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Category Archives: AA Step Work

Hoor-AA

Used 2013-08-04 Stairway to Heaven (AlKHall Anonymous sobriety recovery)

Stairway to Heaven

i met with my sponsor yesterday and, after discussing steps 11 & 12 a little, he informed me i have officially completed the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It was a special moment. He told me how much he enjoyed working with a sponsee who gave himself so completely to the program and i told him how much i enjoyed working with a sponsor who channeled my Higher Power.
We’ll still meet to go over maintenance details, but from now on, you’ll read the save kind of crap here, but written by a guy who has completed the 12 Steps. The first time.

Drunk_Guy_Falling_Down_Stairs_x264

[btw, i’m on vacation for the next few weeks, so apologies fit not getting back to you on comments or checking out your blogs (i have Internet access only one hour a day – and only on my phone!]

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Guess how much i’m a wimp

Used 2013-07-06 Saint Francis Prayer (AlKHall Anonymous Sobriety Recovery)

Despite my best efforts at hiding it, i know y’all know how much of a sensitive wuss i am.

For example…

When my children were little, i often read to them the beautiful book by Sam McBratney called “Guess How Much I Love You”. The only problem was, i could never get through the whole thing without getting all choked up. i’d have to struggle to swallow the lump in my throat in order to fight to finish it.

Last night, the same thing happened while i was reading Saint Francis’s Prayer in the Twelve and Twelve. i was in bed, reading along quietly, when i got to the prayer and, for some strange reason, felt compelled to read it aloud. i tried three separate times and failed miserably each time in making it to the end without guy crying.

So basically, i’m just checking in to let you know i’m still a pansy.

A version of “Guess How Much I Love You” read by a guy who contains his emotion much better than me.

My Big Bottom Saved My Life

Used 2013-04-16 In Deep Shit (AlKHall Anonymous recovery sobriety)

It’s Getting Deep In Here

My big ass bottom is no longer a shock to any of my regular readers, but what you might not know is that i love it. Why? Because without it i wouldn’t be here.

When i was drinking, i was very cavalier about my drinking problem. True story, i used to take the AA test hoping for a higher score. When i say i was a practicing alcoholic, i honestly was literally practicing to be a better one. i started the Bar None blog as a way to revel in my alcoholism, i elected myself Functional Alcoholic Slurperson, i embraced my disease as the one thing that made me unique.

The Miracle Is Around the Corner wrote a wonderful post about Step 1 in AA and reading it i realized i took that step when i admitted i could no longer be cavalier about my drinking. This is entirely thanks to my big ass bottom. Even if, Higher Power forbid, i take up the drink again, i’ll never be able to do it with the same carefree attitude i had before because of where my big ass bottom dropped me.

To those of you with tiny little bottoms, allow me to tell you how much i admire them and heap all kinds of props on your wee bottom. i have the luxury of never being able to go back to the shit storm my big ass bottom made of my life. But those of you who don’t have that excuse… i respect you enormously because you’re stronger than i ever was and i pray out loud right now that you will stay on track and never know what it feels like to have a big ass bottom.

A quick disclaimer.

While i attempted to pen this post with a certain degree of levity, i do want to acknowledge very clearly that for those in my entourage, there was nothing at all even remotely amusing in all of this. This is especially true for Celeste E Hall and my son who found me the next morning and had to call the EMTs, as well as dear friends who were called in from out of town to be at my bedside in case i died.

____________________________________

My (very) Bad

Al K Hall
Yeaman

 February 20, 2013

Al’s Insurance Company
United States

Hello,

My name is Al K Hall and twenty-three years ago, I was a policy holder of AlKHall Automotive Insurance. In February, 1990, I was involved in a one-car accident on a public interstate with no injuries. I reported the accident to you, saying that I hit a deer, and received a reimbursement check.

I am writing you today because, as a recovering alcoholic who has not had a drink in over two years, I would like to apologize for making a false statement concerning that accident. I did not hit a deer as I reported at that time, but instead fell asleep at the wheel of my car while driving under the influence of alcohol.

I offer my heartfelt apologies for the false statement I made and I understand there may be potential repercussions for it. I am trying to put my troubled past behind me and if, in order to do that, I must be held financially liable for this incident, I would ask you contact me at the above address.

Thank you for your understanding and God bless,

Al K Hall

i sent this letter a month ago to the insurance company that paid for the car i totaled while drunk driving. i haven’t yet received a response, but every day my heart beats just a little faster as i open the mailbox.

