Tale Wagging The Dog

on

Now that's a hang dog expression
Now that’s a hangdog expression

We all have them.

Those stories.  You know the ones – the little tales and fables that we create and tell ourselves over and over again.  And sometimes trumpet to others.  The stories that we act out on.  The ones we rehearse and perform and perfect and groom and preen and fuss over.  The ones that adorn us like glittering stones and sunset-coloured scarves.

The little white lies, the booming whoppers, the threads of delusion that shoot through our lives.  You know those ones.  And we stamp our lives with them like they are golden sheets of truth and hold up to the light of scrutiny.

It’s the things that we tell ourselves and believe them.  Things like:

  • I wasn’t meant to be happy
  • I was never a pretty child
  • Everyone I know is fake but me
  • Girls don’t like going for a guy like me
  • I’m too smart for everyone
  • I’m not worth much
  • I’ll never be popular
  • God has it in for me
  • I’ll die drunk and alone

We all have them.  And we usually don’t know that we’re telling them.

They just seemingly bloom out of nowhere and coat us.  They become harder and shinier, like the armour that they are , the more we tell them.  The more we believe them.

And they clog our spirits.  They sit on us like scaly deposits that slowly erode the shine from within.  They’re lies from within.

Tales
It’s a good thing I have my trusty Spy Vs. Spy toolkit with me. Saves me the trouble of hiring Matlock.

I know because I lived my whole life going on the script that was etched early (and later) into my head.  By me.  I don’t know when I started to think that I wasn’t worth much, that others were more “valuable” than I was, that I was best left alone unmarred by the touch of others like a low caste creature.  But whenever that was (and it was early in my life is all I can guess), I started to believe it.  Nothing a child wants more than to believe in something that they feel is absolute…even if it is ruinous and corrosive.

And I believed a lot of my own tarnished tales.   Believed them as if they were marbles in my hands, warm, wet and hard to the touch.  As if they were jewels to be stowed away and kept safe. I still do believe some today.

The one thing recovery has given me is the chance and the ability to peel away these harmful stories.  I find it so fascinating that these little things can become such large fissures in our lives, that they can exert so much influence. Tales wagging the dog.  They run the show, even though they hold no power on their own.  It’s when we plug some juice into them do they loom larger than life.  Belief and holding faith in these is all the power they need.

I know that when I embarked on this rich and sometimes rocky road of recovery, there was a lot of this stripping down of old ideas.  Working with my mentor and uncovering, discovering and discarding these potentially fatal fables, I was able to see things a little bit clearer.  I was able to wash some of the caked mud off the windshield in which I viewed myself and the world.

A joke about horsepower would be useful about now, but totally unnecessary.  Carry on.
A joke about horsepower would be useful about now, but totally unnecessary. Foal house in that car, wouldn’t you say?  I’m going now.

These days, I get to continue doing that.  The chunks might not be so obvious at first, but as I start to figure these things out (or have them pointed out to me), I see that they can easily blind me.  I can’t rest on the laurels of my last housecleaning.

I was thinking about all of this the other day, as I found myself collecting some of these chinks of broken armour and observing them.  I found that once again, I have been carrying around these simply, but effective, lies.

Here are some recent doozies:

 

The Story: I’m a very hard working guy.  Most people couldn’t handle the kind of work that I do and would be exhausted at the end of one of my typical days.

The Truth: I do work hard, but not always.  I can be lazy, in fact.  I can spend time at work surfing the internet when I could be finding some meaningful tasks that I am actually being paid to do.  I have taken my position at work for granted for a while now, and have been giving myself a sense of entitlement which isn’t good for me, or for my employer.

