Shutting It Down


hobo2_edit

An old high school picture of mine. Unlike me, the pipe was unlit at the time of this daguerreotype.  Good vittles in that sack, too. Go West, young man!

I debated yesterday whether to keep this blog going or to shut it down.

Actually, it was over the last two nights that I had a deep internal committee meeting a la Star Chamber and weighed out the pros and cons of keeping this little thing up and running.  I wasn’t sure if I was reaching enough people, or if this little Dear Diary had run it’s course, or if perhaps I was outgrowing it.

Judge #1: The paragraph you just wrote is chock full of lies.

Me: I don’t know what you’re talking about.  {shuffles feet, looks outside window}

Judge #2: Tell them the truth.

Me: Look, I am just writing what’s going on with me.  I don’t really care what others think.  This is just my corner of the world, and I am being as honest as I need to.

Judge #3: You’re wrong.  You do care.  Being honest as you need to got you drunk. Whether by omission or commission, you are lying.  Be true to yourself.

Me: But –

Judge #1: Do it.

You're lucky you're alive to this point, Mr. S.  Now get with the loofah and scrub clean.

You’re lucky you’re alive to this point, Mr. S. Now get with the loofah and scrub clean.

Ok, so here’s the real deal.  The last two nights I thought about abandoning this blog and all my online recovery activities because I was having little tantrums inside.  The kind of kid-at-Walmart-who-can’t-have-a-Dora-Splashpad kind of tantrum.  And what, say you, would those tantrums be about?  What is making Paul want to take his ball and go home?  What is little Pauly Wally getting his knickers in a knot about?

Old Paul has entered the playground, and he now wants that same ball and wants to play dodge ball with Current Paul’s head.  Old Paul sees that he’s not getting from others what he should be getting from within, and from the Playground Monitor upstairs.  Old Paul looks around and sees that everyone else has nicer, shinier balls.  Balls! Balls! Balls! With Nike swoops and jubbaloops and meant for hoops. With new flimmers and flammers and right fangled bammers.  Hocks and docks and Reeboks you say? Oh day! Today! Oh tish oh tat we wouldn’t do that! *

So in looking outward for validation and acceptance, I have also don on the filters.  For the last week or so I have been looking at life through the lenses of jealousy, envy and ingratitude.  I have been looking at others and counting their blessings.  I have taken out the Universal Ledger from the vault and marked the sheets, unbalancing the scales and finding myself at the lower end of things.  I have been putting expectations on others to make me happy.  And when they haven’t succeeded (how could they?), Old Paul comes out like a Grizzly new out of hibernation – on the prowl for prey to cause pain to.

I've been meaning to read this...really I have.

I’ve been meaning to read this…really I have.

Pride and Ego,paired like Jaws and Oddjob, are relentless foes.  Pride is actually the one wailing on me with gold embossed knuckle bars right this moment as I write this.  I mean, should I just put this the draft folder and forget about it?  “You don’t want to look weak, do you?  Man up, Buttercup! You gotta keep up appearances, ol’ chum.  Sod off if you want, but don’t bring me down, ol’ fruit. ”  Biff! Thwock! Shwaff!  Ego is keeping pace, egging Pride on, taking in his shots now and then too. Whock! Klam! Fa-thud!  “Aren’t you supposed to be positive one, the helpful one?  Aren’t you supposed to be all knowing? It’s all or nothing baby!”

And all or nothing is how I stumbled through life.  If I couldn’t be the top of the heap, then my head crept under the pile and stayed there, bottle in hand to keep me company.  A dung beetle with his prized poop, in his Den of Desolation.  I had to be number one, or else I smelled like number two.  That’s just how things were, but there are times when Old Paul likes to bring that old chestnut out, bang the tambourine and make a charge for the top of that heap once again.  And once again, like always, I see that I cannot be on the top of that heap and have fallen down in disgrace and realized that since “all” wasn’t happening, “nothing” was next.   And hence, the thoughts of removing myself offline.  That’s about as “nothing” as I can get, because pulling the plug on my existence in cyberspace is as good as pulling the plug on my existence on this earthly plane.  And I did that regularly, with drink(s) in hand and a mind ready to be erased like a hard drive through a magnet spell.

Starring me!!  And then you'll like me...you'll really like me!!

Starring me!! And then you’ll like me…you’ll really, really like me!!

And again, what is really so bad that I get my bash-on and dash-on?  I can’t pinpoint it.  Oh wait, I can –  I haven’t been working my program like I ought to.  I haven’t been to a meeting in weeks, all but one of my sponsees have disappeared or just doing their thing and not reaching out to me, I have been neglecting my prayers and meditation and I’ve been becoming more and more reclusive.  Going online has been what I have been doing more of lately, and there is where the experience of having expectations on others has germinated.  So if I am not out there, then I am here. And here, I am far from the King of the Castle.  I don’t have the following I would like, I have been bashed for several of my posts by others, I am not bubbly enough to be popular and I am constantly jumping from twitter to blogs to recovery forums trying to give my $0.02 in hopes that I will be given a bone – yap! yap! they like me! {eats a shoe}

Ugh.  Pathetic.  Makes me cringe even writing this.  And the ugly circle is this – the more I use my time in trying to be “popular” or “respected” or “liked”, the less time I use to devote to my own inner life recovery and the less inner life recovery I have, the more I try to have others like me.  Got it?  Are you keeping score at home ? I’m confused too, but that’s really what has been happening for me lately.  So, getting tired of this flawed perpetual motion machine, I am ready to jump off and just forget the whole business.  Get back to the farm, so to speak.  Till soil and tend cows.  Reap the earth.  Sew buttons on hemp clothing and search the sun for inspiration.  Watch goats give birth and wean and play with the pigs in the mud.  Simple stuff.

Who am I kidding…I don’t even like camping.

Seems like I'm not the only one who wants it all...

Seems like I’m not the only one who wants it all…

Enough of the problem.

Solution time, my main daimies (Google it.  Best. Movie. Ever)

I texted my friend John (who has about 25 years sobriety) about my state of affairs, whinging and moaning about, he texted me this first line:  “Do Steps 1 and 2.  Maybe 3”.  Five seconds later he followed it up with “Now.”  Yikes!  So what he was telling me was the simplest thing – get over yourself.  But in a nice way.  Or not.  In other words, I have to remember that of myself, I am nothing. I can’t manage things on my own.  But there is one who can help me, and that’s the Creator.  No problem too big for the Big Enchilada.  So finally, lean on Him.  Let Him run the shop.  Just sweep the floors and wash the windows. Let him come up with the Big Plan.  Have a ham sandwich during break and lock up before heading home for the day.

