Back to the Grind

As mentioned back in a March post, MPE Time Out, I left my job. Not the best decision I’ve made in years but it has given me time to get my mental, physical and emotional states back to normal. There was one person who kept tabs on my welfare which I’m grateful. Now I’ve made the decision to go back with a different perspective.

At the beginning of March 2022, I was absolutely drained. I was simply tired of fighting working in a toxic environment. I wasn’t willing to put up a concrete wall. Instead my ego got the best of me. I had to take a step back to say, “Hey, what a minute. What the hell are you doing?”

There was one person, a co-worker, who helped through that process. She and I had conversations on my welfare because she knew I was at my breaking point. At one point, I asked her, “How do you manage to get by day to day (or night by night, in our case)?” Once again she pointed to the fact nothing is going to change – ever. Whether I agree or disagree with anything, it doesn’t matter. Selfish people are only concerned about one thing – themselves. They are going to do things which only make themselves look good to everyone else no matter what the cost – they simply don’t care. Her suggestion was to simply ignore everyone else around you, do what you do, simply say ‘okay’ and do it without question. Clock in for the night, do your thing, clock out. We’re not responsible for the decision made nor are we responsible for the consequences of those decisions. We may not like what happens but its going to happen and we just have to accept it leaving it at the door when we leave for the night. It took time to digest and convince myself it was the best plan if I decided to go back.

At the beginning of May, I decided it was time and to go back to something I’m familiar with. I just have to ‘change my tune’. I have confidence I can do it. If I have to act like a robot ignoring everything around me letting it slide off me like raindrops, it isn’t going to be easy but I think I can get to a comfortable normality, if that makes sense.

After a week of reapplying, I called to check on the status of my application. After a short conversation I was told my application would be considered again. Some people are apparently leaving the overnight shift. However, before I can be rehired, those Associates records have to be properly handled. In summary, she will call me back but can’t put any specific date when it will happen. It’s my understanding, four people left or were terminated in the last two weeks. In addition, three new hires started but only one returned after the first day of work (which is typical). The person I spoke to has been out for a couple of days herself and is known not to be expedient. So I have to wait and I’m good with it.

I’m also going to actively see what other employers are offering. There isn’t much, due to my own limitations, either transportation or skills, available to me but it won’t hurt to apply, have an interview if they are interested and see what happens. Based on past experience, I can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen – things aren’t going to mysteriously fall in my lap!

MPE Time Out

It has been a long time since I started this journal with the goal of providing others an insight into an addict’s life. As with life, things change and one must adapt to its new surroundings. From experience, an addict who does not change will revert back to their old addictive behaviors either to be miserable for the rest of this life or continue to drink/drug to his death. Recently I took a MPE (mental, physical and emotional) time out from work. In other words, I left on good terms with intentions to return at another time, if it happens.

First, it’s interesting to note that my last four jobs, I have lasted just over two years. The last three, I did the most disrespectful and selfish thing leaving without notice either after and in-between a shift. There came a time when I reached a breaking point. I just couldn’t work in such an inhospitable environment. Based on those experiences, if I made such a decision this time, I was not going to repeat it. Instead, I gave notice leaving on good terms.

In my experience there are few places today which appreciate their employees. Instead, you’re hired to do a job, you’re required to do it and most employers don’t care the cost to the employee. To me it’s sad, really sad. As I try to look a both sides, I get it. If a company attempts to please their employees, their employees just ask for more and more. If the company ignores their employees, there is a constant turn around and employee morale always low. I assume a good company would have to find a balance and work through the highs and lows.

Problem One: Here I am again, thinking I know everything and how to fix problems. Instead I need to look at myself to remember two things: I don’t know everything nor can I fix everything PERIOD.

This is a prime example of how I think and where in time will only get me to a place where there is no return. It’ s time to turn it back on myself. What the hell is going on? Honestly, I’m miserable.

I had convinced myself my life was not perfect but better than it was in my past. With a well paying job, I was in a place where bills were paid, food was on the table and I had a roof over my head. But there was always this longing for more. What I wasn’t looking at nor doing anything about are those things I felt are missing in my life.

The work environment became toxic for me. I became this robot – going to work, attempting to do what I needed for the day and leaving. It was the only way to cope. It worked for a while. But over time, the constant pressure to do more at any cost didn’t help me nor others. I began to speak out if only for myself. Nothing I said or did was taken seriously. There was this attitude of ‘it’s always been this way and nothing is going to change’. Such an environment drives me to insanity. I refuse to be that type of person. After careful thought, I felt it best to leave on good terms perhaps find something else. But I needed time to recover and it was impossible while working there. I need to find employment where I have a purpose and I’m appreciated. While there may be no place offering such, I can only hope. For most of my job I was in a serene and peaceful place in my life. But in the last couple of months its simply spiraled out of control. My mental, physical and emotional states are in a state of chaos.

While it’s only been a week, I am starting to feel I’m returning to something manageable. I have learned through experiences, we can’t change the past nor can you regret those decisions or dwell on them. I can only change the present, right here and now. Right now, the only goal is to bring myself back to a comfortable state. It may not be as peaceful and serene as in the past right now but its a beginning.

