Workin’ Progress

Used 2013-02-10 Egging You On (AlKHall Anonymous alcoholism recovery sbriety)

Egging You On

In my last couple of posts i talked about how well i’m doing and i’m doing pretty damn well, thank you. Now, this does not mean i intend to rest on my laurels our even find out what a laurel is, far from it.

As someone fighting to remain brutally honest with myself, i know there are still several areas of my life that need work. Like it says in the Big Book, we claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.

Here, then, are my rooms for improvement.

  1. Procrastination. i have made great strides in that now i check my mailbox every day and balance my bank account every evening (during my drinking days, i was so afraid of both of these that i ruined my finances, among other things). Still, the book i promised to send Celeste E Hall has been sitting on my dresser for months, and i still put off…
  2. Cleaning. My improvement here its noticeable because i now make my bed daily and wash dishes before i go to bed (usually), and i actually don’t mind doing my laundry and ironing every Sunday evening. But i’m supposed to clean the bathroom weekly and vacuum at least once a week and that’s less than regular.
  3. Comparing. My biggest personality defect of the moment. At work i’m unable to go a full day without worrying i’ve been given more work than my colleagues or that the boss prefers them. It really does take some of the fun out of my work day, and leads to the Poor Me syndrome.

Fortunately, i’m not beating myself up over these things, but i’m hoping to put these in my past and find out what my next set of challenges is.

What about you? Care to share any signs of improvement in your recovery or areas you’d like to continue to to improve? Leave a comment, we’d sure like to hear what’s going on with you!

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 February 10, 2013, in Alcoholism, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Haha. Laurels are not a physical thing, they are an idea. I remember in early recovery arguing with someone about what laurels are and what the phrase means and they did not believe me- insisting that it had something to do with a part of his body! My definition based on being apart of a medieval history role playing organization and I wouldn’t Ming being a laurel myself is, they are your accomplishments, your progress, rewards, acknowledgment, strengths. Oxford saysDefinition of laurel


    1any of a number of shrubs and other plants with dark green glossy leaves, in particular:short for cherry laurel the bay tree.See bay22an aromatic evergreen shrub related to the bay tree, several kinds of which form forests in tropical and warm countries.Family Lauraceae: many genera and species3 (usually laurels) the foliage of the bay tree woven into a wreath or crown and worn on the head as an emblem of victory or mark of honour in classical times:figurativeMansell became only the seventh Briton to wear the champion’s laurelshonour or praise for an achievement:she has rightly won laurels for this brilliantly perceptive first novel

    verb (laurels, laurelling, laurelled; US laurels,laureling, laureled)

    [with object]honour by adorning with a laurel or presenting with an award:they banish our anger forever when they laurel the graves of our dead(as adjective laurelled or laureled)she is also one of science fiction’s most laureled writers

    • Hi Astra Starr!

      Thanks for the thorough explanation! i think i was taught the expression came from laurel wreaths in Roman times; that champions wore these wreaths like crowns. So, to “rest on your laurels” was a figurative way of saying you live off your past victories. Not as complete as your definition…and probably wrong. lol

      Thanks for the comment!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. I’m early in my sobriety so I don’t feel much improvement because I’m so damn tired; but I like to read how you are improving. Good for you!

    Sober or drunk — Who likes to clean the toilet bowls?

    • Fern!

      The tired is a good thing, as i imagine the body needs to shut down to repair. ANd, if you’re drining was anything like mine, you’ll have to agree the hangover (or, sometimes worse, the general sense of ‘ugh’ that hung around like a stench all day) free days are a blessing.

      Something i was told when i first joined the program was that a newcomer always needs to remember “It just keeps getting better.”

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. I have had issues with comparison too – I’ve written about it many times, spoken to my sponsor about it often, have read up on it, talking to others about it, prayed on it, and it still pops up often. It’s most often a “less than” feeling, which as you describe gets into a “poor me” thing. I have walked out of meetings because I didn’t feel I measured up. How sick is that? I have to remember that I am on my own path, my own journey and not compare. Still hard not to at times. Even this blogging thing that I am fairly new at brings me to comparisons. Again, how dumb is that? I hope to get a point where comparison is something of the past, or at least doesn’t come up as often as it does now. The longer I get comfortable in my own skin and have that greater sense of self-worth, the less I will need to compare. Until then, the trudging continues…

    Great post.


    • Hi Paul,

      Yeah, it’s a super hard one to shake. Sorry to hear you felt you had to walk out on meetings over it, though! i wrote a post on it a while ago, but it reminds me of a time when i felt i didn’t deserve music and felt uncomfortable listening to my favorite groups.

      Here’s a Dry Toast to finding our self worth from inside and not out!