So it comes back to looking within for my sense of self and serenity.  I cannot find it out there.  I can’t look at how popular other people are, how handsome they are, how well off they are, how good they smell (?) or how many others clamour for their attention.  I have to ignore the noise and look here {points to solar plexus}. Here is where I will find what I need.  Here is where the magic will flow out of.  Here is where love and fulfilment will nest.  And all the stats and hangers-ons and shiny new balls will fade away into my blind spot, into the arena of the unnecessary.  They will start to shut down. Continuing to look inward and having His will guide me through me and throughout me is where I need to put my trust in.  Not numbers and phone calls and emails and other external only things that give the illusion of affirmation.  Things that are see-through and wispy. Things that don’t hold sway in His world.

Envy Plucking The Wings of Fame

Envy Plucking The Wings of Fame

I see where I am at, and I see where I want to be….and I am not there. And that isn’t the plan.  That isn’t what this is all about.  It’s not my plan.  It’s His.  I am where I need to be.  Cliched.  Oh hell ya.  But the more I resist it, the more I find it true.  I can’t recall ever looking back at where I have come and said to myself “Oh yeah, I shouldn’t have been there at that time at that place doing what I was doing”. No – I was exactly where I should have been at those place doing what I was doing.  And not because I necessarily wanted to be there doing those things.  I don’t like a lot of where I was doing what I was doing, to be honest.  But to get here, I had to be there.  And for me to get there, I need to be here.  A journey of transitions, of marked conversions and evolution, fluxes in the infrastructure to herald the greater good.

Movin’ and groovin’, baby.

What this means to me now, as I hunch here writing this, is that I need to sit quietly.  I need to contemplate my state of grace, my path, my immediate now-ness.  And let the rest ride.  Completely.  Let that mutha’ ride out. Because I am not in charge.  I do the things I need to do of course, and I take the path that I need to in keeping me on the beam.  I pray, I meditate, I don’t get caught up in the externals.  Re-connect with Current Paul.  Continuing Paul.  Growing Paul.  Forget Old Paul and his henchmen.  Stand on firm ground and let the wind of His Spirit warm me over, enveloping me with further grace and love.  Spread the word.  Make someone smile every day.  Be kind to animals.  Play with the kids.  Be nice to old folks.  Fold the clothes and take out the garbage without being asked.

Ego-Door

The other day, I was sitting still in meditation, allowing the soft sting of frankincense curl around my nose.  I focused on my breath and allowed the rhythm put me into a state of harnessed gentleness.  I then arose, read a little and decided to nap.  It was upon napping that I woke up to a song in my head.  I sometimes find that I get little “messages” through songs.  Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  On this day, I had Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” swooning and swarming around. I hadn’t heard it in years, and yet here it was.  The lyrics “I love you just the way you are” were going over and over in my head.   Cue the sax solo.  I know I am loved as I am right now.  I know that I am where I need to be, and can’t look outside myself to create happiness.  It’s an inside job.  And what a deal it is.

If I can only remember to get myself out of the way. Shut Old Paul down and keep on swimming over here.

* Apologies to Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss

74 responses to “Shutting It Down

  1. Well Paul I would miss your blog if you shut it down. So, please pretty please don’t. 🙂

    You are authentic! and that is what is so truly awesome. I can see that because I am sober. Your words have meant a lot to me and can so relate being an alcoholic.

    “And all or nothing is how I stumbled through life. If I couldn’t be the top of the heap, then my head crept under the pile and stayed there, bottle in hand to keep me company. ”

    That is how I lived my life before! Wow totally fierce (and nasty) I was. Did jack shit for me.

    Your words have touched me so much and I think you will hear from so many others who will echo my sentiment. Do what is right for you? But I say stay 😉

    • Ha ha…no, I won’t be shutting it down. I knew that after I wrote the post that I was making the right choice for right now. I think the idea of jealousy and envy and all the mental noise that clamours for my attention (and sometimes gets it – like this week) makes me think silly things, and this was one of them. That was really what I was trying to get at. I didn’t mean to make it a big declaration of insolvency…lol. But in many ways I was frightening to think that my stinkin’ thinkin’ (as it’s called) could bring me to place like this.

      Sigh.

      But thank you so much for the lovely comments. It means a lot. Seriously. Not just saying that.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  2. Struth mate, really been through the mill this week havetcha? At the risk of feeding your ego lemme just say I find your honesty both refreshing and inspiring…glad you haven’t packed it in just yet. Respect man, REDdog

    • Thank you, kind sir. No packing it in. Was just musing aloud…was using that as an example of how jealousy and envy can really mess with me when I am not properly fit. But thank you for the props. Respect back at ya, and glad you’re here and that we’ve crossed paths. Nice to see another bloke here!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  3. Paul- Your blog posts and your thoughtful and insightful comments on my own ramblings are some of the things keeping me afloat right now. Please, please stay. I need your wisdom, kindness and humor in this space and I am betting I am not the only one…

    • Hi MJ – I am not going anywhere if you’re not going anywhere. Deal?

      Thank you for the support. I felt much better after writing it and also doing some prayer and meditation and talking to other alcoholics. Brought the core temperature of the power plant to a safe level, you know? You have helped in that, believe me. 🙂

      Love and light
      Paul

  4. NOOO! I just want to say that the sobersphere would have a huge crack in it if you left!

    Seriously, my biggest hurdle is not comparing myself to others. Not using their “success” as a measure of my progress. Sometimes I rant, sometimes it just burns a little in me, like a tiny candle. It just takes practice, which it seems like you are doing, sitting and observing it, and like you said, letting it go/riding it out! You ARE where you need to be, and these damn small increments of change? Maybe even accepting those as a fundamental part of life (damn it, because I am so tired of waiting for big, awesome changes, aren’t you?)…

    Anyway, big hugs from my little sober world. 🙂

    • Hi DDG,

      I have to say first of all that I have been digging your posts on a totally different level these days. It seems like a big shift has slowly come over there and it’s a beautiful thing to watch / read. For some reason I don’t get your posts in my reader, but I get the email. Weird. But the important thing is I get them.

