My neighbors on Hobo Hill had a poodle when we were growing up. Bridgett was her name and she barked a lot. She barked when she was happy and barked when she was bored and barked when we came over to borrow something like eggs and sugar. No one paid much attention to her barking because she was being a Poodle.
I live with a Schnoodle (part Poodle, part Schnauzer). He’s nearly perfect–I’m not. We manage to get along pretty well anyway. The thing that I love about Henry, the Schnoodle, is that he’s an alert barker. Unless he thinks there’s danger, he never barks. Therefore, I listen when he does.
Usually it’s a woof! because the neighbor’s dog is in the field or the donkey is getting too close to the RV. Nothing to be concerned about, but still, I’m glad to know if something strange is happening, he’ll tell me because he feels threatened.
Honestly, I bark more than he does! Although my nature is more of a Poodle, like Henry, I bark when I’m feeling threatened, too. When I realize I just barked at someone or was thinking of snarling, something strange is happening -I stop! I used to grouse and growl all the time. That was normal when I was drinking. Not now.
So when I feel like barking, it alerts me that something is wrong. It would be dangerous for me to ignore it.
Step 10 is Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. ~ AA p 59
I use a handy one-page inventory* when I start barking. I’ve memorized it now, so I don’t have to drag out the printer from under the sofa, but I go through the parts in my head. It’s a simple process.
First, I isolate the problem, the Who and the What. That’s usually on the tip of my tongue so it’s easy. The second part is sometimes trickier: What part of self was affected? The third part is identifying my character defect that has popped up its ugly head. But the best thing about seeing it right away is that I can ask God to remove it immediately. I don’t have to be angry with myself for being afraid again, for feeling threatened.
The last part is deciding if I should talk to someone about it or not. It often helps me to process things with a trusted friend or my sponsor. After that, I can make an amends if I have already snapped at someone. I just apologize and tell them how sorry I am; then I’m done. 15 to 20 minutes and I’m finished. I can grab my
kibbles, popcorn and get back to my quiet life with Henry.