Friday, January 30, 2009

Humility

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably have noticed that I am struggling with it lately.  It is kind of funny, because right now, I don't have any problems with anyone at work, or in my homegroup, or any other AA group.  I don't really have any problems with my family or friends.  

I spoke at a meeting on January 2.  A very old and very dear friend who has known me since I was newly sober introduced me.  He made a comment about my humility... he went on and on about all the "great" things I have done, and he said that if he didn't tell them they would never know because of my humility.  Well, to me, for me to even write that reeks of arrogance.  But I am trying to write about something important here... an inventory of sorts... so indulge me, thank you.

At work yesterday someone told me that I am running the hospital.  Well, I just thought that was ridiculous and I told her so.  But she went on to explain what she meant by that and I had to agree with the basic premise of her argument.  Now, I am not going to put my thumbs through my belt and waltz into work today with an attitude of a CEO, but I am going to think about how much work I am getting done and how very vital it is to the survival of my workplace.  It is not in my nature to do that.  

Last week two women at work who I dearly love (I used to despise one of them, oh the wonderful power of inventory, amends, and a loving God!) took me aside and told me what a great job I am doing and asked me to please give myself some credit for it.   Really, my first thought was "ick."  Am I turning into one of those "low self-esteem" attention seekers?  I find that type of behavior so very tiresome in others.  I see it as not so much low self-esteem as high self-centeredness... but maybe that's just me.  

So, I have this blog.  I started writing it (in 2005) for a specific reason and thought I would post a couple times and that would be the end of it.  But I got discovered and embraced by this wonderful sober blogging community.  It was one of the best things that has happened to me in my sobriety.  We had so much fun, it was fellowship at its finest.  The kind of fellowship that makes you grow.  Most of those people have stopped blogging, some are even drinking and using again.  I have three wonderful friendships that started here and I think will be lifelong... Pammie, Daave, and Scott W.  I just love these three.  

Sorry, I am beating around the bush here...  I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks trying to analyze why I no longer feel good about my blog.  One reason is  that I have written very nearly every day for over 3 years.  Almost everything there is to know about me is out there somewhere.  My blog has been found by people I had not intended to read my blog.  I have gone back and edited some stuff out.  But most of it is still there.   To me, this defeats the whole purpose of having a blog.  I think a blog is a great place to anonymously talk about stuff without the possibility of hurting someone else or impacting anyone who is "really" in your life.  So, that is one reason.

But I think the other reason is more character defect based.  In blogland, I feel that the whole thing has passed me by.  The old peeps are mostly gone, and I have grown tired of developing relationships with people who are likely to one day just disappear.  Really.  You go to their blog one day and it is gone.  Poof!  The End.  Keeping the links to other bloggers current is practically a full time job.  And if I go to your blog more than a couple of times and you haven't posted, I just stop going to your blog.  I am one of the busiest people I know... I don't have time to click through a whole list of people who blog irregularly.  The other thing is that in the blogging community, we have embraced a whole group of people who do not appear to me to be in recovery.  They are still exploring "different" ways.  They don't want to be told about AA by "AA nazis,"  they are loudly proclaiming that AA or Alanon are not the only ways.  OK, fine, but aren't we writing about our programs of recovery?  Isn't that what our blogs are about?  

I think it takes that energy to be a real blogger.  You have to visit the other blogs and comment.  And then they come by and comment.  And then you develop a relationship.  

So, what has this got to do with humility?  Well, I don't put my sobriety date on my header or sidebar.  I don't post my awards - which I should.  I don't tell you about all the offers I have had to post elsewhere. I don't tell you about the offers to even be paid to write about my sobriety.  I allowed another "recovery" site to post my stuff for a while, but realized it was a terrible idea.  I rescinded my permission for them to use my blog and after a while, they started using it again.  (note to self:  check Wellsphere today to make sure they haven't put it back again).   I feel like I have already talked about myself to death.   For some reason, I am wounded when someone drives by and drops condescending comments.  For some reason, I feel like they should surely know that I am somewhat familiar with our beautiful program since I have been practicing it for over 24 years.  But I don't tell the casual reader that, so how would they know... particularly on days when I am being a brat.  

