i have regrets

Used 2013-07-18 No Regerts (AlKHall sobriety Recovery)

No Regerts

i have a lot to learn and, unfortunately, i learn as slow as a snail in syrup.

Today’s example of this is regrets. i’ve posted before about how i do regret my past and i just can’t get (dare i say it?  – yes, i dare) past it. i know i’m not supposed to regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it, but i do.

i do.

i did some pretty shitty things in my past. If it were just me, then yeah, i could probably let it go. But i hurt people in my drunkenness. Badly. i cannot say i don’t regret this.

Now i know i have to accept my past. i can do this. I know i have to recognize my past led me to where i am today and i do. Job done. But i regret hurting loved ones to get here.

If regret means

  • Wishing i had not hurt people
  • Feeling sad that my drunken decisions adversely affected others
  • Experiencing pangs of guilt over my past actions

then i regret the hell out of a lot of the bullshit i pulled back in the day.

But i’m trying to get better. Case in point, i’m opening this up to my readers in general and i’m saying that i don’t know how to stop regretting my past actions and i’m asking you to help me with your advice, suggestions, tips and whatever else it takes to help me get over these regrets!

Thanks in advance, peeps!



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 July 18, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Is that your tattoo? I love it.

  2. This is a fabulously thought-provoking post, Al, and I really appreciate your writing it. I don’t know if I have any answers to the question you pose. For me, sober time, combined with consciously choosing to do the next right thing, helped lessen my feelings of regret. I still regularly get pangs when reminded of a past mistake, but I find the pangs are spaced further apart than they used to be, and are maybe not as intense as they used to be. Step 9 amends helps too, and I can say that definitively, because I have more regret pangs around those with whom I have not yet made amends. Can you pinpoint the regret that haunting you the most, and find an amends you can do? Just a thought, hope it helps, and I’m really glad I stopped by to read!

    • What a great answer! The meat of you response, for my money, was “Can you pinpoint the regret that haunting you the most, and find an amends you can do?”

      This made me realize, the regrets i have at the moment are more generalized and not attached to a specific action. Mostly around my kids, and especially my daughter. i got sober when she was 14 (2 years ago) and it’s only recently that shes started flirting with disaster. She’s been able to avoid the major shit, but has definitely chosen to hang out with the wrong crowd and she’s letting them pull her down.

      At the same time she looks up to and admires a cousin who has the same age as her and lives in the States. This cousin’s parents are fairly religious family (but not too much) and have always been very present. Their daughter is a strong athlete with good grades and nice friends. That my daughter is jealous of her says a lot. Personally, i’m a better dad now than i was before as i’m more present but i was an alcoholic during her formative years, so no matter how together i am now, i fear i fucked up her foundation. Like i can build the most beautiful castles with her now, but they’re built on the cracks i made during her youth so there will never be the stability she needs to go as high as she could have had i been a better father before.

      i realize there’s nothing i can do about it now, that it’s too late and that i need to make the best of what i have now and not worry about the past…but working on forgetting my past mistakes sounds a lot like regret, doesn’t it?

      i did make an amends to my daughter and that did help, but i still regret being a shitty father. Even if she doesn’t hold it against me, i still regret that she has something to not hold against me…if that makes any sense.

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment, my friend. Keep coming back!

      Al K Hall

  3. Hi Al! Sorry it’s been tought to shake those damn regrets, i feel ya. They used to keep me up at night. Ugh. Well, for me, helping others always shifts the focus off of me. And with time the regrets have just melted into the past. I dont have any particular advice, but living a good life and being kind now, is the best – i got to tell my ex the other day- Go ahead, take me to court, you got nothing on me now! – yep that felt gooooooood! Hanging Al! – Maggie

    • Thanks Maggie!

      You make a very good point. i’ve always said time and sleep will cure anything. There are moments when i’m able to put some of these thoughts on the back burner but whenever i see my kids i’m reminded of how i could’ve done better by them and that bums me out.

