Stich ‘n’ Bitch – Unwound And Rewound


tapeplater

L – A Loser like me to talk into it and not sound like Caspar the Ghost huffing paint fumes and on E

Remember when you first ever heard your voice played back on some sort of recording device?  Mine was a cassette machine (yeah, dated myself – what else is new?)  No doubt I was dictating some sort of manifesto in a robust manner, with a fedora hat on head and Popeye Cigarette candy in hand for effect, ready to be analyzed by great minds when they found the tape in some rubble after the zombie apocalypse.  I wish.  In fact, I do recall reading a chess game instructions book into a mike attached to our family stereo.  I remember pronouncing “colonel” exactly as spelled out – Col-o-nel.  Extended “L”.  Imagine the horror of later hearing this squeaky, sinusy, limp voice when I pressed “Play” on the tape machine. I sounded like a bassoon swallowed by an drowning emu. On helium.

Tom Waits I wasn’t.

My initial thought upon hearing my voice was that it wasn’t me.  It’s as if some gremlin sneaked in and re-recorded my words, as a gremlin-college prank to prove he was gremlin-worthy of hanging out with beer can-shotgunning gremlins.  So I was both disappointed and just shocked that I sounded like that. My imagined self (husky Nick Nolte-like dude or debonair Laurence Olivier) didn’t match up to my actual self (ribbit, ribbit).  Once again, what I pictured in my mind and what actually transpired never matched.  A silly thing of course, as we all have experienced it (except maybe Barry White or Lou Rawls).

Lou seems to have found another beer like him.  Dark and heady.

Lou seems to have found another beer like him. Dark, distinct and heady.

The same sort of process happened in my recovery journey – when I started to look at myself with a new pair of glasses, so to speak, when I started to see me for who I really was and not who I thought I was or imagined myself to be, I was both disturbed and aghast. Really?  I was like that?  I really was doing and thinking those things?  Huh – you mean to tell me all those years I did those kind of things?  That was part of the price of me digging down and taking a whole new look at my old ways of thinking.  Even today, I have to catch myself as I really am, and not through the sort of distorted carnival mirror of self that my mind likes to try and sell me. No shipping and handling charges apply.

One of these areas of my life where I was probably most surprised to see myself in that gremlin-like way was when it came to gossiping.  Gossiping was for the 17-year-olds at the Applebee’s parking lot smoking port-tipped cigarillos or for Martha and Irene getting their hair did with an instrumental pan-flute version of “Poker Face” in the background.  You know, the ol’ Stitch ‘n’ Bitch.  Sitting around knitting dog paw mitts and screwdriver cases for their men while dissing the one woman who isn’t there.  Throwing people under buses like one throws salt on icy sidewalks.

Yeah, like this, but more...you know...bitchy.

Yeah, like this, but more…you know…bitchy and less ironic.

If there was one thing that I wasn’t, it was gossipy.  Sure, I had some opinions of people, but don’t we all?  I can’t run into people and not make some sort of call on them.  My filters need criteria.  My brain needs a pigeonhole to plug folks into.  I had to make quick decisions on whether I liked you or not.  Judgements to hand out like mini-Three Musketeers bars to the wee creepies on Halloween.  Whether they were correct in terms of factual evidence was just circumstantial. And of course, I had to also discuss these thoughts and opinions with others, with said vistim  person not present in the room when discussing them.  But I never gossiped.

When the whole idea of looking back and seeing what I was like, how my old ways of thinking were, how I used to behave and how I used to talk, I was ready to take on certain things.  I realized that I was a dishonest person, I saw that I was a user of people, I saw that I had an ego the size of a zamboni.  I was prepared to face those new notions.  But several other characteristics took me by surprise, and I have to say that gossip was the one that really shook me down like a beat cop on a two-bit hoodlum.  I never thought I was that kind of guy.  Ever.  But evidence would show me wrong.

