Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I recently attended a meeting of a social group to which I belong. There were two new members at this meeting, both of whom could be said to be well-educated in loosely related fields, and both possessed of strong personalities. They appeared to take an instant dislike to one another, and the meeting quickly deteriorated into a "battle of the experts!" with much one-upmanship and verbal trouncing, while the rest of the group sat in uncomfortable silence.

It was the very first time that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed myself after getting together with this social group. These two individuals seemed unable to realise, (or perhaps care,) what kind of atmosphere they were creating with their mutual animosity - they were locked in a verbal struggle to win - that was all that mattered.
It was ego run rampant in a small setting, and it was unpleasant to witness.

I think the rest of us were at first rather stunned, and then hoping, perhaps, that they would self-regulate. But anyone capable of behaving this way at a social group, is perhaps, not as self-aware as could be wished.

It was a good reminder to me, once again, of how loving and supportive 12-Step meetings are. We don't interrrupt, talk over, crosstalk, ignore, demean, criticise....we are respectful of each other, we give each other the space to have our own views and beliefs, and we care for the health and comfort of the group as a whole.

I sometimes forget just how unusual and amazing this atmosphere of loving acceptance is, when one considers human character and habits. I was reminded of this at the recent social club meeting, as I watched these two fight to be "right," with innuendoes and undercurrents of hostility - and I was also reminded of who I was when new to Al-Anon.

I guarded my battered ego with walls topped off with barbed wire and mad dogs roaming my perimeter, ready to attack at the slightest sign of anything I considered trespass. I was schooled in the "shoot first, ask questions later" mode of conduct as a child, and I carried that into adulthood. I was more interested in how I was feeling, than how my behavior might be affecting anyone else. I was determined to be "right," and I would say almost anything in service to this determination, no matter how unkind or hurtful. I would feel great satisfaction when I scored verbal hits. I was not a very nice person.

I had a lot of amends to make, when I did my first Step 9.

Letting go of the need to be "right" has given me much pleasure in life, because it has allowed me to dispose of what a program friend calls "fight gear." I don't walk around with all those layers of protection, ready to engage in verbal battle at any moment, with anyone. I can step back, and disengage completely. I can walk away. I can refuse to be goaded, I can allow anyone to think anything, with calm acceptance, and no need to "convince."

I don't have to make you wrong, in order to be right. We can both be wrong, we can both be right - it no longer matters to me the way it once did. I can shrug my shoulders, and let it all go.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wanting Change.

I've got a flowering plant which I've had now for about 5 years. I really like the bloom, it's an unusual very dark red which I find most attractive. But this plant has a major flaw - in cool weather, the blooms open partway, then stop. Without bakingly hot summer temperatures, it won't perform.

I was looking at it this morning, and sighing to myself, frustrated at the darn thing for doing what it had done every year I've had it. I went on to other things in my morning, then later thought of it again, and this time, started laughing quietly to myself. I need to practise my program even in my garden.

I cannot force this plant to behave in a way I'd prefer it to do - open those beautifully-colored blooms properly. I either learn to accept that they open partway, or I find another home for it. Feeling frustrated upon catching sight of it, and irritated with the hybridiser, and continuing to keep it in my garden in the hopes that next year it will behave differently, is my own particular brand of denial operating in my garden.

I've also done this "waiting/hoping/feeling frustrated and angry while doing so" thing, in so many areas of my life. I've refused to look at what is right in front of me, in the hopes that if I squinted, and looked at it sidelong rather that straight on, it might look like something else entirely - year after year after year.

I was talking to someone recently about being a "slow learner." They agreed that sounded much nicer than "stubborn bonehead."

How many times do I pretend that I am practising tolerance and patience, when what I'm really doing, is practising denial?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


It dawned upon me today that I've always thought of impatience as being a "minor" character defect, worthy of change, absolutely, but one that could go in the "less vitally important" column on my seemingly ever-expanding list.

Right upon the heels of that realisation was another - impatience is demanding - of my partner, my Higher Power, myself.  When I'm impatient, I'm demanding difference. As in change. As in control. I was rather surprised to realise this, because as mentioned above, I've though of impatience as being a minor blip in my journey to better personhood.

It's sobering to discover just how insidious my need/want/desire/demand/  for control really is. (Reminds me of bindweed in the garden - tendrils which appear delicate yet have the tensile strength of hardened steel, and roots which insinuate themselves into the most inacessible places.)

This is why I need my Higher Power's help in removing my character defects - I'm not even aware of them all, and when I am aware, I'm still able to minimise their affect upon my life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Privacy Issues.

I've decided to make my blog open only to invitation for the time being, until I can do some editing of indentifying information, because someone at a meeting I attend found MrSponsorPants blog, and could, through comments I've made on his blog, find mine, and figure out who I am - I am not comfortable with this person finding my blog, as I don't trust them.
So, until I can get the time to go through and do some weeding, I'll be invitation only.