Saturday, March 16, 2013

The People vs. The Program of AA

A few months ago, a friend and I were talking with another friend who was struggling with the people in AA.  Our friend felt she wasn't "getting anything out of AA anymore" because she couldn't count on the friends she had thought she'd made.  I wanted to go off.  Luckily, I had to leave.

My first thought was: make some better friends in AA.  After all she was sitting with two good ones.  But she is 28 and we are 44 and 54.  And while we are the young, hip version of our ages, we are, technically older (NO! It cannot be!).  She spoke of peers.  That's just a dicey age, 28, particularly when people are getting sober and pulling their lives together and going off to finish school, or get involved in healthy relationships, or really start their career.  I remember 27 and single.  While I would have denied it at the time, the steady pressure to couple up with someone, get married and start a family is there.

My next thoughts had to do with the quality of her program, and her people-picker, and other non-kind,
judging thoughts.  I'm sure you can imagine.  While I do not pretend to always wander around in a state of loving kindness I do try.

Luckily, Mr. Sponsorpants was responding to an email on his blog from someone who was very upset with Mr. Sponsorpants and felt that AA was to blame because the people in AA weren't living up to the principles of AA.  Here's what he said-underline and color are mine because I just love this analogy:

In my humble opinion, to use the foibles and failures of others in sobriety as a means to quarrel with AA is not too far from wondering if a vial of antibiotics is no good because the doctor who prescribed them committed Medicare fraud.
AA's 12 Steps embody a plan of acting on spiritual principles which have worked in many ways for many people and cultures since perhaps man first became self aware.  Owning and admitting a problem, asking for help, being willing to follow direction, looking within, identifying one's own part in problems, working on improving the elements in one's nature which do not serve, admitting wrong doing and making restitution, seeking an elevated mind through elevated thought and meditation... AA didn't invent -- and never claimed to invent -- any of this.  As you know, what Bill and Dr. Bob did (you've got me on Joe Hawk, I have no clue who he is, though he's got a hella cooler name than I do) is practically (or Divinely) luck into laying out a plan of action along those spiritual lines which spoke to alcoholics in a way other methods previously perhaps did not.  The immediate result of which was the ability to refrain from drinking and the larger result of which was a spiritual experience -- or, if you prefer, a profound internal (often gradual) transformation.
Your issues -- the "usual issues" -- with AA -- or perhaps it is more accurate to say with the people in AA -- though I understand them, I do not embrace them.  I respect them, and your hurt and your anger, but the 12 Steps are not vulnerable to what may or may not be happening in Meetings.  They are deceptively simple but pretty bullet proof (if almost a hundred years of addicts can't break 'em I think we're good).  Nor are they a fragile, ephemeral plan for spiritual awakening, as their principles and suggested actions can even be viewed through a completely non-spiritual lens and still offer practical healing and help.  (I was moved to write this once in response to that line of discussion.)***
The crux is people are messy and they are all doing the best they can with the tools they've got.  Their tools might suck, but it's the best they can do right then.  Confusing getting something out of AA with the people in AA tells me our friend was looking for a relationship with a higher power in other people.  And other people will always fail her, guaranteed.  No one is ever going to be there for us 100%, not our mothers, our best friends, our lovers.  Sometimes people just shit on us for their own reasons and have every right to do so.  People die and people leave.  That's why we crave God.

My experience tells me that the quickest way to lose the life AA gives you is by living the life AA gave you, but forgetting how you got there.  When I started thinking that my life was going well because I deserved it for good behavior and being sober, I had moved away from gratitude to righteousness.  And "I'm not getting anything out of AA" smacks of self-righteousness to me.  AA doesn't owe me jack shit, while I owe the life I have today to AA and the way of living it brought me to. 

I'm not saying that the day doesn't come when we roll our eyes because the same person is sharing at every meeting, or someone spouts off about outside issues, or crosstalks or etc., etc., etc.  We've heard it all before and being in meetings isn't giving us the fix it used to.   When that day comes we shift from being in the meeting to figure out how to stay sober to being in a meeting to help someone else stay sober.

In other words, out of self and into service.  Cause that's some bulletproof shit.

***Here is the whole post. If you want to see it in context-or it will get you to Mr.Sponsorpants website in general if you want to check it out.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hula Hoops and Control

Control.  We all want it.  We all think we have it.  We cling to this illusion in all the ways we can.  We bear down and birth the world the way we think it should be in blood and sweat and tears, yet reject what we create.  Or despair what we cannot.