      As for comparisons – yeah, deadly for me. I have been a lot better, but when the tempest in a teapot comes, it comes fast and furious. I have been making sure to batten down the hatches ahead of time. Sometimes like this week it floods through. Trench foot and trench mind sets in.

      You’re a trooper, so I love having you nearby to lean on. Thanks for the wicked words. You make the sober world a lot groovier. 🙂

      Paul

  5. My first thought when reading this was noooooooooooooooo

    Followed by Oh. No.

    Oh dear.

    Paul, for whatever it’s worth, *I* think you’re much respected and valued around here and I think a lot of people get a whole lot from your insightful and caring posts and comments. And I suspect you get a lot from it too, or you wouldn’t post so thoughtfully and often and at length, with such perceptiveness and intelligence.

    Who is bashing your posts? What? Grrr. Want me to kneecap them for you? I may be utterly oblivious but one of the things I’ve really loved about our little sobersphere is the lack of snarking and meanness and judgement, unlike what I’ve seen – and was turned off by – on some recovery forums. So this displeases me greatly to hear.

    If you want to take a little break from blogging, sure, fine, take a little break, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, as it were. No need to pack it all in just because you’re having a bad week and doubting yourself. I think this little corner of the world would be sadder and lesser for losing you.

    Goodness. First Mrs D and now you. I simply can’t take these little temper tantrums from my favourite sober bloggers, so I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get over it!!

    😉

    But seriously, don’t go.

    *Gives Paul a big hug*

    Feel better soon. I wish I could say as insightful things as you’ve often said to me.

    Lilly xoxo

    • I know! I was giving Mrs. D flack for being a drama queen (jokingly), and now add me to the float. The bashing was strange and from two totally different places. It didn’t bother me (much) then and almost forgot about it, but when I get into my Old Paul thinking, all that shit comes back to me wrapped up in barbed wire and doesn’t go away until it draws blood. And today? Not thinking about it. Save your crowbar, Lilly…lol.

      As I read these comments, the one line that struck me the most was the throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And that’s what I would have been doing. What I didn’t write was all the other things I wanted to do – ramp up on the overeating, not work with others anymore, etc…isolate, medicate and ruminate. So shutting down the blog was just a symptom, if you will, of how I was feeling. And it’s been a long time since I have felt like that. Ugh.

      But you’re bang on – packing it up because of a bad week. Silly. But that is how I used to do things. When things were disturbing, I ran for the hills. See ya! But I haven’t done that in such a long time, so I felt actually ill when I had this week. It was more my reaction than my actual thoughts.

      Anyway, I am taking your hug and giving you two back. We’re even now. 🙂

      Thank you for making me a better person.

      Paul

  6. Hey Paul,
    Ditto everything Lilly said! You are very much a part of my sober recovery world and I would be really upset to see you go. Your insight on everything is so deep and clever. You articulate beautifully. There isn’t always time to show the appreciation on here…but it’s there. Blogging and commenting keeps me sober, I know it does. Sometimes it’s makes me smile and a nice comment can make my day. Someone agreeing with me or validating what I say can make it seem more worthwhile. Lots of feedback gives me more confidence and encourages me to write more. But, the one and only thing that matters here is that I am sober and you are sober and we are helping each other stay sober. The other stuff is just the icing on the cake.
    It’s a bad week, hang on in there, you know this will pass.
    We need you and want you to stay.
    Hugs to you
    Carrie x

    • “But, the one and only thing that matters here is that I am sober and you are sober and we are helping each other stay sober. The other stuff is just the icing on the cake.”

      Bravo. Applause. I love this – simple and profound and absolutely true. I don’t recover, you don’t recover.. WE recovery. Thank you for reminding me of this. I am glad you are part of this community. Thank you for your kind words – I have taken them to heart.

      You rock 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  7. I, for one, really hope the new Paul win this battle with the old Paul.

    I don’t comment a lot on your posts, but please know that every one I read gives me something that I really need at that moment. Kinda like meetings. 🙂

    I value so much your insight and honesty. You exemplify what the big book is talking about every time it mentions one alcoholic helping another. You speak our language. Please don’t stop.

    Jami

    • New Paul will always win. I have The Big Kahuna on my side. And awesome friends like you. I have to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog – I am so happy that we crossed paths. I value your insight and honesty as well. Why don’t we both keep it up and see how we do on the growth chart – you know where you line the child up against the wall and make a mark to see how tall they’ve gotten? We will do that, but in a more holistic and gentle manner. I’m up for it.

      Thank you Jami for being here. And there. And carrying the message the way you do. Inspiring.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  8. Hi Paul,

    I liked this, but I really didn’t want to… I don’t know what I’d do if you left the blogosphere.

    I doubt there’s a blogger out there that doesn’t do the comparison thing… wait, I’ve been doing this longer, but he has more followers! How come she gets 10 comments and I only get one? That kind of stuff.

    So you’re not alone, but the question is: what to do about it? cut and run, because in the end, a blog is not worth your sanity, or work through it, in the hopes of learning something? The answer depends on how insane this is making you.

    In either event, know I am here for you (as, I’m imagining, all the commenters ahead of me are). I am praying for you, and, although I’m not in position to direct His actions, I am hoping He sees fit to have you continue to inspire me, and all your other faithful followers!

    • Hi Josie. My insane thinking at times is enough to make me…insane. LOL

      I have had my fill of cut and run, my dear friend. Don’t want to get back into Old Paul crap. As I mentioned to someone else, the idea of cutting the blog and bolting was just symptom of my thinking this week. I let the simplest tenets of the program slip away from me in lieu of ego-driven nonsense that only served to bring me back to dark places. I wasn’t at the brink of anything dangerous (i.e. drinking), but you know what? I could SEE how isolating and skipping meetings and staying in one’s head for so long could get one to looking at alcohol as a way out again. I would have had to have some serious breakdowns to get there, but I can see it. The great thing is that it doesn’t take much to bounce back. Our alcoholism and ego won’t let us see that though…it keeps us in that dark place.

      It’s like our bodies. When we don’t eat for a while, it goes into survival mode. It starts to store fat, etc. The body doesn’t know whether we’re in the middle of a desert or if there is a fridge two feet away. It just goes to default. My alcoholism wants to go to default – drinking. And it will do whatever it can to get me there. Comparisons, jealousy, envy, etc. are ways to entice me over. Bah humbug!

