Thanks! You Guys Rock!

Used 2013-12-01 Thanks you guys rock (AlKHall recovery sobriety)

Thank you for your support!

i had my big share earlier this evening…and rocked it like a boss! Thanks to you guys! i thought about your encouragement, support and concrete advice (breathing, look at at least three people, speak slowly, pray…) and the effect it had on me was immeasurable. Yes, my voice quaked a little, especially when i touched on my suicide attempt, but i don’t think anyone really noticed. The nice part was i made a lot of jokes–even better, people actually laughed! Go figure.

Here’s an edited version of what i had to say, if you’re interested.

Sooooooooo, this is stressful…

Before, when i was confronted with situations like this, i had a little trick. i called it vodka. Unfortunately, that was the only trick i had. i was a one-trick pony.

When i was sad: booze. Nervous: booze. Stressed: booze. Afraid: booze. Happy: booze. Bored: booze. When i felt nothing: booze. i only had one tool in my kit: booze. That’s insane! One tool!

AA’s second step says we believe a Higher Power will restore us to sanity, and i was so totally insane that i needed restoration. How insane was i? i was trying to restore myself–with only one tool! Do you realize how difficult it is to build something with your life or make something of yourself when all you have is one tool? Especially when that one tool usually was a screwdriver!

Here’s another thing that shows how insane i was. i drank for 30 years. 30 years. i drank for 30 years despite the fact my life was constantly getting worse. A normal person would say, “Wait, this is hurting me, I’ll stop it.” Not me, because i was insane.

Another thing. i drank for 30 years and i didn’t even like the taste of alcohol! i hated beer and wine but drank it all the time. i only drank hard liquor if i could mix it with something that would cover the taste! There must be some food you don’t like, right? Do you eat it? Of course not, you don’t like it so why would you eat it? But me, i drank for 30 years even though i didn’t like what i was drinking.

Of course i had a reason to drink, though. i was looking for something. i was looking for love, friendship, romance, courage, strength at the bottom of a bottle. Here’s how insane that was: i spent 30 years looking for things in the one place i knew they weren’t! Because i’d looked there before and not found them, not really, and yet i kept looking there even if i knew i’d find nothing!

Imagine you’re looking for a key. You check your pocket and find it’s empty and that there’s a hole in it. Do you check it again, right after? No, of course not, you know they key isn’t there. Do you check five times, ten times, 1000 times? Do you keep checking over and over again in the same pocket for 30 years? Of course not! That would be insane. All you’d touch is that same emptiness and the only thing you’d feel is that hole getting bigger and bigger, and that’s what happened to me.

Now, in recovery, i’m still insane. But. i lost that one tool i had and replaced it with a full set of better tools and i keep adding to the toolbox all the time. Also, i recognize the thoughts that are insane and i use my tools to fix them. With time, those thoughts are coming less frequently and with less strength, so maybe there will be a time when they all but disappear. But that’s for another day. Right now, i’m happy to be here with you and i thank you for your support in keeping me sane.

Thanks again, everyone who commented and sent me moral support! It was a truly beautiful gift and helped me so much. You guys are the greatest!

________________________________

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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 December 1, 2013, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Miss Anne Thrope

    Congratulations, Al! I’m so proud of all that you’ve accomplished in the last few years!

  2. I can “hear” it in your words here, that post-talk buzz we get sometimes. That sense of accomplishment, and that sense that we’re in the place we’re meant to be. And it sounds like you kicked ass. I loved the part you showed us – the insanity of looking for that key, etc. True and utter insanity! People get worked up when we talk about “insanity”, like we’re in a rubber room with a straight jacket…but we’re really not that far off. All those things you mentioned – only crazy folks do that crap….and we’re *them*…ha ha. I love it.

    Glad everything worked out for you – I had no doubt that they would. You have too much to share and you’re great at doing it. I know that you helped more than one person there.

    You got me all jazzed up now – I haven’t spoken in over a year. I miss doing it. But you’ve insipired me.

    Congrats!!!!

    Paul

  3. Huge congrats, Al, really really proud of you!
    Christy / RoS

  4. Oh Dude.. I’m so sorry I missed your last post – but how great that you rocked it! And felt buoyed along by the love and support from the sobersphere. I love your speech, especially the key analogy. And the idea that we only ever had one tool – booze booze booze. It is so great that after 30 years you have got that shit out of your life and are fighting the brave sober fight. Brave sober warriors of the world unite! xxx

  5. I don’t mean to sound smug but…told you that you’d be brilliant! Okay…I mean to sound smug. ☺️

    Bravo! Sounds like it was amazing. Wish I could have been there.

    Sherry

  6. I love your message and your style. Anyone in that crowd was lucky to be there to hear it. Most of all, I love that it was a rewarding experience for you. Great job, you deserve every bit of happiness you’ve found in sobriety.

  7. *ECSTATIC APPLAAAAAUUUUSE!!!*

    That’s a great speech, Al, and a beautiful share! Congratulations!

  8. My first “chair” was sprung on me by my sponsor – he’d played golf with the secretary of a local meeting in the morning. Phoned me up later saying he’d give me a lift to this meeting. As we walk to the door I said “Any idea who’s speaking tonight?” “you” he said – it was good for me as I didn’t have time to prepare I just spoke from the heart – like you have here. Keep on!

  9. I m happy for you that it went so well, there are few things in life as terrifying as public speaking and I am happy to hear you got through it so well. Just imagine how eaasy it will be the next time you are asked to speak. Hmmmmm, maybe you should have blown it so you could guarantee you were not asked again.

    I have always been proud to call you my friend, but I can not express how proud I am of the progress you have been making.

    Thank you for blogging and giving me another place to be reminded of the importance of, not just being sober, but actively pursuing and enjoying the sobriety ride.

  10. I am a little new to coming around here but after reading your post I am inspired to comment. Thank you for posting a story that reminds me to find the courage in sobriety to be open, honest and vulnerable. Good stuff.

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