Drive by (A Blast from the Pabst)

Used 2013-03-09 Alarming AlKHall Anonymous sobriety recovery


After college, i was obsessed with a girl who was almost as beautiful as i thought she was and who didn’t like me nearly enough to quell my obsession.

One night at a bar, i drank way more than i should have. Then i had one more. Then another. Then the idea threw up in my brain that i had to see this girl.

i didn’t decide to drive drunk that night. i never decided to drive drunk. Rather it was a compulsion that overcame me and swept me away like a tsunamitini. A smarter alcoholic would have chosen to drunk dial but i’m nothing if not the stupid alcoholic so i chose to drunk drive the 1½ hours that separated Tracy and me so i could wake her at 3am and declare my love for her. Yes, well, i’ve already admitted to being the lowest common drunkard.

Blast from the Pabst alcoholic recovery sobriety AlKHallAnonymousSomewhere around Hour-1, with 75% of the trip behind me, i fell asleep. i woke up less than a minute later to see my car barreling directly at a guardrail. i slammed on the brakes and hit the metal barrier head on. i was not wearing my seat belt.

i remember looking at the accordion front end of my car through the broken windshield. i remember taking my foot off the gas and the car shuddering to a stall. i remember seeing the cracked glass in front of me like a jagged spider’s web and understanding i had bounced off the windshield rather than burst through it.

After the long moment it took realization to seep through me, i found a way to tie the hood down with my jean jacket and drive the car to the next exit where God was nice enough to place a 24-hour truck stop that sold shock cords. i attached these to the hood and drove to a friend’s house rather than Tracy’s place.

i almost drove my car into a ditch approaching his parking lot, because i fell asleep again.

PS i was able to be fully reimbursed for my car because i told the insurance company that i’d hit a deer.

Used 2013-03-09 Michigan Hunter AlKHall Anonymous sobriety recovery

What about you? Have you ever driven drunk? Care to tell us about it in the comments?


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 March 16, 2013, in Alcoholism, Blast From The Pabst, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. runningonsober

    All things considered, we’re pretty damn lucky to be alive. Glad you’re here to share your story, Al. Hope things are smoothing out for you. That pic of the deer is fricken hilarious.

    • Hi ROS,

      Yes, we have been through some scrapes. There is a Part II to this one that will follow, so it’s not just a simple drunkalog. Anyway, thanks for asking about me. It’s a difficult period, so i’m trying to keep focused by upping the frequency of my meetings and working on my program. You take care of yourself as well!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. Yes, I did, till I got my DUI, then I just moved closer to a bar and a store, it was in walking distance! I remember my DUI night vividly, just not the actual arrest. I found out later, from my lawyer that I crashed in a front yard of a county troopers house. He had to call the police because it was not his juristriction. Lol! Funny! No, not funny, definitely could have killed someone! Ugh. Grateful to be sober 🙂

    • NSL!

      Your comment reminds me so much of the rooms where we can talk about some of the pretty bad things that happened to us in our drinking careers and still see the funny side. Laughter is healthy and laughter is healing so thank you for the smile and all the good your comment has done me. You rock! Stay grateful and stay sober!

      And keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. I am going to be honest here. I didn’t drink and drive once or twice. Or even a dozen times. I did it possibly hundreds of times in my drinking career. I don’t say that for shock value, but to be real about this. I may have had just a few in me many times, I may have been in blackout others. The last time was the time I got arrested for it. And I had my son in the backseat. Blackout. I don’t know how I didn’t hurt any one or kill any one. Grace of God is my only answer. I can’t be just lucky for that long.

    So when I read a post like yours Al, I get it. I get that part about the compulsion. It’s not like I decided before I drank that I would drive. But there was something in me that needed car keys in my hand when I drank. Some people need to take their clothes off. Some need to sing. Others need to call people at 2 am. I needed to be behind a wheel.

    And it’s horrifying to think that was me all those times. Ego, pride…what a killer duo. I have the legal ramifications to deal with still, and I know in my heart that I will have to make it up to the universe in other ways.

    Thank God we’re all still here.

    Thanks for the post.


    • Wow, Paul, thank you for this honest share. Talk about your brutal honesty and not closing the door on the past. i think the hardest part of dealing with my past, the part where i still cannot honestly say i do not regret my past, is as it regards my kids. Of course i’m sorry for the wrongs i did family and friends and i would take them back if i could, but that i could betray the love and trust of two children who did not know any better and who were entrusted to me… it’s a hard thing to get over and if you in your beautiful and strong recovery have any advice on how i can do this, i’d be very grateful.

      i’m also afraid of how my behavior will influence them, of how much they will learn from my bad example. i quit only 2 years ago and so my children saw me drunk in their formative years and i hate whatever role i may play in their possible disease.

      Anyway, like you say, thank God we’re still here. And thank God for you, Paul, you truly are an inspiration who leads by example and i have a great deal of respect for you and your path.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • Hey Al,

        I am coming up to two years, so I don’t really have many more answers than anyone else. But the one thing that stood out reading your comment above is about the affect you think you may have had (negatively) on the kids. My son was 3 1/2 when I quit, so I don’t think he has any strong connections to my drinking days. Time will tell,but I don’t feel that it has. I imagine your kids are older, and saw you in the states that you were in. The thing we share though is the disappointment in ourselves that we could have harmed them in some way…we, their own dads, could harm the ones that we love the most. That guilt, shame and remorse is the whip we use on ourselves and we whip real good-like.

