Posted in Family, Recovery

To “Re:” or Not to “Re:”… That is the Question

As I begin to write this post, I haven’t yet arrived at my own answer, but I’m launching the question itself as a topic that most bloggers will run into at some time or another…

The Situation: A very nasty note, posted as an anonymous comment on this blog. It was directed in all its viciousness at me, full of factual errors, and with nasty twists on the bits of truth that were in it.

The Best Response: Hell if I know. Here’s my own so far. If the comment itself is going to be public, it needs a response—the question is whether to have it public at all. While I’m letting my emotions simmer down and arriving at an answer, I removed the comment itself. (After copying it for my own reference.)  I also (for the time being, at least) changed the “comments” settings to disallow anonymous contributions, though I actually have mixed feelings about that. On the same day, I’d gotten a very heartfelt anonymous comment on a post about my alcoholism—and I don’t like to block that venue for sharing. I’m still thinking about that

I’m probably fortunate that there are (to my knowledge) only seven people in the world who truly hate me. That’s at least five more than I would wish for, as five of those people previously played important roles in my life, close friends and even family. Those five are painful still—but counselors and my A.A. Sponsor agree on the advisability of simply cutting ties (where possible) with people who are “toxic” to my life. Rebuilding of some bridges just shouldn’t be attempted, no matter how much it hurts my pride or vanity to have people out there thinking of me the way these people do.  (My Sponsor reminds me that my job is simply to keep my own side of the street clean, and what other people think is none of my business. I’m a work-in-progress in this regard.)

In all honesty, I deserve to have a much longer list. I have been graced, however, with many other friends and family members who have accepted my poor attempts at Making Amends, who are willing to distinguish my Sober-Self from my Drinking-Self, and who have been gracious enough to forgive the heinous harms I’ve done to them when I was drinking—and to go forward with the process of re-building trust and re-building our relationships. (Interestingly enough, six of the seven “haters” were not harmed by my drinking as much as people who have forgiven, and four of them directly benefited from my drinking. Since I can’t claim to deserve forgiveness from anyone at all, it’s a testament to the great-heartedness of many people in my life that they have continued to love me despite myself.)

As to this particular incident of spewing toxicity… Certain bits of the commentary narrow down the possible authorship to just two people. Not that it does me any particular good to know that. (Nevertheless, I’ll keep those particular bits to myself in case they come in useful later. Have I watched too many crime-solving shows?)

Back to my Sponsor (bless her wisdom!) who reminds me not to let other people have “rent-free space in my head.” From a reverse angle, evidently I’m inadvertently renting some space in this writer’s head, and I have to pause and wonder why a person who is offended by my very existence would trouble herself to read my blog, which obviously riled HER up immensely! Believing what she believes of me, why would she cause herself the emotional turmoil of reading MY view of my life? It’s a mystery.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with a nasty public comment. The last time was on the Facebook page of the Hawai’ian restaurant Keoni and I had run, just after we threw it away with our alcoholic relapse. The comment, written by a person whom I had grown up addressing as “Aunt” (yes, one of the seven), contained a number of unpleasant UNtruths, as well as some truths that we had already been very open about, and all of it couched in the nastiest of vitriol. Rather than dignify it with a response, and believing it didn’t have a place in that venue, I simply deleted it. She responded with a new comment, claiming that we “obviously had things to hide” since her previous comment had been deleted. So… I did respond, laying out “for anyone who doesn’t already know” all of our own faults and mistakes. I don’t know if that public accounting took the wind out of her sails, but it was the last we heard from her.

Perhaps this week’s writer is feeling the same–that I’m trying to make myself falsely “look good” here by hiding her comment and not addressing its contents. I think that anyone who reads here regularly will agree that I’ve pretty much let it ALL hang out–I haven’t tried to hide my alcoholism (or the disastrous results of it), or our crazy-low income, or even my personal flaws. (There are many! And I write about them…) I own my own faults, and I do my best to work on them—but I don’t think it can be said that I gloss them over. Although… You crazy readers here tend to respond positively to those moments of honesty, instead of reviling me for my past and current Badness. I’m probably “cheating” by baring all here, and depriving my detractors of the opportunity to drop in any information-bomb that would jolt all of you back to your senses in recognizing that I’m a worthless human being.

