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Tuesday, December 27, 2016
I am taking some time for myself this morning.  It will be much easier to do once my mom returns to work, but I have an opportunity now and I'm taking it.

I am so excited for 2017!  At the beginning of 2016, I remember talking with Hubby and saying 2017 is going to be our year.  I don't think 2016 was that horrible of a year and I want to take some time reminiscing about good times, during the next few days.

I'll list a few big ticket ones right now.

1) Swimming in the hotel pool at Zion National Park, while looking up at the view.  Also, J microwaving the underwater camera on the same trip (haha).  And the hike on the red rocks with the kids.  (exhilaration!)
2) Singing "Let it Go" while jumping on C........ bed in Las Vegas
3) The whole visit with C...... in Vegas (including the park with the family  before hand)
4) Being a part of J......... wedding.
5) My 30th birthday outing with my mommy friends
6) My 30th birthday outing with my hometown friends and family
7) Getting my fantastic and perfectly located office, across from the library.

When I previously said 2017 was our year, I wasn't discounting the joy and good times we would have in 2016, but I was recognizing that recovery is a process.  It certainly is.  And we have seen a lot in 2016.  And I've gotten a lot of clarity.  Phew.  Ok, moving forward.

Life Goal for Me (not a resolution, but a life goal)
"It's not my story to tell"

When I was in High School, I prided myself as a good "secret keeper."  Whenever anyone asked me who someone liked or what their secret was, I would simply repeat "It's not my secret to tell."

Similarly, a lot of my students know each other.  I have a policy where I share absolutely no information about students with each other.  I don't even admit to knowing them.  It's a joke.  The kids like it... but, it's also vitally important.  They know that they are in a safe place.  They can share whatever they'd like to about their academic program, they know I won't do it for them.  So, if they ask what level their friend is on, or if he plays a certain game, or how many tokens he's earned.  My response is always, "I don't know" in a sing songy voice.  They know the rule.  It gives them security.  They will say,

"I saw so and so leaving when I was coming in."
"I don't know...."  with a smile.
"I know you work with him, I actually gave him a high five!"
"All I can say is.... I don't know."

My policy is that they can share whatever they'd like about their program, but I won't share it for them.

So, I've done well with that in some aspects of my life.

Living with my mom, though, has reminded me of the security I want to create for my sweet girls.  Throughout my life, my mom has complained about my sister and I to all her friends.  They know all of our worst moments.  And, in fact, she would talk about it as a "talking point" in front of us.  It didn't feel good.  Moving back in, and having to see family who know my story.... a story that I don't share with many of my closest friends = uncomfortable.  And, sure enough, as soon as we sit down around the cheese/cracker plate, my mom starts complaining (in an energetic/excited/gossipy way) about how poorly the girls are sleeping and all the inconveniences of having them  here.  She is thriving on it.  She loves having them here and this is her way of expressing it.  Meanwhile, J is behind me.  She starts repeating, with tears in her eyes, "I'm a good girl.  I'm a good girl!"  I told my mom what J was saying and she said, "Oh, of course, you're a good girl.  I love having you here."  And I take J outside to play.  I should have taken her away from the conversation immediately.  Now, I know.

My mom and I have had this conversation.  We had it before family came over.  I told her it made me uncomfortable and asked her not to do it.  She said that it is her right, as I am an extension of her.  We agreed to disagree.  She simply does not agree with me, that it's "not her story to tell."  Even when I told her that I haven't told most of my closest friends and may never tell them many of the details.  She tells coworkers, everyone.  Anyways.......

I do this too.  :::::::::;CRINGE::::::::::::  It's true.

There are certain confidences that I clearly don't share.  You know, I'm still a great secret keeper.  But, when everyone wants to know why I'm not with my husband or why he's not coming to Christmas, I have to work HARD on not telling his part of the story.  And I've not always done a great job at this.

I've outed Hubby as bipolar (with his permission, but still......).  And I've routinely told parts of Hubby's story to friends and family when they ask how he is.  I tell if he's doing well, I tell if he's not doing well.  And when dramatic events happen, I tell everyone.  It used to be so bad that people would ask how I was and I'd start talking about hubby.  This is actually VERY common in Al Anon circles.

"How are you doing?"
"I'm doing well.  Hubby has been sober for about 2 months."

Experienced members will then ask again.

"I'm glad he's doing so well.  But, how are YOU doing?"