I didn’t have to go far back into my history to see this truth.  Even in treatment, where twenty-three of us men (men!), we were as bad as any other sort of sewing club or mid-afternoon patio meet up.  Or a Facebook group. Here were a mix of tough guys, street dudes, high falootin’ types, low riders, middle class shlubs, elite flyers, and professionals, and we all yakked away by the front door like a clutter of nattering seniors at the bingo hall smoke room.  At the treatment center, if you weren’t in the room, there was a very good chance that you were the topic of conversation.  Us guys talked about who got kicked out, who should be kicked out, who said what to who, prophesied everyone there, took everyone’s inventory, trashed others house duties (“Did you see how he vacuumed the hallways this morning?  Abysmal!”) and found any way to tear someone down.

Think they're smiling now? Wait until Vanessa tells them the dirt on Jaime's new quilt.

Think they’re smiling now? Wait until good ‘ol Susan tells them the dirt on Jaime’s new quilt and of the guy she saw her with on 32nd and Maple St.

And it didn’t stop there.  Many of us kept in touch afterwards, and when someone relapsed (many did), it got the remaining posse’s tongues wagging. Seemingly concerning texts or calls (“Oh, how is Phil doing?  Have you seen him lately?”) were really ways of finding out the filth on someone.  There was a sick part of me that wanted someone to go back out.  Something I am embarrassed and saddened to admit.  It was about being the last to sit in that pathetic game of Alcoholic Addict Musical Chairs.  And we all wanted to be last man standing. Did I mention that was sick thinking?  The gossip train kept us running back and forth between feeling lower than others else and feeling better than others. There were no stations in between.

When I look at it, that is really what gossip is really all about – feeling superior to others in many ways.  Some use gossip to further an agenda, or to trade it as a form of currency, or to make themselves seem more important in the circle that the rumours and half-truths are hatched in.  But certainly for me, it was about finding faults in others, airing it out to like-minded others, and playing judge, jury and executioner.  It was a way of making myself look that much better / smarter / shinier while at the same time undermining someone. It was one-upmanship, but in reverse.  The addition of my ego through the subtraction of your worth.  Character assassination at it’s finest.

"Hey, do you find John to be a bit wussier these days.  Must be that new girlfriend from accounts receivable " {snipe} Time to reload.

“Hey, do you find John to be a bit wussier these days? Must be that new girlfriend from accounts receivable.  You know, Yoko. ” {snipe} Time to reload.

When I point the rifle at someone and start shooting up their character, it gives me a hit of me.  See how I am not like Freddy there, or like Terry or Samir? I am constantly putting myself up on that first place winner tier, spraying (non-alcoholic) champagne at everyone…tinged with some acid and maybe some thumb tacks.  I am using my words to cut you down at the knees, but more importantly, to bring myself up a notch or two.  Nothing screams fear than supreme judgement and condemnation to make myself stand out a bit more.

So when I found this truth in myself and saw how empty and vacant a feeling I had afterwards, I vowed to be more empathetic and follow that old saw about not saying anything if I don’t have anything kind to say.  There is also that idea of thinking before speaking (what a concept for a guy like me).  To wit, when I am thinking about opening my big trap, I think – is it kind?  Is it helpful?  Is it necessary?  Is it true?  Huh?  I have to think about these things?  Isn’t it just easier to hammer away at the gentle vessel of someone’s character and let someone else pick up the shards of damage?

And for a while, I was quite adept at circumnavigating any sort of interpersonal pot shots and sessions where some one or some others were getting skewered.  It felt alien to not be a part of something that came so easily to me and yet, it also felt better not being a part of it. Cleaner, if you will.  But like most of my old thinking and behaving, it started to creep back into my life.  I found myself taking a shot at this person, a shot at that, taking inventory on that person, judging this, that and the other.  It was like putting toxins back into my spirit.

Typical work meeting.  That's me in the corset.

Typical work meeting. That’s me in the corset.

The way this happened is through work, because work is where I struggle with this.  As a manager (not of The Office variety), I have to evaluate people on an ongoing manner.  I have to keep tabs on performance and adherence to standards.  I am friendly with the folks, but at the same time I keep a healthy distance / boundary.  For me, the less I know about them personally (i.e. romantic or other private matters), the better.  I don’t see them as robots, but I certainly don’t get chummy with them (and this is something new to me, by the way – in my old life, seeking validation from others meant that I didn’t keep proper boundaries).  But gossip being what it is, my ears do hear things.  The good news is that I am usually the last to know…so that’s a good sign.  If I know something, then it’s the worst kept secret.