The Action: I need to get back into doing the things that got me to where I was – leading by example, taking on other responsibilities, cut down on my leisure time at work, get my hands dirtier.

 ~~~~~~~~~

The Story: I have a steel-trap mind.  Very self-disciplined, never forgetful, always on top of things.  I have a keen brain that is very organized.

The Truth: I am abysmally disorganized at times.  At work it’s different – I am very much organized, but in my personal and home life…the opposite. If given free time, I fritter it away, or tidy and clean while more important stuff looms.  I could never work out of home – I’d starve. I have no self-discipline to speak of.  I rely too much on inspiration, even though that I know inspiration is fleeting, and it’s dogged (sorry) perspiration that wins the day.

As far as never forgetting things, I am, in YouTube parlance, an Epic Fail.  I keep things in my daily planner and phone and look at neither.  Just today, my wife said, in many more words, that I was a hot mess lately.  Even for me.  I just can’t remember any dates, get appointments mixed up, and forget things…even when I have them put down somewhere.   I need to put post-it notes around to remind myself to look at my phone and planner.  Insane.

The Action: Not sure, actually.  I have to figure out a way of gathering and organizing my thoughts, my dates and my responsibilities.  Any suggestions?

~~~~~~~~~

The Story: I am perfectly content finding validation from within.  I am so connected to the Creator that what others thing and feel about me doesn’t affect me at all.

The Truth: I still do seek validation from others.  Not nearly as much as I used to, but I’d by lying if I said I don’t get twisted up now and then by something someone says about me, or how I perceive someone thinks of me, or if they think of me at all.  I still compare myself to others, and tend to count other people’s blessings in envious and jealous manners.  I still do peek at my WP numbers, I still see if someone has responded to a tweet.

Living a whole life thinking I wasn’t worth much, I found ways in my alcoholism to do my best to have people pay attention to me.  Most failed, but I still tried.  Trying to manipulate and control people was one way of trying to bolster my self-esteem.  Belittling and putting others down was another way.  I don’t do those now, so sometimes I am stuck as to how to feel better about myself.  Temper tantrums, in many guises, are still my feeble way of trying to recreate those things.  Sick thinking, but luckily they don’t happen all the time.

The Action:  Keep trudging the road of happy destiny.  Keeping in contact with the Creator, helping others, laying low and just doing the right things for the right reasons will eventually bring me to a greater place of peace, where I don’t need a riot of people patting me on the back, like little Timmy after he lost his dog, to make me feel better about me.

Tales-of-Terror1
Vinnie’s always had a keen eye for good stories. See him after the show for some frightening fridge magnets.

I have more of these, but will skip them for the sake of not making this a duller read.

What I do want to say, is that all of this unearthing and telling on myself isn’t done so that I can feel bad about myself.  It’s not to put myself down, or to put me in my place (or maybe a touch of the latter).  It’s not about self-flagellation or self-pity.  It’s about clarity.  It’s about stripping away what doesn’t serve me, and breaking free of the stories that I have always believed. It’s about enlightenment of sorts.

In  doing this, I get into the reality of my life, and then see where that leads me.  The more I can chisel through the lies, the freer I get.  I may not like what I see, but it’s not for me to like.  It’s for me to deal with.  To ask for help on.  To seek alternative ways.  To get rawer and eventually stronger.  And in many ways, it makes me more human.  As I was walking down the street the other day, and thinking these thoughts, I looked around me.  I saw people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.  I saw a vast and varied cross-section of humanity going about their business.  And I thought to myself.  I am nothing special here – I am just another human being just doing what he needs to do to stick around.  I am a garden variety drunk in a garden variety world.  I am no lesser or no better. Just here.

I am Paul and I’m an alcoholic.  I am not a sobriety sage or a master of anything.  I am one of Gods’ kids just hoping to do what the Big Guy says enough times not to mess things up more.  To do better.  To help others.  To make life better in some ways.

Tearing away at the fabric which binds me is just one way I can lighten the load and find a clearing in the woods to lay down and do my work…unencumbered by the weight of my own fancied expectations and lies of the mind.

Live out of truth, brutal honesty and the willingness to change.  Tough stuff, but I will do what I can.  (I was going to say I will do my best, but that would be a lie…:) )

Love and light to all,

Paul

 

Looks so light-y and computer wallpaper-y, doesn't it?
Looks so light-y and computer wallpaper-y, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

46 Comments Add yours

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I don’t think you could ever write a dull post.

    What an interesting exercise in looking at each of those “white lies” and breaking it down. I spend so much time in therapy discussing abusive parents or abusive exes, but not at what I may be doing to myself outside of the physical manifestation of my disorders. Perhaps I will try this one day soon.