Sarcasm aside—I think, on reflection, that I will go ahead and respond publicly to the comment’s contents. (If you feel like skipping this, feel free; I won’t hold you hostage to a “character debate.”) I’m just choosing not to give anyone room to accuse me of hiding anything. (Looking back on the entire history of Things That Reflect Badly on Me, I can think of exactly two topics I wouldn’t initiate here. Both of them would involve someone else hurtfully, and even the 12-Step process of Making Amends forbids us from sharing things that harm others. I wouldn’t lie about these, but I won’t bring them up here.) That said, I’ll just dive in—the commentary, and my responses.

Your grasp on reality is fading with each passing day! Stop blaming others, especially your ex for your problems and shortcomings! You have no one but yourself to thank for the trainwreck that is your life!

I’m pretty sure I’ve repeatedly, openly, and publicly taken responsibility for my OWN current shortcomings and past disasters. And yes, I also express frustration at some choices made by my ex.  I don’t think, though, that complaining about another person’s behavior constitutes blaming them for the general state of my own life. Nor do I consider my joyful family-life a “trainwreck.” The fact that anyone else characterizes it so does not change my own experience of it.

And stop using your kids to boost your pathetic fragile ego! They love you and their father so stop trying to make him the bad guy. You left him, remember? Wake up and smell the coffee girl before its too late!

1) I’m not “making him” anything. I relate his behavior, and how the kids are affected. If that makes him seem like a bad guy, maybe he should think about his choices. 2) YES, I left him. For a number of reasons, some of which re-surface in the behaviors that still frustrate me. As a matter of fact, I kept very quiet on my own opinions for several years, and a great deal of what I relate now is comprised of their experiences and moments of unhappiness. And I’ve said before and will say again—there’s no feeling of “triumph” in knowing that my kids are often unhappy in their other household. I am joyful that they are joyful with us, but there’s nothing but distress (and helplessness—also my own fault) when they are unhappy.

You blame your alcoholism for losing your job, your home and car, your restaurant business and ultimately the custody of your kids.

Yes—if by “blame my alcoholism,” you mean that I admit openly that my drinking has been disastrous in all those areas (and more—in the people I’ve hurt).

But now, all you do is “crow” about your sobriety and yet your circumstances have not improved at all!

If you judge a person’s worth only by income, then this statement would be true. I choose to judge my life by joy—and I have more of that than when I was rolling in money and drinking my soul away. Even in the writer’s own comments (the disastrous effects of my drinking) show how much better our circumstances are when we’re Sober. We’ve been blessed to regain full custody of one of our children and substantial time (though of course not “enough”) with the other two, we are secure with a home we love, a car that works, work that covers the bills (though admittedly not with any room for “extra” at the moment!), and (because of our work-choices, prioritizing family-time over money) a great deal more time with the kids than we had even before our relapse.

Our Favorite “washed-up” Old Guy!

Oh, by the way, I will “crow” about my sobriety, thank you. I had to stop and count, but that’s 21 months of joyful recovery, rebuilding of relationships, and exploring new things.

You are married to an old washed-up, would-be beach bum who’s old enough to be your father and who you drug home from re-hab after having known him only a few days.

Two pieces of this are true—he’s old enough to be my father, and he moved in with me just out of rehab. Four years later, I can say with certainty that neither of those facts has proved problematic. “Washed-up would-be beach bum” is already on its way to becoming a Family Joke.

The fact he has a domestic violence record is really the last straw!

Ah, that. Here’s the full, unadulterated story, corroborated by both of our sons who were present at the time (and probably not interesting to anybody except those who want to use it against us, but here it is).  First, it happened when he was drinking—which is why he has taken full responsibility, both legally and personally, for his part in it. It was December ’08, and his wife-at-the-time was blocking him from leaving the house. (Side note: that’s illegal in its own right.) She pulled him down by his sweatshirt, sat on his chest, and beat him with her fists. (Side note: also illegal) When she leaned close to his face, he bit her cheek, and used that opportunity to get out from under her and out of the house. He went to the nearby fairgrounds and hanged himself—the police found him there, put him handcuffed in an ambulance, and sent him to a Rehab hospital. (I checked myself in two weeks later—that, for better or worse, is where we met.)

His wife perjured herself on the stand, and admitted as much later to his Probation Officer, when the terms of his probation became inconvenient to her. I wish we had that confession on tape, but there’s nothing to be done about it now. He served 22 days in jail, and the incident went down as “domestic violence” on his record.  Incidentally, that’s what ultimately cost him his job in Corrections. He still takes responsibility for it, because he was drinking, but things would be very different if she hadn’t gotten away with that perjury.