Trying to separate the personal from the work has been a tricky endeavour for me.  In evaluating a person, I take into consideration their attitude as well.  And a person’s attitude can be coloured by things not related to work – stress at home, relationship woes, financial worries, etc.  So when I hear that so-and-so is acting a certain way because they broke up with a boyfriend, or because they have been out partying three days in a row, or in one instance, arrested at work (I was there), then speculation starts to rise up.  The line gets a little blurry for me because now I am talking to my peers about these folks and I hear more details, some salacious, some not, but the common thing is that that person isn’t in the room to defend or attest to anything.

And that’s where I start to feel a little grimy.  The spiritual chimney starts collecting soot.  And yet, I don’t put the brakes on it either.  Ego hold the shoehorn on this little Stitch ‘n’ Bitch session and then feeling good about myself and propping myself up to the fancied or real follies and spectacles of other people’s lives takes hold. The circus is in town and the monkeys are back at it.  Flinging poop at each other, seeing what sticks and who’s stinks the most.

Love and tolerance is our code.

Love and tolerance is our code.

I can’t blame work, though (did you catch me trying to justify a bit there??).  It’s just an excuse.  Sure it’s tricky, but I can learn to navigate it, leave the room when needed…just like I used to.  It’s just a matter of being horrifically honest and knowing that I do enjoy it at times.  Knowing full well that it does feel poisonous to my spirit when I do, kind of like when I used to fire hose adult beverages down my gullet in an attempt to feel “normal”.  Trying to fit in at the sake of someone’s battered and bruised character doesn’t bode well for a kind and goodly man of considerate graces.  And that certainly isn’t me when I allow my Lower Power to take over.

It is funny that one of the things that I never thought I did – gossip – was also one of the toughest to walk away from.  And still be aware of. At home I am much more aware of myself, so I have to manage myself outside of the home.  Practice that love and tolerance thing when it’s easy not to.  That’s the work, isn’t it?  Doing the things you’re supposed to do when it’s the easiest to not do them.  It’s easy to be all kind and spiritual when others are watching, or when things are going well.  But to grow along spiritual lines when the chips are down, or where temptation is tickling you under the chin?  Double down on those cards…it’s gonna be a tough roll of the dice at times.  Call my ego’s bluff.  Spin the wheel and see if the little ball ends up on an even number so I don’t go all odd on you.

Listen, it’s like anything else…it’s something to be watched and be aware of and pray for the guidance that I need.  Listen to others.  Follow the lead of those who walk through the landmine-laden fields with the ease and flowiness of a Hair the Musical extra during “Aquarius”.  Stay on the right side of the tracks.  Be kind to others.  Be kind to myself.  Live and let live.  Grow a little every day. Let the Creator in on my plans and see what He says.  I can’t do anything about the inflections and tone of my voice, but I certainly can adjust the inflections and tone of my spirit.

And above all else, I can just put another tape in and start again.

04---Cassette-Set---Back

39 responses to “Stich ‘n’ Bitch – Unwound And Rewound

  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing. I hold my hand up. I am guilty of all of the above and do feel bad about it (even as I’m speaking those words). I acknowledge the problem is to do with my self esteem. Today, I’m going to take your advice and think ‘is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Is it true? ‘

    • Self esteem is one of those things that really drives me. Lack of is usually the culprit. I think that even in the midst of learning to find more and more solace within, I still seek externally to speed the process along. But it’s an illusion, and it does do harm at some level.

      I am glad this resonated with you. I will have to take that advice too. Let’s see if I can do that just for today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

      • I heard these lyrics today:

        A cynical mind
        Won’t help you through the night
        And it can’t hold you up
        When you’re too tired to fight

        and it got me thinking about how crippling low self-esteem is. It’s something I’ve always suffered with and is made worse by drinking. I’m only on day 26 and already I’m beginning to feel better about myself. If I’m going to be doing this battle long-term then I need to stay focused on the positive. Bitching about others is a complete waste of energy and won’t get anybody anywhere.

