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Grapevine : October 2011
28 October 2011 S ince words have always been my favorite weapon, I learned early in sobriety that open season with them ends with others feeling hurt, and me needing to make amends for stray shots. Until I’d been sober a few years, conflict resolution consisted of shooting first, then persuading survivors they were lucky not to have gotten in the way. It worked pretty well too. Nobody wanted to be around me, much less confront me about my opinions. And I always knew that victory was lonely. There could be only one real winner. But restraint of tongue and pen has come to me with the encouragement of embarrassment, pain and practice. They taught me to set aside a floppy disk just for letters to people against whom I harbored resentment. I entered another letter on it recently. And my first impression on opening the file was, as always, relief that I never sent any of the other letters on it. At the time I wrote them, I was high on justifiable anger and intent upon evening a score, setting somebody straight, and/or assur- ing someone that their criticism only confirmed my low opinion of them. After all, we don’t get sober to bow and scrape before anyone, right? The letter I added to my disk last week is addressed to my sister– in–law. I had published a sardonic take on a subject that was impor- tant to her. In response, she wrote to me how offended she was by what I’d written, and that she could understand now why I was such an egotistical failure and would probably always be one. Never mind family politics, this woman had set herself up for target practice. I set to work gleefully. Not so intoxi- cated with my own clev- erness, however, that I didn’t know precisely where this letter ought to be filed: my disk. Thank God for all those other ugly letters on it. They, at least, were a persuasive reminder that I can think anything I want to, but other people are going to judge me by what I do. And, in the long run, Target practice One member’s unique way to practice restraint of tongue and pen Steps Step ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. GRAPE_28-30.indd 28 8/23/11 5:24 PM