      Thanks for the concern. I am fine. I needed to vent, needed to reconnect, needed to hit meetings (I have since) and to do the simple things that have worked so far. And that’s how I plan to keep it.

      Feel free to slap me around if I get back to that Old Paul. 🙂

      Blessings and hugs,
      Paul

  9. Let Go and Let GOD… I think you hit the nail on the head in speaking of how we need to stay in touch with our journey – the meditation, reflections, self-work… While the blogging is one thing, a means to let out our thoughts, it’s not about popularity. Believe it or not, just by putting your thoughts out there, you are connecting with people. Some will recognize some of their own thoughts in there – as I do in this blog… because I wondered if I should continue given I have decided to be semi-sober rather than completely sober. No matter the journey – they are all worthwhile and worth following.

    I hope to continue seeing you here Paul.

    Warmest wishes,

    Helene

    • Hi Helene. Thank you so much for this. I needed to hear this too. Let go and Let God. Give the Big Cheese a chance for goodness sake! I notice that when I make plans and leave Him out of them, things go pear shaped. Like this week. I blocked him and I felt it.

      But what you said about connecting with people is also very true. I started this just as a diary, if you will. Didn’t check out other blogs, wasn’t interested. Just wanted a platform to get some stuff out. But ego, left unchecked, is a bugger. See what happens when I think I know better? ha ha.

      I will be here. Stop by for cake and coffee anytime.

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  10. Paul, don’t take your ball & go home!!

    I am an irregular blogging visitor, but I really like your stuff. REALLY like it.

    I remember caring re the stats in the beginning but now they are just same-same & don’t seem they’ll change. So I’ve let go worrying. They will just “be”.

    But then you get those comments where you can tell you matter to people, and that’s valuable.

    Hang in there. 🙂

    • Hi Noeleen,

      Thank you for this. I too stop by your blog not as often as I would like. I will have to change that, methinks. I love your energy and boy is your story a strong one. Hell and back stuff. You are certainly an inspiration. So for me to read what you wrote here it means much more than you can imagine.

      You matter to people, Noeleen. You matter to me. Thank you for being here.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  11. This blogging thing can mess with your mind sometimes so I get you there. My father-in-law taught me the phrase “compare and despair”, which fits my thinking when I start to get lured by the popularity contest. You are such an important presence in the online recovery community but even if only 5 people read your blog (including your dog), your words would still be important. We often never know whose lives we impact and it’s ok to want to be relevant. You do good work, Paul.

    • Hi Paul, I would have to agree with everyone else. Please don’t go, Although we have just connected in sober blogsville…I do value your positive comments. It’s nice to know others can relate and at the end of the day we just need to stick together and let our shit out. We need you:) lol-b

    • Thanks Karen.

      I love the “compare and despair” line because it’s TRUE. And I have done a lot of work to get away from that. It’s probably one of my biggest character defects. Top 5 kind of stuff, really. This week was one of those weeks where all top 5 got together and jumped me in an alley. And it’s my fault for not wearing the right protection. Letting things slide and letting myself get distracted by things that shouldn’t have distracted me was my issue. And the blog thing was really a side effect of that thinking. I had a few other great ideas (lol) while I weathered the week.

      Good news is that I am feeling much better and your words really resonated with me. I have a lot of respect for your work too – it makes my brain chew a lot. It gets deep, and quickly. With some gentle humour. And I need the mental and emotional exercise, believe me. And your words make an impact on me. So I’ll trust in you that mine do the same. And that’s a wonderful barter system there. Gimme your experience and wisdom and I’ll give ya what I got.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  12. Paul…I read all of your comments on others blogs and you always write the perfect thing. It’s hard to write something ‘better’ than you do! I read your blog and your sense of humor/ personality makes me smile and giggle. You have a great sense of humor and yet you can be so serious, genuine and supportive to so many. I frowned and growled when I read that you had others bashing your posts. Damn bullies are everywhere! I get that you don’t want to ‘play with us’ anymore…but most of us REALLY like having you here! You know how to play this ‘sober game’ so well and I personally look to you for guidance. But you don’t have to take care of me (us), you have to take care of yourself! So do what makes you happy, write what makes you happy, don’t write online if that makes you happy, and don’t listen to the bullies or worry about the “popular” sober kids. Take a guilt free vacation from writing and enjoy other things and come back here when you want to. Big hugs to you!

    • Thanks Katherine. I sometimes still have a hard time taking compliments, but I will absorb these. Thank you for your kindness and generosity of spirit. You know, writing here *does* make me happy, and I forgot about that as I got caught up in the circus of my brain and not focused on the simple things that have gotten me to this place, here with you and everyone in this wonderful community. This is why I need others – to bring me back down to Earth and kick my butt a bit. That’s great stuff. I have gotten back to that stuff right after I wrote my piece. I already feel 20 lbs lighter, and your comments have also helped me understand why I am compelled to write.

      Thank you and I wish you a wonderful evening.

      Hugs back…tighter.

      Paul

  13. I watched a documentary recently called “Happy.” It was a study about what makes humans happy. Go figure. One of the greatest contributions to a person’s happiness is communal living—in a cooperative sense. The study found that when living in a co-op situation where everybody contributes by providing maintenance, cooking companionship and other life necessities, people tend to focus on what they have to offer to the benefit of the greater good, rather than what they don’t have and what they can’t do. In this communal online sober blog world, you actually offer a great service and deep insight to many others. Unfortunately in this communal online sober blog world we are removed from human interaction and thus feedback.

    I’m reminded of negative feedback in the business world. We are taught that with every negative comment there are 10 more negative views that have not been voiced. This goes for positive feedback as well. People love your blog and rely on your blog for inspiration, but many will never tell you that. I’m envious of your writing abilities and your voice (and yes, your sobriety time), but I’ve never told you that because I didn’t want to take the time and I didn’t think my opinion mattered.

    Outside of your own posts, I see you across the boards providing encouragement to those who struggle and kudos to those who celebrate. It seems that you make a great contribution to the rest of us.

    I wish you were my sponsor because I don’t have one. Go to a meeting and get a new sponsee. That person would be really lucky.