I say we, when what I really mean is I.  

I heard someone say recently:

Place a hula hoop on the floor, step inside it.  Everything inside that hula hoop is what I can control. Everything outside, I have to let go.  With love.  With gratitude.  With recognition that we are all wandering around in our hula hoops with a world view of our own perception.   Some would say nothing is real.

When I remember that, I can live with a shrug and a smile.  I shrug off my need to control you, your opinions (most importantly your opinion of me) and your actions.  I smile.  For the inside of my hula hoop may not extend out, but does extend up to the heavens. (170)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Are you a high functioning alcoholic?

An unofficial quiz.

I am a high functioning alcoholic.  I know a lot of women wondering about their alcohol use; if they have a problem.  I know of a lot of women who manage to scrape by on a daily basis because they are high functioning: holding down a career, a relationship, managing kids and a household.  Smart, capable, strong women whose control is starting to slip.  Starting to wonder if maybe they have a problem.  

Many women think an alcoholic is the dirty, homeless man under the freeway overpass.  Many think they have to lose their job, get a DUI, or put their family at risk to really be an alcoholic.  Many are quietly drinking by themselves in the safety of their homes, after the kids have been put to bed and hubby is in his man cave.   Many tell themselves they need to drink to deal with stress, anger, sadness or fear.  Some variation of “if you had my life you’d drink too”.

Many women, after a couple/four glasses of wine start looking online for answers, trying to figure out if they have a problem with a heart full of fear or at least trepidation.  Some are looking with righteousness, to prove they don’t have a problem.  Most are excellent hiders and managers of their alcohol use.  So what’s out there doesn’t look like them, and they keep drinking.  So I've attempted a list of my own.
  • Do you maintain drinking rules by time?  Such as not drinking during work hours or not drinking before a certain time of day?  Have those times shifted due to circumstance? 
  • Do you only drink certain drinks because you can predict how they will affect you?  Examples: only drinking red wine or only drinking beer.
  • Do you curtail certain activities after a certain time because you expect to have a buzz? Such as not taking phone calls or going online after a certain time at night?
  • Can you keep alcohol in the house without drinking it?
  • Have you decided not to drink for a day or period of time, but then ended up drinking anyway?
  • Do you avoid certain activities or friends because you will not be able to drink?
  • Do you drink to handle work related stress or particular people?
  • Can you leave alcohol in the glass without finishing it?
  • Do you start to feel anxious or irritated if it is time for a drink and you haven’t had one?
  • Is drinking still fun?
  • Do you drink to avoid dealing with an unhappy relationship or a situation you don’t know how to handle?
  • If someone asks you how much you drink (i.e., a doctor during a physical), is your answer less than your actual consumption?
  • Do you find yourself committed to not drinking in the morning, but find reasons to have a drink or two by the end of the day?
  • Do you drink to get in the mood for sex?
  • Do you have a glass on display when drinking at home, but have another source of alcohol hidden somewhere, in the house or car?
  • Do you need a “loading dose” or to “have a couple drinks” before an event where there will be alcohol served?
  • Do you have bottles hidden in your home or car?  
  • Have you ever had a drink in a bathroom stall?
  • Have you watched something on television but not remembered the end because you fell asleep before the end due to drinking?
  • Have you ever put a drink in a container such as a coffee cup or water bottle to take it with you?
  • Have you ever disposed of bottles someplace other than the household trash?
  • Do you seek out the company of people who drink like you do or drink more excessively than you do?
  • Do you curtail certain activities or time spent with friends to certain times to ensure you can get to a drink when you want one?
  • Have you slept with someone you didn’t mean to because you were drinking?
  • Have you had a fight with a significant other because you were drinking?
  • Have you ever told yourself or someone else “it was the alcohol talking” or “that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drinking” or had to apologize for your behavior while drinking?
  • Have you ever had to check your Sent Message, Facebook page or phone history to find out who you emailed or called or what you posted while drinking?
  • Do you visit different places to buy alcohol because you worry the clerk might notice how much you are buying?  Do you make offhand comments to the clerk about “having a party” because of the amount you buy?  Do you use the self check-out line at the grocery store so a clerk won’t monitor your purchase?
  • Do you know the hours of your alcohol supplier: liquor, grocery or party store?  Have you taken your children into a store expressly to buy alcohol?
  • Have you started buying bigger bottles or boxed wine so that someone can’t see your consumption?
  • Do you purchase certain types of alcohol on a regular basis because they don’t require an implement to open, i.e. wine with a screw top cap rather than a cork or beer bottles that don’t require an opener?
  • Has anyone in your immediate family or close circle of friends expressed concern over your drinking?
  • Have you forced yourself to throw up in order to drink more?  Or thrown up and kept drinking?
  • When you read the label on a bottle of pain reliever that says: do not take this medication if you drink more than three alcoholic drinks per day, do you pause?
  • Have you ever searched for a bottle of alcohol in your home because you can’t remember where you left it?
  • Do you find you can only access emotions when drinking?  Do you mainly feel numb or empty when you are not? 
I am not a qualified professional.  But I am a high functioning alcoholic who knows what I did to keep my drinking going.  I put together these questions based on my experience and those of others I have met and worked with.  It’s unofficial.  There is no scoring system or  official measurement.  However, I would say if you identify with more than 5 of them and you are worried about your drinking, you may want to talk to a qualified helping professional, check out AA, or talk with someone you know who is sober.  Help is out there.  I’ve linked to some resources that helped me after the questions.  Or  you can always contact me.

Resources Links: 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Something Else I'm Working On: 300 words

I love Neil Gaiman.  I love Stephen King more.  On average, I read 2 books a week.  There are a few authors that I will happily read anything they write; and these are two of them.  So when Neil Gaiman interviewed Stephen King and posted it on his blog and discovered it one day, I was happy.  And a goal was born.

Here's what Neil wrote as an intro to the interview with Stephen (yep-we're tight- on a first name basis in my mind):

Edit to add - the Sunday Times asked me to write something small and personal about King and me for the contributors' notes, and I wrote this:

“I think the most important thing I learned from Stephen King I learned as a teenager, reading King's book of essays on horror and on writing, Danse Macabre. In there he points out that if you just write a page a day, just 300 words, at the end of a year you'd have a novel. It was immensely reassuring - suddenly something huge and impossible became strangely easy. As an adult, it's how I've written books I haven't had the time to write, like my children's novel Coraline.”

I've been itching to write a few things for about two and a half years now.  I've been itching for a lot longer than that, but I've finally reached the point that I have something to actually say.  My high school  English teacher was right: it is experience that brings us the perspective to be clear.  I don't think I have a novel, I have a memoir.  Or perhaps a "novel" that is nothing more than my memories through the prism of my ego, the ever exciting autobiographical novel (if only poor James Frey had taken that route, eh?).

But itching to write, no matter how maddening the itch, felt so daunting.  How to begin and who has the time?  One thing I know.  To be a writer one has to write.  So while I considered a class or a writing group or some other educational method to make me write, in the end just another way to rationalize that I wasn't writing while I got educated on writing.  I decided to get my ass down to business.  When I read Neil Gaiman paraphrasing Stephen King saying "300 words a day is all it takes".  Shit.  I can spend 300 words on a well thought out email.  Suddenly it wasn't a matter of how to do it but when.

I've tried to keep journals, both written and online.  But there is something about posting my 300 words publicly that keeps me honest.  I have no illusions that "if you build it, they will come".  Foolishness.  But if I write it, perhaps the writer within will emerge.  That is what I hope for. (372 without the quote)

I went away, now I'm back

I had to go away for awhile.  At the end of October, 2011, I filed for divorce from my husband.  At the time I thought I slogged through.  Looking back I almost drowned.  I have never been so anxious and stressed and fearful as I was through the first half of 2012.  I tried everything I could to hold up my end of the relationship and I worked the shit out of my program while I tried for those 18 months I was sober before I filed.

My therapist told me that every morning I was unhappily married I should wake up and ask myself: is today the day?  And that one day the path forward would become clear, one way or another.  It did.

Divorce sucks.  I knew it would suck, I was prepared for it to suck, I was prepared for it to get ugly.  But we practice these principles in all our affairs, so I chose two watchwords for the divorce: grace and integrity.  Actually, they're my watchwords in general, but during the divorce they were GRACE and INTEGRITY.  I did the very best I could with the tools I had.  And I stayed sober and plugged into AA.  My friends and sponsor and meetings were my lifeline.  Of course, God was also on the front lines every day.

Many of you know me from the Booze Free Brigade.  At one point, my husband sent me an email that linked together months of my posts on the BFB with a rather cryptic message.  What it meant was that he was either visiting there or receiving the digest from there-but he had been lurking one way or another.  So I stopped posting and visiting the BFB until after the divorce and pulled down most of my blog.  While everyone, including the lawyer, told me that being over two years sober meant my alcoholism would have little relevance, my ex seemed intent to make an issue of it anyway.  It seemed safer to pull it down and back away.  So I did.

The divorce was final 11/2/2012.  With various loose end tying done, I've started to finally feel a return to normalcy in January.  A few weeks ago,  I put my blog back up.  The BFB and my online community were a huge part of my sobriety those first 18 months and I miss them.

A couple of weeks ago someone from my home group asked me to be her sponsor.  Someone I would have never expected to ask me.  I think she works a hell of a program.  She told me she was impressed that I never talked shit about my former husband or the divorce in meetings.  That I kept outside issues on the outside, and stayed focused on what meetings are for: dealing with alcoholism.  I felt relief, validation and pride.  I tried so hard to maintain compassion for the former during the process, while taking care of myself.  I worked my ass off to practice the principles.  I was not perfect.  My best friend and my sponsor got earfuls on some days.  But my new sponsee, she didn't hear it.  She heard program from me in the rooms, and for that I am grateful.

There is much more to share, and a lot of sobriety still going on, and gratitude in spades.  But mainly I wanted to put myself out there again.  I miss the special way I view the world when I'm looking to write about it.  I miss when I get connected to the Universe and the words flow through me rather than from me.  I checked this blog today on a whim, and links still happen, people (granted, very few people) still come.  Which means there are women like me still suffering, still searching, still asking and wondering.  Wanting to connect.  I want that too.  It's what keeps me sober.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I am a Greedy Capitalist

I drive a nice car.  A nice enough car that I was very conflicted about it for the first year I owned it.  Bear with me as I roll through my standard justification on why I have this car.

I drive a lot.
It's safe.
It's very pretty.
It's fun to drive.
I bought it used and it had depreciated over 50% from the original sticker price-so I did not pay nearly what I assume you think I paid for it.

At this point, I will stop being coy about the car.  It is a Lexus GS450h.  That's a hybrid.  It is a nice fucking car.  And while I hate for people to think that I think I am all that for owning a nice car (in case you haven't figured it out, I don't), I absolutely adore that car.  The little kid in me claps her hands in glee (SPARKLES and BUTTONS TO PUSH), while the codependent me worries about sending the right message to the masses on the road.  I try to find a middle ground: a place where what other people think of me is none of my business and I do not need to justify my car choice to anyone.

But it is hard.  Because the crux of the matter is that I don't want anyone to think I am the kind of person who would spend over $60,000 on a car.  That is not me, I think that is excessive, and I wouldn't do it.  No judgement on those who do, it's just not right for me.  I've had the car a little over a year and I've pretty much come to terms with it.

So today, I went to a meeting, and went to breakfast afterward with a dear friend.  While I was inside the restaurant, someone came along and put this on my back bumper: I AM A GREEDY CAPITALIST.  It was about 8 inches wide by 6 inches tall.  White background with black stencil letters.  You couldn't miss it.

I was so embarrassed, I didn't even pause to see if it was painted on or a sticker.  I actually thought it was painted on for most of the day.  I got in my car and drove off.  All those alcoholic feelings that everyone is talking about/staring at/thinking the worst of me were back in a flash.  The words Greedy Capitalist flashed in my mind so hard, I wouldn't have been surprised if they were stretching through the skin of my forehead.

Pride.  I had too much pride to stop and try to remove it.  Shit, I had too much pride to stop and acknowledge it as I approached the car.  What if the person who put it there was watching?  I wouldn't give them the satisfaction.  What would people think of me trying to remove the accusatory words from my car?  Trying to wash them off and out like a feminist Hamlet.  

It was a beautiful Fall day, the rest of the family was camping, and I had PLANS that included a lot of errand running.  I tried, I really did.  I knew all my buttons and fears about that car were pressed.  I haven't felt such an absolute mess of emotions at once in a long time: fear, anger, insecurity, shame, self-doubt, injustice, misunderstood, and stupid.  I work for a large corporation.   I make a good salary.  What if the accusatory words were really true?  What if that is what really bothered me?

Even bemused.  At first, I tried to rationalize that people would think I was being ironic.  But I have to give the authors credit: there is nothing ironic about that word choice.  There is nothing there to put your tongue in your cheek over.  But I refused to have my day ruined--I still ran one errand and went to a movie.

This is fairly ironic though.  Topic of the meeting this morning?  The 10th Step: personal inventory and the reason we do one on a daily basis: self-righteous anger.

I meant to take a photo of the offending words and post them here.  However, when I went to do so, I realized it was just a sticker and pulled it off.  There's probably the worst part: I could have removed it all along.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I've been thinking a lot about the first step: powerless and unmanageable, specifically. The first time I saw the first step I was in my first AA meeting.  And it struck me to the core: YES-I am powerless over alcohol and my life was
unmanageable in the face of my powerlessness. At that time, I had just done something drunk that I would never have done sober. Something that put the way I lived my life in question.  Oh all right-I respect that people have the right to be coy about the dirty details, but I'm always curious, so I'll just spill it.  I slept with my best friend's cousin while drunk.  Deliberately took him back to my house, that I shared with my fiance who was out of town, slept with him in our bed.  I had done a number of other humiliating and chaos creating things while drunk, but this was the first time I had really done something that would put life the way I knew it in jeopardy.  This was back in the early 90s, for the record.

With that event, I was sufficiently horrified.  I already suspected that I couldn't control my consumption, but with that little number, I was officially fucking up my life.  So when I went to my first AA meeting, with no frame of reference on AA other than that's where people with drinking problems got help. Game over with the alcohol for 7 years.

When I relapsed I immediately knew I was still powerless over alcohol.  But unmanageable? That took another 11 years to get to.  Even as I started crossing a few lines I never thought I'd cross, I still thought it was manageable. It's amazing how puny that line in the sand looks when you've crossed over it. Hey, I didn't drop dead or get a DUI, I thought, so fuck that promise to myself. More wine!  Let's toast to my diminished integrity!

A friend of mine recently posted on a discussion board we both participate in that she was processing some dismay over how long it took her to get sober. I spent all of my 30s in my relapse. I'm not sure, though, what I would have done differently other than not be so fucking miserable. I didn't have the recovery I have now in Round 1. It took every day of that relapse to get where I am today. It even took that second Day 1 to really make this sobriety stick.

BTW-it's 17 months today. 

If we were on Wheel of Fortune we could have all the letters of POWERLESS turned over and only
have one letter showing of UNMANAGEABLE. Who would ever guess the first word
would lead to the second based on this: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ E _ _ _ E?

Monday, August 1, 2011


A caucus of crows
And a lone coyote
crossed my path;
the road less traveled.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fourth Step: Were the HP reveals I travel in grace

For those unfamiliar, the 4th Step of the 12th Steps in AA goes like this: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. It is probably the most feared step of the 12 in AA. It can be done any number of ways, but in essence, one makes an inventory of all the people you resent or have wronged and why you feel the way you do. Then you review it with your sponsor and look for patterns in your behavior that contribute to your resentment. It's about discovering and owning your part in your relationships and finding new ways of doing things.  The first time through it was where I learned "if you are pointing the finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you".

When my sponsor finally released me to work on step 4 in March, after ten months on steps 1-3*, we agreed that I would focus on my father and my husband, where the vast majority of my work lay. I would write about them until I was done or sick of it, whichever came first, and we'd review and go from there. So I dutifully went home, full of resolve to finally move forward, wrote 5 pages on my father, completing his portion, then stopped. And stayed stopped.

I've written before about the state of  my marriage since sobriety. The idea of truly writing down (making real)
all my resentments and pain of the past 15 years scared the crap out of me. Every day, I pray for knowledge of god's will and the power to carry it out, and occasionally I ask for clarity on the marriage front, if god's in the request-filling mood. A couple of times, my HP has provided clarity in a big way. Though interpreting
the message is a bit tricky, a shift occurs.

So for the last two weeks, I've been itching to do my fourth step. Just get it over with. So I set a meeting with my sponsor for 7/16  about a week ago, knowing I work best to a deadline. Tried to work on it. You can see how well that was going from the post before this one.  Between the subject actually being around, and my fear, I kept putting it off. Tuesday, I spoke my fear aloud to a very good sober friend. Without hesitation, she told me to move through the fear and do it. No ifs, ands, or buts, get it done. Of course, I knew that, but her resolve bolstered me.

Thursday, my husband tells me he is taking the kids to an amusement park for the weekend. Problem solved. Friday, our couples therapist tells me I need to re-watch Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. That no matter where my husband is at, I am as far down the rabbit hole as I can get. Being a person who likes to skip to the end, I found this (rather intellectual and weighty, but delivers the point):

After which, I had no choice but to avoid working on my fourth step by watching the movie again. I went to bed thinking I may have to postpone this part of my inventory with my sponse, despairing my lack of courage. I woke at 5:45 am, made a cup of coffee, calculated that I had 4 hours to get through it and sat down to write. A couple hundred bullets later, a graph of our drama cycle, and a sheet on what I do get out of the marriage, I was done. Not out of time done.  Not 80/20% done, not half-assed, this-is-the-best-I-can-do-right-now done. 
Finished. In my heart, I knew I truly done the work-that I had cleaned out all the bad stuff I knew about today. 4 hours and 2 minutes later.

I went into the bathroom to get ready for the meeting. Suddenly, I realized I had done it. On the heels of that feeling and with a wallop: I hadn't done it alone. I started to cry (well sob actually) in gratitude: for each step of what I relayed above was so clearly a gift of exactly what I needed when I needed it to finish. Even doing it at this point in time, was exactly when it needed to happen. It could not have happened any sooner, it happened right when it was
supposed to.

I feared melting into a puddle of self-righteous angry goo, and instead learned that I never walk alone. Someone said in a meeting once: fear is a lack of faith. Today that message traveled from my head to my heart. The content of
that 4th step was nothing more than a means to the next step of spiritual awakening, and I knew it would take care of itself, if I stayed out of the way.

I travel in grace, and suddenly I saw it plain as day.

* Just to explain, for those who don't read all the annoying background on the right frame, I was sober for 7,
relapsed for 11. My sponsor's story is very similar, so she believes that focusing on powerlessness, restoration to sanity, and turning it over to god's will is where we needed to stay so I could really GET that message, since I
clearly didn't (or lost it) the first time round. Though I good naturedly chafed against that a bit (busyness/getting things done being my second addiction after alcohol), it was the BEST THING in the world for me. I mention
this because for new folks this would not be the typical path.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Avoiding my 4th Step

I know it's bad when I am posting to my blog rather than doing what I should be doing: working on my 4th step.  I haven't posted since May, but suddenly I have many thoughts to share with the internets and it simply must happen right now.

Christ, if it weren't for the anonymity principle of AA and if I had any balls at all, I'd just complete my 4th step here on the blog.  As if anyone is just dying to see the inner workings of my hamster-on-an-exercise-wheel brain.  Where does this stuff come from?

I need to get past this point.  Actually, what I'm really dying to get to is my fifth.  I'm feeling the need to purge.  See!  Immediately the fourth is simply an obstacle to getting to my real destination.  An inconvenience to be tolerated, like a closed train crossing in the way of getting to a meeting.

It is my nature to skip to the end.  There is nothing I like more than a decision made, an issue closed, a goal achieved.  Recently, I have been wrestling with the fact that I also tend to do things just in time, then feel inadequate for not doing my best work because I crunch the effort up against a deadline.  I want a deadline because it, in itself, is a decision of sorts (good), but then I set myself up to meet it under the gun, in a headlong rush to deliver, get there on time (bad).  Inevitably, I end up a few minutes late, a bit unfinished.  It's a character defect.

Then I flip it and ponder if I'm striving for perfection and just need to be gentler with myself. When is good enough (we refer to it as the 80/20 rule at work) enough?  I'm sick of saying, sorry I'm a few minutes late or sorry, this is still "in draft" or just to start the discussion.  I feel like I'm saying some version of "sorry, this isn't my best effort" one way or another more and more often and that just isn't ok with me.  I need to apply the 80/20 rule to offering my best effort: 80% of the time I'm on time and delivering a complete draft and chalk the other 20% up to progress.

So now I will go apply that to my 4th step.  Thanks for hanging in, I needed to process that.