    Thank you as always for the words, perspective and inspiration my friend.

    1. Hey thanks Sheena! Those white lies and such are elusive, and it’s usually one of those “duh” slap-myself-on-the-forehead moments where I “get it”. And then I wonder how I went around thinking like I did. But that’s growth, isn’t it? We don’t get all the answers at once…or else it would be just weird, ya know? lol.

      I am glad this resonated with you 🙂

      Paul

  2. y. prior says:

    this is a great photo (and post) thanks for the smile – dog in the swing….. such a good photo

    1. I wish I could take credit for that pic! I am not a dog / cat pic person, but that one was pretty groovy.

      Thanks for being here 🙂

      Paul

  3. jrj1701 says:

    Howdy Paul, as always ya bring some good points to the table and this time ya asked for advice. Well of course this silly hillbilly always thinks that I have a solution and this solution ain’t hard to implement. On most phones there is an alarm function, some even have a notification function in the calendars, I do this for real important things and that alarm can get your attention and make ya look at your itinerary. Set aside a time to plan out what you are doing and try to remember to put it in your phone and set an alarm for that event, one event being to look at plans for the day.

    1. Howdy JR!

      I will try the alarm thing. I guess my issue is that I enjoy my written book because I can casually scribble little things in that may not be sooo important – like shopping. Pick up floss. Mail letter. Stuff that I guess I don’t deem “alarm necessary”. But then again, I don’t do them because I don’t look at said book. So maybe putting some sort of notification on them will help.

      I’ll let you know how it works. thanks for the advice!!

      (Who says you can’t learn from a self-professed hillbilly??)

      Blessings,
      Paul

  4. 1jaded1 says:

    Trying to do what you can…that is golden. It is so difficult to believe and tell yourself otherwise when people tell you that you don’t measure up.

    This post was not dull and I like the action plan concept.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I guess I was good at making bold proclamations and such, and not following it up with anything. Having some sort of action plan helps me grow and make me feel that I am doing something about it rather than paying this all lip service.

      Thank you for being here. Means a lot to me 🙂

      Paul

  5. fern says:

    Ah, yes, those stories. I’ve got them, too. A big one is I’ve told myself the tale that I should not need help from others. The truth is I desperately want support but the dog has learned every trick to keep people away so I can keep the tale alive.

    Your truthfulness is refreshing. It blows me away that you put into writing the things I feel. Man, the stories I’ve told myself — they could hold up a hotel. 🙂

    Personally, I think the good tales you tell are okay if they build up your self worth without cutting others down. Paul, you are hardworking, organized and very smart! It shows in your writing.

    Progress not perfection. You’ve got that, my friend.

    ~~Fern~~

    1. That was my biggest story too! I don’t need anyone’s help!! I don’t want to look WEAK. But like you, I did everything I could to not have help and yet I craved it. The friction between the two was too much.

      Thanks for the kind words…but I still need help organizing!!! any tips? You seem very organized 🙂

      Paul

      1. fern says:

        Too much organization might inhibit that wonderfully creative mind. Just don’t forget the kid and the rest will take care of itself. I trust you. 🙂

  6. FitFatFood says:

    I love this story vs truth exercise. I might have to be brutal and do it to myself to see what comes up. Great reading as ever x

    1. Brutal is the word…not always fun. I make it seem so groovy, but sometimes I feel like the guy in the Matrix and taking the other pill, doing that whole ignorance is bliss thing…but alas it ain’t bliss is it?? lol

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

      Paul

  7. mike says:

    “I was never a pretty child”

    Don’t be so hard on yourself Paul. The swing-set picture of you is adorable.

    1. You know just what to say to make a fella feel good about himself…lol.

      Thanks Mikey

  8. That’s some awfully good stuff there. I identify with almost all of it. We’re a lot alike, I think. Anyhow, a pat on the back to Paul from a riot of Eric regardless of his need for one. You’ve been really kind and supportive to me. Thank you for this post and for all your encouragement.