      Good luck with the ex!

      And keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  4. I struggle with regrets on and off. Mine are more internal because they didn’t hurt anyone else. If I dredged them up, they would, so I’m reminded of the ‘unless to do so would cause more harm’ thing. In my case, I’ve accepted that I have to live with what I’ve done. ‘Acceptance is the answer’ then comes to mind, and I don’t quite have a handle on that and I think that’s okay. Then ‘time takes time’ comes to mind and at this point I think you probably want me to just shut up, so I will do that right after I say I feel you, and I know for a fact you’re not alone and I wish you much peace.

    • Thanks BBB!

      i could never want you to shut up! And i agree with everything you say here…acceptance is the answer and, honestly, i do accept the fact that i fucked up and i completely understand nothing can be done to change that. No problem there. And i do believe that with time these feelings will ease but that i need to rely on all these sayings makes it clear i still do harbor regrets over my past fuckups.

      i especially thank you for and appreciate your support and letting me know i’m not alone. You’re a big help!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. My own take on regrets…I don’t really regret much. I think we are the people we are today because we’re comprised of the sum total of our past experiences, good and bad. Try to make amends, don’t make things worse, and then concentrate on being the person you want to be. Reacting or changing because you’ve done things in the past is part of that, so you can look at yourself and think, I’m partly who I am today because of those things I did. Those things are just part of your story, and everyone has a story. Regretting stuff isn’t going to change/rewrite your story or who you are, but what you do today will influence who you are tomorrow. So spend today positively. Cheers paul.

    • Thanks so much for your suggestions, Paul!

      Here’s my fucked up brain at work on what you said. i get it on one level but there’s another voice in my head going “Your past mistakes include hurting your children and other loved ones and it’s incredibly selfish to say ‘Sure, i hurt my kids but it was totally worth it to be where i am today.'” Again, i know this isn’t what you’re saying at all, and i think that’s the heart of this post. My brain keeps going to a negative place with my past and i need to find a way to turn it off!

      It was great hearing from you, brother, keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • Yeah I know what your saying about it being selfish, but those really negative emotions of regret, shame and guilt are big parts of an addiction. And you don’t want to be living in the past too much because it’ll probably remind and annoy those around you, who’d prefer to have a positive time with you right here, right now. That’s the best we can do I reckon.

  6. Regret:

    Feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, esp. a loss or missed opportunity).

    Doesn’t say anything about them holding our present and future hostage 🙂

    I get what you’re saying, Al. And I love the responses so far. But I can say from experience that when I grip onto those regrets (esp. around my son), I get taken away by my alcoholism. It’s taking me for a ride on an old boat, and I am done with that boat. Muddied waters and all. My son was very young when I stopped, unlike you with your daughter, so I just wanted to say that. But I think of when I was arrested for drinking and driving, in blackout, with my kid in the back…and what could have happened. I could have had him killed. Literally dead smashed and unrecognizable. And I could have lived and in jail and my wife a wreck and my parents ______ and so on. I also remember the abandoning of my son so I could get a bottle. Left at home alone, left in the car, left whenever wherever so daddy could get his hooch. Shitty, to put it mildly. Fucking insane and selfish, to be more accurate.

    And like Josie, I get the occasional shudder about this, but I can’t sit in it. Doesn’t mean I dismiss my past nor do wallow in it. I have taken responsibility (still in the legal proceedings with that), done me amends and like you, have worked to be a present and available father. That’s all I can do right now. Is your daughter messed up over your drinking? no clue. would she still have troubles if you never drank ever? no clue. There is a lot we don’t know, Al, and it’s like chasing our own tail in trying to figure it out when really we can’t. And I am sure you realize this…and yet that feeling persists at times, doesn’t it? The ultimate answer I don’t have…that’s sometimes perhaps praying and meditating on can guide you. That’s what I do when I have these kinds of quandaries.

