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Have no fear

Used 2013-09-29 I'm afraid to tell you (AlKHall sobriety recovery)

i’d been an alcoholic for over 2 decades before i first heard the expression “Liquid Courage”, but after i did i couldn’t believe i’d never heard it before. Let’s just say i didn’t need subtitles to understand what it meant.

Lately things have been improving concerning that and here’s why.

  1. i learned early on that i had to give up my life to my Higher Power because when i was driving the bus, i drove it straight to Hell and got lost there. Giving the wheel to my Higher Power means i have nothing to fear because the HP is in charge. (For agnostics, just remember “The future is none of your business“. )
  2. On my sponsor’s instructions, i share at every AA meeting i go to (3 a week, usually). The more i share in front of a group of people, the less tense i am about it.
  3. i’m able to recognize the symptoms of fear and when i do i’m getting better at consciously telling myself to chill. Breathing deep is a big help when it comes to this.
Used 2013-09-29 Bullet Proof Vest Tester (AlKHall sobriety recovery)

Bullet Proof Vest Testers have balls bigger than all outdoors

The reason i’m going on about this is that i’ve only just learned these lessons and only have made significant progress with them in the last couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, because i think the girl i have a crush on has been avoiding my regular meetings because she had a crush on me too, but when i didn’t make a move she assumed i didn’t feel the same way so she’s given up. Which is sad but not tragic. i keep reminding myself that i can’t lose something i never had, and that sometimes rejection is God’s protection.

Still, i do wish i’d been braver sooner, and hope that the universe has some second chances left in its deep pockets.

_______________________________________

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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!]

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 (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.

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…

_________

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.

I’m Giving Up

Letting Go Out Of My Hands Alcoholism Recovery Sobriety

Learning To Let Go

Dear Universe,

i got the message. You can stop now.

Love you,

Al K Hall

PS Let’s do lunch some time.

Here’s my BIG problem. The third time the plumber came he found the leak. He fixed it, left, and… The fourth time the plumber came was the charm.

Two nights ago i found a different leak in a different place from a different source. My Higher Power has a sick sense of humor.

The same two nights ago, the Devil sent her daughter to come upstairs and complain about my son’s practicing guitar at 9:30pm. My plumbing problems are on their way out, so i’ve decided to obsess over the insane woman who lives below me. To make this my BIG problem.

i always have a BIG problem. i used to think it was the problems’ fault, but now i realize it’s my fault. Instinctively, i scan my problems and elect one lucky one to become my BIG problem.

Listening to shares at an AA Meeting last night, everything fell in to place (Thank you, Universe, for guiding me to that meeting). i remembered what i’m forgetting: to let go. To give these problems up to my Higher Power when i have no control over them.

So, i’m giving up. i’m giving up my problems to my Higher Power, giving up the stress, the worry, the obsession to the Universe and i’m going to let the Universe worry about it–or not–if it wants but it doesn’t matter to me because it is not my problem any more. i’ve given them up and given up on them.

Hear that, Universe?

_________________

For those of us in AA: This is all 3rd Step stuff.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

The good news for us lucky alcoholics in recovery is that “Our Lives” include “Our Problems”. We get to give away all our concerns until the only worry we have left is how to stop worrying over nothing.