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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Thirst Things First

In The Drink

My sobriety is my #1 priority. Before my kids, before my wife, before my parents, before my job…

Does that sound selfish? It feels selfish to write but, at the same time, i’ll remind you of an AA expression i’ve mentioned before:

If you put something before your sobriety, be prepared to lose it.

And i don’t want to lose my kids or my wife or my family or my job…

Before sobriety became my #1 priority, everything was my #1 priority. It depended on the moment. One minute my job was and if that wasn’t working exactly as i thought it should, then my life sucked until i got home and dinner became my number one priority and if that didn’t turn out exactly as i’d planned then my life sucked until i went on the computer and that became my #1 priority…

Now that Sobriety is at the top of my list, there’s no room up there for the little details and that’s helping me put things in perspective. For example, lately it’s hard for me to get too worked up about “disasters” at work because they are relegated toward the bottom of my concerns.

Funnily enough, now that sobriety is anchored at #1, all the other aspects of my life seem to fall into place quite nicely.

Saint George outside on of my AA rooms.

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i’m Looking Up

Looking up - alkhallanonymous.com

Things Are Definitely Looking Up

i’m wrapping up Step 6 of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

My super Sponsor who is older than dirt and wise beyond his years is not too keen on the whole self-flagellation thing and i must say i think anyone in AA who focuses on the negative doesn’t really get the program. It says in the literature that we are all about spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection. Hell, my perfectionism is what got me into trouble in the first place. i placed such high (no pun intended!) demands on myself that i needed alcohol to console me when i inevitably failed to live up to my own unrealistic expectations.

In order to demonstrate how entirely ready i am to remove my defects of character, my sponsor told me to write a list of what i was like when i drank and what i’m like sober so that i can have black & white evidence of how i’ve already started removing my defects of character and to encourage me to keep heading down this path.

Drunk v Sober Al K Hall - alkhallanonymous.com

i also decided to look at my Step 1 list again. In Step 1 (“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable”), i wrote down all of the ways in which my life had become unmanageable and i thought now would be a good time to see how far i’d grown.

Unmanageable v Manageable Al K Hall - alkhallanonymous.com

In conclusion, i’m far from perfect but i’m better off than i was and everyday sees me stronger than the day before. i’m definitely looking up!

Working On It: A Promise Is A Promise

In A Tight Spot

In A Tight Spot

i was secretary at the Tuesday Night: Adventure’s in Sobriety meeting here in Yeaman and the first thing the speaker said was,

I’m meeting some of you for the first time in this room tonight, but you know me better than many of the people who have known me my whole life.

This got me to thinking about our close community here in the Bar None. Though i haven’t met any of you “in real life”, you know more about the “real me” than most of the people i come into contact with every day. In keeping with that spirit, i’m sharing (with her express permission) an e-mail i received from “Working On It”, who explains how it has come to pass that she decided to set sail on the beautiful, yet oft turbulent, sea of sobriety.

Something that happened on Fri June 15th has to be my moment of clarity.  I’ve heard stories where nothing dramatic happened but for me, I knew I’d need something to hit me over the head.

I went back home to MI to meet a 10am Saturday appointment. I left around 4pm Friday as the hangover fog had somewhat lifted.  I packed my suitcase, goodies bag and work laptop in my car.  I spent 2 1/2 hrs in an agonizing crawl through the Chicago freeway system and another 2 1/2 hrs to my midpoint where I gas up and eat.  I filled my tank and reached for my laptop bag to get food cash and the bag wasn’t there.  Mind you, this is my work laptop so I was frantic.  I knew I packed it and was trying to remember if I left the car doors locked when I gassed up. Then the doubts crept in whether or not I packed it at all.

I couldn’t call work to report it missing without being sure, so I knew the only way to know was a drive back home.  I called my mom to let her know I was going to be much later.  Without the rush hour traffic, it was only a 2 1/2 hour trip back.  The entire time I was praying to my God that if my laptop bag was on premise, I promised to surrender my drinking problem up and let Him take 100% control.  I repeated this the entire 150 miles.

When I arrived, I saw my laptop in the corner and cried.  I then said “A promise is a promise” and called my mom and told her that I was on my way again (at 1130 pm).  I spent the next 6 hrs alternating between thanking my God and listening to Coast to Coast AM (highly recommended if you want to scare the Sh*t out of yourself whilst driving in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere 🙂 ).  I rolled into my mom’s place at 530 am which made that a 13 1/2 hour trip.  I made my 10 am appointment!

I have to believe that was my moment of clarity.  I could never imagine doing anything like that ever again.  I’m going to think of it as a choice to keep my promise rather than a choice not to drink.  I know it is the same thing, but I prefer to put it in that perspective.

My mantra is “A promise is a promise” and I intend to keep it.  I have not had a drink since 2am Friday morning at last call.

Thanks for letting me share your story, Working On It! i hope the people who frequent this Bar None will be able to give you whatever assistance they can, and while i heartily suggest any type of group meeting as therapy (not necessarily AA), i’m confident these members of the D-Generation in here have your back.

Hang in there, my friend, and Keep Working On It.

Day Tripping

I’m Evolving

Sobriety brings with it many changes, most of them good but some of them are a little WTF?

For example, i’ve noticed my favorite time of the week has changed.

When i was drinking, i lived for Friday Night. Even the word “Friday” had this magical power to buoy my spirits over the turbulent week until i washed up on the beaches of my Friday Night desert island paradise. Free drinks at work, two days to recover from whatever damage i did to myself, and even more importantly, potential. When i picked up that first can, popped that first top and swallowed my first sip, i had no idea where the evening was going to take me.

i realized last weekend that my favorite time of week is now Saturday afternoon, for much the same reasons. While Friday night has become a night like any other (i don’t have to work the next day), on Saturday afternoon i’m awake and ready for the world, can stay up as late as i want, don’t have to wake up early the next day and have a day and a half to get things done. Which comes back around full circle to “potential”.

One of the gifts sobriety brings is more “potential” than i ever had drinking.

Life is Live

Jake La Botz by Celeste E Hall

Jake La Botz by Celeste E Hall

i went to a blues concert last night by Jake La Botz, a man who partied his demons to death and came out the other side with a sacred clarity that is so scarred it’s poetic.

While the show was superb, the thing i didn’t like about it were the drunks. The gig was in a cafe here in Yeaman and most of the patrons were either too young to know the blues or too drunk to feel them.

Then, in a moment of clarity, i realized that this is Live Music. It also explains why i prefer to sit at home and listen to studio recordings through my headphones; still, in a live concert the noise and the talking and the mistakes are all part of the music. That’s when i understood that Life is “Live”. That even if i want Life to be a pure and flawless studio recording filtered through the bubble of my headphones, Real Life is full of noise and mistakes and surprises. And all of it is part of the music.

Here’s Jake La Botz singing an apt song for this blog, “Lay Down The Bottle”.

Also, i interviewed him for the Bar None, so be looking for that soon.

PS Thanks are owed my wife, Celeste E Hall, for her permission to use her great photo!