My real target audience is the shaky and scared person sitting at their computer trying to figure out if AA is a place they can go.  I want them to know that if they are alcoholic, AA is the place to go for a solution.  Those people seldom comment, they occasionally e-mail and it makes my day.  I have the couple of friends who blog and we e-mail, and then the triumvirate of my blogging BFFs, Pammie, Daave, and Scott.  

I guess I am saying that I don't really feel like I am clear on my mission here.  Maybe I need to write a Mission Statement for my blog.  Maybe I need to take a break.  Maybe I need to turn off comments.  Maybe I just need to write for myself and not be looking for your response.  But I think it is all about sharing, the give and take.  

I know that I was a hopeless drunk.  I know that by the Grace of God, I found AA.  I know that I "worked" AA's program for a long time before I realized that all the "work" in the world could not produce what I had been so freely given by a Loving God.  It is my duty to turn around and share this gift with others.  That is why I don't like to talk about the "work" or the unbelievable (to me) number of sober years that I have been given.   I think if I were capable of producing this myself, I would have done so years before I reached the point of surrender that alcoholism can produce.  

But then, I do want to share the number of years with you all... it is so amazing to me that I have gotten to live this way for a decent percentage of my life.  I have realized that people frequently misunderstand what I mean when I talk about the "work" not producing the results.  You have to do it, there is no way around it, but then, please, don't try to take the credit for the results you get.  

Oh, sorry, nothing is working for me on this blog right now. I can't seem to put together a post that makes sense anymore.  I even went to confession on Saturday to talk about this blog and ask the priest some questions.  It wasn't my regular confessor, and I thought this man in a brown robe wouldn't understand what I was talking about when I talked about my blog.  Then later in the day, I checked him out and realized what a huge web presence he has... I am pretty sure he checked my blog too.  He gave me some very good counsel.  Maybe I should try using it!  

16 comments:

Mark said...

Bingo, bingo and bingo...

I certainly hear you loud and clear!

Scott W said...

This came to my mind:


Ask and you shall receive,
Seek and ye shall find,
Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7

I am grateful to be on your short list.

Cat said...

I think I am a newer blogger and only wanted to comment on what I have been blessed with to take away from your blog and others like you.

When I began my blog, I was lost. it was Jan of 2007 and my husband was still drinking - in 10 months he would be arrested for his third DUI and I would be seriously considering what the heck I was doing staying with such an incapable person...

I was searching for an outlet for myself and instead what I found was information. A peep hole into the worlds of other alcoholics just like my husband, who worked a program that was working for them.

I went to Al anon after reading blogs about the good it had done families and I really wanted that peace, that grace that they had, that gift of the program.

I visit you weekly, soak in your words and leave with a little bit more information, knowledge. a new set of glasses maybe, that I can see my husband through.

Whatever you do, just stay true to yourself.

dAAve said...

I read your message each and every day. Whether you're writing about AA, work, your flowers, your running or whatever, you always have a message.
That's why I keep coming back. Those who stop writing, whether it's about recovery or not, deprive me (us) of that personal insight.

Kathy Lynne said...

If it makes you feel any better, I was one of those shaky, scared people trying to figure it out. Trying to find a way to get sober. It took me two weeks in blogland to get to AA. I'm sure yours was one of the blogs I read, maybe, maybe not..I honestly don't remember. I know I was continuously encouraged towards AA. I will never forget Scout commenting to me in all my musings that first 2 weeks.."Do you even got to meetings?" Perhaps not meant in a kind way...but it was direct and to the point...and the answer was there to see.

So if your mission was to reach someone like me...then you succeeded..because my sobriety is a direct result of this blogging community as well as my online yahoo group and AA. Not to mention where that all finally led and awakened me.

That One is God, may you find him now.

GratefulOne said...

Mary Christine,

I love your blog. It was one of the things that has really brought me out of isolation and re-discovered how loving the sober community is. I hope your HP grants you the peace you need. You provide great service to us.

Michael

steveroni said...

For the second time since the last week in June 2008, I am left SPEECHLESS! (But you cannot tell from the following!):

After reading your blog, Mary, I believe I want to QUIT blogging NOW! I mean, "...What's the point?" Ego? Heck, that's what I wish to reduce in my life. And I'm not here to TEACH anybody--anything! So--WHY?

I enjoy being on someone's "shortlist" sometimes--but there's that PRIDE crap again. Who cares whether I am important enough or not? Who cares, actually, whether I just stop blogging now, or next week? Or after one full year?