He can’t seem to hold down a job, so instead of helping provide for you and your children, he is just another mouth to feed!

Not that it’s anybody’s business (especially now that we’re not taking Food Stamps—we still qualify by a mile, but we’ve voluntarily discontinued again because we think we can manage without), but he’s contributing more income to the household than I am, and has been the greater contributor ever since the restaurant closed. I’m grateful we don’t feel the need between us to tally “who’s feeding whom,” because I’d be way behind on the count.

 

The next section I’m actually not going to reprint here, because it’s at least as unfair to my sister as it is nasty toward me. The gist of the accusation against me, though, is that I’m falsifying my relationship with her (in her birthday post a few days ago).  Here’s the rest of the story—a piece of which I already alluded to early in the year (“Shining a Light into the Dark Places“), when I ridiculed myself for having confronted her with a trivial resentment of mine, before I had even Made Amends to her for the UN-trivial harm I had done to her.

The fact of the matter is that she and her husband, as the only family-members who lived near me during the worst of my drinking-days, bore the brunt of the “sick destructive downward spiral” (those quoted words are from the writer, and I acknowledge the truth of them) of my alcoholism. It was her husband who picked me up from my office when I was sent home for being drunk, she who left work to bail me out of jail for my DUI, she who had to show up at my house to find me when I went AWOL from work, both of them who were subjected to the absolutely ridiculous stories I put forward to try to cover my drinking… If there were any way I could un-do all those things… Oh Lord, I’d jump at the chance.

Let me add this as a testament to her character, which I didn’t include in the birthday post—not because I was trying to hide my own messiness, but because a post celebrating her didn’t seem an appropriate venue to muck up with my junk… (Perhaps that was an error in thinking, but for better or for worse, that was my thinking.) As a testament to her character: she, who was hurt by me more greviously than almost anyone else (or tied, perhaps, with my parents and my kids) is forgiving enough to be willing to rebuild our trust, rebuild our relationship, and build on all the good we DO have in our shared history. I don’t even have words for how grateful I am.

I don’t think drinking is the problem. I think you are just lazy and crazy, not wanting to take any responsibility for anything! You need psychiatric help and lots of it!

I’m not sure what is left to take responsibility for that I haven’t already, but I might have missed something… The rest—well, as she says, it’s what she thinks, and it’s a free country.

Well, there we go. I’ve exorcised the thing, and I can honestly say it won’t be renting space in my head.

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Author:

I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

92 thoughts on “To “Re:” or Not to “Re:”… That is the Question

  1. Kana, I’m glad you won’t allow space in your head for that venom. Someone who does not understand the depth of your experience will not have the capacity to articulate it back to you, and clearly this is the case. You are a beautiful person, and you have every right to be proud of the life that you have built for yourself, and the fact that you have realized what brings you and your family true happiness is the ultimate triumph. That is the true measure of success. Kudos to you for rising above!

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  2. Kana, kudos for your exorcism. Why anyone feels compelled to spew venom–put such negativity into the Universe–is beyond me. May joy continue to surround you and yours. As for the rest–well, the Rule of Three has a way of taking care of such things….

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  3. Kana, I don’t “know” you but for your blog. But I have always admired your honesty and life lessons you shared with us. If I “had” to pick one thing I have most learned from your blogging it is about taking responsibility. Though there are many more things as well. I have been greatly impressed with the decisions you and your family have made in picking and choosing things to do or not do in your life that benefit your family. It seems like you have taken your own lessons and try to keep learning from them. I appreciate your openness and honesty, your writing. Your spirit.

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    1. You couldn’t have known it at the time, but you posted a couple lovely, warm comments that arrived JUST after I’d first read this—and your words were truly balm to my riled mind. Thank you, Sister.

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      1. You are most welcome. I’m honored by the title “Sister”. Truly I am. Your writing is nothing that this person stated. Obviously the issues written were based in the writer’s issues and not in you.

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  4. Dear Kana, how sad that someone else’s “stuff” has hurt you.

    You have the right to move our of this abusive relationship. When it happened to me, I simply sent them an-e-mail saying that from now on I would be deleting unread any further e-mails from them. Both the people then gave up. If they couldn’t get a response, then they got no traction.

