WOTY, A Recap, and Whatever Else Might Be in my Head


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  writing is a muscle, and when you don’t exercise the muscle, you lose it, rapidly!  It’s easier to stay in the rhythm of writing than in trying to resurrect it.

But try I must, since my life is vastly improved when I use this outlet.  There’s been a lot going on, and so the unmotivated side of myself seizes upon these life issues and uses them as a handy excuse, a get out of jail free card, if you will.

And now, lo and behold, it is January 1st.  The last day of the holiday season (for the most part), and a time to look ahead and focus on self-improvement.  For the past few years I have participated in the WOTY theme (Word of The Year, an anchor to remind yourself of the priorities you’ve set for yourself in January); this year, given my pulling away from the blogging world, I was sure I would not participate again.  In fact, I wasn’t 100% sure I remembered 2016’s word of the year.

Then I woke up this morning, and a word popped into my head, and I can’t seem to let go of it.  And I haven’t found a whole lot of those lightbulb-y, aha! experiences of late, so I need to grab hold of them while I do.

So methinks I will be participating in the fun again this year.  But first, because I hate to do things out of order, I want to write a bit on where I’ve been and what’s been keeping me from the blog.

I’ve referenced the most obvious of problems a few times in the past 2 months, and that is an ongoing podiatric issue.  I elected to have a minor corrective surgical procedure in early November, and somehow I wound up with a fractured heel.  That sums up in one sentence something that, had I kept my writing muscles in shape, a subject matter that could have entertained you for hours.  Sadly, I did not, and I believe I am at last at a stage of acceptance about the whole issue.  My heel is fractured, it is a long and slow recovery (made longer and slower by my non-compliance, but give me a break, it was the holiday season), and there are worse things in life.  End of story.  Simple to say and write out now, but the mental process took some time.

A second issue took place since I’ve last written, and if I do what I should be doing, I will sit down in the near future and make a full and proper post about the experience.  I had another job opportunity come and go in the past few weeks.  This is not the first opportunity (or the second for that matter), but it was by far the most painful loss I’ve experienced in a long time.  I believed in my heart and soul that this job was meant for me. Simply put, I was wrong.  Or at the very least someone of importance disagreed with me, because they chose someone else.

I know many will be reading this and thinking “Oh boo hoo, you didn’t get a job?  Sing it to the choir, sister!” Or maybe your thoughts have trendier expressions than mine, who’s to say?  But what I’ve learned about myself through this process is how far I go to protect myself from disappointments such as these.  I assume failure before every new experience, so that if it happens I am not too shocked or upset.  I let my guard down this time, and ooh baby did it hurt.  And the timing of it was either awful or perfect… I had house guests arrive one hour after I received the news.  Not sure if this was a good distraction, or it prolonged the healing process, but as they say, it is what it is.  I believe there is more processing to come.

Finally, and possibly most irritating, was an incident that occurred a few weeks back directly after the weekly meeting I run.  A bit of backdrop:  I started the meeting 4 1/2 years ago, at the request of people who were starting a brand new clubhouse.  The goal of the clubhouse was to be a safe space for 12-step program members of all kinds to recover and support one another in recovery.  At the time I was horrified… I had only 6 months or so sober myself, who am I to start a meeting?  But I was convinced, and the rest is history.  The meeting is going strong, and in fact is one of the more well-attended ones in the club house.

Since that time I’ve backed out of most involvement in the clubhouse; once upon a time I attended their business meetings and social events, now I am almost exclusively using the space to run the Monday meeting.  I imagine it’s an evolution, and there are ebbs and flows, and I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about.

But in the meantime all sorts of political changes have taken place, throughout all of which I’ve minded my own business.  I recently heard they elected a new president, and thought nothing of it until he introduced himself to me.  And something in my gut told me, at that very moment, that something was going to happen.  And I can tell you I don’t often get gut feelings.

And please do not get me wrong, the new president is a wonderful gentleman.  He introduced himself as though he did not recognize me, but I certainly know him, and respect his sobriety greatly.  And I stand in awe of his service… it is a huge undertaking to lead a clubhouse, and I respect his decision to do so.

A few weeks later he arrived oddly late to my meeting… there was at most 10 minutes left to go.  I did not think a thing of it, until he hung around waiting to speak with me.  My radar picked up the signal of distress, and I waited patiently through the “how’s your foot?” questions to see what was up.

And my radar was correct, he was coming to me with a problem that was brought to him.  He understands I write a blog.  He has not read it himself, but somebody in our local community has, and they are concerned that I am breaking the anonymity of a specific person, and that if this person were to find out, he/she would be devastated and leave my meeting.