    Also, your prose, formatting and text presentation are absolutely top notch. Enjoy the additional ego-checking work I just added to your plate. Sorry, but that’s just what you get for kicking so much ass.

    1. Thanks Eric for all your kind words…and hey, it’s about ego strippin’ and not ego trippin’ !! But that’s fine…I’ll take them 🙂

      Love what you got going over at your corner of the world too 🙂

      Cheers
      Paul

  9. I have been thinking a lot about the stories we tell ourselves lately, both good and bad. If you tell yourself anything for long enough it sticks to a certain extent! We ARE our stories in a way, aren’t we? I think recognizing that they are stories helps to loosen the chains a bit so that we can recreate ourselves. Great post, Paul!

    1. Thank Jeni for your comments. I think you are right…loosening the chains help us recreate ourselves. We get to transform right before our own eyes! Not easy, and not always wanted, per se. But that’s how we progress, isn’t it? We’re not the drunk girl or guy any more. We’re the sane(-ish!) ones now. We are growing, stretching…and we get to do it together.

      Thank you for being here 🙂

      Paul

  10. I loved this Paul. So well written–all of it! Your perspective about the stories we tell ourselves is spot on. In fact, until about a year ago, I had no idea how harsh and damaging those stories could be. I remember looking into the mirror one morning (after just having a horribly unproductive and stressful day at work) feeling old, unloved and unwanted for whatever reason was lurking in the crevices likely created in adolescence.
    I remember the words vividly screaming in my head, “You are a horrible, vile creature and you disgust me.”
    What? Really? A bad day at work made me vile and disgusting??? Since then, I adopted the attitude you so beautifully put into words in this paragraph:

    “Tearing away at the fabric which binds me is just one way I can lighten the load and find a clearing in the woods to lay down and do my work…unencumbered by the weight of my own fancied expectations and lies of the mind.”

    The lies we tell ourselves we’d never wish upon or believe about a stranger–why would be think them about ourselves? There is a happy ending in my pontification…I’m way better these days since I’ve become more aware of the negative self talk. Even better? I’ve been able to teach my children to avoid it as well.

    Always a pleasure to read your posts! Thank you 🙂

    1. Thanks Michelle! Always so blessed to have you hear and see that smiling face.

      You are absolutely right about how we would never wish these things on a stranger…it’s brutal how badly we can treat ourselves, how we can push such harsh critical thought and ideas upon ourselves…something we would never dream of doing to someone else.

      And I loved that you have gone so far not only to manage and see the negative self talk in yourself, but also your children! I remember in treatment one of the counsellors telling us about this kind of self-talk. She told us, next time we want to use the word “stupid” when referring to ourselves (and I can relate to that), use the word “silly”. It was kind of dumb when I heard it, but looking at it now, I can see what she was going for. And some guys did it and they said it worked for them…just about being gentler to themselves.

      Thank you for your wonderful comments, as usual, my friend.

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. “Silly” instead of “stupid”…I like it! That whole self-compassion thing really does feel odd sometimes. That said, if I can find a way to do it each day, I’m a much happier mama…and so are my kiddos 🙂
        Have a great day dear Paul!

  11. byebyebeer says:

    I like the Story, Truth and Action format you laid out here. That feels really useful. I’m going to play around with this. Thanks for this and also the dog in the swing. For some reason, that completely made my morning.

    1. Thanks Kristen – I had no clue I would format it like that until I started writing it (the power of writing). I thought that action was important, because for me, awareness without action doesn’t get me far. Having said that, I am acutely aware of some stories and yet I haven’t moved to the part of action. But I know I’ll get there 🙂

      Glad it resonated with you!