Until i remember this is Step 3 stuff. i and my fellows “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God,” so i have no control over the result of my letter. There is a distinct possibility that the company will insist i reimburse them for the the car and if that’s the case, i need to hope they’ll let me work out a payment plan because i don’t have the money to pay them back.

i sent the letter in the first place as a part of my Step 9 amends [“Made direct amends to such people {we had harmed} wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others”]. i tried to find ways to avoid sending it, justifications that would let me off the hook, but i knew i had to tell my sponsor about the accident and he told me i had to write the letter. For what it’s worth, he did acknowledge what a bitch it was!

Step 9: Putting Recovery where your mouth is.

Used 2013-03-21 i made a mess (AlKHall Anonymous sobriety recovery)

Cleaning up my mess

i’ll keep you posted when/if i hear back from them.

____________________________________________________

Clean Sl8

Used 2013-02-20 A Slate to be Clean (Al K Hall Anonymous recovery sobriety)

A Slate to be Clean

i’ve mentioned i’m now in Step 8 [“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”] of the 12 Steps, getting ready for Step 9. Reliving my past errors is harrowing at times—i’ve noticed that when i recall the disasters i’ve created in my life i feel the shame flare up and burn through me like a flash fire—but knowing i’m making amends for them soothes me like a balm and i feel purified when all is said and well-done.

Another beneficial aspect of Steps 8 & 9 is that these are the first steps of the 12 that involve other people. Steps 1-7 are all about working on myself from the inside, while now i need to take this work and focus it outward, on my relation with others.

Let me tell you, this step could not come soon enough.

Like many alcoholics, i imagine, i’m pathologically shy. Alcohol was a way for me to overcome this fear of talking to people and it even worked for a certain time (usually the first bottle of wine). Now, by razing my past, by Cleaning my Slate, i’m removing any need i have to feel inferior, to feel “less than”, in my social interactions. Hopefully, this will help me to me more secure and “right-sized” when i continue my interactions with others.

Blast From The Pabst: For Crying Out Loud

Blast from the Pabst  alcoholic recovery sobriety AlKHallAnonymous

i’m sure i’ve told this story here on these pages somewhere but as this came up in my 8th Step work (Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all) and i also can’t be bothered to search through my posts to link to it, i’ll just retell it as briefly as i can.

One Friday night here in Yeaman, after the weekly cocktail party where i work, i followed some of my colleagues to a Scottish pub for the pre-after party. i was not drunk, i was totally shitfaced. i spoke very rudely on the underground, embarrassing my friends because i didn’t think anyone spoke English in the subway car, until a young woman standing nearby informed us in no uncertain terms that she did.

At the bar, i went to order a beer and noticed the barmaid was attractive (i was single at this time), so i decided to say something out of the ordinary, something edgy, to catch her attention and stand out from the crowd. i don’t remember what i said. The next thing i do remember is the barmaid was in tears, my coworkers were leading me outside, and the furious barman/owner was telling me i was barred for life.

Barred (Al K Hall Anonymous recovery sobriety alcoholism)

Barred of Avalon

Jumping ahead to tonight… At the meeting, a young lady in her mid-late 20’s was celebrating 5 years of sobriety and was talking about how she had lost everything (her job, her apartment, her family) to her disease before realizing she needed help.

When it came my turn to share i said:

When i was drinking, i felt like a broken toy. Like those toys under the bed in the evil kid’s house in Toy Story where the heads are on the wrong bodies. And like them, i knew i was beyond repair. That was my destiny. i had to accept the fact that i was alone and living in the dark and there was nothing i could do to get fixed.

The most amazing thing for me when i entered the program was realizing i was not broken by nature. That i could be repaired. All i had to do was to follow the steps. And as i took those steps and followed the advice, i slowly came out from under the bed and into the light.

As i spoke, i glanced up at her and saw she was crying. She was not crying because i had humiliated or hurt her, but because my words resonated with her.

If anybody tells you that using is better than recovery, they’re full of Schlitz.

Used 2013-02-12 Don't worry dear, I'm still an alcoholic! (Al K Hall Anonymous recovery sobriety alcoholism)

Don’t cry dear, I’m still an alcoholic!

