Birthday Presence

Used 2013-12-20 Birthday Presence Used (AlKHall sobriety recovery)

Not me, in case you were wondering

i turned 50 a couple of weeks ago. The reason i mention this is because my parents were here from the States and they brought 2 presents more than they knew.

In addition to the gifts and the help around the apartment, my father was kind enough to spend a lot of time making a musical slideshow of my life, from infancy to adolescence to manhood. We watched it on my birthday and what I noticed was that, for many of the photos, i was obviously feeling no pain – or anything else. Shiny eyed, sloppy grin, puffy face…

Sure, the photos were taken during parties and special occasions, but the number of “well lit” photos was significant. Even my kids laughed a couple of times (yeah, let’s say just a couple) and said, “Oh yeah, you’re so drunk there!”

This was good news for a couple of reasons, the main one is that i’m no longer that guy. For family gatherings i’m sober and present and together and no one needs to worry about me embarrassing myself or them. Another reason i enjoyed the show was that my kids felt comfortable talking about my drinking days, and that it wasn’t treated like a taboo subject. Speaking as someone who comes from a family with more elephants than rooms, this was reassuring.

The second present that unfolded during the festivities was my father. At dinner, he got choked up (he does that a lot nowadays) making a toast to me, saying how proud he was that i looked comfortable in my own skin. He said it’s the first time in a long time that he’d felt that way when watching me, but that’s all any parent wishes for their kids.

When people ask me how it feels to turn 50, i can honestly tell them i’ve finally learned to let go of things. Not take everything so damn seriously. Thanks to sobriety and Alcoholics Anonymous, i’ve achieved a peace of mind that makes the next 50 years look a lot more exciting than i ever could have believed.



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 December 20, 2013, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Congrats on 50! It sounds like you’re off to a great start for the next 50.

  2. Oh, Mr Hall you just made me get misty eyed.. what a fabulous birthday and how amazing that your family is responding to you and you are so fully present in the midst of it all. So so so so great. A big Merry Christmas to you my friend xxxx

    • Hi Mrs D!

      You only called me Mr Hall because i said i turned 50, didn’t you! (Teasing!) Thanks for this lovely comment, my friend. It made me a little misty back! Have a great (and Present!) holiday season with your family and friends and i’m looking forward to continuing our journey down the road of sobriety in 2014!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. Blessings piled upon blessings! I sure love sobriety and the gifts it brings. *contented sigh*

  4. Happy 50th! I absolutely live this post! So inspiring… And yes a definite tear jerker! Lol! I am so very happy for you. I read your last post too and wow, what an amazing speech and a wonderful experience. You are a true miracle my friend. All the best to you and your family in 2014 and I’ll keep coming back! 😉

  5. Happy Birthday, Al! This is a wonderful post. I too understand the joys of gaining back the love of my family after giving up the booze. It takes time, but once you arrive, you realize that all the life reprogramming and white knuckling through cravings is paying dividends that were hitherto unimaginable. I’m so glad for you. Happy Holidays –Boat.

  6. Happy 50th, my dear friend! I got chokey on your dad getting chokey there. I know that relief that my folks and wife have that I am no longer the dude I used to be. Especially my parents. I am glad that your kids also had fun with it, and is something that they can talk about openly. My wife and her brother will sometimes make jokes about it, and we all have a laugh. It’s not a taboo subject, yet people don’t freely bring it up. I see why!

    Anyway, congrats on your b-day and the joy it has brought you…and others. you bring us joy here in your corner of the world.


  7. Your dad’s toast, the kids there. Cannot image a better birthday present. Well done. Well done. Cheers and best wishes.

  8. Miss Anne Thrope

    So so happy for you, Al. Was telling my own parents how proud I am of you just this morning, and got a little something in my eye reading this post. Merry Christmas, babe!

  9. I understand how it feels to finally be present mentally and emotionally. While active in substance abuse I was only physically present for my loved ones and even that was a challenge. Sobriety has allowed me to be fully present at all times and that, in part, is due to what I learned in AA. Your story hits home with me and I am thankful that you share it.

  10. He 50’s are great and much more so SOBER!

    Happy, happy, HAPPY birthday and welcome to the club. It’s nice here. We have cookies.


  11. What a great sounding birthday for a great guy…happy belated 50th!

  12. Happy birthday, friend. I can’t tell you how happy reading this post just made me feel. As someone whose father passed away, I am so touched by these kinds of moments. Your father deserves every bit of the pride he so obviously feels.

    Thanks for lighting the way for me!

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