    I don’t think you are unique in this, Al. I have my days too. But then I see him laughing and playing with his friends or cousins or brother and think “he’s gonna be ok” and when I am tired or busy and he trots down with his little stuffed animal and smiles and says “Papi, I want more kisses” I stop what I am doing and oblige the little dude. It’s the least I can do. 🙂

    This is a great post and question and it shows that you’re really there, where you need to be, and thinking of others…something you and I never were really good at.


    • Thanks for such a thoughtful response, Paul

      After a talk with my sponsor yesterday, i’m starting to get a handle on this regret stuff. And he hit on some of the same points that you do here, as well the others.

      i do really appreciate your sharing the painful events of your past here, with us. There were parties i was drunk at when my daughter was a toddler and had to be assigned someone to take us home, or i left her in a restaurant to run to a money machine half a block away when she was young… But i’ve made my amends and i’m working on getting past that.

      Anyway, thanks again for your your help, your a rock star!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  7. “I don’t know how to stop regretting my past actions.”

    A symptom of depression is feeling guilty about things that happened a long tome ago.

    Some head injuries can cause the same thoughts about events in the past to play on a loop.

    Both depression and head injuries are common in the drinking world, that is why I have mentioned it.


    • Head injuries. That would explain so much! i’ll think about the depression thing, Ronnie. i tend to think, though, that my regrets are more a symptom of my getting better and realizing what an ass i was. Still, i’m working on getting past it and i appreciate your input!

      Keep coming back, brother,

      Al K Hall

  8. You’ve had some great comments Al. I wish I had the magic answers, but it sounds like most of us struggle with regret from time to time.

    What helps me most is to simply remember that I am not that person anymore. If I could change things, I would, but I can’t change the past, only the future. And how do I positively affect the future? By not drinking and by being present and by not repeating any of my past mistakes.

    I hope this helps a little. Thinking of you…

    • Hi Christy!

      i think the biggest advantage of having written this post is learning that it’s OK to have regrets as long as we’re working on getting past them and not dwelling on them. And that’s where i’m at, spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.

      Keep coming back, my friend,

      Al K Hall

  9. I just left a bag of high-end Ethiopian Yirgacheff coffee in a rental car in Seattle. This is how life regrets start… And buddy movies.

  10. clementinegoesusa

    I didn’t quite have the courage to read all these comments, it’s 2 AM in the morning here. If I say something that someone else already mentioned, pardon me 🙂
    I myself don’t have too many regrets, I don’t think. Of course, I have some, but they don’t necessarily cripple me on a daily basis.
    My partner/near-husband, however, is the closest I can get to grasping that regret you talk of, and it eating you up alive. He’s an alcoholic, and has done very serious things while intoxicated. He will wake up sweating and screaming and kicking next to me, only to tell me he “had a nightmare” (I know what that means) and get up to assure himself it was a dream. Sadly, more often than not, it’s not a dream, it’s reliving what actually happened.
    As far as I know, what’s the heaviest part of regret, is the guilt-shame combo. It can freeze him completely.

    But he overcomes some of it, slowly, through trust. At one point, early on in our relationship, he trusted me enough to talk to me about these things, and I did not reject him (probably because some power out there determined that I should be this person for him). Experiencing that I love him still, if not more, when he shares these demons with me, I think has turned out to be a very good cure.
    Sometimes he cries, sometimes he just wants to hold me and feel comforted, sometimes he needs me to talk about something I like to take his mind off it. Being able to share your regrets with someone else, I think is maybe one way to lessen the burden of it.

    • Hi C,

      Thanks for such a heartfelt, open and honest response. i’m sure you’re right, that sharing the things i have difficulty letting go of is one way to ease the burden.

      It sounds like you’re a big help to your partner and i’m sure he appreciates the depth of your caring!

      Keep coming back, my friend,

      Al K Hall

  1. Pingback: Regrets? Yeh, I’ve Had a Few | Cheri Speak

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