    It feels very satisfying to take control of a situation like this, and I hope you do feel that way.

    And no-one has any right to judge you or the choices you make.Wash that guy/girl right out of your hair! And go on making the most of your life, enjoying your children , knowing that you are a worthwhile human being doing the best you can… as you always did, even when in hindsight you regretted some of your choices. And you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone!
    Go well….

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    1. Got my (home-made) shampoo ready to go—and she’s washed entirely out of my hair! (And now I’m humming that song from South Pacific…) :) Thank you.

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  5. Someone once gave me some sage advice. Oddly enough, I didn’t even know this person – she was part of an on-line prayer team.
    I had been ousted from my position as president/chairwoman of a non-profit homeless ministry by a woman who wanted my job. She did all she could to deceive the board, including false accusations. She sent me a letter telling me the board had voted to make me leave. My husband and I were the founders of this rescue mission, she even tried to ensnare him – which did not work.

    The prayer warrior wrote back to me – “The best way to take the wind out of her sails was not to engage.” I could have become tangled in a web I might not have found my way out of if I did not take this advice. I walked away, much to the surprise and I am sure amazement of the woman who targeted me. She took over, and after a year left as it was too much for her.

    Sometimes God moves us on, maybe kicking and screaming, if He has other work for us. It was only a short time before I became involved with Bikers for Christ International, a ministry founded by a long-time friend and pastor. I help organize events, take care of the press releases, photograph the event and have even had my photos both on the cover and inside Quick Throttle Magazine. I work with Pastor Z on the monthly newsletter, make flyers and pretty much do whatever is needed.

    I am hoping you will have peace of mind which will come by not answering the comment. Don’t let that person control you. You are not alone, Jesus loves you and so do many who read your blog.

    Blessings and God’s mercy in your life.
    bikersforchrist.org if you want to know what I am doing.

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    1. Not to engage—that’s advice we frequently remind each other, particularly in dealings with our respective Exes. (They seem to crave attention, even negative attention…) And that was exactly why I considered not writing this at all!

      Ultimately, I needed to WRITE this for my own “exorcism”—though I wasn’t sure while writing if I would publish or not. For better or worse, here it is.

      I LOVE what you do!! :) Blessings!

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  6. Whoa! Your anonymous venom spewer needs their head popped (figuratively not literally–I don’t condone violence) to release some of that hate and poison building up. What a horrible way to live one’s life. I would hate to have to live in their skin. You’ve shown courage and spirit, not only by your sobriety, but by the way you live your life and how you’ve chosen to handle this attack.
    All I can say is, “You rock!”

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    1. I’m enjoying that picture—no violence, just popping a venom-zit. ;) And I’m with you, I wouldn’t trade lives or outlooks with this person for anything. Thank you. :)

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  7. Wow Granny i so know who that was! What everyone has failed to mention that the “unknown writer” used her kids as pawns and kept his 3 children from him for most of their lives and that You Kana (ewww i like granny better) are the one who got him in touch with them! This person must get a thrill off of yours and your amazing husbands (my Tylah Boy Twin and my Daddy) lives! Some people have learned the value of life (you would think being really sick themselves they would understand this but come on who are we kidding?!) And that its measured on your happiness and not how much $ you do or dont have! You Tylah Boys keep on smiling cuz “our ohana rocks!”

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    1. Believe it or not, the two candidates are NOT the person you think—although she IS one of the “seven.” ;)

      But more to the point: Yes, our ‘ohana rocks! We love you, Daughter!

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  8. For too long we have enabled people with hate in their hearts to control who we are. We have allowed them and their toxic way of life to place doubt in our minds and our abilities. For some of these people I pray for them everyday. Sometimes multiple times throughout the day asking Ke Akua to bless them and change us. All we can do is keep our side of the street clean, pray for guidance and together do the next indicated thing. Nothing is forever no matter how badly we may want it to be. Embracing change allows us to grow and to better learn the multiple worlds we walk in. We teach this to our keiki and mo’opuna so that they learn love, compassion and self-accountability as coping skills and not weakness. Your posts help so many people and gives us the opportunity to share our experiences and maybe more importantly our fears with others. Please don’t let people who live in the muck of hate and jealousy taint your Aloha for others. Malama Pono!

