You’ve Got It Bad

i Don’t Get It Enough

Part 2: You’ve Got It Bad


You Could Be Worse

Alcoholics like to spew the truth but recovering alcoholics have found it. Ex-addicts know more about life than any guru Buddhist philosopher genius i’ve ever met.

That said, there are a couple cliches i hear regularly i don’t agree with, probably because i haven’t been in the program long enough to get yet. If any of you guys can shed some light to help me along my way, i’d sure appreciate it.

Thing # 2: I Thought I Had It Bad Until…
ex. “I thought I had it bad until I met a guy who was born without an asshole in diarrhea land.”

Meaning: Other people’s hardships prove mine aren’t worth drinking over.

What i Don’t Get Enough: Stories of someone whose life suffering is much greater than our own are used to show us we don’t have it so bad that we should get drunk over it. Others have stayed sober through worse, you should too.

i don’t get this argument because 1) that someone is experiencing worse pain than mine makes my pain neither easier nor better. My agony is still the exact same no matter what you’re going through.

More importantly 2) Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game that is generally discouraged in recovery. More specifically, sure, some people have it worse than me and don’t drink, but there are also some who suffer less than me and drink nonetheless. i need to stop basing my life on others’, and become responsible for my own.


Just a reminder that i’m on vacation in a place that has very limited internet access and so i won’t be able to respond to comments with my usual ruthless efficiency. Please don’t think i’m not reading them (i most definitely am), and please continue to leave them (they make my day).


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 August 10, 2012, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I bet that guy in the picture has a hell of a time hitchhiking. And you bring up a good point there AL “i need to stop basing my life on others’, and become responsible for my own.”

  2. Yeah, this is just a shitty idea, no matter if in recovery or life (or, both, as really is the case. Aren’t we ALL in recovery from something?!?).

    Pain is pain. If a person starts relativizing (that’s not a word. I mean, using relativity, making a guidepost, whatever) to externals like you mention, then really, all is lost, I really believe that.

    We have to be our own measuring stick, and not look to others’ situations to solve our own issues. It just does not work. Seriously, if I had a problem with drinking, then understanding that others have it so much worse for me would actually probably CAUSE me to drink!! I certainly have acted out in horrible ways because of how fucked up the world is and how depressed it makes me. I think that other people’s hardships are a *very* good reason to drink, ha. But I am compassionate (co-dependent?) like that and can in fact make other people’s shit about my shit.

    So yeah, you are spot on with this one. It just does not work at all. For me. Maybe for someone else, this reasoning is good reason, but I think Bats said it: “Don’t base your life on others’ lives. Be responsible for your own.”


    (So these are really clichés that circulate the rooms? Huh. I am so glad that you are bringing up the ones that don’t seem logical or ring true, so that you can find the ones that do.)


    • P.S. Wow that dude is super freaky. Heh! That plug in his lip has drool on it, lol. Ew. Like, how does he kiss? I was thinking at first that cup was like a Dixie cup — you know, like a little kids’ drinking cup or something. Maybe that is why he has it. He can fit a shot glass in there.

      While I respect body mods and think that people have a right to do what they do with their bodies, at the same time, when people go to this extreme, I have to look at it as some kind of totally fucked up! I mean, seriously, WHAT kind of childhood issues does this dude HAVE? There is some kind of messed up in there, for sure, lol.

      Alas. Not my problem. Live long and prosper, fucked up body mod dude. May you find what makes you happy.

    • Thanks for your observations, babe! Yes, these are the cliches but, like you said, it’s important to separate the bull from the shit.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. I think you are spot on here. For every one cliche, there is usually another opposite cliche that contradicts it. (Out of sight, out of mind; Absence makes the heart grow fonder.) I think we just hear what we need (want) to hear sometimes. Hey, whatever lifeline you can hold onto and whatever helps you not drink today…
    Agreed on the comparison thing. A favorite quote of mine:
    “Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
    Hope you’re enjoying vacation!