      Keep coming back, brother,

      Al K Hall

  4. Listen, if it’s any consolation: I don’t know anyone who enjoys cleaning their bathroom.

    From the Al-Anon side, I find myself having occasional bouts of clean-freakiness and must-do-things-in-order as I’ve been learning to let my alcoholic live his life. (My husband sometimes calls me “Eins-Zwei-Eins-Zwei!” after an old Eddie Izzard joke; it’s a hint that I need to calm the fluck down.) I guess there’s always a psychological trade-off.

    Fortunately, as time goes on I become a little less anal about dusting behind the fridge and alphabetizing the bookshelves…

  5. Ha, I still got that ego that I have to keep in check all the time! lol! But on the improvements side, I have noticed that recently I have intuitively known how to handle situations which used to baffle me! – (The AA Promises) Seriously, it’s a very strange feeling, I have to ask myself, Did I just do that? – when i was drinking everything used to baffle me!

    And the work thing, I totally relate! Comparing to others…ugh! I just have to keep believing that I am doing the best I can. And as my friend always reminds me- what other people think of me is none of my business!

    Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Hi there!

      Oh man, my ego… i wrote a post recently based on the AA expression “an egomaniac with an inferiority complex” because i felt like that for the longest time. Still do at times, but random acts of anonymous kindness (where no one can know i’m the one who did it) hep to keep me humble.

      Love the AA Promises, too!

      Keep coming back, New Sober Life!

      Al K Hall

  6. My first thought on reading this was in regards to this sentence: “But i’m supposed to clean the bathroom weekly and vacuum at least once a week and that’s less than regular.” Dude! You took over my duties of doing that, and I was not working as much as you are, and I only did that stuff every other week. Same here now in my place. Twice a month — you can get away with that! I’d adjust the goal a little to something realistic.

    Also, what about that 18-year-old young man living with you?! Maybe it is time he stepped up to the plate on at least vacuuming, eh? What you don’t teach him how to do or help him to do, he won’t learn — unless he has his own place and it turns into a pit and he is the only one there to deal with it. But that will just lead to resentments of things that are normal parts of a normal life. Everyone has to clean. It comes with being “normal” and having a place that is habitable.

    I’m not sure about this, but maybe people in your life when you were young did not give you the opportunity to learn to clean some things up and did it all for you? Do you wish maybe they had given you the chance to do that stuff more so you could have a chance to incorporate it as a normal part of existence? Anyway — I get not wanting the kiddies to do more. I have taken over all those duties for my kiddo because I like to mother him and it is one of the only ways he will still let me (fixing food and cleaning up stuff and helping with his laundry). But, he is only still 16 and had two years on his own when he was much too young to try to do all that stuff by himself, too. I feel I need to make up for that absence a little bit. I have to say, he is pretty good about picking up his room, though, and he is really organized as a result of having to be on his own for that time. He did learn it already, and he tells me regularly, “You don’t need to do so much because I don’t want to forget how to do things by myself and then be shocked when there is no one around to help me do them when I really am on my own!” He’s pretty astute, lol.

    Bottom line? My thought is to cut yourself some slack on the vacuuming and bathroom cleaning (adjust the optimal goal) and get a little help from the ones who are helping to mess it up.

    As for the rest, hmmmmm. While I am sure that those things will perhaps lessen with time and with the program and commitment to change them, but maybe instead of focusing on the behaviors, try looking at the motivation behind them? What is it about procrastination that makes you procrastinate? I mean, why is that procrastination even there? You know? It’s one thing that has been around for forever — a personality thing, a characteristic of how you operate. Maybe it is time to look at the reasons why there is procrastination in the first place, if it is something you are hoping to alleviate (aka a “defect” that is handed over to the HP to transform). I think perhaps the key is very deep as to why it is even there in the first place. Same with comparisons. Just a couple of thoughts about that. I have found in my own process that I often need to look a level deeper for why a certain behavior or lack of behavior is even there in the first place and transform it from the inside out, instead of the outside in (if that makes sense).

    BTW, my solution for making myself clean the apartment there, and here, too, was discovering podcasts. I save podcasts for tasks I don’t like to do that much, and listening to them (which I do really like!) is something I pretty much only allow when it is something I have to do that I don’t want to. So pretty soon it has become, “OMG, I want to listen to these new episodes! I had better go clean something!” Maybe that is something that would work for you, too? You might try the podcast thing — find a few you like. I know you listen to music all the time, so using music won’t work as special incentive… But try a few podcasts. I think you would like The Nerdist, and there are some others, too, that could be enjoyable. Maybe ones about music, and new music that is coming on the scene. NPR is a great resource of podcasts, too. They might be a trick to try to get yourself to clean something up. Plan cleaning around when a new episode of a podcast is released and before you know it, you are on a schedule with it.

    Hope that was not all too much in “advice mode” and not enough just “nodding and listening” mode. But I have had problems with some of those things, too, and my ideas are ways I tried to deal with some of them. Maybe my ideas will help trigger some ones of your own that you can practically employ.