      Paul

  12. I love how you allow yourself to be so open and honest with us, Paul. This is a quality for which I am always happy and inclined to read your thoughts. Not many people “call it as it is” or admit when they fib to themselves or fabricate certain characteristics or ways they go about life in general… and you do it in such a manner that we have no other choice but to admire your humbleness and addictive means of storytelling. Or shall I say… helping others cope with their own situations through your experience and life-lessons.
    I loved when you wrote, “They run the show, even though they hold no power on their own. It’s when we plug some juice into them do they loom larger than life. Belief and holding faith in these is all the power they need.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lied to myself and others; especially during the darker days. I honestly thought I was good at being the life of the party so my entire being was centered around making a nonsense and joke out of everything. Never taking life too seriously. Well, let’s just say the joke was on me. Because after the party ended and the Jello shots were gone, I was left alone. Completely and utterly alone in a world my false freedoms and lies constructed for me. And when I had to confront the real world or the truth, I just continued to feed the lies again by injecting more of that jet engine fuel. Toxic, my friend.. dangerously toxic.
    Now, the lies are a bit less harmful but still, dangerously slowing. When we try to sugarcoat our pace, we slow down the journey because as you mentioned here earlier in your post, we stop thinking about how we become better leaders and examples for others… or better at our jobs and everyday tasks. We become a bit more lazy. Everyone deserves a break now and then as long as we don’t let ourselves become too lost in our own disbeliefs. Because in the end, they are really disbeliefs. We just believe them to make ourselves feel better. We are all great people here and we all deserve to make the best our of our gifts and experiences with one another.
    I hope this makes sense, lol. I’m juicing this week and working overtime for the next 7 days. Eyes and mind are a bit weary, ha!
    Love this, Paul. As always, you keep a mind pondering.

    1. Well thank you again Gina for your kindness and generosity in your words. I often feel a little too self-indulgent when I write my posts. I mean, I know we talk about our experiences, but it’s good to know that at least some people are getting something out of it…so thank you for setting me right on that.

      “Because after the party ended and the Jello shots were gone, I was left alone. ” For some reason, this line of yours really hit home. Not because of the Jello shots (lol), but of that let down that inevitably hits us after our “show”. The horror of being left alone…with ourselves. Ugh.

      “We are all great people here and we all deserve to make the best our of our gifts and experiences with one another.” Hazzah to that! yes, and the disbeliefs will be there, no doubt, but moving towards the light of clarity and not away is always a positive thing, even if we are feeling stuck.

      juicing? I need to get a juicer. I passed by a juice place today that talked about spring cleansing…ha ha. And OT for 7 days? Yikes…get rest, my friend, when you can. I am on day 7 of 9 in a row, so I feel ya there, in terms of trying to find time to do what we need to do.

      Thanks again for the wise words 🙂

      Paul

  13. I think these stories serve us until they don’t. Being in recovery helps us recognize when a story no longer serves or is holding us back. Then we need to get clarity like you said. I did coaching with Lisa at Sober Identity and had a realization about stories that changed me: It happened the way it happened but it doesn’t mean what I think it means. Seeing it that way allows me to change my story without denying the facts. It allows me to get clarity based on what I know now. I think I’ll have to write a post about that. Thanks for the inspiration! 😉

    1. What you say is very important, Karen. I never stopped to think that these stories did serve us for a while. I mean, alcohol served me for years. It really did. I can say that alcohol probably saved my life many times – times where I would have gladly died, but at least I had alcohol to soothe me. But like alcohol, many of those stories stopped working. Looking at the facts won’t change, but looking at how we look at them can and does 🙂

      Great comments – loved them – so insightful as usual, Karen.

      Have a wonderful day

      Paul

  14. andyquerouz says:

    Reblogged this on Sharing my professional and personal interests and commented:
    “Tearing away at the fabric which binds me is just one way I can lighten the load and find a clearing in the woods to lay down and do my work…unencumbered by the weight of my own fancied expectations and lies of the mind.”

    1. Thanks for that!

      Cheers,
      Paul

  15. I love the final comment about doing your best being a lie. I feel that way oh so often. But, as an alcoholic, sometimes doing my best means NOT doing my best… in which case, I would be doing my best after all…. hmmm… Not quite sure how that “perfectionism” character trait fits in here.

    I get sick of people in meetings say, “You only ever have to do one fourth step, so long as you’re doing your 10th step daily.” I’m a f&#king alcoholic! No way in hell I’m going to keep up with a 10th step daily! I’m not being negative here; it’s just an understanding of who I am. Any time I’m out of sorts (by which I mean I’ve been wailing and moaning for like ever until I finally snap to the fact that I actually have to DO this recovery thing, so I call my sponsor and she whips me back into line), I sit my ass down and write out a fourth step. All these lies we tell ourselves stand out like a white shirt under blacklights when we put these things down on paper.

