Just Say It!

“There is value in stating the obvious. What is obvious to me is not obvious to others. What seems simple and clear to you is confusing to me.”  Teresa Colón

We live in a world where everyone presumes to know about everything and everyone else.  We think we know what the next person is thinking. And why not? We live our lives connected to social networks, email, TV and telephones.  Viral videos circle the globe in the time it takes to boil an egg. We work and socialize with like minded people so we all think alike, right?

My_Wife_and_My_Mother-In-Law_(Hill).svgWe just don’t see things from the same perspective. My past and my priorities cause me to focus on things that you don’t because of your perspective. What for me is ‘common sense’ might not be the same for you. While the article that caught my attention (link below) has its focus more on the business/work environment, it is also very true in any relationship. I can’t read your mind and you can’t read mine so please tell me what you are thinking.  Not telling me will lead to errors in judgement, anger and resentments. You see the young woman, and I see the old lady.

Here in Costa Rica we have teeny ants that appear out of nowhere to feast on even a single crystal of sugar. Obviously you don’t leave the sugar out. But not everyone knows that. Guests in my home are blissfully unaware of the little critters. I try to make a point about this whenever I pull the sugar bowl from the fridge. My ‘obvious’ isn’t yours. If I don’t tell you, you’ll never know.

Ask couples living who’ve just starting living together about the importance of stating the obvious. Hanging the roll of toilet paper with the end over the top seems a no brainer, unless of course you have a cat. Do you take the garbage out the night before or early morning is a question of how adaptive the racoons and monkeys are in your neighbourhood. Leaving the keys in the deadbolt at night might just save a life in an earthquake. Don’t feed a dog chicken bones. I know these things, but you might not because your experience may be very different from mine.

State your expectations. Many a family trip has been ruined because what the parents want for their children is way different from what their children have in mind. An open discussion before leaving on the trip about the various details can resolve many issues before they even arise. There’s a whole generation between parents and children and that gap still exists between adult children and their parents. This makes a world of difference in perspective and values.

It just make things a whole lot easier if we stated what we think is the ‘obvious’ because: ‘it isn’t’.  Human relations are hard enough without adding to the burden by leaving things unsaid, by making assumptions and by having expectations. As the saying goes, when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. Just say it.

Here’s Teresa’s complete article from Medium.com:

Returning to the River

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, let alone sat down to write this blog. I’d like to say it’s because I was on vacation, too busy with a variety of projects or any other number of reasons other than the truth: I lost heart.

I lost heart because I allowed my ego to stand in my way, an ego that told me that what I do wasn’t making a difference.  It said that what I was doing in life was’t important and I didn’t matter. It said that I really don’t matter. My ego speaks to me in many different ways but usually it does so subtly, undermining my self esteem bit by bit and bringing me down lower with each nip. Slowly I start to believe that I am worth less than I was before until I start to see myself as unworthy and then, worthless.

We usually think of ego as bravado and pride and over rating ourselves: an ego trip is where we build ourselves up way above where we are. But the opposite is also true. An ego trip can also bring us down low and into depression and despair. In both cases I am thinking only about me; I’m better than everyone else–I’m worse than everyone else. Either way, I am deep within ‘self’. And in my case, when I get into ‘self’, that’s when my disease of addiction starts to make inroads to take over.

I am grateful that I am in a recovery program that helps me to recognize when I’ve pulled the plug on the sink and am heading down and circling the drain. I know I need to stop the stream of negativity and move forward. I can start thinking about myself as I am: neither perfection nor damnation. I can remind myself that I am on a journey and that it’s up to me to take the next step and move forward or wallow in the mire. I can make the allow myself to believe that I’m stuck in the mud at the edge of the river and that this is my destination and I don’t deserve any more. But I don’t have to stay here and wallow in the muck of my own making, believing that’s all there is to life.

And so, bit by bit, I am taking back what I allowed my ego to take from me. I don’t have to do it all in one day. All I need to do is stand up and look around at where I am; I don’t want to be here so I can step up out of the muck where the land meets the river and back onto the river. I don’t have to be success and perfection: I want to head toward a destination where I am true to myself, my heart. And it all begins with a decision and an action: returning to the river.

Meetings!

When I first started in recovery I was told that if I want to get it and to keep it I needed to do five things: don’t drink/use, go to meetings, get a home group, get a sponsor, work the steps. A little over seven years later, I’m still doing these five things and I would have to say that there is no way my life would be as complete as it is today without following that advice.

Over the years I’ve probably gone to an average of six meetings a week.  At the beginning I often went twice a day: it gave me something to focus upon and besides, I didn’t know what else to do with my time. Before recovery I spent most of my time drinking/using or scheming to drink/use, scrounging for cash or dreaming of the perfect high. Now (somewhat) sober, I found meetings allowed me a reprieve from drifting back into my old ways of thinking and taught me new ways of approaching life.

By going to meetings I learned how others applied the steps to their lives. I could use their experience as my own. I know what happens when you allow anger to take over your life because I have heard about the experience of others. I don’t have to invent tools and approaches to situations because I can borrow the tools and approaches that others have shared at meetings. I don’t have to wonder what will happen to me if I stop going to meetings because fellow members have shared what happened to them when they stopped. I may only have a day or a week or a year or 10 years in recovery, but if I go to meetings with an open mind I can benefit from the many, many years of experience of those that are sharing around the table. You’re my team and without you, I have no chance of winning.

Early on I was taught the 70-20-10 rule of going to recovery meetings. Seventy percent of the time you hear good solid material that you can pack into your toolbox and use at a later date. Twenty percent of the time what you hear has you at the edge of your seat because it’s exactly what you need to hear now. And ten percent of the time the share is a lesson in patience and tolerance of others. What I must remember in this, because it has happened to me it that while I may be experiencing a  10% moment, it could be a 20% moment for another person in the room. I can always learn something at a meeting.

Making meetings isn’t the program of recovery; the Twelve Steps are the program. Meetings, however, are part of the way that I can learn about the program and deepen my understanding. They are one of those first five things that have been working for me in my recovery. When I feel I don’t really need a meeting or I don’t want to go, that, I have learned too, is exactly when I need to go to a meeting. I keep the program close to my heart and mind; I don’t even want to consider the alternative. I’ll stick with the winning team.