It was the very late 90’s and I was two years into recovery. An uninvited phone ring had awoken me. Rising with sleep in my eyes, gum in my mouth and ignoring the Caller ID, I answered.

“Did I wake you? Are you hung over? Don’t you work? YouLoser! (one word)”? I knew not only the voice, but the cadence all too well. And I was indeed sober.

With neither protest nor attitude I gently hung up, replacing my head on the pillow. CLICK.

Maybe the lesson was sinking in. Perhaps the words of the wiser were beginning to resonate: If I really try to do the right thing, then what others
think of me is none of my business. And today I’m trying.

The program has taught me that it is smart to want to hear what I don’t want to hear…That we remain egomaniacs with inferiority complexes.
I get that.

Today my support system is varied. A montage of family and friends care enough to lovingly hold a mirror up to me, if only I ask. And today I ask. (Just a week ago a smiling Stuart urged: “B, you don’t want to do that).

I trust my judgment today…much more than before…because these days, at least, I TRY to look at my behavior…and without the blinders. Today I’m not afraid to stumble with dignity. And I do…often. Right, wrong, or indifferent, though, by and large, I am doing the best that I can. Not every day, surely, but on balance. And I’ll take the balance.

My brother used to say “You DON’T know when to stop.” Or was that my father, or my mother…or the Jersey Girl? (Answer, E: All of the above).
Oh, I still get that—but not as much. Progress, not perfection.

Last week someone emailed me criticizing a blog. My knee jerk reaction was to apologize; it’s hard not to care what others think. Within moments, however, one of my kids texted with a kind word about the same entry…and it occurred to me…if I’m trying my best, then YES, what other people think of me IS none of my business.

Still—Easier said than done.

2 Responses to “I AM…I SAID”

  1. Aunt Helen says:

    I’m not sure how your brother, your father, your mother or “the Jersey Girl” said it, but I do remember how Pa said it to you when you were a very little boy.

    It was: “You don’t know VEN to stop.”

    His pronunciation and accent carried over from our days in Lomza.

  2. Marc says:

    I have found you have been blessed with a terrific mind and ability to reason. Moreover, you have common sense. Please trust your judgement as it will more often than not be right. It’s like when every instinct in your body tells you to make the call with your weak middle pair-go with it. I hope you will trust that and yourself(even if what I think isn’t your business). HAPPY 60th!!!!!!!!!

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