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Friday, April 25, 2014

Lessons I Learned in April

The best part of being a regular Sober Catholic Blogger is the chance to look back at the previous month and do a hard core evaluation of what I shared with all of you.

That being said, let me revisit my original commitment to living my life as a Catholic Out Loud and a Sober Woman, trying to respect the Traditions of the 12 Step Group to which I owe my life.

I vowed to do my best to be hardest on ME, to try and evaluate the ups and downs of life and my reaction to them. I would be introspective; evaluating my actions and reactions against the standard set for me as a Catholic and as a sober member of the 12 Step group.

I would really try not to lie. Now, this may seem like I am equivocating but what I have come to learn is that I have a perspective that might not encompass the entire show (so to speak) and so any omission of something YOU might think is important and, therefore, assume is a deliberate attempt at falsehood on my part may not be what it seems. That being said, if you can bring a perspective to a situation that is beyond a fancy way of saying, "You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny", you will just have to accept that I don't remember or see something the way you see it. I do not understand that as lying, but you might and I respect your decision to decide I am a liar.

I will not deliberately hurt someone. If, however, my evaluation of a situation hurts your feelings and you cannot see that I am trying to figure out how I should have behaved or will behave in the future, I am sorry. The hurt is unintentional.

OK, now...let's look back on April 2014.

What did I learn?

St Paul recommends that we try to be all things to all people. For Catholics that means acknowledging that the practice of our Faith can be done beautifully and effectively by the upper crust and those of us walking in the mud and the mire. One does not need to be a theologian to be a faithful Catholic. That being said, if one knows their faith there is no way on God's green earth they will walk away from Holy Mother Church. NO one will walk freely away from Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, or the fullness of the Christian experience. So while we all do not have to be Catechists, it is essential that we know our faith and TRUST the Church.

As a member of the sobriety world, however, I cannot be all things to all people. I am a Clerical Supervisor, a Catechist, a writer (maybe), and an artist (kind of). I do not know how to be something I am not - a clinical social worker, a psychologist, a counselor, a guru of all-things-sober. And while I have seen amazing things happen in my 12 Step group for people who have problems other than alcoholism, I cannot be Captain America and dive blindly into a fray of which I have no experience or knowledge. To do so would be arrogant on my part, dangerous to the other person involved and basically my attempt to play God in someone else's life.

I have learned to trust my instincts a little more. If it smells like a duck, walks like a duck and does a lot of quacking, the chances are really good that I am dealing with a duck - even if it looks like a zebra. Zebra suits are easy to find and lots of ducks wear them. Some of those ducks are not even AWARE they have donned the Zebra suit and when you point out the zipper to them, they will tell you they cannot possibly be a duck in zebra clothing because some of their best friends are zebras and those zebras will vouch for them.

However, if you are (in your everyday speech) referring to members of The Church as 'papists' you might as well take off the zebra suit and admit you are a duck. While we have (some of us anyway) reclaimed that derogatory name in some quarters, it is still a hurtful moniker. Keep it to yourself.

I have learned to eat better and maintain my weight loss during times of illness. I am not getting to the gym as often as I would like but I am back at daily morning exercise and committing to three times a week running on that stupid treadmill (among other things). I feel good about myself. I am never going to be a supermodel but I am a lot healthier than I was three years ago when the physical self improvement mission began and for that I am responsible.

Last but not least, I have learned to stand a little straighter and firmer. I have learned to tell someone calmly and carefully when their behavior is not going to be tolerated. I have learned to let them make the decision to stay or go but to give them enough information about me so that their decision is made with honesty. It might still hurt but by golly it is honest and that is the most important thing someone like me can be - Honest.

Thank you all for keeping me in prayer this past month. Thank you for being in my life.

1 comment:

R.L. G said...

It must be the month for lessons, or year for lessons. The Year of Learning Dangerously. I surrender (this too shall pass.)

Ahead I can see the line of torches heading towards the Promise Land, but those darn shiny things to the left and right are distracting as all get-out. Keep it up, there is safety in numbers. Of which you are one of. At least allergy season is winding down in a month or so.