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.”


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.




  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!


  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!


  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. 🤷🏼‍♀️


  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



  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.


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