Forget It

Change Is Hard

Alcoholism is a disease of forgetting. When i drank, i drank to forget. To forget what i’d done, what i hadn’t done, what was being done to me and what would never be done to me ever.

Now the problem is trying not to forget anymore. It’s like having the keys to success and not remembering where i put them.

i have learned so much in recovery that sometimes i have difficulty recalling the right lesson at the right time. That’s what AA meetings are for and why they’re so important.

Case in point…

Lately, i’ve been in a dispute with my downstairs neighbo. Conflict situations make me physically ill, literally, but i know that rather than hide from the problem as i would’ve in the past, i have to face it head on. Which was giving me anxiety attacks.

Repeating the Serenity Prayer (“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can, and the wisdom to know the difference”) over and over like a mantra helped me rationalize the situation but didn’t do anything to appease my irrational side. Part of me still wanted to panic whenever i, like stepping on a piece of glass hiding in the summer grass barefoot, accidentally remembered the problem.

So i went to a meeting where the theme that developed out of people’s shares was giving it up to God.

i’d completely forgotten! It’s not my problem, it’s God’s problem! Because i’ve taken all the steps i can to resolve the situation, it’s out of my hands and in the hands of my Higher Power. So now, whenever i start to dwell on this dispute, i remember i’m not driving, just along for the ride. Remembering that nugget makes it possible for me to forget the problem…in a good way!

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 April 5, 2012, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery, Toolbox and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Cool. Man, do i need to hear this Al. I’ve got no control over the weird-ass stuff that goes on in my head, AND/OR around me and yet, I’ve (we all) have got to get on with life! I’ll have to hand God a lotta stupid human tricks. 🙂

    You’re a total inspiration … and HI and HELLO to your lovely Mrs. D.

    • Hi Mel!

      Glad you could find a little truth in my humble post. “It’s not my problem, it’s god’s,” has now become my new catch phrase.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • I like the motto. I still have a hard time letting go of the grip. But when i have tried using HP it has worked. “turning it over” and all … C U later!

        • Thanks for the inpute, Mel.

          Maybe i should be try a post about how to give it up to the higher power…

          Keep coming back, babe!

          Al K Hall

          • I’d be really open to your journey of giving it up. Some things are easier than others: God is a struggle. Somehow i still feel like i need to run the show because i don’ t deserve help … bein’ a sinner and all. jeesh, duh? How else did i get myself in (and out) of this mess.?

          • Maybe you could think of Harper as a Higher Power? Up there looking out for you? HP = Harper Power! Then, whenever you start to get control issues, you can give control over to Harper because he’s up there and wants to help so badly!

            Keep coming back,

            Al K Hall

          • Hey Al, you and Jen have me convinced that Dogs are God. I can go with that. I will. HARPER is an excellent selection.

            Right Jen, Mel’s Bus #59 is HARPER!!!! LOve you guys!!!!

          • Glad to have helped a bit!

            Keep coming back,

            Al K Hall

  2. Spot on! What a very good insight – this I have learned too from AA and basically from any spiritual mentor that I’ve heard. Acceptance, letting go and to do the best that one can do. But yes, then to try and to remember this wisdom and to practice it… I too am grateful to have AA helping me remember 🙂

    • i so love meetings for that! The program is so rich and there’s so much to forget, thank the HP that the meetings and “fellows” are there to remind us of what’s important!

      Keep coming back, River!

      Al K Hall

  3. my spiritual journey is ever unfolding and unfolding. I don’t have “AA” per se. I’m not alcoholic, but i am suffering from Spiritual SLOW MOTION …

    That’s why, in one of my posts about Recovery from Bulimia, the spiritual journey seems so much L O N G E R. We don’t have that special spiritual bonding and group that AA has.

    On the other hand, i really don’t want people saying, “oh you’re really an alcoholic if you feel this and that way” … that won’t fly.


  4. Dear Al,

    wow. I can relate to this from an around the corner way…

    after Ace died my family had a problem with a stalker of a sort. I was feeling torn up by hatred, raw unfettered hatred and it harshed my vegetarian pacifist soul. I could NOT give up this HATE. I went to my very cool married priest for some spiritual counseling. (the dude rides a harley and has 3 kids. He is Russian Orthodox and they ‘let him’ say the Roman Mass. big of them ehh?) anyway.

    I lay out my story: wierd o hatred feels rotten kinda creepy situation. My priest had just gotten in from a ride on his Bike (the motor kind) and had on a wife beater. He leaned back in his chair and thought for a minute and then said “I know! YOU do not need to forgive her! You do not need to love her! OK. GOD loves her so you don’t have to! You need to protect your family. Just remember, God will love her and you do not have to!”

    wow. God can do it and I don’t have to! I was Free to FEEL my REAL feelings and could see that my feelings were legit! That old “don’t trust anyone” thing is still hanging around and I can’t always tell if I am acting crazy or if other people are. ( I HATE that…)

    HP can take care of all manner of stuff. Once I have done what I can, I can let go!

    another EXCELLENT post about the many gifts of recovery in the program

    Woo Hoo!

    Keep on keepin on,


    • “God will love her and you od not have to!”

      That’s exactly it! What a cool message. Thanks so much for the story!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      PS Every time i try to imagine going sober around Ace, i’m filled with admiration at your strength, m’dear!

    • OK, more cryptic notes … I love following you guy’s conversations. REAL STUFF. Did i tell you HP is HARPER POWER thanks to Al. XO guys, love you!

    • Jen, i hope you don’t hate me because i forgive my mom for being a shit! I’m not crazy (beyond the usual). I’m grieving. As soon as i realize who and what she did i’ll take my forgiveness back on a “good day”, “bad day” basis.

      Jen, speaking for me, ONLY. THIS is what MY anger and inability to forgive HER means:

      … That SHE was right! I am and was a failure.

      That i DESERVED to be treated like shit!

      That I WAS the problem not her!

      I say BULLSHIT to that.

      I’m AWESOME, I’ve grown into a kind and compassionate HUMAN

      .. SHE was the fucked up one, and for that i have to say,

      I forgive her for being SO WRONG ABOUT HOW AWESOME I WAS and AM TODAY. SHE FUCKED UP, not me. She is the pitiable one, not me.

      therefore i forgive her for being SO FUCKING WRONG! And being so screwed up she couldn’t see what a fucking precious gem i am and WAS. She is flawed, not me. God will forgive her because she’s been begging him forever to forgive her. I will forgive her because God gave me a boost, not her. Never her. She is gone … and now, Who am I? I AM NOT SHE, and SHE IS NOT ME, for fucking sure.

      You don’t have to forgive your mom, i’ve heard pastors say that to me too, and i wondered, “hell that doesn’t sound too biblical to me” 😉 … but it’s true. I could go either way.

      But, do you know how much i have hated myself? Do you know?

      I can be two years old and say, “YOU STARTED IT”. I’m finishing it. She may have been evil on earth, judgmental and unkind … but she is with her “maker” and i am here to make my own decisions and life. I won’t follow in her footsteps. NEVER. HP, Love Mel,

      OH, and hey to ya, AL

      • Mel!

        Thanks for that! i’ve heard of tough love, but i’m loving your tough forgiveness. You’re absolutely right. You are not she, and you are free to be as free and free from her as you chose to be!

        Harper Bless, and keep coming back,

        Al K Hall

      • Hey this is my post!! I must be my cut and paste job. That post, Jen was to pray that you don’t take my forgiveness as hypocrisy. I certainly didn’t send mom off on a fluffy cloud, right? Keep coming around and around and around … Right Al?

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