    Hooray for stripping away the lies to uncover the truth beneath!

    Now let’s look at those fears which have made us cover up our truth with these lies…. 😉

    1. I love that whole “doing my best may mean not doing my best” there – and you know, I totally get it. I do. Sometimes I know (usually in hindsight) that my half-assery was probably the best thing. Or doing nothing. And that’s the tough one. Doing nothing. And somehow knowing that is the best course of action. Ugh!

      As for the fourth step thing – I read arguments over this on 12 step recovery websites often, with polarizing discussions…you should do it once and then rely on your 10th. Or, do it as many times as needed. I am with you on this one. I don’t always do my 10th. Or sometimes things slip through the cracks. Sometimes things will come to me later. Also, there are some things that didn’t come up for me on my first fourth. Things I wasn’t ready for, or were too deep down. How am I supposed to 10th step that?

      So I do another fourth. I have done three so far. Mind you, the last two were much shorter than that first one 🙂 But the majority of stuff that comes up on the later ones are fears. Fears! And that’s where the gravy is (to get to your last line there). Everything for me comes down to fears.

      Thank you for your amazing comments…got me thinking…perhaps time for another fourth (it’s been on my mind for a bit…this might be the final nudge!)

      Blessings,
      Paul

      P.S I feel odd calling you “littleman03″…lol. Is there another name I can use (made up or real, no matter) 🙂

      1. Laurie G.F. says:

        Awww.. he’s forgotten my name. ‘Tis okay, Paulie, you’re the best at keeping up with all of us, encouraging us to keep thinking deep thoughts & posting wonderful drivel. I don’t know how you keep us all straight! I’ve been branching out lately and I’m always, “Wait, which one were you again??” I have located my display name setting, so it should accurately reflect my real name now.

        And you are so right about things that are uncovered later in sobriety! When folks come in & get started on the steps right away, they’re usually hitting their fourth somewhere between 2 & 4 months sober. There is NO WAY I could have handled things I had to address at 3 or 4 years when I was such a newbie! We have an old-timer who talks about how she was 20 years sober when she unearthed repressed memories of sexual abuse as a child. No way you’re going to deal with something that heavy in a little nightly inventory!

        Most of my follow-up fourths are focused on a specific circumstance (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve had to write out the same damned resentments over my ex and his wife!) and they all boil down to one fear, one false truth – “I’m not good enough, I am worthless and I don’t deserve to have a good life.” Every. Single. Time. So, I chip away at it little by little, approaching it from all different angles, following each of those resentments, fears and character defects down their respective rabbit holes to the same damned poisoned rock which sits at my core. At this point, I know where it’s going to lead, so I want to bypass the whole process and just do the whole Stewart Smalley, “I’m good enough; I’m smart enough; and gosh darn it, people like me” thing. I can’t do that though. I have to follow those rabbit holes down so that I can PROVE to the little addict in my brain that these thoughts & behaviors are unnecessary.

        ::sigh:: stubborn alcoholic thinking.

        You’re a good egg, Paul. It’s obvious that you work a good program, even when you think you don’t. You can see it in the constant seeking, constant searching for Truth. And in the way you encourage others, challenging us to also seek out our own Truth. It would be nice to sit in a meeting with you some day. 🙂

        Thank you for sharing your program with us and for all you do to support us.
        ❤ Laurie

        1. Ha ha…awww…sorry Laurie. I hope I didn’t cop ya a resentment…lol.

          You know, at one point I almost created a cheat sheet with the blog name / user name and the person’s “real” name so I could keep it all straight. But I am trying to exercise my brain (you can see how well that’s working out). So thanks for helping me there:)

          I love what you say about chipping away at certain things. I have one or two resentments that have come up on all my inventories. I know I am slowly getting at them, and I see tiny improvements, but they’re improvements, so I’ll take it. Fears come and go, but in the end, I certainly have a “best hits” that keeps coming around like it’s on a Lazy Susan. I just have to do what I do with all of the others – pray on it, meditate, step 6 /7 , etc. Act as if they have been relieved.

