in regret that they probably need to find a little balance in the opposite direction and a lot more grace towards themselves. Selfish people need to become more balanced in thinking of others, and people who think too much of others probably need to think more about themselves. I think the key is knowing which end of the spectrum one is on and then set about balancing things out.

    I have more I want to say on this, but now I have a blog for doing so. Which I will do. Soon. 🙂

    As for the cupcakes. Well, you don’t owe me any Mea Culpa Cupcakes for puking, but you DO owe Miss Anne Thrope for puking on her beanbag chair and then flipping it over back in 1989! I have no doubt you could whip up some good cupcakes, but those ones are not yours now, are they. 😉

    Mrs D

    • Thanks for sharing, Angel!

      i think we’re pretty much on the same page about the regrets and i look forward to reading your post on it!

      As for the cupcakes… Exactly right about the beanbag! But while i should have made cupcakes to atone for that faux pas, i have never puked on anther person. Which, now that i think about it, is kind of miraculous…

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  7. I’ve read all the comments above and understand my own comment will not be believed nor understood. It will be doubted, but so be it. As it still is me, my truth and my reality – I will write the following;

    I believe [everything] has a purpose and I have absolutely [no] regrets. I have done dumb things, I have hurt people and horrible things have been done to me… but I regret nothing. They were all essential bits and pieces that made the path to the spot on which I stand this very moment. Thankfully I have learned from them. We are only imperfect humans. We hurt eachother as much as we heal and love eachother.

    I am only glad that my misstakes in my past has made me the good and humble person that I am today.

    This is only my own opinion, I understand and agree with you too – no one is right or wrong, we only have our own beliefs. I judge no one, and I don’t mind being judge… as it is something that is beyond my control. I can only be true to myself and keep my mind open, as much as I possibly can.

    But I think, had you changed one moment in your past (which you regret deeply) god knows where that would have led you or how you would have turned out. You might not be alive today, or maybe you wouldn’t have met the love of your life. Or anything… everything would perhaps be different today. It could be better, it could be worse.

    So rather than regretting, I make amends. Am I happy right now, right here? Oh yes, I certainly am. Could things be better? Hell yes! Could things be worse? Oh yes *shudders*

    But I wouldn’t want to change one bit… No regrets, only try to become that better person that I know that I can be. I do have a conscience and I am not a psychopath, but I will not be saddened by something bad I did in my past. That would only eat me up from inside, slowly and surely it would make me spiritually ill… If I am saddned then I WILL do something about that, I [will] make amends. And I have, every single stupid thing that would be concidered a regret has been taken care off (believe it or not). This is something I have been working on for many years and will continue doing so until the day that I die. This has created a great humbleness within me, forced me to bend backwards – asking for forgiveness AND to forgive (both others and myself) allows me to drop the bad/sad conscience.

    Take care, Al K

    • Hi River!

      Wow, good for you going against the stream of things. i’ve spent some time thinking about your response and came up with the following…

      i think some of what we’re talking about here is semantics and how we define regrets. i mean, Step 4 is about going over a list of things we regret, right? (Defining regret as something we wish we had not done.)

      i do disagree with this statement, though:

      But I think, had you changed one moment in your past (which you regret deeply) god knows where that would have led you or how you would have turned out. You might not be alive today, or maybe you wouldn’t have met the love of your life. Or anything… everything would perhaps be different today. It could be better, it could be worse.

      Thinking back to my daughter smiling while visiting me in the hospital after i tried to commit suicide and how she tried to smile when she was in the room and then seeing her cry in the hallway when she thought i couldn’t see her… i stole something from her that day. i was a shitty father. NO child should have to deal with a parent’s suicide, even attempted. That it brought me to where i am today is beside the point. i love my children and cannot think of any case where i could justify saying, “i’m glad i made them suffer because it made me the man i am today”.

      But again, i think most of the discussion is semantics. i don’t believe in living in the past and i don’t believe in wallowing in guilt. i believe in learning from my mistakes and building on the past. So, over all i have to say i think we’re on the same page…

      Thanks for coming by and sharing!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  8. Wow!

    RiverSurfer, YES I get it! Really this is the crux of the whole thing: I did stuff, some of it sucked and I made amends AND I do stuff; Less of it sucks, but yes, it still happens and I continue to make amends.

    YOU are RIGHT! Working the steps; surrendering to my Higher Power; Working it some more…

    ALL of this has led me to a deeper relationship with ole HP and living more in a place of integrity and with intention. I have deeper relationships with others. Working the steps helped me see my past through a new lens; a healthy lens. I am stronger for it. I am wiser for it (meaning: I know I don’t know much)

    Continuing to work the steps keeps me honest; Keeps me centered; keeps me whole.

    OK YOU are right.

    I get it.

    This is something an old sponsor of mine would have pointed out.

    You rock RiverSurfer.

    Peace Jen

    • I really like what Riversurfer wrote, too, especially this part: “That would only eat me up from inside, slowly and surely it would make me spiritually ill… If I am saddened then I WILL do something about that, I [will] make amends.”

      That’s the part that has the potential to happen to me — the eating up from the inside. I can all too easily stay in the regret. I guess I would amend (haha) the idea slightly to say that in order to be able to make amends, a person still does have to recognize the wrong, so in a sense, be in the regret for time — to have an emotion of feeling bad in the way of recognizing “This was wrong; I wish I had not done that.” But then to go on to the NEXT step, the one of saying to oneself, “This was wrong. I know it was. But I will now move forward, forgive myself first, and then seek the forgiveness of others,” well, I can totally get on board with that. I absolutely think that it is very important to not *STAY* in the regret.

      I would say, however, it is still really important to *recognize* the wrong done, and to be in that place of regret for a short time, to really acknowledge the wrong done. Regret performs the function of our consciously understanding what wrong we have done so we don’t gloss over it. But it is *critical* to move on — I totally agree with that! And Riversurfer explained how to do it so very well. I think that the recognition of the wrong done with a form of regret is at the heart of Step Four. But it is important not to stay there — to move on to an overall positive understanding of how our mistakes shape and mold us is really important in spiritual development, for sure.

      I think we are all saying basically the same thing, but trying to clarify this idea of “regret” and what exactly it means and what it does not.

      • Angel!

        This is a much better way of saying what i was trying to say in my comment! Thank God you’re so literate!

        Keep coming back, babe!

        Al K Hall

      • Yeah, what you said was literate, too! I suffer from too much verbosity most of the time.

        I wrote a 4,000 word post just from all the stuff here. I have not posted it yet, because I think it is TOO LONG. I have been debating putting it up in chunks. Actually, I am debating putting it up at all… I am worried that maybe it is focusing too much on stuff that is not for me to focus on.

        I just don’t know.

        But anyway, I really liked how we had almost exactly the same thoughts about this. 🙂

    • Jen!

      See what kind of high brow crowd i get around here? Don’t believe me? Look in the mirror!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  9. How about thinking about the things you don’t regret? Like quitting drinking? How many times in the past year or so have you woken up and said “Man I really wish I had hit the bottle hard last night?”

    • Hi, brother!

      Thanks for stopping by and for the shot of optimism! Going sober was the best decision i’ve made in years, and it’s because i regret my drinking mistakes so much that i appreciate my sobriety so hard.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • Fantastic answer! There is a point to these feelings! In order to fully appreciate something, you have to know what life is like without it.

        What are my regrets? 1) drinking. 2) smoking. 3) not being careful with money. 4) fighting with my family too much 13 years ago. 5) not screwing more women when i had the chance in college.

      • 6) Not wearing enough sunscreen.

  1. Pingback: i have regrets | Al K Hall-ic Anonymous

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