    • I am speechless. It takes me a lot to get speechless. I loved what you mentioned about that documentary. I may have to check it out. And how you tie it in to this little community. Wonderful. It’s the stuff of gratitude, simplicity and ego smashing. I don’t know why it is we look at what we don’t have, or what others have , instead of looking at what we *do* have and have to offer. I have gotten much better at it, but clearly have work to do. Will take a lifetime, methinks.

      And what you say about the negative and positive voices and views not verbalized or shared. I get that. I sometimes have to remember to catch people doing things “right” at work rather than getting on them when they do something “wrong” and it makes a big difference.

      Thank you so much for the kind words and thoughts. Your generosity is grand, and something for me to learn from. And for what it’s worth, your opinion does matter. It’s sunk in here, and will reverberate for a while. Thank you for that, and thank you for being here. Made my day.

      How much time do you have, if you don’t mind me asking (you can PM me – doesn’t have to be public forum stuff). I hope the sponsor thing happens. So important for me to have one, and for me to be one. I can’t imagine how squirrely this alcoholic would be if I were truly left to my own devices. And you are a part of the deal.

      Thanks and blessings,
      Paul

  14. Ditto what everyone else has to say.

    And now here’s what I have to say.

    I feel ya dude. I too find myself getting jealous and envious about others and how many views my posts get and whether or not anyone is reading and how come she’s doing so well and I’m not and…and…what a load of shit.

    But it’s true. So I feel ya, I really, really do.

    But what I do when that bitch in my head starts yapping her head off (that would be old Sherry but I don’t like the adjective “old” so I just call her that bitch) is to remember that my blog is about ME. It’s my way to write (which is something I’ve always wanted to do) when I know I don’t have the talent to be a “writer”. It’s my way to vent, to whine, to celebrate, to share. I have to remember that because otherwise the bitch gets so loud I have trouble hearing my whining over her big mouth. This is the only place in my life that I make it all about ME.

    I have tried shutting down – only to find the pull of the keyboard even stronger. So I come back, tail between my legs, and fire it up again. Which is what I hope you do. (Not the tail between your legs thing…just the writing thing.)

    Because I love the way you write. I love the way you string words together and I can tell by the way you do it that you need to do it. Maybe you’ll find another outlet or maybe you’re a professional writer and so this is just geting old. I don’t know. All I know is I love what you have to say and what you share and I am really, really going to miss your posts if you shut it down.

    So that’s my two cents. Namaste my friend…namaste.

    • Oh Sherry…thank you so much for being here. You were one of the first people to come over here and comment. It made my day then and it makes my day every time you come over. I am going to etch your name in a chair here, and leave room for the grandkids and the twins and Bill to hang out while we drink tea and debate on what cake to eat. Sounds pretty groovy to me.

      I hear what you’re saying, because you’re speaking my language. You mention venting, whining, celebrating and sharing. And that’s what I started off to do. And it’s grown, like all of our blogs (hell, you started a whole new one!) And I can look ahead and see that as long as we stick together, we all get stronger. I know I have learned a whole hell of a lot being around beautiful people like you here.

      As for being a pro writer. No. Wanted to be. Did some novel work, tons of short lit pieces. Nothing published. Tried to get published. Then the drink took over. Haven’t written fiction in years. I plan to get back into it…this is a bit of a compromise / love – writing and recovery. Maybe that is where it’s at 🙂

      I think if anything were to change, it would be along the lines of what you did – integrate it into a larger framework and not it be all recovery all the time. But for now the shoe is getting worked in and I have a few blisters from it, but it keeps on going.

      Thank you for giving me big picture stuff here.

      Hugs,
      Paul

      • I think there’s a HUGE opportunity for a male sober memoirist. Most are female written, and while the fem alcoholic numbers are growing, guys still have us beat.

        Most guys prefer to tough it out, and rarely share what it is or was like.

        I don’t know the stats on who’s buying what, but if it’s fems doing all the buying, you could even write it geared towards a glimpse into the male alcoholic. You’ve got lots of data and experience right here at your fingertips with the majority of sober bloggers being female (though many “regular” make bloggers just happen to be sober too. See above that most guys don’t talk about it.).

        Consider it. I think it could be a great option for you.

        • Thanks Christy. I always figured the world has had it’s fill of booze (or drug) filled memoirs. Old hat kind of stuff, especially if the person is n’t famous or anything. I never really thought of it because, frankly, I was a boring drunk. No wild escapades or hanging off chandeliers or shoot outs or ninjas or dancing monkeys or anything like that. Nothing sensational, in other words, which I think what the public likes :). But you are right about many of us blokes not discussing it. Or discussing it much. We’re wired a little differently, and just sort of tough it out, like you said. The men in the rooms do talk more, obviously, but we often get into the “well, that’s life” kind of thing and try to move on. I don’t know, I am generalizing, of course. Anyway, thank you for thinking of me and that. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think of writing some recovery stuff, but I never went past that stage of processing / thinking about it. You have me thinking more about it now. Thank you, my friend 🙂

  15. LOL! Paul, I think I almost grew a resentment here! Have you seen my stats? You have way more followers, comments and visits – I think I need to shut mine down! LOL. But I know what you’re saying, I can relate to that feeling of not good enough and wanting to be on the very top or none at all. I was an A+ student and if I didn’t get an A I was ready to drop the class and change my career path and all! These extremely high marks that we place on our selves, are just horrible, no one can ever reach them and most definitely not us. I saw this little line on a blog recently that has really resonated with me and sorry I can’t remember which blog but it was a little affirmation prayer that went something like this:

    I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.

    Hugs,
    -Maggie

    • Oh dear Maggie – I am that last person to have a resentment over. Don’t waste that resentment on me!! LOL. I will tell you what you and the loving folks here are telling me – don’t do it! I need my Sober Life fix. Your honesty and humility help me like you wouldn’t believe. I love having someone ahead of me down the path, but not THAT far ahead of me down the path…ha ha. You’re a beacon for me. So stay where you are. Leave little breadcrumbs now and then to let me know things are good.

      I hear you on the marks thing. I was that guy too…until the drinking started and then it took a dive. Not dramatic, but dramatic enough for me to call it dramatic. You are right about putting these expectations on ourselves. I certainly couldn’t live up to them then and I can’t do it now. And I can’t put it on others either. Just have to do what I have to do and help others. Be kind. Fulfill what I was created to be. What you were created to be. What we all were meant to be.

      I love that affirmation prayer. Thank you for this, Maggie.