  4. Jesus! I’m rethinking tattoos that’s for sure!!!!!

    SPOT ON!!! Pain cannot possibly be compared (or belittled)’ it’s too subjective on too many levels! Im on my cell phone now… Just wanted to say, Go Al!!!

  5. Wow, wow and owwwwww….oh my goodness.

    I have nothing original to add to the above comments. It is easy to get trapped in the comparison game but so important not to. Your post on.

    Hope you are enjoying the wilderness!

  6. Celeste hit on a key point. One thing that turned me off to AA was that I didn’t feel like I belonged there because my problems did not seem as bad as others I encountered.

    In order to elaborate, I have to lump people with alcohol problems into two rough classes:

    In class 1 you have the people whose main problem is alcohol. For whatever reason they like it too much, and when they drink, bad things happen. Yet they continue to drink, and more bad things happen. If they just removed this “tumor,” their life would be normal again. But they have a hard time doing it on their own.

    In class 2, you have people who have another major problem that leads to their drinking. They could be suffering from some type of trauma, depression, illness, or just a long string of bad luck. These people drink to escape the pain. And they keep drinking and soon they have another problem: alcohol.

    I agree this is a gross oversimplification, but bear with me.

    For both classes of problem drinkers, the right thing to do is to stop the drinking. That can be hard, because not drinking can go against many years of habits and thought processes. Doing this is hard. There are urges and cravings. There is dealing with drinkers at social functions. There’s “what the hell do I do with all this extra time that I now have sober?” And finally, there’s the whole post acute withdrawal syndrom thing, which can be a major pisser.

    After 6-12 months of getting this all sorted out, a class 1 problem drinker should be ready to move on. “Moving on” means going on about their lives knowing that alcohol isn’t going to solve their problems. Maybe they need some refreshers from time to time to remind them of the hell of their old ways. Maybe they need some advice on coping with a touchy situation. But for the most part, they should be independent. If they chose to attend support groups (or comment on blogs) their role should be more of a facilitator to others, than someone who needs help.

    Then there is class 2. These people, having solved their alcohol problem, now need to deal with the shit that caused them to start drinking in the first place. And that can be orders of magnitude harder. And it can take years. And sorting these problems out doesn’t necessarily mean listening to drunkalogs or hearing advice on coping with post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Honestly, I don’t know what it means and I’m grateful I don’t.

    The problem is that AA and other recovery organizations deal with people in both classes. People in class 1 can be overwhelmed by those in class 2. A guy who just wants to quit drinking doesn’t need to hear the Iraq war veteren who lost one of his buddies to a roadside bomb, is drinking a fifth of vodka a day, had 3 DUIs, can’t keep a job, and knocked up his buddy’s girlfriend. What he needs is to be told how to politely decline a drink, schedule airline flights in the morning so he won’t be tempted to drink in the airport bar, and find things to do with his life that don’t involve drinking. Conversely, someone with serious issues who has quit drinking doesn’t need to hear about tactics for refusing a drink; he already knows not to drink.

    Both classes need help. A person in class 1 can easily get behind the wheel drunk and be more destructive to himself and others than someone in class 2, even though on the surface the person in class 1 has fewer issues. But the treatments should be different. There should be a group dedicated to tactics to quit drinking. And their should be another group to people who have to sort major shit out in their lives. I wish it worked like that. But this is not an ideal world.

    • i totally get what you’re saying here about the 2 classes. If you’ll permit me my own gross over-generalization, i think the people in both classes need to stop drinking before they can resolve their respective issues. AA provides a good way to do that. i hear stories from the class of alcoholic that i am not, and while i don’t ‘get’ (on a deep level) what their problem is, their tools and solutions are just as effective and i don’t feel their story isn’t worlds apart from my own. Anyway, i do see what you’re driving at and how that would create a problem for many in recovery.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

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