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  9. I had a similar thing happen to me by a family member who signed their name. They were trying to extort me to do something that they wanted, and I wouldn’t go along with. (I deleted the comment and had to turn approval on for all comments because of their behaviour.) Some people are just bad, you know? It really hurt what they said, because it wasn’t true, and it was just designed to emotional eviscerate me. Sending your way. Keep on keeping on Kana!

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  10. I’m sorry for you, Kana, and glad you’re able to talk about it. I’m sure it hurts nonetheless. Anonymous seems funny; most of the comment seems far to personal to be anyone “anonymous”.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re pretty cool.

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  11. … and as for Keoni being another mouth to feed, seems to me as head cook, he’s doing the feeding.

    What a waste of oxygen this person is, and making their comments as ‘anon’ makes them a cowardly waste of oxygen.

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    1. Excellent point! Our kids are frankly quite perturbed whenever he’s away at dinner time. Christian occasionally asks me to do the “one kitchen job you do” (boil noodles) and recoils in alarm if he thinks I’m going to attempt to cook anything else. ;) With reason, let me assure you!

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    1. You’re astute to include “FOR them”… Clearly there’s something needed when someone is THAT unhappy… But… My shovel is at the ready. ;)

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  12. I personally admire your honesty, lifestyle choices, struggles, tolerance of differing opinions (shooting range posts), resilience and chutzpah. I would hope that this hurtful experience will not put a shade upon your light. -Nikki

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  13. Whew! My soul is actually crying, which means tears are produced in my eyes…not something I allow to happen too often.

    My heart hurts for you, that you had to even ingest one ounce of written volatility. It is so rude, it is so wrong, and it is so unnecessary. I am sorry. I am sorry because I empathize with the need to purge the contamination from the brain. I wish it wouldn’t even penetrate. Is there a serum for such poison? Yes…though it takes a bit of time before its effects soothe.

    Knowing what love is, and how deeply we are loved by G-d, even with our disabled and dysfunctional ways, is the beautiful truth and the antidote for hate.

    “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1

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      1. I wish, with you, that it could be prevented from penetrating at all. I wish I could manage not to give the writer even that much power, of the several hours of perturbation I DID muddle through before succeeding with an “exorcism”… But as you say, a little time puts the serum to work. And yes, THAT’s what we pray for—that the toxic people in our life might be free, themselves, from their toxicity. It harms them much more than us.

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  14. Don’t allow space in your head or on your blog! If someone wants to make bold statements, they ought to be willing to take responsibility for them accompanied by the actual name of the actual person who wrote them. Bridgette “my actual name”

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    1. Lovely to be introduced to your actual name. ;) Even a reply from a blog-login seems to me to be “owning” remarks, but you’re right–“anonymous” is irresponsible.

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        1. That’s two of us, then! ;) I was just joking with Keoni that I’ll never be able to run for public office. (Or else I’d be a great candidate, because ALL the skeletons are already laid bare…)

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          1. You’d have my vote. I thought of you today because for the first time ever after just joining Twitter I was bullied a little for my screen name being FatGirlUSA. But I took my own advice I gave you & just let it go! I wanted 2 tell the little 15 year old bitch off but I calmed down. SMILE Bridgette

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  15. This post made me sad. I’m sorry you’ve had to rehash past mistakes here in order to refute harsh accusations. We all make mistakes, some are more destructive than others, but we’ve all failed. We’ve hurt others (either intentionally or unintentionally), we all have to live with choices we have made. The thing is, all of our mis-steps are a part of who we are- but they don’t define who we are by any stretch.

    Good for you on your time of sobriety. No one’s venomous words should take away that accomplishment. If you’re making amends with those you’ve hurt, that’s between you and those people. I don’t know what bitterness sparked the hateful comment, but that’s something the other person needs to work through. As for your blog, you have every right to remove a comment that does not further the discussion. The world has enough hatred, we don’t have to accept it in our personal spaces.

    Now, I have to go deal with my own disappointment because, until tonight, I thought you were perfect. (kidding, of course…just trying to lighten up!)

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    1. I actually don’t mind “rehashing,” because I haven’t tried to hide any of it… It’s the point YOU make (that our past mis-steps don’t define our current selves) that seems lost on that writer. I’m grateful for the other people in my life (and my blogging-life) who are able to make the distinction! ;)

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  16. You do not hide from past mistakes. I find you incredibly honest and inspirational. This person just wants to tear you down, they aren’t worth it. Your kids love you and so does your husband. You do not measure happiness through wealth but love and joy.