      Hugs back to ya,

      Paul

  16. Ah, the bane of every recovery writer, no? My phone? Oh, I’m just checking my stats on my WP app… dammit, what do these people want, anyway?! LOL! Yeah, you can see I’m rockin’ the step 1, step 2 dance over on my page, too. Thank God for countless opportunities to practice humility. 🙂

    • I was there yesterday checking out step one. How appropriate for me. 🙂 Gonna run over and check the second one too. My understanding is that the whole set of 12 is recommended 🙂

      Yes, you are right about the WP app. Damn devil machine. I used to be heavily in to that, but as Noeleen and some others mentioned, it tends to settle into the usual numbers. It is what it is. And I have to be grateful that I have a computer under a roof with a job that can pay for the roof to house the family that I have. Gratitude, baby. And humility. Oh God I need that.

      Thank you for reminding me. Your series is perfectly timed.
      Of course it is 🙂

      Paul

  17. WELL PAUL…..I have to say….there are MANY things in my head SCREAMING for me to write here on this comment PAGE…..First….*Keep your PRINCIPALS before PERSONALITY*….HHHMMM….Where have I heard this???….LOL….LOOK, you have NO IDEA hoe the EGO runs WILD with MEN in the WORLD of Recovering Addicted Gamblers!!…Men DRINK, Gamble, do Drugs, ETC, ETC, FOR way different reasons then women??? THERE BOASTING & EGOS & PRIDE…..your not the first to PONDER these same questions in your own recovery…..Many of us do at one point or another in recovery.

    The advice you got is Excellent…..and I’m a Wee Bit surprised you don’t keep reworking your 12-steps on a regular basis’s, it really helps from getting *STUCK* or STALE* in your recovery as your grow and change. Your priorities and perceptions change as you evolve in working your steps.

    I would really be sorry to see you shut down this awesome SITE of yours. You never know who’s LIFE you may touch with your personal testimony! You are most CERTAINLY RIGHT about our HP working threw US to be of recovery service to others. Before I start my day and before I write Anything….I pray and as my HP to please Guide me where I can be the Most Help in recovery to others……..Just my little thing. 🙂 🙂

    SO, BEFORE YOU Decide to PULL the PLUG, or YELL OUT….”Everybody Out Of THE POOL”!!! Let me do one thing for you Please…….Actually 2 things……#ONE…..I have Nominated your Helpful Blog and YOU Mr. Paul…for *THE WordPress Family AWARD**
    All the details are on my blog page http://wp.me/P3xH1g-ar

    2ND….I’d like to *SHARE* your BLOG on MY BLOG as My *Weekend Recovery Spotlight*….if that would be OK with you????

    Sorry this is SO LONG…but I’m an Italian….we women love to *RAMBLE*….Just let me know, I’d love to share your with my Recovery Friends!

    Much LUV, Hugs, and Blessings to you Mr. Paul!! 🙂 🙂 *Catherine*

    • You know, you’re the first to hammer at me about the steps. And I thank you for that. I am usually pretty good about the program and integrating steps into my life. Working with sponsees allows me a deeper understanding about them and gets my butt in gear too. I have done two formal 4th steps and have gone through the steps formally twice now. I have a few outstanding amends – His time, not mine kind of stuff.

      BUT.

      What I failed to do is keep vigilant lately. Incremental little things – a skipped prayer here. A missed meeting there. No big deal, right? Ego gets happy. Then work calls. Home calls. Another meeting missed, another Step 10 and 11 missed for the day. Got lazy about this. Got lazy about that. Then it’s like the boulder from Indiana Jones – out of control! Well, to a point. Reaching out like I did here and with my friend John and my sponsor put things in perspective. Went to a meeting today and am going tomorrow. Meeting one of my sponsees tomorrow – he’s a keener and new. So that’s good too. I feel so much better.

      And so you are right. As my friend John said – he has to remember these things several times a day. And he’s got 25 years or so. Wonder how he got those years? 😉

      Thanks for the award and the sharing of the blog. I am honored and flattered. Of course I would share with your peeps 🙂 Just let me know what I need to do. Feels better – service work in any capacity for recovery. yay!

      As for Italians – I grew up with them. My sister-in-law is Italian. I love Italy and all Italians. Bring it on!

      Thank you Catherine for the light you bring to me and others. You shine brightly.

      Blessings and hugs,

      Paul

      • AAAWWW….I was a bit afraid to read the comment when I seen HAMMER….did your mean “HAMMER TIME”….”Can’t touch this”….LOL…You know we all LUV you, and appreciate all you do to help others, but always remember, and, IT was the first thing I was told in recovery……YOU & YOUR Recovery come first!!….So, this weekend….JUST DO YOU 🙂 🙂 Hugs! Catherine ….xxoo

  18. I’m going to echo the others here and say please never go! I like your posts. I always feel like you’ve put a lot of thought into them, they always make me stop and think and the pictures are ace. X

    • Ha – glad you like the pics. I will tell you a little secret. Come closer. Ok. Those pics take me twice as long to find and put together as the writing. 🙂 But I have to admit that I do enjoy it. I wonder if they take away from the more serious tone but I think it takes away the gravitas of the whole thing. Not to say that what I am saying isn’t serious, but I have to remember Rule #62 – don’t take yourself so seriously 🙂

      Thanks for the props. Love having you here 🙂

      Paul

  19. Feelings aren’t facts, Mr. Paul, remember that too. And remember zen principles, nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever, all is in constant flux. So … Your feelings, that are not facts, will change–I promise.

    Look at ALL the comments above me—those are facts. You mean so much more than you realize to so many more people than you realize. Fact.

    In my first year blogging, I considered pulling the plug probably every other day. Even today, I debate it occasionally. But I know how my mind works. I know my fear and insecurities are chattering away (that monkey mind, ya know), and I know if I just wait them out, they’ll quiet down eventually.

    Try something–don’t watch your stats. Stats are deceiving anyway, as are likes, because there’s a lot of fluff and spam likers out there. Write from your heart, tag effectively, comment on others’ when you can and when your motives are true, reply to your own comments, and just trust that at least one person is benefitting from your message–even if that one person is you. Focus on quality of community vs quantity of followers and likes — and oddly enough, the numbers still grow even if you don’t check them.

    As long as it is fun for you, keep doing it (blogging). If it is hurting vs helping your recovery, take a break for a few weeks and then reevaluate.