So let’s back up here:  the person coming to me with the problem has yet to read the blog himself, and the person coming to him isn’t concerned with his or her anonymity, but someone else’s.  And they’re not speaking on behalf of that person, they’re just projecting a potential problem.

My defenses register all of this immediately.  But first, this is on the heels of a recovery meeting, second, the newly elected president is saying all of this in the gentlest of ways, so it’s not liking he’s “coming at me,” per se, and third, I detest all forms of confrontation and thus will always want to consider all options before I respond.  One last factor that I’m ashamed to include but will for the sake of honesty:  at the time of this discussion/suggestion, I truly believed I would be employed on a full-time basis in a matter of weeks.  If I’m working full-time I am no longer chairing this meeting, and this becomes a non-issue.

In the moment, I politely thanked him for the feedback.  He had expressed which individual was the concern, and I assured him that I do not think such an issue exists, but I will make sure to find out, as the individual and I are very close.  I then wished him a good day, and I actually have not seen him since.

Then the stupid job fell through, and I realized that I never actually dealt with the issue.  And I have been mentally blocked ever since.

To be fair, it was a busy holiday season, and all of the things I wrote about above were happening, and I’ve already declared how easy it is to make excuses.

So here is my vow:  I will get to the bottom of this issue, because I do completely respect the person in question.  As it happens circumstances prevent me from doing this for a few weeks, but I will get to the bottom of it.

In my heart I do not believe I have broken anyone’s anonymity.  The vast majority of the readership live nowhere near me.  If there is the smallest handful of local people reading this blog, and they put two and two together, it is because they attend the same meetings I do, and hear the same things I do.  I don’t use names, and only occasionally use gender.  I don’t talk give physical descriptions, or anything else that might directly point the finger to a specific individual.

But if the busybody source is correct, I will take immediate steps to back it down even further.

And now I have written a novel, and never even gotten to my Word of The Year.  I will leave you with the word, but will save the rationale for another post, since nobody has time to read any more out of my brain.  My Word of the Year is:


And I have much to say about it, what that word means to me, and how I came to determine that I need this in the forefront.  I will also look back and see how 2016’s word impacted my year as well.  Until then…

Today’s Miracle:

Writing.  On a Sunday.  Out of schedule.  With a house full of people.  Enough said!

Posted on January 1, 2017, in Intermediate Recovery, Recovery, Self-Care and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Service is a good word. What does it mean to you? Just in case we miss the other post.

    As for the anonymity, confidentiality is always a serious issue. There are often far more local people reading your blog than you think, as our founder once found out. She had local readers from her hometown a country away, even though she never told many people she blogged.

    That said, some tiny clues we think little of is just the last piece of the puzzle someone needs to out two and two together; someone who has other information you’re not sure about.

    It might be best to comply. Asking the person about it might also put them in an awkward situation and then spark a he said she said.

    All the best. We hope you don’t start your year off with a PR issue!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a lot to contemplate.
    I believe service will be a very important and useful word for you…especially if you decide that modifying the content of your blog is the right course of action….I am not saying I think it is, as i get a lot out of your blog, but perhaps even the suggestion that someone might be uncomfortable is enough to consider what is being requested.

    Have you ever considered a meeting blog? Setting the stage with your meeting topic and encouraging online participation? Or online? You have a deep and beautiful knowledge of the 12 steps. Perhaps it can be taken beyond the basement? There is such a need for this.

    I’m so sorry about your foot and the job. Those are both big blows and no one reading this feels you are complaining without reason. Allow yourself the time to cry and feel sorry for yourself…and then move forward, as I know you will. Acceptance is always the answer, but that doesn’t mean we are happy with circumstances! It just means we realize they are out of our control.

    You are a shining light in the blog world. I wish you healing, joy and peace in 2017.

    Stillness and peace.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Tomorrow, as I sit in the house by myself for the first time in quite a few weeks, I will be pondering just what I mean by using the word service, and I hope you will read and comment. I get so much out of all that you write, Anne!

      A meeting blog is a fascinating idea, and one I will be sure to contemplate as I figure this issue out. One of the main reasons I continue to write is the heartwarming comments I receive from people who would not otherwise be exposed to all the fabulousness that a 12-step meeting provides. It’s hard not to keep this going, because it sounds like it is helping people. But by no means do I want to hurt the people that I hold so dear. So I will be trying different things, and having an overdue conversation very soon. And I absolutely will be including your great ideas in the mix!