Funny thing, but when one leaves for a time, and returns months or years later--everyone is ALL OVER them, with a thousand "We missed you" messages.

steveroni said...

"You have to visit the other blogs and comment. And then they come by and comment. And then you develop a relationship." --Mary Christine

These are the EXACT words you wrote me in July 2008, when I had Emailed you, "How do I get started blogging?"

Well, I've got at least one more TRADITION thing, because it's ready to publish. After that--who knows? "Ya Never Know".....

steveroni said...

Mary, this is the first time I've EVEr "triple-dipped" but....

Seriously, I thought that our blogging was helping some people, who we might not even know about. And that may well be the case.

But you raise so many good points in your posting, that maybe the effort is not worth the result--if any there is.

However, isn't God in charge of "results" as long as we put in the work? Oh gosh, I am REALLY frustrated this Friday night. And my sponsor really is not much help with the blogging situation.

I'm not yet searching for answers here, I'm still trying to formulate the questions!

Anonymous said...

Mary, in 2006 when I was scared to get sober and scared of AA, I read your blog. And those first few weeks of sobriety, when I was practically crawling out of my own skin with shame and anxiety, I read your blog. Every day. Almost every day, anyway. For almost three years now. I'm grateful for you and your blog. Your voice has calmed me many times. Thank you.

Pam said...

One of the things you hit on here that is very different from a few years ago is the consistancy of the bloggers.
We all knew exactly when each other would post and so at that time you could count on their input.
We (you,me,scott and dave) still do that. I have to believe that alot of bloggers out there appreciate that about us.
We don't offer any excuses we "do it". When I decided to post "optionally" on Sundays, I made sure that I let my readers know that.
I just can't do the click and check thing every day for others posts.
Now, You Mary are never going to be able to change the fact that you started your blog with the heart of helping.
For me, if I help someone great, but it's not my sole objective. I like to whine, entertain and basically show the life of a sober person trying to do the deal to the best of my ability.
You and I both know how pissy I can be about comments we get, and about posting by bloggers claiming to be in the program but are really on the fringes. But for you...it goes right to your heart. It effects your spirit. I don't think that is something you can help.
I hope you can reach some kind of decision about how to proceed.
You have a voice here.
You have a presence here.
You are loved and needed.
I did the no comments thing for a week once and loved it. Remember you hated it because you liked to read the comments.
You will figure this out.

Syd said...

I like to read what people write and I like to read what people comment about what people write. This isn't a job for me but something creative and a way to let others out there know about Al-Anon. My sponsor reads my blog and says that it's great service. I get comments indicating that it helps them. I'm grateful for that. I'm not responsible for their recovery though or how they work the program. That's up to them. I do what I have to do to work on my own recovery. And I'm trying to avoid over analyzing the whys and the what fors.

Anonymous said...

MC:
This is exactly why I read your blog. it's real; you're real and you're not afraid to let it out there. Maybe your mission statement for the blog has changed since you started it; but perhaps that's the evolution of it all; your evolution and the blogs evolution. I don't think it matters much why though, I don't read it for your flowers or jam making, knitting etc., I read it to appreciate how these things enhance your life, how YOU use them to find joy and God and emotional sobriety. How your goodness and flaws are equally shared without apology but with thoughtful reflection just like today's post. That's what I learn from you; how to be comfortable in my vast greatness and in my utter weakness; you do, in fact do this with a humility; it shines through your words. I seldom post a comment; I email you from time to time but I'm checking in with your blog at least weekly and often pray for you and your family. Keep it up MC.
-Dave from Maryland

Scott W said...

Gee whiz! There are some incredible comments here.

Now, can I be D'Artagnan since I am the youngest in sobriety? And you three can be Athos, Porthos, and Aramis?

Anonymous said...

Your blog is working for me, Mary Christine.

I wake up to it every day with a cup of coffee.

I am not a blogger, but I highly value your blog. I am the shaky one.

Stacey

wendy said...

I thought of you last night...I'm at an AA round-up this weekend in Cocoa Beach, FL and the speaker started by saying something like "I'm going to tell you what AA was like, what happened and what it is like now. Here is what happened: treatment centers." The speaker was Sandy B. Hope you have a great weekend.