  2. You know what’s funny? Gossiping has not ever been something that has been part of my character – and that has caused me problems at work! Because I have always just shown up and done my job, and been pleasant but not chatty, I got a reputation as a cold bitch, as very reserved and unfriendly.

    It was a shock to get that feedback from a former manager, but after some honest reflection, I could see where it came from – but how to be ‘friendly’ without having to reveal personal things in my life? How to chat to others without inspiring them to confess their marriage woes/health issues/other personal stuff that I’d prefer not to know. First, if I knew these things, I’d feel uncomfortable. Second, would I have to reciprocate? Argh!

    So, I adjusted. I became more open and chatty, but I drew the line. I was still seen as reserved and a bit robotic, but not so much. And work got easier, since people responded to me better.

    I saw then that I had been very cold at work, and that I had really pulled back from my co-workers. I also saw that it was part of my ‘isolate and hide’ personality from all those years of drinking: everything had to be under my control, and I had to stay apart from others so nobody would know the ‘real’ (alcoholic and awful) me, and the less I said, the less I’d have to lie about and then remember.

    So, yeah. I came to see how NOT gossiping was actually part of a larger problem of simply not connecting and interacting with others. I had to find a happy medium, and I think I have done that now. It sounds like you were coming from the opposite end of the spectrum – but maybe you and I will meet in the middle? 😉

    • I love what you say here, Michelle. Mind blowing. And I can relate. When I started this journey of stepping back from the emotional part of interacting (hence avoiding the gossip thing) I found myself pulling back a bit too much at times. And like you said, I had to find a happy medium. I still find that I have to do that. If I find myself swerving into the “buddy buddy” zone, I pull back, firm up some boundaries and go from there. If I am pulling too much back, I reintroduce myself into friendly areas. Always tricky, but obviously doable. The good managers are the ones who can balance that fine line.

      What you said about reciprocating…that is the key! If I didn’t know about someone, then there is a good chance they didn’t want to know me, and distancing myself from others is something I have always been good at. That was part of my parlour tricks at parties – deflect anything about me and keep going to the jugular of “and tell me more about YOU” and then off to the races they go, as we all love talking about ourselves, for the most part.

      Anyway, thanks for showing the other side of this, as I think they are both sides of the same sword.

      Have a wonderful weekend, my friend 🙂

      Paul

  3. It’s a toughie. Like most folks in Qatar, our work and living arrangements blur sometimes uncomfortably together – the companies usually rent big compounds for their employees. We’re still trying to navigate our way through being friendly and supportive, without becoming too enmeshed in other people’s lives (particularly important for my husband as a manager).
    Aargh, can’t finish my point as we’re off for a bike ride…I’ll be back…

    • I hope the bike ride was a wonderful one!

      I do understand what you say here, and it must be doubly difficult to manage this as your family is intermingled with the other folks in the same place. Could be easy to want to hang out, etc. with the workers and co-workers and get too familiar. I don’t mean familiar in that we are all workers and we help one another, etc. but I mean familiar in getting too chummy. I have seen this backfire big time both in my own experience, but more starkly with others. Keeping that boundary is very important for me these days, and gossip is one way that I see that I am veering into territory I need not be going into.

      Thanks for the comments 🙂

      Paul
      P.S I was still laughing about your second last post about the those who help out in your house, etc.

      • Bike ride was great thanks.- lots of muddy puddles as we’ve had a few rain showers recently.
        Luckily my husband and I miss out on most of the claustrophobic aspects of life here, as people seem to understand that if you don’t drink, the idea of the boozy nights in with workmates is pretty intolerable. Funnily enough, quite a few who arrived at the same time as us and threw themselves into the work social scene are now wondering how to extricate themselves from it.
        I like to hear a bit of gossip, but my journalism training always makes me question it. If I don’t get direct sources and corroboration I won’t believe it!

        • Good that you have that innate BS detector! Mine goes on the frizz now and then. Sometimes clogged up with my own garbage!