In summary, I need change internally and perhaps externally . Unfortunately, and not advisable to all, I have gone to an extreme to make this happen. Yet, it has taken me months to plan, analyze and execute this plan while accepting the consequences of this decision. It may work out, it may not, there are never any guarantees in life. For me, I am confident this decision and process is the best for my life at this time.

Only time will tell…


Worst Night in a Long Time

I can’t remember a worst night I’ve had in a long time. In the past couple of months, as one can imagine working in retail, I am completely emotionally, physically and mentally drained when I get home. Honestly, I can’t think straight at all even when playing my game trying to relax. Last night, it just started with one thing and it went downhill from there.

As I have mentioned before I walk to work approximately two and a half miles one way. One my way I dropped by a convenience store to pick up some cigarettes. I fumbled around trying to take out three cards from my wallet (ID, points card and debit card). I finalized my transaction spilling my coffee on the counter. It was just a small spill and I went on my way.

At my first break I always by a Pepsi. I didn’t have my debit card in my wallet. Aww, crap I must have left it at the convenience store. I spent the a total of thirty minutes (with my bosses permission) on the phone trying to speak to a bank representative to place a hold on my debit card. No luck, didn’t speak to a soul. Lunch time came, did the same thing. Another thirty minutes, no luck, no live soul. I was getting really concerned.

Meanwhile, work itself was a nightmare. We have the typical people call out on the weekend but we also have a couple people on medical leave (suspected COVID). Out of a staff of 20-25, we had 11 call outs or people on leave. Thankfully, the truck loads were in the normal range.

Started my shift in soda, juice and water. Five pallets of freight. No a single person was helping me. At some point during the night, a co-worker said I was suppose to be doing something else. Apparently the schedule from the previous night was behind the current schedule. I usually look at the second page because its listed alphabetically. I never understand why managers leave the previous days schedule up. It’s not the first time nor the last. Then a team leader mentioned the same thing when I got to working after break but said I made the right decision anyway because they “forgot” to put someone in those isles anyway. Are you kidding me? UGH. It wasn’t until I got to my last pallet they began to pull people to help me.

Afterwards, I told to work with four other people in pets. Really? Five people don’t need to be working over each other in three aisles. Thankfully the boss make a decision to pull me to dairy. Good but it turned out to be really bad. The whole dairy department is so screwed up. There were products in wrong places, to much product in other places and products on shelves that weren’t even facing forward but instead backward. Grrrrr. It really annoys me. I have complained to management over and over how this affects us. No one really cares. So I just ignore it. There were three pallets of product that could be put on shevles sent back to the cooler. That’s just unheard of and our cooler is full of overstock product. It’s really insane.

At last break, we thought we were done. There was still one pallet left in the cooler but my coworker was told “no to worry about it” (which is typical). Another team leader comes by asking me about this “live” pallet still in the cooler. He told me he heard nothing about leaving it there, it had to be stocked. UGH. So my coworker and I busted our asses off to get the pallet broken down and stocked by 6 am when we open. Thankfully, my coworker worked like I did and we ended up taking about 20 minutes. The rest of the night I made a decision to zone (pulling product forward on shelves) because I wasn’t about do anything more.

On my way home, I stopped by the convenience store. The lady at the counter told me no one turned in a debit card to her knowledge. She called security just to make sure. Security said no. She pulled out a drawer nothing. Then she looked on the cash register, picked up something and asked, “Is this it?” Horray! The clerk from the previous night did tell anyone she had placed it there. ID check and bankcard back.

Though I had a really crappy night, I must of had someone looking our for me.

To Them, Thank you!


To be content doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means
you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s to come.

Tony Gaskings,
Motivational Speaker and Life Coach

Once at an AA meeting I heard someone say, “Roll with the ups and downs of life. If your life was a straight line you would be dead.” While I agree with this, part of me gets edgy when life just goes on in a dull fashion. Addicts like chaos, despite whether they know it or not. But we strive for a serene, peaceful existence in sobriety.

As you’ve noticed I haven’t written here in a while. Part of me says to myself, “Who is going to care?” You’re just a another alcoholic who struggles through life at times. Is there anything new you can bring to the table? No no really, same shit, different day.

Life goes on like a ship passing through the ocean, up and down swells, during its journey to its destination. Everyone has their good days and bad days. But the good days out number the number of bad days. It’s the result of working on all that trauma I suffered in life due to my own making and coming to terms with it all. Yet, no one is perfect. We can all strive for more.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so contempt in my life as I am right now. All I may do is wake up, have my coffee, go to work, grit my teeth all day over stupid things I have no control over all day, come back home, eat dinner, finally lay in bed after a hard days work and repeat the next day.

Socially I have no friends at all anymore. People have all moved on with their lives. At times I get lonely but for the most part, I’m okay with it. I use to think it was me who drove them away. Instead now I realize people are put in our lives for a purpose. When their purpose in our life is complete, they leave. So be it. The eight hours of social interaction I have at work can be enough most of the time; I get tired of listening to how peoples lives suck, rants , raves, complaints about work, etc. It’s just not something I want to bring home with me. I’ve tried to reach out to old friends even just to say ‘hello’ and not received calls back. There was something there at the time we were friends and now that time has passed.

