Before I Speak

Before I speak, think: Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Does it improve upon the silence? ~ Anon

In step #9, we are given a chance for do overs. I have told you before that a few years ago, I took on a G.O.D. that I believe allows for do overs. In AA, we are told that “there is only one little thing we have to change = ourselves”. That used to make me mad as all hell. How dare they say that to me! Who do they think they are? They are drunks, just like me, that’s who they are. But they had managed to stay sober for years on end. Perhaps, I needed to sit down, take the cotton out of my ears, put the cotton in my mouth, and listen instead of spouting off. They just may know a thing or two more than I do about living soberly and peacefully. Perhaps I could learn that too.

I still spout off to friends when I am passionate, but I have learned how to listen to their point of view as well. I am in this life to learn and grow. There are several lessons in this universe that I have yet to learn and incorporate. That is half the fun of being in the 12 step program of AA = learning. I feel that every day has a new lesson in it for me to experience. Each day offers more do overs. It is like the movie “Groundhog Day!” ha ha. Wherever I go, there I am. There is the postal person, the person in traffic, the clerk in the store, and the dog in the street. What I breathe out, I breathe in. If I see things as all bad and wrong; that is how I appear to others. It is all about perception. Chose how you want to live this day. It is either a good day or a bad one. Your choice.  I will give you one little hint: the good one is easier!

 

It is that Simple

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. ~ Albert Einstein

Alcohol has a special capacity to make ordinary people into extraordinary monsters and over confident fools. As a youngster, I was painfully shy and an introvert. People could make me cry just by looking at me sternly. I grew up on a large farm here in the Midwest where we were pretty insulated from the community at large. I really thought all families had abuse, heavy drinking and smoking going on. I had a huge revelation at my first sleep over (age 8) for a friend’s birthday party. What occurred was so foreign to me (a dad who came home for dinner by 6 PM, no booze at the table, no smoking, and a dad who prayed and played with his kids. Then at night, he read us a story.

That was the last time I spent an overnight in anyone else’s home that wasn’t family. It frightened me to know that ours was not a “normal” family after all. It haunted me until at last I took up the bottle on my own behalf. The booze made me feel “normal” again. It made me feel powerful, glib, sociable, friendly, outspoken, and empowered. It worked! No wonder my dad loved it so. But, as they say: we invite the booze into our homes as a guest, but it soon makes demands and takes over. Then it becomes the lord and master of our universe. The good news is that we have this simple program of recovery to teach us to live, breathe and exist freely without the crutch of of alcohol. Have the courage and wisdom to live freely.