Response Ability

I’ve been thinking about this since my first cup of coffee.

What does “responsible” mean? Some people might be using the word “responsible” for past mistakes. The word itself is loaded with multiple and misleading meanings. Not surprising as we often here as children, “Can’t you be more responsible? (aka mindful)” .  “Who is responsible for this mess (guilty)?” “You will be responsible for making sure this gets done in time. (in charge)”

If I messed up, then I use the word blame,  guilty, or mistake. If in charge of something, then I’m in charge.  If I didn’t plan well, then I wasn’t mindful or forward thinking.

I now use the term responsible like two words response + able.  I am able to respond to events in my life. It is how I respond to things that are out of my control that matters.  A football player may be tackled, but he can respond by diving forward to get an extra yard.

Shit happens that I didn’t cause.  Car wreck comes to mind. Irate students and parents. Other people’s feelings and experiences.  But I am only in charge of my feelings, my thoughts and my response. I choose my actions. Others choose theirs.

So with past mistakes, and I’ve made many, my response now is “What is my take away? What did I learn?  And do I have to apologize to anyone for it? And do I have a mess to clean up, debts to pay, or something else?”


When shit happens that I didn’t see coming, I don’t waste time blaming or getting pissy.  I think “How can I respond in a way that is useful, helpful and effective? What lesson is there to be learned here?” Everything that happens, and has happened is to teach a lesson.  

I don’t dwell on the past.  What is done is done. My focus is what is now and where am I going.  What makes me happy and what doesn’t? And what do I need to respond to to insure that I’m more happy than not?


I choose not to hang with people that are negative.  I choose to surround myself with people who seek the better way of living (men’s groups). I choose to do things that are good for me, and learning to avoid things that aren’t. (Sugar, carbs)

I read and listen to inspirational stuff daily, retraining my thoughts, learning to look on the positive side of every event.  And not assuming control of things that are none of my business. My business is my mind, my thoughts, my beliefs and my actions and reactions. Other people’s stuff? Not my business.  Out of my control, out of my circle of influence.

I can’t control what others think or do.  I try to be supportive. Mostly though, I’m learning to be the best me I can be.  And hope that others do the same.


In alanon, they say “the best gift you can give your family is your own recovery”.  The happier I am, and the longer I can maintain that level of happiness, makes it easier for loved ones that might on occasion worry about me.


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