          And the more I read your thoughts on continued fourths, the more it cements my position on it too (ok, cement is a bad word – don’t want to be rigid!) I think a newcomer is in so much pain that immediate relief and freedom is needed, to the things I put on my first was the stuff that was keeping me up at night, eating my lunch, so to speak. It’s with a new perspective and approach to things will other stuff come up. Not sooner. They come on their own time.

          and if never doing another 4th works for some -rock on. I am just not one of those folks.

          I’d love to sit with ya in a meeting, and for a coffee too, as well. Until then – we have the written word and blessing sent out 🙂

          Paul

  16. The lies we tell ourselves are as poisonous as the ones we tell to others. Sadly, we have believed them for so long they become our truth until we get the courage (and sobriety) to peel them apart. It’s sucky work; but, somebody’s got to do it.
    I have found that when others have been dishonest with me, I am copping a self-righteous attitude. I mean, I’ve been sober for nearly six months damn it. Mother Theresa has nothing on me!
    But even our good lady of Fatima had the grace to recognize her weaknesses and the humility to accept them.

    Thanks, Paul. I needed to read this post this week. I have been miffed about dishonesty in others this week and I needed a reality check. One of my lies is that I’m working an honest program. If I truly am, I am not looking for the lies in others.

    What tangled webs we weave…

    Hugs,
    Linda

    1. “One of my lies is that I’m working an honest program. If I truly am, I am not looking for the lies in others.” I LOVE this. I really do. I need to steal it, in fact 🙂 But what you say is bang on. We get all righteous in our recovery sometimes, and when others falter, we jump all over them. Oh judgement! Oh ego! Oh self-seeking behaviour! And to think a few years back I was sneaking drinks, lying, cheating, driving drunk, etc. So who exactly is judging you on a white lie or coming in late to work? Oh yeah…[shuffles feet]

      humility is the key, Linda. isn’t it? Humility to surrender to this all, to the lies, to the cover-ups?

      Wonderful comments and insight…thank you SO very much for this.

      Paul

      1. Go ahead and steal away. Not sure what it is this week, but most of the blogs I have been reading have to do with dishonesty…
        I’m blaming the chocolate from the Easter bunny. Oops. There I go again..
        Have a great and blessed day, Paul
        Linda

  17. Those stories we tell ourselves hold us back and affect us in so many ways. Excellent writing and wonderful idea to add the truth and action steps. Might have to borrow that. Thanks for the honesty and also just the concept of looking at those stories we have. A friend of mine always talks about them as beliefs we hold, but I think calling them stories makes it more real. Because really, it’s a lot harder to identify those things as beliefs. They just are, y’know? Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks Rebecca – I like the story vs. belief thing you mention. I think you’re right – easier to change a story than a belief. Even if they may be the same thing 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful, groovy day…and thanks for the delicious comments 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  18. stacilys says:

    Hey Paul. Never a boring post, my friend. Always passionate. Always intense. Awesome. And gotta love the humorous pics and liners that you put to them. I especially liked the all-of-a-sudden diversion to the horse in the car. Hahahahaha. Looked like an ADD moment to me (hehehe). Confess, you put that in there because you really liked the photo, but didn’t know how it would fit in to the post. Am I right? 🙂

    “Nothing a child wants more than to believe in something that they feel is absolute.”
    –Wow, I love this line here Paul, because it is so true. And even adults are like this too, whether they want to admit it or not. Thanks to post-modern thought and this present age of relativism, absolute truth seems to have flown out the window. People don’t want to take responsibility anymore for moral right or wrong. “Truth is subjective”, they say. But then again, what happened to absolute truth. Children instinctively know and want absoluteness (does this word exist?) The absence of absolutes will only lead to chaos.

