Saturday, February 7, 2015


I was floating on a pink cloud being at the barn where I ride my horse.  That is until I found myself surrounded by a whole gaggle of 20'ish females and some 40'ish females who love to gossip.  They gossip about each other, about the barn owner, and about the trainer who says that she knows everything that happens there.  And I am sure that they gossip about me since I am the only male that rides on a regular basis there.

I've never liked gossip.  I can recall my mother and her friends talking on the phone, going on and on about other women.  I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now.  I don't find people so fascinating that I want to think or talk about them for hours.  I suppose that if one would examine motives, it's all about tearing down others.  And that has to have something to do with ego.

I understand why gossip is considered one of the obstacles to success in recovery in Al-Anon.  Here is what we read at meetings about it: We meet to help ourselves and others learn and use the Al‑Anon philosophy. In such groups, gossip can have no part. We do not discuss members or others, and particularly not the alcoholic. Our dedication to anonymity gives people confidence in Al‑Anon. Careless repeating of matters heard at meetings can defeat the very purposes for which we are joined together.

Not gossiping means to me that there is a safe place in the rooms of recovery where I can share without fear of having it repeated.  I have become more cautious though at meetings because I realize that not everyone recognizes how destructive gossip can be.  Breaking a person's anonymity through gossip can have severe consequences for their business, family, and general well being. And it can damage the harmony of a group.

As far as being at the barn, I know that the less I say, the better off I am.  I go about my business of riding; however, it is a little more difficult now when I realize that the shortcomings of a few people have tarnished the experience a bit. I keep in mind the words of a fellow I know in recovery: "Never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut" seems particularly apropos in so many situations.

My horse has had an abscess in his hoof.  I have been treating it with soaks in Epsom salts and slathering some nasty drawing salve called Ichthymol ointment on the bottom of his hoof.  Fortunately, it is getting much better and should be healed up in time for his showing debut at the end of the month.  The abscess seems to have come from bacteria entering the hoof as a result of so much rain and the pastures draining poorly.

Here is the boy keeping an eye on me.  We keep an eye on each other, but he is constantly looking for an apple or carrots!


  1. I think women do love to gossip. And men do it too! Trust me! I find humans fascinating and as such, I love to talk about them and hear about them. I don't care to tear others down so much as just want to ponder on their stories.
    I remember that ointment! I remember when it was used on me once, as a child! I had a boil. It worked. And boy, was it weird. I hope your beautiful horse benefits from it and all is well soon.

  2. My mom was a terrible gossip and half the stuff she said had no basis in reality -- she has few friends and rarely socializes, so she just lives in this terrible inner world where she has to rip people apart.

    I've always hated that about her and tend to stay away from talking about others. I even worry that just mentioning what's happening with someone, the superficial stuff, could be overstepping. I just try to remember that if it is kind or without malice, it's not gossip, but it's good for me to be mindful.

    I hope your horse gets better soon. What sort of event are you showing him in?

  3. He sure is giving you the eye, Syd. I'll bet he wouldn't stand for gossip. My sponsor Bonnie was leading a weekend conference once and when she gave her Introductory speech she mentioned that she'd just come from the Ladies Room & three girls that didn't know she was there were gossiping about someone at the conference. She told them that she felt gossip was as deadly as drugs and alcohol and to do so in the rooms of AA was not to be tolerated. I was so proud to have her as my Sponsor and I can just imagine how small those 3 girls must have felt ! I hope they learned from the experience.

  4. You are just a good guy Syd. I love the safety I feel in Alanon.

  5. i hear you...i am not a big fan of gossip...especially when everyone seems to love a good story..but it seldom includes the actors in the story...and honestly i have enough of my own junk to worry about instead of carrying everyone else...and comparison, which much gossip leads to, is not a true relief...

  6. I live in a gossipy small village and much of the gossip is wildly inaccurate but hurtful for those featured. People interest me so much -- I notice things and think about things told to me, but don't pass it on.

    I hope your sweet horse heals soon, he is a beauty.

  7. Gossip can swallow one's soul... before Al-Anon I admit I participated in gossip, it was a survival I felt I had to do. Gratefully today, I can steer away from it or kindly remind fellow friends that I don't care to gossip. By being an example, at least they stop it around me, whether they start it up when I leave, not my problem.

    You have a handsome boy there... Glad he is taking good care of you! The power a horse has to help heal and bring peace to a soul is priceless.

  8. I try and catch myself when I begin to walk down the gossip path..when I do participate it doesn't make me feel good about can be a character defect.
    There are steps to work on these defects and for this I am grateful

  9. I had enough of gossip when i was 15. I simply do nto want to know anything unless it comes with a version number so i can place it on the truth scale, the higher the number the more unreliable the gossip.

    Ride that horse Syd, maybe save a western mustang and go on a long desert ride. Hmm Bucket list just made, in its entirety.

  10. Hi,
    What do we know of Al-Anon? All medals are two-sided, as the proverb goes. Please consider what follows.

    The Dilemma of The Alcoholic Marriage is but a false dilemma, the true dilemma being marriage itself whoever to. It has little if anything to do with an alcoholic person, man or woman. That book is sexist and outmoded. It should have been discontinued a long time ago. It should have never been written in the first place. There is but 10-12% men in Al-Anon Family Groups, no wonder why. I owe my survival to Al-Anon; but I believe AFG will disappear before men are equal to women – at least in number – in that “wonderful” fellowship.

    Also much more is known today about mental illness (schizophrenia, depression, etc.) than at the time of the two cofounders. Do You Doubt Your Sanity says nothing about neither sanity, nor insanity and less yet about psychosis – mental drunkenness. It is an empty pamphlet like many other useless Al-Anon pamphlets. Let’s keep it simple. There is much too much useless Al-Anon literature that speaks about anything but the real thing and that keeps members deluded about the real thing: mental illness.

    If Al-Anon literature does not reflect today’s reality, then what? If his/her/their alcohol or drug abuse is your obsession (schizophrenia-related obsessive-compulsive disorder), try AFG and hurry on to more important matters. See Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (

    Let it be known also that Al-Anon stands for ALcoholics ANONymous. AA is an independent fellowship that stands for itself while AFG would not exist without AA. Is AFG an addiction (love addiction)? Think of it: “Amputees and the pets that love them.”

    -- Gulemo
    Pilgrims Anonynous

  11. Syd, in my class at the jai, we are dealing with the same thing. Yesterday we dissected some of our possible motives for gossip. I think Al Anon helped save me in so many ways. First of all, I do 'follow the rabbit trail' of why I might do the things that I do and I also gather the courage to make the amends.

    My husband's horse is also at a boarding stable where he is the vet. He rides very early in the morning to avoid that very issue.

    Abscesses can be a long and tedious thing to clear up especially in wet/rainy/snowy or very dry weather. You should look into an equine slipper. They are great to keep on them in the stall to keep bacteria out should there be a weak spot in the hoof.

  12. I try to catch myself regarding gossip it just doesn't serve me..or anyone else..
    It is with a great open heart though today I am reading the literature and blogs makes me smile knowing I am not alone...and for this I am grateful


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