Darn Right

Kids say the smartest things.

A decade or so ago, when I was still caught in a cycle of hustling for worthiness all day and numbing my discomfort with wine, my then-eleven-year-old delivered a truth bomb that I am still unpacking to this day.

I had paused for breath (and dramatic effect) while delivering an anecdote/monologue to my husband over dinner that was meant to illustrate the stupidity I was forced to deal with out there in the world. There were a lot of emphasized words and faces and gestures accompanying the story, a lot of so I saids and then he saids and seriouslys.

I was really selling it, but then came the little voice into my pause.

My son had been watching me and I assumed he was impressed with his strong, smart, tough mom who had spent the day setting egomaniacs straight. Instead he said this:

“You, like, really enjoy being right.”

Oof.

If an adult had said that, I would have been defensive and wounded. Instead, I was (uncharacteristically) receptive to the honest observations coming from my own child. I had no idea what to do with that information, but I sensed it was powerful and tucked it into my pocket for safekeeping.

It would take years, but eventually I’d start unpacking that and other nuggets I had gathered over time and wonder if they could be put to better use. I am learning, but it is a slow process.

I know this much. I confuse being right with being safe. I confuse approval and worth. I confuse others with myself.

After eight years alcohol-free and reading a million books and listening to others and thinking thinking thinking and filling multiple journals, I am undoing the hairball of mixed-up ideas I believed were true. One revelation leads to another. It takes time, though, to go from awareness to change.

That is what recovery is all about: slow, methodical, intentional change.

I am still too easily wounded by criticism and swayed by flattery, but also quicker to ground myself and assess my own opinion. That is progress.

Right?

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9 comments

  1. Well here I am on another Day 1. I seem so sure I’m going to quit then my hubby pulls out the wine bottle and I say “ I’ll have a glass with you honey”. We both then polish off more than two bottles and I end up feeling like crap the next day. I do this over and over. I’m approaching my 65th Birthday and I can’t face it while still drinking. I love this blog and I’m reading it and listening to The Bubble Hour. I hope I can keep on track. Wish me luck!

    Like

  2. Looking for the “right” button but settled for the “like” button instead 😂
    Gosh that hit home, I love being right too! Really stopped me in my tracks, going to make note and process that some more.
    Thanks x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jean, just love reading you , I feel that you can put word on my life ,my feelings. I just have to be right all the time and its exausting.. I will keep working and recovering.. val 47 days AF and counting…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have a dear young friend who I shared this with. She is afraid of not drinking as it is her persona. Thanks for sharing sister!

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  5. Somethings are kids are harsh but somehow truthful. About one year before I finally embraced my alcohol-free life, my son discovered me basically passed out on my couch and told me no one past the age of 27 should drink. Lol. Guess I tagged on 23 extra years. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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  6. Oh yes. I know when I get into this mindset I feel the scratchiness of anxiety. If I listen to my inner self, I stop. But sometimes I just want to be right…

    Sigh. More work to do. I guess we aren’t perfect yet! Lol

    Anne

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  7. I love this story, Jean. I totally get that: “hustling for worthiness all day and numbing my discomfort with wine.” It’s a great description of what happens for so many of us. Love you, and thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    Like

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