    Blessings, C-

    • Christy – you hit me here on so many levels.

      All that you said – from feelings are not facts, etc. are bang on. Things that I know. But clearly not deeply enough at times to thwart the blows from my own ego. If there is anything I can say early into my third year, is this here. Put an asterisk on this post and more importantly, the comments. Like yours here. As I mentioned in one or two of the comments above, the pulling the plug on the blog was more of a symptom of my insane thinking. When the Four Horsemen were swinging about me, cutting off from everyone was my instinct. And rather than dealing with it the way I have 99% of the time and remaining unscathed, I took the 1% way of doing it MY way. And boy, did that bite me on the butt. Lesson learned. Get the antiseptic.

      And you know what, I do my best to hit the comments on other blogs because I *enjoy* it. Remote 12 step work, if you will. Helps me more than anything. So you are bang on about that – it’s worked for me in the past and will continue to do so. I just failed to allow the process to happen. It’s like golfing. When one just goes with the natural swing, allowing the process to take place, the club face will hit the ball square, or where it was intended to hit. Once you start to think it, overthink it, or try to overpower it with self, it’s in the woods. And that’s what I got here.

      What I got here today was a gift. Not an ego boost like it might seem like (and wasn’t intended when I wrote the post) – but a true reminder that what I write I write out of love and good intention. When I overthink and write outside of that, when I look at the other things, I get lost.

      This IS fun. I love this. I worried I spent too much time with this. But I have let it go now and enjoy it. You’ve got your running and the other things that move you to balance. I have have this and my music. I am sure it will grow. I am sure my fiction writing will come back. My exercise routine (well, I will create one…lol). Perhaps something will come out of the blue and capture my imagination. But right now, this is the deal. Recovery is where I feel most passionate about…and this is an extension of it for sure.

      Thank you Christy for bringing me back down and showing me the way.

      You are a beautiful person.

      Blessings,

      Paul

      • Be the ball, Paul, be the ball. And watch out for those pesky gophers.

        I’m glad those feelings are already vacating the premises.

        As you once told me, *YOU* matter. Moments like these (or those of pain or loss or tragedy) when we really and truly open up and ask for help, for validation, we get it from so many unexpected places.

        Kinda like that song Message in a Bottle…

        “Walked out this morning
        Don’t believe what I saw
        A hundred billion bottles
        Washed up on the shore
        Seems I’m not alone at being alone
        A hundred billion castaways
        Looking for a home”

        Hey … Isn’t that the name of your blog? 😉

        Love, C

        • Caddyshack wisdom…gotta love it 😉

          Damn you and your clever and poignant pop culture references… 🙂

          Thanks again – you make a difference in my recovery

          Paul

      • Oh and no, I ain’t no prophet (per your other comment). I just get a sixth sense sometimes about some people. This is a big period of growth, learning and revelation for you, no? I sense some discord and jumbled feelings (which is why I keep suggesting walking to you), but in time they’ll settle and you’ll be stronger for it. Don’t isolate though. You can be in a crowded room and still be isolated. Stay connected to the living breathing world out there–it needs you too.

        • Hey Christy – well, you have a powerful sixth sense. I think we all tend to have that develop when we go through the work and find our new paths. And I am glad to see your radar working so well, as you seem to have nailed me just there. So thank you for bringing that to light and having faith in yours truly. As for isolating, I have been finding the line of the comfortable, healthy, introverted me and the me that is isolating and avoiding. And I usually know where I am on that line. Today I spoke to a sponsee who I am seeing after a meeting tonight, so that is good for me. Also hanging out with the wee ones this summer has kept me looking at the great outdoors and their smiling faces rather than screens all day.

          As for the walking thing, I need a destination :). But having said that, I do bike to and from work every day, weather determining. It’s a 8km (5 mi?) ride each way. And now that I am on day 5 of no sugar, I have already lost 4 pounds. Crazy eh? So things feel great and groovy.

          Jumbled feelings – love that image. They come and go. Right now they are chilling out somewhere. 🙂

          Thanks for everything.

          Paul

    • I have never replied to someone’s comments, but Christy, this is beautiful, and should be re-blogged somewhere. Very, very serious here… “even if that one person is you” is something every blogger should read!

      Well done, and Paul, if you are ever doubting yourself again, please come back to these comments and re-read!!!

  20. Dude. If you aren’t there who will I say Cheers to?

    I have to remind myself that my blog is for ME first and foremost. And then if people relate I feel even better. And it’s OK to be “selfish” that way since we don’t lock our thoughts up in a private journal, but put them out there for people to see. Brave. Good. Helpful. Scary!

    Like I tell my sons: Do your best. Not be THE best- be YOUR best. Which sometimes isn’t really even that damn good at all. Ah well. It’s what I’ve got today. Best changes all the time.

    Don’t quit. I would miss you.

    Cheers!

    • Duuuude! I’m sticking around. Cheers me all ya want, my blanket making friend.

      Yup – you’re right on, Amy. For me first. That’s how it started. Wait, it’s always been me first. That’s how I got in trouble…lol. I know what you mean, of course. This corner of the world was quite small when it was just me and me. Frank and honest stuff. Little stuff. Big stuff. ME-dium stuff. And sharing has always been scary. But not any more – with guys and gals like you around to show me that it’s not that bad. My enforcers, my mentors, my friends.

      It’s appropriate you tell me what you tell your boys. I am young in many ways and need appropriate lessons. So I am a sponge here. Let ‘er rip. Do my best. K. {big boy breath} Will do. I can only compare myself to me. That’s what I tell me. Most of the days it works. Others…not so much. And it gets ugly when it doesn’t. Like shutting shit down and running away to hide under the couch with my bear stuffy.

      Quitting ain’t in the picture. Sticking around. Ready for duty, Lieutenant.

      Thank you Amy. Just a big thank you.

      CHEERS 🙂

      Paul .

  21. I will have to agree with everyone else…please don’t go. Although we have just recently started following each others blogs, I do value your positive comments. I think it is really important to support one another and know that we are not alone on this journey and we can be that cheering parade amongst all the shit we have to go through. You rock and don’t forget that!! xoxo-b

    • Yes! I have enjoyed what I have read so far in your corner of the world. I hope you continue what you’re doing…and I will continue reading. And you are right – we are not alone in this. The online community is quite kick ass – a huge surprise to me when I first landed here just over a year ago in Blog Land, County of WordPress. And the more people I find, like you, the stronger the community gets. Doesn’t matter if you have one day or two thousand and one – we are all important to one another. And I can’t let myself forget that.

