Saturday, October 29, 2016

I’ve Never Regretted Something I Didn’t Say Or Do

Old timers in Alcoholics Anonymous have simply wonderful one-liners. One of them is a quote from the Big Book: “Always practice restraint of pen and tongue.” (This idea, of course, was stated long before email, Facebook, or Twitter existed.) Now, we might have to say “… of keyboard, texting, or tongue.” Of course this thought extends, as well, to acting without restraint.
A member of the AA fellowship, Michael Z, recently published in his message []:
Restraint of pen and tongue was a foreign concept to me when I arrived in the rooms.  Before recovery I was quick to speak my mind even when my mind wasn’t made up – it didn’t matter.  I was quick to retaliate for perceived wrongs, quick to take your inventory when I was feeling less than, and quick to tear you down to make myself feel better.  And if I had been drinking, the insults, judgments and condemnations flowed even more.  Afterwards, regret was heavy and the familiar feelings of shame would descend forcing me to retreat into the bottle once again.
When I got sober I heard the saying that feelings weren’t facts.  As such, I was told that I didn’t have to act on every feeling I had, instead I could write about it, pray about it, and share them with other people.  I could restrain from acting on them and wait until I had a clear direction as to how to react.  What I found was that nine times out of ten the feelings would pass, and I was glad I hadn’t acted on them.  I was also relieved that I had less regrets because I hadn’t said hurtful things.
Now that I’m sober a while I still have to be constantly vigilant about acting on or saying things that I might regret later.
I have shared with you before that I have great conversations with myself as I mow the yard or rake leaves – any well-defined task that doesn’t require a great deal of constant thought. These conversations are especially true when I’m “talking” to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell,, concerning how to make Congress work for all of the USA rather than just for Conservative Principles. They always hang on my every word that comes out of my mouth. I’m invariably pleased to have been so extremely helpful!
But my AA Program, bolstered in recent years by my growing understanding from A Course in Miracles (ACIM), has taught me that I don’t have to believe everything I say. Even when “talking” to these fantasized political figures, my concentration and focus will wander and I find myself off on some other subject entirely. For instance, in the middle of my pontification with Paul Ryan, I find myself suddenly talking about problems I’ve had removing the cutting blade on my mower. Now where did that come from? Did I think that maybe Paul Ryan might know the perfect way to remove, sharpen and replace the blade? That he might care? Or is it possible that my thoughts are that undisciplined?
If my thoughts really do come from nowhere only to be replaced by other thoughts, also coming from nowhere, then why oh why would I prefer they also come straight out of my mouth with no filters: no editing; no common sense; no reservations? Now, I always try to insert a brief pause between my thought and my voice or between my thought and my action. I cannot count all the times I have had a thought I believed was extraordinarily important to state – only waiting for the opportunity to state it. Finally, the opportunity presents itself for me to say something, but I couldn’t remember what this great thought was. It was simply gone!
Duh! How unbelievably important could that thought have been?
I can conclude this discussion as Michael concluded his remarks: Today I really feel the truth in the words: “I’ve never regretted something I didn’t say…” or do.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening to me and getting to know me – warts and all. As always, feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#4 Oct 2016
Copyright 2016
PS: Please register and vote!

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