          Glad you had a wonderful bike ride – hope you rode through the puddles…it’s the little things in life 🙂

          Paul

  4. Gossip, the favorite past time of motor mouths like me, I have become very good at taking other folks inventory, throw in there my political, spiritual, philosophical pontifications and I wonder why folks are beating down the door to hear my wisdom NOT!!! Yet I was the stupid one who always let the cat out of the bag around the current victim, thus making it where I heard less gossip, which made me lonely and resentful. My problem has always been not knowing when to speak and not knowing when to shut up already. I would love to tell ya I have found the solution, yet I prefer honesty and that will be my biggest struggle. I need to learn not to talk about politics, sports, religion and other folks problems and just shut up and get to work.

    • Well said…love the honesty, because I too have been lonely and resentful at times wondering why people weren’t running to me to help them solve all of their life’s problems. But wait, wasn’t I the one who made it clear that I didn’t want to know anything about others? Ugh. That whole reap what you sow thing is a crang. So it’s that balance and solution. And it’s not always easy for me. In fact, today I found myself (a day or two removed from typing this very post!) sniping one or two folks. Jeez, you’d think I would learn. The good thing is that I caught myself and then left the room. Feigned having to check up on someone. Got out of the den in time before ego started to heave it’s chest and pound on it like King Kong.

      Anyway, here’s hoping two motor mouths can bring it down a gear or two!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  5. Even the most well intentioned discussion about another person is often just a way to separate us from them. It keeps us safe because when we can list everything a person has done wrong we can tell ourselves it’ll never happen to us. When I catch myself doing that I know I really need to look at what’s making me afraid about that person or their behavior. Once I deal with my issues, I can find my true compassion. Great post Paul!

    • Great response, Karen! Love what you said about looking at ourselves and addressing that FEAR that lurks underneath almost all we do. Fear certainly drives me to demonize others and then cut and run. Draw the drapes between them and me. Make that list of what THEY did and are while avoiding what possible could be within our gates.

      Comes does to that compassion thing, eh? Gotta try more of that on for size 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  6. haha, I remember hearing my voice for the first time on my brother’s tape recorder and asking who the little boy was. Gossip is really something. Like you, I thought I was above it, but find myself sucked in easily at work. There is one woman in particular who is very negative and feeds on it, and I find myself opening my mouth when it is the last thing I should be doing. I say it helps to vent, but truth is it doesn’t. It makes me feel shitty. Duct tape over the mouth is looking like the best solution, though hope with guidance and strength it won’t come to this.

    • There was someone at work who was like the one you described. At first I avoided talking to her because she loved the gossip. Then I slowly got a tidbit here of this, a tidbit here of that…and then I was tapping that tree in a way that just made me feel dirty. And I had to just avoid talking about others. We run into each other, but I don’t engage. Best that way. But like you said…hope with guidance and strength that duct tape isn’t the only way!

      Thanks for this…and also love the new pic of yourself – marvellous!

      Paul

  7. This is such a great reminder as I head back to work. Too often we give too much of our energy and selves away to useless banter. Something to work on for me is to ask myself how it affects me, what is my long-term attachment to the issue, and what the heck are my motivations for caring anyway. If I’m honest, the answer is generally that I am craving some drama. I have such a tough time just being still that other people’s issues somehow seem important. At the end of the day, they rarely, if ever, are.

    • Words of wisdom. Love it. I like what you said about the long-term attachment to the issue, and about how at the end of the day, just how important are other people’s issues to me? Not very. The way I saw things (distorted and self-centered), people *must* be talking about me all the time. huh? They are thinking of what to make for dinner, or if they won the lottery, or when to make that dentist appointment. Me, Paul, is never on the menu. So why do I attach myself to things that have nothing to do with me? Great question. Drama! We love drama I guess. Ugh – I thought I gave that up when I stopped drinking. But what I love even more is serenity. So perhaps ride that car a little bit more, eh?

      Wonderful comments – thank you for getting me thinking here.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  8. Yikes! Yes! I’m guilty too! Only for me, it’s so much worse. I actually wrote the book on this subject. No, really! I wrote a book on workplace relationships (that has done quite well) that talks about the evils of gossiping and how to break the habit. Yet, in my alcoholic low/no self-esteem, I found myself throwing a neighbor under the bus (to another neighbor) . . . and for no good reason! Whaaaat?