    Good luck with the continued self-improvement project. Look how far you have come! I am sure that you will find progress with these things, too!
    P.S. Don’t worry about the book right now. I will write you about it later, okay?

    • Hi there,

      What a sweet comment! Thanks for “letting me off the hook” as far as cleaning goes. It’s true i can easily get myself discouraged as far as that goes. Anyway, posting this motivated me to get it done, so i’m writing to you now as someone with a clean bathroom. i’ll talk to Jason about sharing the workload; it shouldn’t be too traumatic. As for the podcasts, do you know of any good music ones? i checked out the NPR site but they have so many, i wouldn’t know where to begin.

      Thanks for the encouragment!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • I’m glad to contribute in whatever way helps and does not hinder. 🙂

        So The Nerdist is where I heard that amazeballs interview with Dave Grohl — and you would LOVE that interview, truly. You could start there and just listen to the ones where The Nerdist interviews musicians!

        I just Googled “music podcasts” and these articles have some interesting ideas (I’m going to embed the links so hopefully the comment will post and not go to spam!)

        USA Today PopCandy Pop Podcast Primer

        Paste Magazine 10 Best Music Podcasts (This one is a good list, looks like.)

        NPR Music and the NPR Music Podcast Directory link page

        Happy Hunting! And cleaning…

        I really need to bake some sweet potatoes and squash and have been avoiding it since it takes so much time. Time for a podcast and a vegetable peeler!


        P.S. NPR Tiny Desk Concerts: *LOVE*

        • P.P.S. Oh wow — cannot believe I did not mention my very favorite podcast (besides “The News from Lake Wobegon”, lol): Pop Culture Happy Hour with Linda Holmes of the NPR blog Monkey See. Four person weekly roundtable discussion on various topics relevant to what’s happening on TV, in films, music, sometimes books. I really adore this podcast and one of them is enough time to get the bathroom done. Just Google those terms and it will show up. It’s in the NPR directory and also on iTunes (I prefer using RSS where possible, though, and for your Android that is ideal. You may want to figure out a podcast management tool or app for this).

          • P.P.P.S. (lol — sorry. Keep thinking of things. I was just in the shower after typing the long comment — that is currently still in moderation because of the links in it — and had to mention)

            I know you would TOTALLY love some of the comedy podcasts out there, too. Why not laugh while working? There is a link on that USA Today PopCandy article(at the bottom) that lists top comedy podcasts, too. You should definitely check those out. I bet you will be cleaning the bathroom weekly if you get your hands on comedy podcasts and only let yourself listen while working!

            Also, find a way to secure your phone to your body when cleaning the toilet. Just sayin’. Haha.

  7. Wow, as awesome as this post was, the comments were a super fabulous bonus… so interesting, and chock full of helpful advice (Thanks, Celeste E. Hall, I am totally trying that cleaning trick, I LOVE IT!). As for progress not perfection, the all or nothing thinking that predominated my addiction still lingers in all areas of my life…. I either exercise until I hurt myself, or I loaf around. I clean everything, or I clean nothing (and guess which one wins out most of the time?). The progress is not berating myself over it, recognizing it, and, if the stars are aligned properly, actually arresting the behavior as it is happening. And that, in and of itself, is a miracle!!

    • Thanks for adding your awesome comment to the long list, Miracle!

      That “all-or-nothing” mentality is deadly. My drinking was a lot like that in so much as i was a binge drinker and could go days without a sip, but when the first drop touched my lips, i was off on another jag.

      Exercise wouldn’t be such a bad thing for me, i must admit, and i don’t think i’d risk going overboard on that! lol Like the cleaning. If i can only get to a point where i do one thing and not for too long. A half an hour a night (not including the dishes and cooking) doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

      Good for you for noticing the problem and sometimes even breaking the cycle. Progress indeed, and miraculous to boot.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  8. As always, i can relate to what you write about.

    #1 – definitely. I imagine I’ll always struggle with that, but it seems to go hand in hand with taking a more laid-back approach to life, which I also want. I want to be a laid back, non-procrastinator. Surely this exists?

    #2 – Like Celeste suggested, try every other week. Works for me too. I hate cleaning, though, so I guess I should work on my attitude.

    #3 – When I first read your post, I didn’t think I could relate to this one. Then I realized something I’ve been struggling with recently are negative feelings directly related to me comparing myself to someone I’ve always felt inferior to. I try my hardest not to measure and compare (as one blogger put it recently “keep your eyes on your own paper”), but hey, I’m human and hopefully I can at least learn from it. I do know there’s no peace in comparing myself to others, though maybe it can be a good starting point for progress.

    Thanks for the great post.

    • Thanks for contributing, BBB!

      1. A laid back non-procrastinator! The Dream!
      2. Every other week sounds good…until the time comes to actually do it and then i find a reason to blow it off!
      3. “Keeping your eyes on your own paper”! Love this. Thanks for the perspective!

      Thanks for the great comment and keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

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