Or they'll just wait it out.  The longer we are in program, the more we learn to shift the focus on ourselves.  Experienced members may also simply respond, "Keep coming back."

So, with all that, I want to adapt a strict, "It's not my story to tell" policy.  Even when it's awkward.  Even when people expect an update.  I don't need to tell Hubby's story and I don't need to tell my kids.  And if I want to share my part of it, I can give that person respect by asking first.  They can say yes or no.  \

Awareness, Acceptance. Action.

I think I'm at action.  But, I make mistakes.  Even when I'm aware.  Being with  my mom, though, has reminded me of how that feels.  Hubby may not be telling a lot of this stuff to his closest friends.  He may not want to tell ANYONE.  If he is not telling people, what right do I have to tell people.  Absolutely none.  Unless it's my therapist or a safe person.  And having a safe person who also knows Hubby may not be a good idea.  In fact, Hubby may have wanted to come to Christmas with both of our families if I hadn't shared parts of his story that he was uncomfortable sharing.  Same story as me and my mom.

It's bad.  It's something that amends definitely need to be made for.  And I am grateful that living with my mom has hilighted this thing that I do.

Simple Answer: It's not my story to tell.

Passage 1
Maybe we need many points of view in order to understand life more fully; after all, no one person's view is totally complete. So when my partner, my child, my employer, or an Al-Anon friend takes a position unlike my own, I have a choice. I can assume that one of us is wrong and defend myself, or I can be grateful for the chance to see that there are countless ways of looking at life. An abundance of wisdom is available if I keep an open mind.
I try to practice this attitude when my loved one and I discussed anything, even TV. We often perceive a TV show so differently that it's hard to believe we've been watching the same station! I used to take these disagreements personally. One of us had to be wrong, and my position had to be accepted! Today I don't think there's anything personal about a difference of opinion. If you think this sea is blue and I think it's green, I don't have to spend all day trying to convince you. Al-Anon helps me believe in myself and respect that other people are entitled to do the same.
Today's Reminder
I don't have to invalidate anyone else's views in order to validate my own. It's all right to disagree. Today I will respect someone's right to think differently.
"Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too." Voltaire

*This is one of the parts of al anon that I value the most.  Mutual respect.

Passage 2
Here’s one of the most useful lessons I’ve learned in Al-Anon: If I don’t want to be a doormat, I have to get up off the floor. In other words, although I can’t control what other people say, do, or thing, I am responsible for my own choices.
Looking back, I can accept that plenty of unacceptable behavior was directed at me, but I was the one who sat back and took it and often came back for more. I was a willing participant in a dance that required two partners. I felt like a victim, but in many ways I was a volunteer.
Today, as a result of my recovery in Al-Anon, I know that I am not helpless. I have choices. When I get that old feeling that tells me I am a victim, I can regard it as a red flag, a warning that I may be participating (with my thoughts or my actions) in something that is not in my best interest. I can resist the temptation to blame others and look to my own involvement instead. That’s where I can make changes.
Today’s Reminder
It can be very empowering to take responsibility for my own choices. I will act in my own best interest today.
“I would do well to accept the challenge to look to my own recovery before I spent any more of my precious life wishing the alcoholic would change. . .” -Living With Sobriety\

Passage 3
In Al-Anon we learn to "Think" before we react to angry outbursts and drunken acquisitions. We learn to hold our tongues when tempted to interfere in something that is clearly none of our business we learn the value of silence.
But silence can be more cutting than cruel words when it's used to punish. Deliberately ignoring someone's attempts to communicate is no better than engaging in a battle of words. Rage that is expressed non-verbally through cold looks and slammed doors is still rage. When I seek to hurt someone else with silence or any other weapon at my disposal, I always hurt myself.
If I have something I need to say and am as yet unable to say it in a constructive manner, perhaps I can go to an Al-Anon meeting or call my Sponsor and release some of the explosive feelings. I will remember that my aim is to heal myself and my relationships. I will try to make choices that support this goal.
Today's Reminder
What message does my silence communicate? Today I will try to align the stillness of my tongue with a stillness of spirit.
". . . If the silence has in it even a trace of anger or hostility, it loses all its power . . . True quiet has the quality of serenity, acceptance, peace." One Day at a Time in Al-Anon


**I would like to memorize this acronym and use it more frequently.  


  1. I like to think that passage 1 applies to me, though I'm sure I could do better. Passage 2 was a needed reminder.