It’s Not Worth It

Pomerol Bordeaux France Vineyard

A couple years ago, before i quit drinking, a rich and older acquaintance of mine invited Celeste E Hall and me to his town house in the French city of Bordeaux. While there for the weekend, he arranged for us to take a tour of a vineyard in a wine region known as Pomerol.

After the tour, one of his friends gave us a bottle of the highest quality, Grande Cru Classé wine from 2005—a very good year, as they say—with instructions to wait 4-5 years before drinking it. i dutifully brought it back to my apartment and stored it on a shelf, forgetting about it only occasionally.

The first couple weeks after i went sober, i wondered what kind of occasion would merit falling off the wagon to sample a wine that was worth about $95 a bottle.

Last week i found out…

None. Nothing is worth losing the recovery i’ve been fighting for this last year and a half. i gave the bottle to my ex-wife and her new husband.

Pomerol Bordeaux France Vineyard

Oh yeah, PS, the photos are original, for once. i took them during the trip in 2008.


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 September 4, 2012, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. “Nothing is worth losing the recovery i’ve been fighting for this last year and a half.” Amen to that my friend!

    Those photos are stunning. The first one looks like it’s just begging someone to go for a run or a stroll along its path.

  2. You rock in your commitment to sobriety. Beautiful photos, what talent to be gifted in writing and photo taking. Now I want to visit France!

    • Hey there,

      i’m glad you liked the pix! Photography is a blast and, it’s true, i guess i do like expressing myself through “art”. Must be because i’m so bad about doing it other ways…lol.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. I’m surprised you could keep that bottle in your house. The first thing they told me to do at SMART was get rid of all the booze in my apartment. But that was unnecessary, because I can’t keep booze in my apartment. But maybe you’re not of the dipsomania variety.

    • Hi ITSB!

      Lol, i never realized i did something good! i didn’t even think about it.

      Your SMART comment reminded me of an opposite take on the question given in the AA Big Book…

      Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn’t think or be reminded about alcohol at all.

      We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!

      Thanks for stopping by, brother, and keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • I see your point and agree with it. But there was no way I could have kept that bottle in my house when I was “moderating.” I’m the type of guy who drinks until the last drop or until I pass out, whichever comes first. So on one of those nights when I had restricted myself to 4 beers and no more, that bottle of wine would have been chugged in 30 seconds or less.

        Now is a different story. I live right next door to a liquor store and go in there often enough for some N/A beer or energy drinks, that I’ve made my acquaintance with the guys who work there. And I have no problems with bars and restaurants, like I used to. I even go to Jumbos from time to time, but that isn’t as fun as it used to be. I usually get bored after about 30 minutes.

        Still, I have no desire to keep alcohol in my place. If I’m with someone who wants to drink, I would prefer we go somewhere else to do it.

        • Hi, brother!

          This brings up an interesting point… First off, hats off to you for being able to moderate. It’s something i’m probably incapable of and, even if i were able to do it, i’m afraid all the counting and measuring and stressing would remove the pleasure i was after.

          As for drinks in the house, something i realized by reading another blog ( is that i’m not at all tempted by a sealed bottle, but an open bottle…!

          On vacation, i was walking through the kitchen and there was an open bottle of beer on the counter and my hand had started to reach for it before my brain knew what it was doing. Of course, my hand didn’t even get all the way there, but the reflex to pick up the bottle and finish it before it got warm was definitely there.

          Anyway, as i live alone now, i’m not going to go out and buy any alcohol to keep for guests and if i ever have any dinner parties, i agree with you, they’ll probably be dry parties.

          Thanks for the food for thought, ITSB, and keep coming back,

          Al K Hall

          • Al, sorry for the confusion. I’m not “moderating.” I’m still sober. I need to be more careful about how I write my comments. When I wrote: “Still, I have no desire to keep alcohol in my place. If I’m with someone who wants to drink, I would prefer we go somewhere else to do it” I meant “we go somewhere else so that person can drink.”

            The closest thing I get to alcohol is orange juice, kumbucha tea, and N/A beer. I don’t worry about the trace amounts of alcohol in any of those liquids.

          • No confusion, ITSB! i knew you didn’t drink at all. When i was talking about your moderation, i meant at the beginning of your quitting, when you were limiting your beers to four. i need to be more careful about wording my recomments, lol.

            Keep coming back, man,

            Al K Hall

  4. Probably a hard thing to do, but definitely a smart decision. Great photos!

  5. This is a bittersweet post!

    I loved that trip, and the things I learned about wine and winemaking were so interesting. And there was delicious wine there, too. I was also really curious about how that Grand Cru was going to taste…

    The sad part is that alcoholism is not discriminating, lol. That can be taken a number of ways, but the way I mean it here is that the disease strips all meaning from the beauty of things like wine and distorts it only as a means to an end, taking away any subtlety about things like “wine appreciation”. So I feel sad that I will never taste from that bottle we saved for so long.

    On the other hand, the truth and power of this is potent:

    Nothing is worth losing the recovery i’ve been fighting for this last year and a half.

    This is the sweet part of the bittersweet!

    There is nothing that could trade for that –it’s priceless and of great value, hundreds of times value of that wine and what it would taste like.

    You know, I did throw away or put away all alcohol-related things in the house while you were in the hospital. I had heard the same thing: get it all out of the house! Get all the memories away.

    I left that bottle on the bottom shelf by the pots and pans as I knew you did not look down there that often, and I really just did not know what else to *do* with the bottle. It seemed too valuable to just throw away at that time.

    I’m glad that YOU were the one to make the decision about whom to give it to, and I will think of your ex and her hubby (two wonderful people) as they enjoy it as much as I might have. I am very glad they have it! Good decision!

    We had our fun. Time to move on. Only forward. 🙂

    Love you,

    P.S. I understand the part of the big book you quoted. It’s like that with me and French bakeries and people eating wonderful breads and pastries all around me. Anymore, I sometimes have a twinge of envy, but overall really don’t miss it much at all, and just make other choices. It’s even at the point where I really don’t even like gluten-and-dairy-free substitutes very much! I’d just rather have other foods that don’t even resemble their wheat-and-milk-filled counterparts.

    Different. But the same, too.

    • P.S. I am LMAO at the image in my head of this:

      His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!

      I imagine this guy, shivering his ass off in an igloo thinking he has finally gotten away from all alcohol when along comes this Inuit dude with a bottle of 18-year, lololololol.

      The poor dude in the igloo… Must be thinking “fuuuuuuuuuck me!” about that time, hahaha!

    • It’s true we had our fun. Even with that trip, the wine tour was cool but then that night i drank to much absinthe and remember walking around the Flea Market with a hangover. Anyway, i’m glad you didn’t trash the expensive wine!

      Keep coming back, babe,

      Al K Hall

  6. WOW! And more of your own pix please!

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