        The one thing I could say, and this is something that I have had to do, is that the power of self-forgiveness is under-rated. I came to it not too long ago (I wrote about it) and it freed me of those last few rocks I was carrying. I had found considerable relief and freedom through the steps, especially the sharing of my inventory and amends. You can’t believe how much that lightened me up. But when I fully, fully, fully forgave myself, then the real healing began. I mean, I wept like a child when I realized that I was not a bad man. I was a good man, and I had done bad things, but they weren’t me…not the way the Creator meant me to be. you are not a bad man, Al. We did stupid shit when we drank, but we’re not bad men.Our actions do not define us, regardless what others may try to convince us otherwise, or more powerfully, no matter how much we ourselves try and tell us.

        The one thing I hear from some people who have recovered alcoholic parents is how much they admire them, how they understand what they went through, how strong they were, etc. These are from alcoholic and non-alcoholic people. By recovering, by working the steps, by committing to your recovery, you are doing your children a big favor – you are showing them how they can overcome something if they put their minds and souls into it. You are showing them what a sober dad looks like, how it is possible to get past things in a healthy way, and how to deal with life as a man or woman. You are showing through *action* and not just empty words on how it is like to navigate through the tough stuff. You are living, breathing example of what it is like to be responsible, vulnerable, human…it’s a wonderful thing, even if it doesn’t feel like it. We get another shot at life – two lives in one lifetime…how cool is that?

        Put down the hammer and stop nailing yourself. You love your children, you have been sober two years + and are still growing. So are they. You are all finding your way. I am too. I no longer need to cry when I think about how things could have turned out that day I drank with him in the back, blackout. It’s because it *didn’t* happen, so why go there? And I have forgiven myself. And that forgiveness came from a lot of work on my end to learn how to love myself. And that took work. i can’t forgive what I don’t love.

        Love and light, my friend.


        • What a beautiful comment, Paul. “We are not bad men” made me guy cry a little. i’m working on self forgiveness and on my better days i’m able to achieve it. Thanks for helping me put things in perspective, brother, and keep coming back.

  4. Am I the only one who wants to know what happened with Tracy?

    • No Vodka!

      Thanks for the visit! i begged Tracy to string me along for a couple more months and wrote some killer short stories (still some of the best work i’ve ever done, three of the series were published way back when) and then the story ended.

      Until a year after, when i was traveling with my mother and a cousin in Nice, France (Tracy and i lived in the States) and i bumped into Tracy on the boardwalk. i shit you not. We had dinner together (she was with 2 other friends) and made plans for the group of us to ride horses in the hills the next day. i went home, elated, a little drunk but more drunk on the evening and told my family i wouldn’t be able to spend time with them the next day.

      The next day came…no call. i called her hostel, she’s already left. And that was the real end of my story with Tracy.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. I too was more likely to show up to see someone when drinking than I was to drunk dial. This was before cell phones. I never showed good judgement while drinking and it’s horrifying to think of all that could have gone wrong, and how I could have hurt innocent people. I need reminders of what it was really like because it’s too easy to bury all the really bad stuff. Thanks for sharing this.

    • You look too young to have been around before cell phones, BBB! But yes, when i look back…the things i did and shared here were bad enough, but when i think about what could have happened, i was super lucky and did not stop drinking too soon. Thanks for the comment, my friend!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  6. I have driven “tipsy.” I’d always stop at 3 drinks if i had to drive. But 3 is more than the legal limit for my height/weight. But one night, after I’d quit drinking, i was driving home at midnight through a construction site and was very NEARLY killed by a semitrailer coming downhill towards me at 100 km/hr. I stopped in time, and he roared past. i still have flashes now 8 months later. If i had been drinking, even one glass of wine with supper, i would have been squished flat that night. I’m sure of it. Certain sure. it still gives me the willies now. Because I am sober, I am alive.

    • Hi Belle,

      Thanks for stopping by and especially for sharing your story. i’m so glad you stopped when you did and made it through to help others along as you do so well on your blog. So glad we made it!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  7. Hey Al, just shopping for some reality. WOW! Some visual. Smashing into the fence. I’m so glad you made it AND you didn’t visit Teasing Tracy. Also, LOVE the deer-on-back photo. That could work as a redneck joke too. OOPS (politically incorrect).

    Al, this is probably good stuff to “remember” while you’re going through a hard time. Even the hardest times are 1000x better sober: Dealing, up front and personal. Yay you!

  8. Dear Al,

    It’s been some time now that I have been ‘reading your blog’. That’s not quite right is it? You invite us in. Your path through recovery, your honesty and your humor Keep It Real. I admire your walk. I get hope from watching you move forward.

    Driving drunk: god. Constantly. Yep. Driving on LSD ? Yep. Every night for about a year. Damn. I didn’t realize what a dangerous thing I was doing until I worked in Seattle. They have bumpy lines in the road. I left the bar early (maybe 6 beers? A really light night. No big deal back then) driving home I could FEEL my wheels hitting the bumpy lines all the way home. 6 beers. Damn I was sober by my standards.

    Some comments here really moved me. Honesty, compassion, reality. Good People. Yep. It is like being in the church basement here.

    As an adult child of some really fucked up alcoholics I want to tell you something. If my mother had quit even in the last years of her life, if she had just copped to the fact that she messed up and messed me in the process, my feelings for her would not be nearly as hard now. Your kids saw you drinking. Ok. Got it.

    This is far more important: your kids are seeing you QUIT. Your kids are watching you take the pieces of destruction and right them. You are copping. You are making amends. You are saying “I fucked up and that hurt you too and I am sorry”

    That is what your kids see. You are there with them and they are bearing witness to courage and compassion and strength born of surrender and your honest confrontstion with your past.

    Damn Al. What better gift could you possibly give them?

    Nothing. Not one thing is more valuable to your kids than them watching you, their father, recover.

    My hat off to you my Friend



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