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  17. I’ve had to deal with this, too. Like being a drunk, being bipolar leaves a trail of dead bodies. And, like you said, some can forgive and some can’t. One of these comments I chose not to respond to at all. Just no possible good would have come from it. Another I responded to in private with as much compassion as I could muster, but that relationship is one I’ve walked away from now.

    You don’t need to justify or explain anything to us here. We *get* you. When I read the post about your sister’s birthday, I remember thinking, “I bet a lot of hurt happened there and look at how cool they are together now.” I didn’t need to know the details—the end results were a testament to the power of love and forgiveness.

    It’s hard to keep our side of the street clean, but like your sponsor and Keoni noted, that’s our job–however we get it done. A little of your home-made disinfectant will work wonders.

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    1. I’m grinning at the image—Vinegar all around! NOW we’re properly disinfected! :) I’m not a bit surprised that your perception (reading the sister-post) included the insight that there were hurts in the history. You and I do get each other.

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  18. It’s a shame that the poster is allowing you so much space in her head – simply put, it is a testament to how strong and powerful a person you are. The things I get from your blog: honesty, dedication, integrity, forgiveness. There is so much more important to life than the material bs so many focus on and you and your family get that. It’s inspirational.

    Because of your insight and honesty, my own family is beginning to heal after five years of divorce. My son’s father and exhusband has finally grown enough to realize what he lost and I (after growing myself and learning the possibilities here through your words) have let go of my own anger toward him and we are giving it a go again. It is going to be a long road, and I know he will have a relapse, just as I have relapses with my emotional disorders. But in the end, love is what is important and worthwhile. Not hate.

    Too bad that commentator still has not learned that tid bit about the real value of life.

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    1. I’m humbled and honored that my words might have had ANY impact on another’s life, and pleased beyond expression that it’s so positive. Here’s to your new journey! (And here’s hoping the commentator will sometime learn what you and I KNOW.) Hugs!

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  19. Kana, thanks for addressing this and handling it so well. Must have been a shock to receive such a load of vitriol (and likely from someone you know since they addressed issues with your sister that a general reader of your blog wouldn’t know). What strikes me is the sadness of their gesture. Their own life (internal and external) must be royally screwed up for them to unleash such self-absorbed rage in your direction. Also, frankly, it sounds a little jealous — here’s this woman (you) who has fallen from a great height by her own doing and lived to tell the tale. You’re not proud of your past behavior, but neither are you yoked beneath it for life (clearly the sentence of guilt your writer would prefer). You have found a partner you adore and who clearly adores you. Your children appear to be growing into bright, inquisitive people unafraid of facing life’s challenges. Yup — sounds like jealousy to me.

    Also, why the heck do they care?

    And anyone, ANYONE, who sends an anonymious message like that one is a COWARD.

    PS — hug yourself and the used-up wanna-be surfer dude for me. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to do that in person.

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    1. When Keoni and I first discussed the question of whether I would respond, that was actually the issue. Some people want attention, and maybe we shouldn’t “satisfy” them. (In the end, my own need for exorcism-by-writing trumped that question—though even when I wrote this, it was with the idea that we’d discuss AFTER writing whether to publish.) Once again, you’re spot-on! :)

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  20. I agree with the poster who said that not engaging was the best move in dealing with such a toxic person. Remember: “A life well lived is the best revenge.” You are doing that in spades.
    My sponsor would tell me to pray for this obviously sad and conflicted little person. If that’s too hard, I will pray for the willingness, to maybe, someday, pray for them to have the happiness that I already have.

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    1. I will freely admit that Keoni is better at this than I am (he prays daily for a short list of hurtful people)—I manage it sometimes in earnest, but I confess I’m more often at the stage of praying for the willingness to pray earnestly for them. As my sponsor advises: “Bless them. Change me.”

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  21. Wow.. as in wow..all I can say is seems like those remarks from “anon” should have been emailed at best, better yet not said at all.. you do not have to justify yourself to anyone but yourself :-)

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  22. My first impression of the vitriolic comment by Anonymous: it really is none of her business to interject herself in your life.

    Quite frankly (even though you have certainly been very frank with your posts), no one except you knows the difficulties (and dare I say joys) you have encountered on your path. And you are sharing some of your life experiences with us. God knows, this takes courage. Thank you for sharing, Kana.