    “I have to figure out a way of gathering and organizing my thoughts, my dates and my responsibilities. Any suggestions?”
    –Hello? Have you been reading my mind? So sorry, but I can not offer any suggestions. In fact, I’m going to my neurologist next Tuesday and I’m going to ask him for some full on testing for Adult ADHD. Now that would explain a lot.

    “I am nothing special here – I am just another human being just doing what he needs to do to stick around.”
    –You know what Paul, YOU ARE SPECIAL! Ok yea, I hear what you’re saying here. I’m just one of 6 billion people stuck to this Earth by some strange force called gravity. I live, eat, breathe, pee, work, sleep every day and then do it all again the next. Just like everyone else. But you know what? You are an individual and unique. There is no other Paul Silva with your DNA. I don’t think God is into making a ton of ‘nothings’. I do think that all humans are a big ‘hot mess’ (as your wife pointed out), but God wants to redeem the bad for good. He wants to forgive and restore. He wants to give meaning and purpose. And he does. Just look at your amazing talent to write. And I’m sure you are probably helping a ton of recovering addicts through your writing. I have no doubt that there are others that read your posts and say, “Hey yea, he knows what he’s talking about. I can so relate and connect.”

    You make a difference in my life. Even if it’s virtually. Even if we’ve never met. You are appreciated (ok, now I’m starting to sound like those corny ‘you can do it’ people –sorry about that. not my intention at all 🙂 )

    Blessings from one Canadian Silva to another.

    Staci

    1. I have to admit that sometimes I just throw in a pic in a non sequitur kind of way. Or I attach it in the flimsiest of manners…so yeah, I think I got busted on that horse pic (although the word “windshield” did appear before it…see? Flimsy)

      “Children instinctively know and want absoluteness (does this word exist?) The absence of absolutes will only lead to chaos.” Holy crap – I gotta chew on this one for a while (and the thoughts before that). Luckily I had my coffee, or my brain would have crashed. Absolute truth or subjective truth – which is the “real” truth? depends on the observer or the participant, I suppose.

      ADHD? Really? I hope it goes well for you. ugh. I don’t think I am at that level – I think I just get distracted and don’t look at the big picture. That’s what my wife is for…ha ha. I guess I am probably living the whole “live in the present” a little too literally!

      And for the uniqueness of us all. I concur. I say I am not special, I say it in a way that squishes the ego a bit. Alcoholics (and addicts) or major egomaniacs. We think the world revolves around us (hard to imagine it doesn’t…ha ha..Just kidding! Or am I…), so this spiritual journey is about keeping that under foot and letting God do the heavy lifting for us.

      So I agree, and have always said, that we all do have unique skills and abilities and that the Creator has a plan for us all. We don’t know what it is, but we have that plan. And they’re all different. I love the quote from Oscar Wilde (I seem to be quoting him a lot lately) and that is – “be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. So I need to keep that in mind when I get bent out of shape wondering why I am not like so-and-so, etc. (a big character defect of mine).

      Thank you for the kind words, Staci. You are special too (I know you know that) – your generous spirit and gentle words leave an indelible mark on all of us who read them and experience you, no matter how we experience it. And you singing is a gift too 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

      1. stacilys says:

        Awwwww, thanks Paul. You rock! And I totally loved it and laughed out loud when I read, “Holy crap”. I could just imagine how you would have said it too.
        Thanks for putting a smile on my face.
        🙂
        Hugs to you too.
        Staci

  19. DB says:

    Wow! I actuallly read this blog last night. I am still thinking about it today. Boy do I have stories! They are kept tidy on their respectful shelves. I need to knock them down and expose them like the horses ass in the picture. Good stuff. Thank-you! Also, I have read all of the readers responses. I loved them all!

    1. thanks DB! I like the idea of having these stories on the “respectful” shelves…ha ha. sometimes we do need to unearth these things and see what needs to be tossed out. (I picture this, because now and then I go through a book purge – I will leave out a box or two of books I no longer need and watch others take them – recycling at it’s best!) In this case, the purging doesn’t fall on anyone else, but just goes away. Be interesting to see what comes out later on my bookshelf 🙂

      Thank you for the wonderful comments – you and everyone else here always have the best things to say and really makes this a groovy place to be 🙂

      Paul

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