Jeff shared a story with me: “One day an Elder told a novice to go fetch a guinea hen. When he returned with it, the Elder told him to pluck it. The novice obeyed, and when he was finished, the Elder said, “Now, put all the feathers back.” Bewildered, the novice finally protested, “But it’s already plucked! I can’t put the feathers back.” “Correct,” the Elder replied, “and it’s the same when you say bad things about your brothers. You pluck away at their reputation, and if you keep on, it may be lost forever.”

My reflection: Gossip is a part of any community. I remember how awful it felt knowing that people were talking about Jeff and our family’s problems. In fact, in Stay Close, I wrote, “Convinced that Jeff was a major topic of conversation in the school, I spiraled into a kind of paranoia.”

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is perfect fodder for gossip, but it is destructive and does no good. Today, I won’t be a part of it and will refuse to pluck away at someone’s reputation or integrity. I’ll be mindful of what I say and will respond with compassion and respect.






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10 years ago

I have never been part of a gossip train. All through my years of schooling, my job in accounting, my neighborhood friends, not my family, have I ever gossiped. I always hated it, especially when my son was alive and in the throes of addiction. People never had a nice word to say about him.

Even the severe drug addicts who live on the streets, should be treated with respect and dignity. They are human and have feelings just like the rest of us.

Gossip has no place in my life, and never will. It hurts too many people.

pat nichols
pat nichols
10 years ago

How I wish I could have posted what Barbara did but I can’t. I participated in gossip.

The neighbors across the street had 16 and 17 yr. old boys – both were doing drugs. Periodically you would hear someone peel out of the drive way burning rubber and then there were times you could hear yelling and cursing. Later, word got out that they had been expelled from school, arrested and so on and so on.

I remember telling my next door neighbor, “What is wrong with that family?”

Five years later “my” family would be the talk of the neighborhood!

This neighbor across the street moved to another city and it took me awhile to locate him but I finally did and told him I was in recovery with Families Anonymous and I was working step nine with a sponsor. I admitted how I gossiped and probably made up stuff just to add more drama to my conversation. That was a tough conversation but he forgave me. One son recently celebrated one year of being clean. The other son stopped on his own and is now a successful attorney.

I thank God everyday for making me a different person and for leading me to Families Anonymous.

In continued prayer for all of us and our families.

10 years ago

Hello Barbara , Pat, and Libby. Barbara you are truly exceptional and I love you through cyberspace.
Pat, I too participated in gossip. I am so much more sensitive to it now, now that My “perfect” family was as imperfect as the next one. Life gives us the lessons we need I suppose. I too had a family two houses from me that was dealing with these issues. Now I get it . Life has taught me. Life is a great teacher.
Libby your post this week is a great reminder. Thank you for sharing.

10 years ago

I think gossip is one of the reasons this disease has been referred to as the disease of silence for so long. It seems to be in our nature to judge those around us or the situations going on. I don’t know if we do this because it makes us feel better about our own lives or our selves? Whatever the reason it makes it very difficult to talk about and deal with situations like addiction.

I too have taken part in gossip and like your place of work Libby a hospital is full of it. It is so easy to get caught up in. If there is anything I learn from my daughter”s addiction its not to judge, not to gossip, to have compassion and understanding for others.
We have been shown another side of life, one that I thought would never happen to us, and although it has been hard it has taught me so much.

Everyone has something they would like to hide and I find myself thinking a lot about the passage in the bible, I believe it is “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. A good reminder for all of us.