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    1. I DO try to spend a great deal more time on the joys than the difficulties… I hope posts like this one are the exception. Thanks for your encouragement through thick and thin.

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      1. Ah, Kana – the difficulties and the joys are What Life is About – and I find your blog inspirational as well as interesting. Just keep doing what you do. It is appreciated. It is real. It is refreshing.

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  23. Kana,
    Sobriety changes someone (congrats on 21 months, my friend). And funny enough, sobriety doesn’t please everyone. I have been sober for a little over two years now, and since then, some of my relationships have changed. Some got better – I think I am a better person sober – and some got lost, especially my old drinking/drug partners. Life at 40, being sober, is a new life. I’m digressing.

    As for hurtful comments, don’t give them space. I read an amazing blogger – Fat Heffalump on WordPress – she deals with a subject that brings her a great deal of trolling. She has zero tolerance for trolls, she denounces them publicly and adds their IP address on her blog. It’s her way of dealing with trolling. I personally do not give them any space, at all, not on my blog, not in my head. I’m actually preparing a piece on it. I’m sorry you’ve been made to feel like shit, but you have so much beauty in your life.
    Le Clown

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    1. Happily, the “feeling like shit” was of mercifully short duration. I’m looking forward to your piece. And congrats to YOU on two-plus Sober years, my friend! :)

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  24. You hang in that girl and don’t let busy bodies mess with your head. Apparently they have nothing better to do with their time than to do hateful things to others. As my Dad always said “What goes around comes around” and I believe that with all my heart and soul. Life is too short to let “little minded” people mess with your head! BE HAPPY!!

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  25. Kana — Not surprisingly, you hit a lot of topical hot-buttons in me as I read your in-depth review of your own place in your world. Seems to me that being dedicated to the pursuit of Good involves two responsibilities: 1) to defend the freedom for all to voice their opinion (Good or Bad) and 2) to speak out in response to Bad…it speaks to the dynamic tension in “Truth”.
    You’ve done both very well. To make a long story short, I so second your emotion on the ‘renting space’ sentiment. It’s good to be a landlord. It looks good on you. Dan

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  26. The simple fact the comment was made anonymously is evidence toward her cowardice. I find it remarkable that someone who obviously feels such hatred toward you even bothers to read your blog. Talk about pathetic.

    Stay strong, Kana. I’m really glad she’s not renting space in your head. :)

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  27. I can understand why you decided to remove the post and are trying to come to terms with whether or not to post it with your own desire to respond.

    Kana, the fact that you have ambivalent feelings might well be attributed to how much YOU are concerned that some portions of what she/he said might actually be true.

    THAT poster is as toxic to you as to your readers. As a reader, we don’t need to know every disaster that you have faced or survived in your personal life. We, those of us who follow you, are amazed on how open you have been about all the issues you face continuously and the progress you are making.

    What you have related in this post about the anonymous donor is a sad tale about some personal issue that the cowardly lion[ess] must face in his/her own life and a reflection on how much the person believes that he/she has failed themselves. Seeing you “crow” about your own success must be a cruel reminder to how short this person has lived up to the goals set in his/her own. [It sounds like a female writing because of the detail level of personal assaults on your character.]

    We all have faults and either learn to live with them or correct them as we move slowly forward in our lives. I have been accused of many faults by my family which occurred during the early years of my life. Since, due to a medical issue, I am unable to recall any of the incidents related and since [as a result of lack of memory] I have only their version of the accusations, it is impossible for me to “correct” anything. The persons involved refuse to “speak” to me until I “apologize” but they won’t tell me what to apologize for. I can’t say that they are incorrect in their assessments but I don’t know what I did or why I did it or even, for that matter, if I did whatever it is that they believe I did.

    So, while you can reflect on your failings and make corrections along the way as is possible, I am in a position where I lack any ability to reflect at all.

    The outcome, nonetheless, seems quite similar. Each of us must accept the person we are NOW as a compilation of the person we were once and the person we are on our way to becoming. If others cannot or chose not to approve of us, then it is a shame that they are missing out on a great transitional period in human experience.

    You are NOT the person that she described – even if once upon a time you were.

    Lovin’ ya’ Roomie!