      You rock more, my friend.

      Thanks for the touching comments.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  22. I know you’re not actually going to go (as you’ve said in all the comments above), so I won’t beg you to stay (stay! stay!). But I do want to kick your butt a bit.

    When you and I met for coffee in Toronto, you told me then (back in May!) that you knew that you spent far too much time in the blogosphere, jumping from site to site, leaving comments. We talked about how this kind of ‘virtual’ living was keeping you from truly discovering WHO you are, WHAT you like to do, WHY you like X and not Y.

    I asked you what you like to do in your free time; you didn’t really know. I asked you what your passions were (besides your family); you didn’t really know. I asked you what you found interesting, what you’d like to pursue more knowledge in; you didn’t really know. How is it going with answering these questions now, just over 2 months on?

    Can I take our talk a step farther now? I’d like to tentatively suggest that maybe – just maybe – your jealousy partly comes from the feeling that others have done the work to figure out their passions and interests, and now go about dedicating time to learning more about these things. These people are genuine, and open, and have strong voices which others respond to. They are fulfilled and interesting and insightful. That’s what we all want to be – but first, we must know who we are, what we love, what moves us.

    Here’s what I think, and I hope you will reflect on it: I think that you HAVE found what you love and what you are interested in and what you are good at – and you do not even know it. Or maybe you DO know it, but lack confidence to stand up for it, to stand by it.

    Anyway, I think you are a capital-W Writer. You communicate so beautifully, and when you write, your voice is honest and strong. You have brought tears to my eyes more than once; your writing made me want to meet you in person, talk to you, give you a hug, confide in you.

    That’s a gift, Paul, and it’s not one to be taken lightly. It should be fully considered before it is discarded or stuck in the closet, forgotten and neglected. No, it’s not like being a rock star or a supermodel and it isn’t the most glamorous or ‘look at me!’ gifts, but hey! It can reach others. It’s got beauty. It’s got power. And writing brought us together, didn’t it?

    Ignore the stats. Ignore the likes. Do what you love and these things will come. But if you do what you love, then it won’t matter if these things come or not.

    Big, big hugs.
    M

    • Bang on M. I felt write as you’ve done but felt to do so without any history to speak of would have been presumptuous. The Lord works in mysterrious ways and concur with you, Paul has an untapped talent for writing. Respect REDdog

    • Oh Michelle – this brought a mysterious dust to the area which affected my eyes which made them water. I will have to check the filter in the air conditioning later.

      Anyway, kidding aside, this was wonderful. Kick butt away. And you are absolutely right on all of this. I did say all that when we spoke, and I haven’t really gone off to find things that excite me. And maybe because you’ve hones in on something that I have been oblivious too. And you have me thinking big time. All of these responses have, but since you and I spoke at length while you were here, you know me differently and so what you said speaks to me in volumes. Even if I had to re-read it several times to let it sink in. I guess that I was looking for the shiny and sexy things to “fulfil” me – bench pressing school buses or competition hot dog eating or belching the anthems of 150 countries. So I guess where I am at now is where I am at and perhaps it is writing. Sitting on it all along? ha ha.

      You are also right about me seeing this sort of thing in others – those who proudly pinterest their lives with medals and badges of honour and hobbies…those who are unapologetic about their turn-ons and interests, who have bold opinions and easily go to where their imaginations take them, where as I fight it all the way, or question it too much or am lost. I think I just question it too much.

      You nailed me on this…and for that. Thank you. I can’t change the font size on my WP thingy here, or else I would have made the “thank you” ginormous. I promise to you to find and do what I love for the sake of doing it. And nothing else. Writing, or those hot dogs (I haven’t had brekkie yet, so I am thinking about food all morning 🙂 )

      Hugs and more hugs
      Paul

  23. Dear Paul. You rock. For really showing what’s going on underneath. I get lots of emails that say versions of this same thing, and on what DDG hit on above, “where’s my big rainbow? why is she happier in her sobriety than i am in mine.” and yeah, there’s no perfect happy sobriety. some days are rotten. other days are glorious. some situations are easier. some kids vomit on the carpet. we’re all doing our version of the sobriety thing. can’t compare apples to oranges AND can’t compare our internal journey to someone’s publicly broadcasted, edited, version of truth. well you CAN compare, but only if you want to make yourself crazy… nuff said. 🙂

    • Thanks Belle – you’re right of course. I like to make myself crazy at times…ha ha. Well, not really. It just happens now and then and I do get all stirred up. Like when I wrote the post. I am feeling more glorious these days, and your comments helped in that. Thank you, Belle, for rocking harder 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  24. Do what you love, in every area of your life (balance).My experience is that It all falls into place. It only falls out of place when I am not authentic with self. The question then becomes: Where I am not being authentic with my gifts to humanity? Where am I playing small?

    My peace is in God (not stats, followers, comments, or likes) so you can stay or go, but you will always be in my life. Even if I have to hunt you down 🙂 to have a cup of coffee with you.
    Love and Light

    • I love what you said about playing small. That has been one of my weak spots – playing small all my life (I see a blog post in this…lol) because of self-centeredness. Play small, play the martyr, hope everyone sees the holes in my palms…ha ha. But I am better at being more authentic. I just get stalled.

      I do have to remember that what truly makes us great can’t be measured in any way through numbers or stats. It’s all an inside job. And I need that reminder more often than not.

      Thanks Lisa – and yes, coffee one of these days.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  25. Whoa, I go on holiday and then this??!! But I know where you are coming from for sure.. it does mess with your head at times… when I find myself with those tricky thoughts about my online life I usually know it is time for me to shift my eyes outwards and focus on the life I have around me (not in the computer!). It’s the balance, both are important but I need to stay balanced. You really do give an awful lot to all of us… if your comment is only two words I will still be immensely grateful! xxxx

  26. Pingback: Can’t compare apples to oranges | Tired of Thinking About Drinking·

  27. This is so much my big issue. i’m such a victim of comparing myself to others. i’ve been getting better at it lately with Step 10 spot checks and telling my brain to just stop it, but in real life and in the internet world…i need as many posts like this one that i can get!

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