Put Down the Shovel

Used 2013-11-09 (AlKHall Alkhallanonymous)

Put Down the Shovel

i hit several bottoms in my drinking life. i’m not going to unpack that bag again–those of you who are interested can read how i earned my seat by reading my Blasts from the Pabst. What’s messed up, though, is that every time i reached a new depth, every time i hurt someone i loved or woke up with a hangover only suicide could cure or couldn’t remember who i had to apologize to or was afraid to recall the details of my blackout…each freaking time there was a sense of relief that came with the pain.

i was relieved because i felt i’d truly hit bottom. i had arrived. Things couldn’t get any worse.

And they didn’t.

Until the next time i drank.

Because alcoholism is a bottomless pit.

At a recent meeting, someone shared:

You hit bottom when you put down the shovel.

There are several varieties of that expression,

You hit bottom when you stop digging.

The bottom is where you stop digging.

But they all mean the same thing. The only way you can know you hit your true bottom is to climb out of the hole and walk away and never look back.


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. http://about.me/AlKHall

Posted on November 11, 2013, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. The digging lends a strong visual and helped me to see early on that I had a choice afterall. I liked the elevator one too, where you’re going down but can choose to get off at any point.

    • i think the fact that it was a choice is what screwed me. i’d always considered myself above average intelligent and strong willed but, as they say in the rooms, look where all my best thinking got me. Every day takes me one step further from that hell hole i’d been wallowing in, though, and for that i have immense gratitude!

      Keep coming back, my friend,

      Al K Hall

  2. Boy do you speak the truth. I used to fret a lot about whether or not I’d hit my bottom. Like you, I have had several bottoms, so what’s to say this just isn’t the next in a long line? But I like what you have to say at the end…”walk away and never look back.” It’s also why I keep my sobriety date front and center in my mind, and I always know how much sober time I have, because I do not want to lose either!

    Thanks, as always Al, for the inspiration!


    • One of my regular meetings is a newcomer’s meeting and it’s fun because they encourage everyone to share their sobriety date. At the beginning i liked it because i was proud to be a newcomer, and now i like it because i’m proud to have made it this far!

      Keep coming back, Josie!

      Al K Hall

  3. Wow – powerful image there, Al…yikes. And yet, that what it was like.

    I also like what they say about digging down – most people try to dig their way out. We stay and decorate.

    As the lit tells us – our normal life seems like the only normal one. And I see that now. And how I kept that shovel in my hand.

    Great reminder here, Al…and a cautious one.


    • Isn’t the image harsh, though? All i know is, it feels better to be in the sunshine looking up than in the hole and looking down.

      Thanks for your visit, Paul, and keep coming back, brother,

      Al K Hall

  4. Yeah. A bottom is a bottom is a bottom. Everyone’s is different. Doesn’t matter how ‘high’ or ‘low’ or ‘wobbly’ (ha ha) it is.. it’s your personal bottom and it’s the point at which things start to turn around. xxx

  5. Good post; I’d never thought of the “bottom” this way. We family members tend to say “Well, s/he’s gotta hit bottom” and then we wonder just how far down the bottom really is. So it’s eye-opening to me to think that the bottom sort of moves, it’s not just some pre-set time or event that everyone will recognize, and that you’ve got to decide when you’ve hit it for the last time.

    • Hi Luddy!

      Every person in recovery has a bottom, it’s just where we were when we decided to stop. i hope your loved one decides they’re at their bottom today, and starts to climb out! i’ll be sending good thoughts your way, my friend.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

please leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: