I spent a few beautiful days on the boat. Fall mornings are cool with wonderfully warm afternoons. It was a good time to walk, take photos, read and relax.
It looks as if the men's meeting is going to go forward. We will get together every couple of weeks, read some recovery literature and talk about what we have read. The next meeting is going to be on the boat. After the meeting hour, we will have time to socialize and have a cup of coffee or tea and some snacks. I think having this meeting is going to be fun. The idea is to have a small group of fellows who can open up to each other, have a flexible meeting format (i.e. not worry about cross-talk), and forge some closer ties.
Our first book is going to be on anger. That's something that I think each of us has experienced and will benefit from discussing. I have evolved in recovery to the point that I don't lash out in anger. I have learned about restraint of tongue (and pen). Yet, there are still times that I can feel the angry retort on the tip of my tongue. And those situations are usually when I perceive an injustice, lack of respect, or just plain selfishness in another.
I have read that reactivity is a mindless, thoughtless reflex and involves the least evolved, most primitive parts of the human brain. Restraint on the other hand is equated with thoughtful, conscious self-control and indicates better ego functioning. All very true. But there are moments when the primitive parts of myself are fighting with the more civilized me. It would be so easy to let the beast within win.
I have not been a demonstrative rager. I wasn't a dish thrower, a verbal abuser, or a trafficker in sarcasm. Instead, I tried to be reasonable and be the placater. And when that didn't work, I would opt to be the wounded victim, the self-righteous martyr. Rather than confront a situation directly, I would give the silent treatment to my wife. And all the while inside I was fuming, angry at her and at myself most of all.
I don't do much self-righteous fuming now. I speak up when something bothers me. I think about what is going on, what I feel, look at what my role is, and make a decision whether it is important enough to discuss. Often times if I have a "cooling off" period and detach from the situation, I decide that the affront wasn't really about me.
If I do decide to speak up about something, then the approach that I now use is to be direct and say what is bothering me: e.g. "I am uncomfortable about....". I like a reasonable dialogue rather than blowing someone away with anger. It is less messy and isn't tinged with regret later. Once out of my mouth, I've found that the indignant rage will deflate me faster than a pin stuck in a balloon. I feel blown apart from my own anger.
There are lots of triggers that can sabotage self-restraint when it comes to personal relationships. I strive for balance and awareness. Hopefully, those are taking me on the higher road to kindness.