    That’s when I knew I was a complete hypocrite and had to make a change. I still feel guilty when I see the neighbor I trashed. Our kids play together all the time. I hope it never gets back to her.

    Guilt, shame, remorse, repent. I’ll go out and do a random act of kindness today to atone for this!

    • Awesome – that you wrote that book! Congrats. I wouldn’t throw yourself under that same bus…be kind to yourself. Having said that, it’s great that you saw that for what it was and could stand back and know where you need and want to go with that…the random act of kindness is a way of paying back the Universe, in a way 🙂 You have me inspired to do the same – do something without asking or taking credit. What???? Ego is going to hate that.. Oh well.

      Thanks for this, bennie 🙂

      Have a wonderful day!

      Blessings,
      Paul

    • Yeah, good to know I am not the only one in that boat. Had it flare up yesterday at work. Going to see how I navigate today. I’ll do my best to be on good behaviour.

      Thanks Lucy!

      Paul

  9. A well timed humbling reminder of another unhealthy time waster, that really is all about making me feel better about myself. Surely, I’ve found better ways to do that now.
    Thanks Paul.

    • An unhealthy time waster – love that for the truth it is. And what you say about finding other ways to feel better about myself…awesome. I need to remember that too, and to actually practice those things. Thanks for the double shot there, Carrie 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

    • Thank you Amina! We all have our character defects swirling about. Just a matter of identifying them and working through them, even with them at times, to see a harmonious way into their spiritual opposites.

      Love and light

      Paul

    • I like what you say about coming face to face with yourself. Sometimes I don’t exactly get thrilled about what I see, or to be more accurate, what actions or thoughts I see. We are all works in progress, yeah?

      Thanks for the kind words and comments!

      Love and light,
      Paul

  10. Hi Paul! Love the post! You have touched on so many pieces here, all that I have struggled with and some still do. I have a hard time drawing the lines with co-worker, and I am not in management, maybe sort of sub-management? Anyway, I often feel like I have said too much and I don’t mean about my alcoholism actually, because I got that out of the way early on to avoid the temptations, but like my personal life. So I am really conscious of what I say and stuff. And gossip! Wow! it has so many forms doesn’t it? My last year resolution was to stop indulging in gossip and it was really hard, it is everywhere! But I have noticed that it all is connected to my spiritual condition – the more I am ok with me, the more I am ok with others and there is no place for gossip. Like you said “Be kind to others. Be kind to myself.”

    Thanks Paul!

    • Magz! I get what you are saying…it’s sometimes hard to draw those lines. I find it harder with fellow peers rather than those who I manage. It’s my peers who I talk about the other folks we all manage, and so the personal stuff creeps in sometimes before I know it. Excuses, yeah. I know when it’s coming up, so I have to re-learn to get out of the room when it happens.

      And yes, it does come in many forms – never thought of that, but I see where you are going with this. Thanks for getting me thinking!

      Have a groovy day, my friend 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  11. Yes I do remember the first time I heard my own voice and it was horrible. Great post Paul.. there’s a fine line between being interested in what others are up to and sharing interesting information and being nasty and negative and unnecessarily vindictive. Humans are interested in other humans so we’re always going to do the former.. it’s just being mindful all the time about not swaying into the latter isn’t it.

    • I really enjoyed how you laid this out, Mrs. D. We are an interactive species. We need human contact. I have tried the isolation thing, and it just didn’t do me any good. Getting too much too soon too hard into people’s lives and double talking didn’t do me any good either. So finding that balance of respect, harmony and compassion…well, that’s a tall order, isn’t it? But I like how you describe it…being mindful.

