i Didn’t Deserve Music

Birth Out of Control

The other night i was doing my Gratitude List in bed. At the top of the list, i always put “Sobriety” to remind myself that it’s thanks to my sobriety that i have other things to be grateful for.

Looking back on my day, it didn’t take me long to find that i was grateful for a chat i had with my 17-year-old. It wasn’t so much the talk about his life and friends that i appreciated—it was the way, in passing (he’s 17, everything he does is in passing!), he thanked me for listening.

When i put on my Gratitude List that i was grateful for “the desire to listen to loved ones more closely”, i asked myself why it was that i didn’t do that more in the past.

The answer came to me immediately: It was because i didn’t think i deserved my kids.

Hell, back then i didn’t think i deserved music. i remember moments in the evening when i thought i should put on some tunes before deciding, “Nah, i’m not good enough for music.” If my self-esteem was that low, you can see why i hated myself as a father.

Sobriety hasn’t convinced me that i’m a good father but, along with letting me appreciate music again, it has showed me that my kids deserve a better father and sobriety has set me on the path to that place.


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 28, 2012, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Music to my ears! That is what it’s all about! A 17 year old. A good time to listen. Yea! Great news. Sobriety has it’s distinct benefits. mel

    • Benefits indeed. In fact, all i can see are the benefits, there is no real downside to having a netter life! Thanks so much for coming by and supporting my blog, Mel!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. Al!

    You are going to make me cry Brother! My god.

    The mere fact that your 17 year old will talk to you is a miracle.
    That you listen is a gift of sobriety and that you see that is


    My Friend, you SO deserve Music!

    Take care,


    • Jen!

      Believe it or not, he asked me to come and watch his band rehearse today so i can give him my input on what songs and what style (effects pedals, acoustic, electric…) they should go with for their concert. i’m one lucky guy, for sure.

      Proof that i deserve music!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. Courageous poetic stuff my friend. Sounds like you have the strength to stick with it. 🙂

    • Stuartart!

      Thanks for the props, man. The place i’m in now is so much better than the depths i dragged before that i can’t ever see myself going back there again.

      Keep coming back, brother,

      Al K Hall

  4. I was trying to remember what it was that your sponsor said about alcoholics having horrible self-esteem (an inferiority complex) along with having an inflated ego — he put it so well!!! Maybe you can remind me of exactly his phrase…

    The reason I thought about it is that so often when you drank or were drunk (or wanted to defend drinking), you came off as very confident, very knowing, very proud of who you were, and acting very cool — but really, from what you write here I can see that it was covering up an absolutely devastated soul, a person who was hurting so bad and felt so worthless. It (the seemingly inflated ego part) was all a part of the cover-up, wasn’t it.

    It’s a weird blend, that grandiosity along with someone inside who feels something like he doesn’t even deserve music. That’s really heartbreaking. God, even ants deserve music!! Slugs, even! Bacteria! (I’m trying to think of the lowest common denominator here, lol.)

    Self-esteem is really one of those things that can only be found little by little by oneself, isn’t it, although how wonderfully supportive of a growing self-esteem to have your kid respond in that way. I know it does me a world of good when my son thinks it is worth his time to talk to me and we have a great time doing it! It often makes my week when I have a chance to talk to him like that. (Who am I kidding? I love it when he “Likes” something of mine on FB once every blue moon, lol! Funny how one little Like can hold so much power.)

    It’s such a synergistic thing, isn’t it? To grow our self esteem we have to believe it by ourselves but it really can only be affirmed or confirmed in so many ways by relationships with other people.

    • “Maybe you can remind me of exactly his phrase…”

      Oh lord, I have lived in Yeaman too long already. A Yeamani word reversal!!! *gack* You know what I mean, though…

      • Oh god. Horrible grammar here, too: “a person who was hurting so bad and felt so worthless” BLAHHHHGGGHHHH.

        I’m losing it.

        I’m sure that was not the only place, lol.

    • Hi babe,

      Yeah, i know exactly the phrase you’re talking about but i can’t seem to find my notes from Steps 4 & 5 where i wrote it down from. When i get my hands on it again, i’ll post it here because it was a very insightful remark.

      It’s funny because the sentiment was there too when i drank. When i was coming across as confident, i was confident. It wasn’t an act. i truly did feel invincible and omnipotent and sometimes i drank just to feel that way and to escape feeling worthless.

      Anyway, sobriety is helping me find that self esteem again, in proper doses and measure.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. Is a Gratitude List part of the AA Program? If so, I may be dipping my toe in the program after all, since I too am focussing on Gratitude right now.

    And to think you didn’t think yourself worthy of music?! Sometimes I can’t decide what to listen to-the blues? funk? classical? and then just give up because it’s an effort. But everyone not only deserves, but I believe NEEDS music, if only a drum beat.

    I’m sorry to hear you were that down on yourself. But thrilled that is in the past!

    • Hi Dudette,

      The Gratitude list isn’t one of the 12 Steps, if that’s your question, but it is a fundamental part of the program and a recurring theme in many meetings. Remembering to be grateful is key because it’s a constant reminder that life is better when sober and so this helps motivate us to stay sober.

      As for the music, i’ve been thinking about this post recently and what i’ve decided is that music started being pretty much the foundation of my life in high school (since then, this foundation has evolved more into writing, but that’s another story), so i held it in very high esteem. My feeling unworthy of music came from this place, like an ugly kid feeling unworthy of talking to a beautiful model.

      But i’m much better now!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  6. Hey there Al! I know you don’t dig Awards BUT you SO deserve them!

    Here is another:

    I am SO Happy to nominate you for the 7×7 Link Award, my personal favorite.

    This is an opportunity to share your favorite writing and your favorite blogs.

    see the link for details!×7-link-award-thank-you-dan/

    Write on! Jen


    Hello, time to get your Tell Us About Yourself Blog Award. Joy of all joys … as if you didn’t have enough recovering and writing to do …. m

  8. working on it

    You deserve music and everything that is good. Period the end.

  9. Yea… drinking sure kills the little self-esteem one possibly had left. I’m sure your self-esteem has grown and I wish for it to continue growing for every sober day you put behind you. You ARE a terrific human being and as sober I’m convinced you’re a very good father.

    Thanks for sharing Al K dearest, you deserve all the best *hugs*

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