“If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

Ole Benny was a little harsh in his words, but he makes a valid point. I bring up the idea of having a plan because of the holiday weekend. Since being sober for a little over five months, I have found the events where I think through what I want them to be like, what my role will be, what my escape plan is, and how I am going to keep my mind free of garbage and negative self talk, my success is generally better. For Easter, my husband and I will be with his family- generally a bunch of “normals” but who enjoy a mimosa or a Bloody Mary just the same. I recall last Easter when the day grew older and my sister-in-law and I drank all day and had a dance party on the driveway while the rest of his family watched us “tie on one.” Not an Easter I want to relive this year. So, I have a plan that works for me, my husband, and our kids. Knowing I have sketched out a blueprint take away the stress and worry I generally feel without one.

Benjamin Franklin made a number of good points during his lifetime. One of his pieces has captivated me for years;
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin touches on his quest for perfectionism. I could not help but recall this piece when I was working through my Step Six. How do I alleviate the sloth, greed, lust, anger? It seemed so overwhelming, much like our buddy felt years ago as he set out on his quest. And while he determined that no matter how hard he tried, something would rear its ugly head in its place once he felt the demon conquered. His arrogance irritated me when I first read this some time ago and it still does to an extent today. So, I give the ole guy a break and think about how does this fit in to an alcoholic’s life today? How can I be in recovery and learn from this?

Well, for starters, I already know I am not perfect so that part is pretty easy. But the real work comes when I look at my character defects and see what I am actively doing to cut down on them. I am a gossip. No question. For Lent, I gave up talking about one of my coworkers. She is in an administrative role and has authority over me. I don’t like her. Why? Because I think I should have her job…I don’t WANT her job, but I think I am better suited and would outperform her. So I take opportunities to bad mouth her ideas and question her motives any chance I can get. I have a way with people so manipulating their thoughts to “get them on board” with my sick thinking is relatively easy. I rally the groups and make her life difficult. I didn’t give up gossiping about her in a quiet way either. Nope. I made an announcement that for the next 40 days and 40 nights I could not engage in the talk about the one who shall not be mentioned.
To ask me if I am arrogant, conniving, manipulative, and/or self-serving, I would say absolutely not! But if I read the above and think of it as someone else’s behavior, I would characterize that person as all of those qualities and more. This is how the disease works. I am so much better looking at the world around me than holding up a mirror to myself.

Looking back at the past few weeks, I have had to look at my boss (See? Up above I call her my coworker…the truth is, she is one of my bosses…I have to call it like it is!) and see what role I play in our relationship. If I had to work with me when I am thick into my disease, I would not like me. And not to drag myself across the concrete- I do have endearing qualities- but the times when I am fully aware that I am being a jerk, I would not want to be subjected to me. My self-inflicted gag order was one of the best non behaviors I have done in a long time barring (pun intended) the consumption of alcohol.

Having to see her as my boss, being in meetings with her where I truly listened and didn’t roll my eyes in my head or tune her out or think about my next way to cut her idea down, I found (I hate this part) that she really has some innovative thinking. The mere fact that I can accept her position of authority (it’s only been three years) and recognize that like me she does have worth, she does has value, and she does deserve my respect is nothing short of a miracle. Did I mention I’m hardheaded and stubborn?

No. We will probably never be best friends. But that’s okay. I have come to realize that this is a work environment and work I must. Work on myself, work on my relationships with others, work on how I want to be seen- NOT perceived. Ben Franklin came to the same realization: He would never be perfect, but the awareness he gained is immeasurable.


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