      Thanks for this.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  12. Great post Paul. So then, it’s not just a problem area for women. Men go through it too. I hear you loud and clear. Isn’t it awful how there seems to be a devious enjoyment in hearing the not-so-good scoop on other’s lives?
    Blessings =)
    –Staci

    • Thank you, Staci 🙂

      You know, men can be just as bad. Not often, but we can be. Depends on the workplace or situation. I went to an all-boys high school and while I can’t compare to a regular or even all-girls high school, it was quite rampant. Tough guys and all. I can’t speak from any other experience other than being with other dudes. Many don’t care, but some enjoy that aspect of the social life. And yes, learning the dirt on others seems to cross all gender and gender identities 🙂

      All about the human condition, I suppose.

      Blessings and thank you for being here.

      Paul

  13. Hi Paul, boy you’ve hit a button, and you have the comment section to prove it! I doubt there are few people on Earth who can’t work on the gossip thing, it is so insidious. The character defect I struggle with, a close cousin to gossip, is judgment, and I felt the same way about it as you did about gossip. I would self-righteously declare myself to be a non-judgmental person. Upon closer inspection, it was those very times that I was, in fact, judging someone else for being judgmental! Sounds ridiculous, but it is true. So the progress for me is that I at least hold no delusions about myself: I can be as judgmental as the next person. On good days, I will catch myself before condemning another. On the not-so-good days, well…

    Like we say, it’s about progress, not perfection!

    • I was laughing because I too do the “I am not judgemental” while judging someone for doing the same. We do a lot of that in the rooms, methinks. Judge and talk about others when really it’s all about love and tolerance. Frankly, most of the love and tolerance I have learned have been in the rooms. Like you said, it’s more about catching myself. it’s going to happen, believe me. But when I am aware of it, then it’s a good thing.

      Thanks for the insight, Josie!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  14. Aww man, I love mixing it up. I AM A MAN OF ACTION. Breaking balls. Adding drama to a dull day. Ripping somebody a new asshole, in their face or behind their back. And best of all is getting others to see how RIGHT i am. I just love being right. Getting that “gotcha” moment is sweet. Forgetabout bosses, as I have a very healthy disdain for authority figures generally and would do mental battle often. I acted like this for a long time in sobriety.

    Disclaimer: When I was drinking, I kept to myself. Very aloof. Loner. As I got sober, I learned adult interaction. Slowly. They say that when you get sober your emotional maturity is based in the age year when you started drinking alcoholically. So that, for me, would be 14.

    I think I was in my mid thirty’s and about 8 years sober when it finally dawned on me what an asshole I was and why my relationships, especially with co-workers and bosses was so strained.

    For years my sponsor drummed this into me, spiritual condition and action, but I just didn’t get it. Jacking my jaws negitivley just felt to good..One day, it became very apparent that my mouth was causing alot of pain for myself and others and I had a bottom with it. I finally got it. Daily 9th and 10th steps took on new meaning. Praying for people I seriously disliked became commonplace. But it was still hard to do. You know Paul, the old saying, take a bone away from a dog-you better give him a steak? Because I am a man of action, I had to have something to replace that negativity. It came in the form of the St Francis prayer. That prayer gave me some Good Orderly Direction and helped fill the void. Take something out-you gotta put something back in. People noticed. Enemies became good friends. I still jack my jaw often, but I’m not spewing negativity. I still get pissed but light and love rule the day.

    Later bro

    • Love this, Mikey. I loved that intro there. I wasn’t quite that blustery, but I did find passive-aggressive ways to make my point. Probably a bit more cowardly, but the anger and aggression was still there. And hey, if you were 14, then I was 15. I remember my sponsor telling me early on how excited he was, because he felt like he was 21! I know what he means. I am probably around there these days…ha ha. Drinking age in the States.

      What you say about spiritual condition matched with action is bang on. I can be all spiritual on a mountaintop, but unless I follow through with actions based on that, I am a fly on a wall. I am not of this place, just around it. And action without spiritual guidance…well, that’s the old me at work again. And that happens, believe me.

      That marriage between the two and the follow through…not always easy, my friend. I am still learning and balancing and trying to not rest on my laurels (that can be a whole other topic of conversation, yeah?)

      Mike – I can’t thank you enough for what you bring to me and this space. A wonderful voice of maturity, insight, and wisdom. You have what I want, kind sir.

      Blessings,
      Paul

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