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    1. You are astute as always, Roomie. I’d love to say that reading this had no impact on me, and that the writer had no power over me at all, but the sad truth is that she managed (though thankfully, for just a few hours) to taint MY view of myself and my life. A lot more prayer than usual during those hours, and part of how I re-anchored myself was with reflections on my family and friends (and Roomie)—the NON-toxic, forgiving, loving people who KNOW me, faults and all, and who know that her descriptions don’t fit me now.

      I can actually sympathize with your own predicament with the family members YOU wrote about (though in my case, it’s my own fault)—due to drinking-blackouts I didn’t always know the extent of what I might have done… As you say, though—here WE are, shaped by our past, but new people. And damn, I’m glad to know you! :)

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  28. Kana, you amaze me with your sense of self. This post could have been called “How to do right by not allowing others to have an impact by doing wrong.” …But that would have been way too long. (And I love the Shakespeare shout-out!)

    I am glad you are so strong, Friend.
    :-)

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  29. Kana, my dear: your bold writing and joyful spirit puts Anonymous to shame. Your thirst for the true, the right, the loving ays rings so true with your friends and admirers. Anonymous proved herself to be so small and vicious. Your willingness to continue to address the objections she raised are a testament to your heart, soul, ethics, values, outlook…..Kana rocks~Kana—you continue to be a courageous role model for your children and for any who read your blog. Have a blessed evening <3

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  30. Hate and distrust are terrible things that hurt both people. Very hard to overcome. I don’t know of anyone who openly hates me but I’m sure they exist. I can think of a few candidates for”closet haters” based on their behavior toward me. Thanks to your very open and inspiring post I will remember not to let them ‘rent space in my head’.

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  31. WOW! 81 comment! I am not surprised. You are an inspiration and a joy and I am so very proud of you! My dad shared a wise thing with me years ago… “You cannot be hurt by someones words, except by your own reaction to them. They did not hurt you. You allowed yourself to be hurt by something they did.” He was a pretty smart guy, my dad.

    You took away this person’s power by not allowing their anger to occupy your head.

    Choosing to be grateful for the life you have draws good things to you, Kana. You are blessed with so much love and an incredible soul. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working! ((hugs))

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  32. Some folks need to tear others down in order to build themselves up. It sounds like your writer is doing–excuse me–TRYING to do just that. I admire your strength, Kana. I admire your candor. I admire your honesty. Your past only defines you in so much that you have learned from your mistakes and that you are making a concerted effort to do right by those you have wronged. Your anonymous writer is a coward for not putting “her” name on the comment. As someone who recently blew off a toxic comment from my own sister (who also was too cowardly to sign her own name) I feel your pain. But, please, if you take nothing else away from this comment, please take this: You owe no one an explanation for your life right now except those that matter: Your true ohana, blood related or otherwise. No one else matters, sister. No one…………Don’t EVER stop crowing about your sobriety! Sing it from the mountains to anyone who’ll listen and even to those who won’t!

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  33. Your frank honesty is what keeps me coming back to your blog. I have deep respect for anybody who can put their hand up and admit that they made a mistake.
    Personally, though I might not have done it myself – I’d be scared – I’m glad that you chose to respond to those hateful words, because in doing so you have stripped them of any and all power. It also shows a level of humility that some people would do well to aspire to themselves.

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  34. She shoots! She scores!! Your words are a testament, to the quality of recovery, you and that “old beach bum” are practicing. God’s blessings (& wisdom) to the bunch of ya’!

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  35. Don’t begrudge yourself in preventing anonymous comments. If someone is brave enough to put it into words and post it for the world to read, they should be brave enough to own up to it as well. Congratulations on your ongoing sobriety. I suspect that any kind of sobriety, or abstentions, is a relentless battle. I think once a person becomes addicted to something, they most often really are cured of the craving for it. They just learn to control the impulses. I had the same problem with alcohol. I used it to assuage my depression and shyness. I eventually just had to get a handle on it and realize it wasn’t what I wanted for myself. I still drink alcohol, but I watch myself very carefully.

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  36. I have learned the hard way that I can’t control what someone else says or thinks about me. All that I can control is what I say and think. Hurtful, untruths are difficult to deal with, but they are more reflections on the person who is saying them rather than on the person to whom they are directed.
    Be proud of how far you’ve come and let them do what they have to do. I agree that annonymous comments, particularly vitriolic ones, have no place on your blog. Don’t give them the power of upsetting you. You have come much too far to do that. Namaste.

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