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[Click here to read other Blasts from the Pabsts]

____________________

AAmazing

Used 201301-23 Don't Miss A Step  (Al K Hall Anonymous recovery alcoholism sobriety)

Don’t Misstep

i realize i’m one of the few Alcoholics Anonymous supporters in our community here. In my defense, i can state as fact that i would never have been able to reach two years of sobriety if it weren’t for the AA program.

i’m not saying AA is THE way to sobriety, i’m saying it’s my way. i’ve always said the best program is the one that works for you.

Anyway here’s something i noticed about how AAmazing the steps are.

i’ve just concluded steps 6 & 7.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

As i’ve mentioned before, some of what i learned taking these steps was to be “right-sized“.

Now, i embark on Steps 8 & 9.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

As i compile the lengthy list of people i have ‘harmed’ (and after 30 years of drinking, it’s a pretty extensive list), i’m tempted to get angry at myself, to berate myself for having been such an asshole to so many for so long. But as soon as those negative thoughts arise…i remember what i learned about being right-sized and i’m sorted once again.

The beauty with which each step flows into the next, the foundation that each lays for the next, the synergy that exists to create such overall harmony in the 12 Steps is truly divine. LiterAAlly.

AA Isn’t Religious

Used 2013-01-12 What Jesus Wouldn't Do Al K Hall recovery sobriety alcoholism

What Wouldn’t Jesus Do

Religion is for people who’re afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who’ve already been there.

-Vine Deloria, Jr

This quote is by Native American Vine Deloria, Jr and parallels my thoughts exactly concerning the difference between God and a Higher Power. This is not to say that God cannot be a Higher Power, it’s more to the point that we in AA don’t have to choose a classic conception of God to get better. We are free to find our own Higher Power outside of organized religion if we like. I’ve defined my own God, and my God giggles.

Click here for my post on how you can create your own Higher Power

It Stopped Working

Used 2012-11-01 It's Stopped Working sobriety recovery alcoholism

It’s Stopped Working

i’m adding this to the SlogAAns & sAAyings page but i wanted to cross post here because it relates to my previous post about timing.

It Works Until It Doesn’t

Addicts begin using their drug of choice as self medication for a variety of ailments, and the treatment is efficient until “using” became “abusing” and “treatment” became “mistreatment”. The old methods work until they don’t work anymore. When the cure becomes the disease, alcoholics in recovery seek out healthier methods of dealing.

(For those of us in Alcoholics Anonymous, this realization is Step 1 material. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.“)

_________

This adage applies to other areas in recovery as well. Check it out:

  • i didn’t believe in or even need a Higher Power until i did
  • i skipped meditation in my recovery until i didn’t
  • i find it hard to be intimate until i won’t anymore…

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Let It Be

Childish Behavior alcoholic recovery sobriety

Childish Behavior

i wrote a manual to teach foreign Business Types how to make presentations in English. The compliment i hear most about it is that it’s very practical, that the student can easily apply it to their business life. My point is, i hate writing a post like i did a couple days ago where i just say something like “Give up your problems to God” without concrete, practical tips on how to do that.

To remedy that, here are a couple suggestions on how to “Let Go – Let God”.

Toolbox text Al K Hall Anonymous Sobriety Recovery Alcoholism

1. Repeat “I gave that up to God” Until the Thoughts Stop

This is the mental equivalent of plugging your ears and going “nah nah nah nah nah nah” to drown out someone else’s talking. It’s childish, but it works.

This was the first tool i learned when i entered recovery. My sponsor told me that the basic tenet of sobriety is the simple sentence, “I don’t drink no matter what.” Whenever i caught thoughts about drinking creeping into my mind, i learned to squash them with the mantra, “I don’t drink no matter what.”

Now, the instant i find myself lost in my thoughts of fear, insecurity or worry, i tell myself “I gave that up to God.” As soon as a stress resurfaces, “I gave that up to God.” The moment I — “I give that up to God.”

Find a phrase of your own and use it whenever negative thoughts sneak in…it works!

2. Pack Up Your Worries

i started creating my own mental exercises. My latest one is to imagine myself packing all my concerns about the neighbor, plumbing, internet… into tiny (because they’re such little problems) boxes that i then label and  load onto a hot air balloon with “For God” written in huge letters on the side. When the balloon’s basket is full of all my worries, i cut the tether and release the balloon which floats up higher and higher, out of my reach and then out of my sight, until it reaches its creditor (because i give my Higher Power a lot of credit).

Play a part in your sobriety! Be an active non-alcoholic.