Thursday, October 26, 2006

There's nothing like a hug from a friend

"I luv you!"

I got clean in NA where one of our slogans was "hugs not drugs." Hugging meant a lot to me when I was first getting clean because it had been a long, long while since someone had touched me with any affection during my addiction. There are some people I'm not comfortable hugging, and to them I give a sideways hug or avoid them when I see them coming at me with that "I have to hug you!" look in their eyes.

Lately I've noticed a lot of judgment about people in the rooms from, of course, other people in the rooms. I'm really working on keeping my mouth shut about others unless I can say something nice. I'm screening my words according to a Sufi saying known as the three gates. Before I speak I try to ask myself:

  1. Are these words true?
  2. Are these words kind?
  3. Are these words necessary?

I am the queen of taking cheap shots at people to make others laugh. I'm trying not to do that anymore. Change is hard and I look for all the tools I can get. I've found when others are having at a person behind their back, it's better not to chime in, no matter what you have to add to the conversation.

I was at a political fundraiser last night for a local race helping a friend of mine out with the event hosting. A woman's name came up who failed to attend because she hadn't supported this particular candidate in the primary election. (It's not good party politics, you know, not to throw your support behind the winning same-party candidate and we can't have anyone not goosestepping with their political party.) A lot of chatter went on about this woman and, I'll be the first to admit it, I've noticed this woman can be difficult. But I also know that after my transplant, she took a full day and drove me about 250 miles round trip to St. Louis to make sure I made it to a doctor's appointment.

Yes, she has a big personality and facets of it were brought up by several people. I could have jumped in and defended her, or I could have jumped in with a tasty anecdote of my own. I felt like the appropriate course of action was to say nothing. It's not my job to protect her reputation, stop others from gossiping or try to point out the error of their ways. It's simply my job, I think, not to participate in the mud slinging and to remove myself if possible from the situation. I chose to walk into the other room.

One of the places where I attend many of my meetings has been going through some transitions in membership, and we've attracted some new members and lost a few old ones. These new members are getting a thorough "inventory taking" when they're not present. I wonder, then, what my fellow members say about me behind my back? I'll bet it's good. Over the years, I've given them cause to take my inventory and will no doubt, inadvertently or otherwise, continue to do so from time to time.

But here's what I think. If we drive members away by picking and chosing who the "winners" are, where do the "losers" go to find recovery?


SCoUt said...

What a great post. ALL of it is so very important to keep in mind.
I am sorta new at all of this and this trying to live a psiritual life deal. I get so uncomfortable when my friends and/or my gf start talking about someone in the program, or critiquing what they shared, etc. I think I will start using the three questions you posted.
I don't know what else to do about it, really.....
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I was taken aback by the early hugs of recovery. They seemed so invasive. Today I understand the need for the gentle loving kindness behind them but am still on guard for the not so respectful touch of some of our members. And today I can be a teacher of these lessons so all can have one of the many wonderful treasures of Recovery.

Meg Moran said...

Oh! I can tell I'm going to love your blog. Your wisdom about the transitioning of group members is so true. And how we conduct ouselves during this process will determine the future of the group and ultimately our own recovery. You are a good example of the traditions in action.