Last week, 21st August to be exact, I hurt one of my online sober sisters through my words. That was not my intention of course. She had posted a video talking about ways to moderate your drinking, and shared her views on the information. I had just read a similar article that was talking about the benefits of moderation for heavy drinkers. So, of course, I was amped up when I read her comments of dissention. Factor in the eclipse making my emotions wonky that day, and you had a perfect storm for trouble.
After making my first comment, the author of the post replied, countering my comment. Instead of letting bygones be bygones, I proceeded to attack her with my writing, saying her words were “potentially harmful”. Looking back now, I feel extremely silly for saying that because, not only was it her own opinion that she is free to express, but also because her blog is intended for alcoholics/ people with Alcohol Use Disorder. I don’t think too many light to moderate drinkers would be reading her blog.
It wasn’t until she replied to my second comment/ reply that the conversation started eating at me. She (rightly so) counterattacked me, saying “you have told me I am wrong in the past…”, and continued to defend herself. Instead of stopping here, I fired right back with my retort. Which, by the way, I honestly cannot remember now. To me, if my words were that important to share, and needed to be said that urgently, I would remember them today. But, I don’t.
I wrote my last comment/ reply when I got off work, and put the conversation out of my mind. Or, so I thought. It wasn’t until I was in the shower (I do all my best thinking in there) that I started replaying our conversation again in my mind.
Part of me was saying “You had every right to say what you did. You were speaking your mind, and she needed to hear it”. The other part of me was saying, “Mindy, while you may have felt justified in saying what you did, you could have said it in a nicer manner. Or, not at all”.
When my mind begins to argue with me, it’s time for a 10th Step inventory. Sometimes I take my inventory on paper. Sometimes I do it mentally. That night, it was mentally. What I came up with was, I was super emotional because of the eclipse. Like, crying when I saw that Bill Nye the Science Guy was in my state for the eclipse, and I couldn’t go to meet him. And, emotional because my sponsee has been bugging me. He says he wants to get sober, but doesn’t want to start working steps. But, that’s for another post. One about projecting my feelings, and learning to detach.
What that inventory boiled down to was, I was not in a good place emotionally when I started that conversation, and I was a complete bitch to someone I don’t even know. Ooh, ouch. That sucks.
As soon as I realized what I had done, I immediately jumped on Facebook and deleted the entire comment thread. I then sent her a private message, apologizing for my rude, and unnecessary behavior. She had said in her comment that I attacked her, which I tried to justify, and tell myself I did not. But, I did. I was in the wrong, and it needed to be righted.
I explained to her that yes, I did attack her, and I profusely apologized for that error. I said that I had no right to do that, and thus deleted the comment thread. I told her that I did not want to tarnish her site with those harsh words of mine. I also explained to her that I had other things that were on my mind at the time, eclipse and my sponsee, and that was part of the reason behind my harsh words.
Being a kind, and loving human, she said her feelings were not hurt, but did feel attacked. She told me, “People say things we don’t like. We respond. That’s life.”
Wow. Profound and wise words right there. To say that I was blown away by her understanding would be an understatement.
While I still wish I could take back that conversation completely, wish that it had never happened in the first place, I can’t help but to be grateful for the experience. Amends hold tremendous power for me. Words do as well. I cannot tell you how many times I have made amends to someone, and felt lighter. But also, horrible at the same time.
For me, that is the paradox of making amends. Feeling lighter, but also like crap, all at the same time. But, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I did not continue to make amends for my wrongs, and grow from the lessons I have learned because of them. Being the hard-headed, stubborn individual I am, I learn some life lessons the easy way. But, most of the time, I learn them the hard way, and that’s okay.
Lessons we learn in life are intended to make us grow. Every day I work towards growth, not only as a human being, but also in my sobriety. When I am given a lesson, it’s up to me to recognize it, and see where I can grow. Only in that recognition can the true miracle of growth occur.
So, here’s to the hard life lessons. May they forever teach me something new.