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July 23 • That's My Story

Day 745

I cannot count the number of times I've walked into a meeting — or signed-in to an online group — happy to be there but wishing I was doing something more productive. When the topic of the day is offered, those feelings of confliction increase when I can't imagine having anything to contribute. Then, of course, as the meeting continues, I experience an "ah-ha" here and a "damn" over there until it's clear this is where I needed to be.

This morning's meeting was like that. The topic was 'taking ownership of our story,' or something like that. What does that even mean?? Some of these guys come up with some crazy problems that are just a waste of time, if you get my drift.

The first fellow to share then got my attention when his response put a little twist on what I thought the subject was, and it hit me right in the metaphorical solar-plexus; it took my breath away. Then the next guy piled on, and the next guy, and the one after that. I finally spoke up and said, "What you guys said. Ditto. All of it."

I never even knew I had a 'story' until I did my First Step. I knew I had done some bad stuff, and I was caught in a death spiral, and I was about to crush the hearts of people I love, and all that, but I had no concept of a story with a pattern that would become my roadmap in recovery. Step One was a singularly significant moment in my life — a moment that took several months to complete.

The rest of my story is how my patterns show a reprehensible habit of blaming everyone around me for whatever defect I was suffering from. I had no idea I was doing that, and still catch myself sliding back into that thinking and having to fight my way out. Everything I did in my acting out was the direct result of some wrong or pain caused to my tender little heart by someone who should have sacrificed themselves for my every whim. And all the time, I was telling myself what I good guy I was for putting up with their shortcomings and showing them grace.

That last paragraph has a little sarcasm, but not much exaggeration. I was a sonofabitch behind the mask of a caring and wise counselor, friend, husband, and father. I have to own that for the rest of my life while finding a way to not lay down in the slop and wallow in it. Been there, done that, working on a new story now.



That's my story and I'm stickin' to it

That's my life and all that I've got

Call me a liar, call me a writer

Believe me or not

–Jimmy Buffett, “That's My Story and I'm Stickin' to It”



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