      As always, Anne, you are my shining light. And I know 2017 is going to be your best year yet!


  3. You’ve a lot going on there my dear! I have no experience of the 12 step program, so can’t offer any insight or comment on the issues you raise here regarding your meetings but I’ll say this – I always enjoy your posts and think ‘service’ is a wonderful choice of WOTY. Love from The Sober Garden x.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, a fractured heel sounds painful and complicated. Service is a great word, and I think using this word will help you to decide what to do about the meeting. I like Anne’s suggestion about the online meeting format. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks very much for your word of the year. A reminder to me that service is where I can get out of my false self and into my true self.

    And the story about the anonymity – that sounds like triangulation about two or three times around the triangle!!

    Best to you,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh boy, Josie!
    I feel sad reading this!
    But I want you to know how wonderful you are!
    You help me understand the 12 steps on a deeper level…it’s like gong to a meeting when I read your posts!
    But then you connect it to your own life, and make it “real”.
    Service is a great word.
    I know I want to be of more service myself, as I only volunteer a little bit right now.
    I wish you a wonderful year, filled with a healed foot, and love, laughter and light!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Josie! Happy New Year!

    Service – how apt for you. You running that meeting week in and week out regardless of conditions and personal issues – that’s service. This blog – service. I have always, always told you how much I admire you for all that you do. You are a rock star to me!

    As for the anonymity bomb…that’s a tricky one. I have yet to see anything in your blog that seems to “out” anyone. Now, having said that, if locals are reading your blog (and as someone mentioned – you never know who reads it!) they may be able to put it together, especially if they are familiar with your meeting. But are you breaking anonymity? I don’t think so. But some people are very sensitive to that stuff. Describing meetings can be tricky…and as mentioned, if someone from your inner circle reads this, they may feel that they are being mentioned even without a name. So what to do??

    It will be something to contemplate for sure, Josie. I love your blog and your writing. You share a lot of wisdom here. You share other people’s wisdom. I would never tell anyone how to write their own blog. That ain’t cricket. Meditate on it. Ask for guidance. Listen to that gut of yours. You’ll find the path.

    And as for the heel and job – I am so sorry. My wife has had a few of those “that job is perfect for me, meant for me” moments which fell through. I have seen how disappointing it can be. Having said that, sometime better or different has come through in the end. So keep hope alive!

    Blessings and hugs to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a treat it is, to find my old dear friend back in the blogging world. And though I’ve hung around a bit more than you, it hasn’t been by much. So I’m so thrilled that we are both attempting to rekindle our blogging fires!

      I need to flesh out my thoughts on service right quick. Because the more comments I hear, the more I’m feeling like I’m attempting to canonize myself by choosing that word! Still, the kind words are much appreciated. Believe me, you do far more than I on any given day, and affect many more than I do!

      The anonymity thing… sigh. I can’t ignore all the great feedback I’ve received, and try I shall to make my subject matter even less personal than I have. Because of course everyone is right… anonymity is sacred. I think the old resentment piece was rearing its ugly head that someone was tattling on me, and that clouded the judgment. I’ve taken some steps already, and as I’ve mentioned twice now, I will be going directly to the source as soon as I can to make sure the individual in question and I are in good standing.

      The heel and job… thanks so much for the condolences, they really are much appreciated. Your anecdote regarding your wife in particular… it feels better to know I’m not the only person to have gone through such a loss. Which of course I know logically, but it helps the heart to hear a real story. And sorry to your wife as well, hope she’s more settled than I am at present!

      Again, the heartiest of welcomes back to the blogosphere!


  8. I never read this blog as a breach of anonymity before. You’ve never mentioned names, or even places. The miracles are there but I never know around which corner! Thank you for the food for thought. Service. Such an important component. I can do more service at my local meetings, I know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was resently turned on to your blog while a friend and I drove back from a meeting this evening. The question we were debating was anonymity and what it means for us. He mentioned your page and said you have been sharing what people share in meetings, I was immediately enraged! These meeting are supposed to be sacred and safe, what’s is said here stays here. I would be a fall down drunk still if not for these rooms. It is my opinion that you should share what anyone says in a meeting unless you are at a meeting or among only those within its fellowship. The fact that this is a public forum and you are openly using people’s words is a complete brake of our 12th tradition. Please remember the 12 steps are here to save our individual asses, the traditions are here to save our fellowship/program from ourselves.
    Regardless of how you feel now, I hope you come to same conclusion as you study the traditions. And even if you don’t I hope stay sober


  10. Thank you for your feedback Anonymous drunk!


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