I am content with who I am and where I’m going in life today. There isn’t really a destination but a place of peace and serenity. For the longest time this place seemed far out of reach. All the experiences of my life, all the good times and bad, have brought me to who and where I am today.

The Lonely Life

After leaving SNHU I became a little depressed; working at WM until retirement (another 15+ years) isn’t something I imagined nor is the ideal story ending of my life. However, it is what it is and I’m beginning to become comfortable with it. What now? My family life is non-existent, my social life is nil thus many times I feel very alone in the world. There is a constant need to fill the void with something; I just have to find a spark of joy in my life.

I’ve always been the black sheep of the family. No matter how much I try to reconnect with those of my family it’s as if I don’t exist. For instance, I received a text from my sister the other day, “Are you alive? I haven’t heard from you in a while?” I wasn’t happy. It took me a day or two to respond. I was civil though I wanted to lash out. I haven’t heard a response. I learn everything about the family usually online through FB even the death of family members (aunts and uncles). No one bothers to give me a call. I’ve called people back but no one returns my calls. Honestly, I’ve just given up; I’m no longer going to waste my time in an attempt to make things right or even stay in contact – it is a two-way street is it not?

All the so-called friends in AA and through the years I lived here, no one has called to say anything in many months. I have reached out to people, a lot of people at times but no one returns my calls. I quit contacting my Sponsor long ago because he admitted he doesn’t return my calls because “I know you’ll work through it”. That stung. Some of my other friends have moved away, relapsed themselves, or I’ve just lost contact. The only person I still see, who I also use to live with happens to work at the same place I do, so we just casually say, “Hi” in passing.

There are times when I’m walking to work at 9pm it’s peaceful and serene. Most of the time I enjoy working graveyard, overnights. Whatever you want to call the 10pm to 7am shift. People say, “Aren’t you scared walking down the dark roads at night?” You just get used to the route. There is some active wildlife at certain times of the year, so I’m always scanning what’s ahead of me. Be it skunks (which I can usually see and smell quite well in advance) or the occasional family of deer (crossing the road or sitting in the middle of the field scaring the crap out of me when they turn their heads and their eyes glow). I’ve seen a beaver or two oddly enough. Groundhogs are quite common too.

Then I get home, I’m alone. Do I watch TV, do I play a game – which one? After a while, I get bored of the routine. I have choices of projects but I just can’t seem to stick with one for long. Besides, I have only four hours after I get home from work before I have to head to bed. I only have an hour before I hit the road when I leave in [my] morning. My weekends (Monday and Tuesday) can really get depressing. Can’t go anywhere. Besides, there isn’t anything really to do around here within walking distance. I just try to keep myself busy with this or that until Wednesday morning comes and it’s back to the same routine.

Some weekends I enjoy the time by myself while others not so much. But there is this void in my life I wish I could fill with something enjoyable. At one point I thought about visiting the cat adoption center I use to volunteer. Yes, I thought about buying a furry friend. Unfortunately, I tried calling the number but it is disconnected. I tried to find it online but couldn’t.

Today I have a plan – watch the funeral of Prince Phillip at 9:30 EST. I have always enjoyed the royal family. Diana was a tragedy and I remember exactly when, where and what I was doing when I heard about the crash. All the drama of the royals past and present. Prince William and Prince Harry growing up, marriage and kids. I’m also a fan of Downton Abbey (watched all seasons), The Crown (again, watched all seasons) and I’m currently watching the Great British Baking Show (not related to the royals). The royal family is just something interesting to me, not sure why. So today, we say goodbye to Prince Phillip.

I don’t know. I guess I’m just rambling. I haven’t done it in a while. Sadly, now I have a funeral to attend.

Decision Made – No Regrets

With a new term at SNHU coupled with the stress at work brought me down to all new lows. Tuesday, I had a scare which brought me to a painful decision but I have no regrets. I looked deep inside to find out why I was doing what I thought was the right thing when in reality it was perhaps not the best decision at all.

As mentioned, a couple of times I was struggling with classes in college. After spending 12 hours on night on pre-calculus alone I put everything aside to take a real deep look at what was going on. Why was I back in college?

My whole family graduated with degrees. Mom had her nursing degree, Dad graduated with a business management degree and my sister graduated with a degree in child psychology. Once again, I felt like the outsider of the family. The black sheep who was different from everyone one else. I felt this ‘expectation’ to get a degree to ‘better my life’. Honestly, I was just lying to myself.

But I tried to make things work as my stubbornness kicked into high gear. On the other hand, my body said – no f**king way!

Tuesday night I experience another episode. I just didn’t feel right. Something was going on physically but I tried to convince myself everything was okay. It was just stress. Perhaps I need a quick break. But I didn’t have the time. Suddenly I could feel my heart racing like it wasn’t ever before. I took my blood pressure: 187-104-87. Holy crap…I haven’t seen those numbers in decades. So I got on the phone with an emergency nurse, we talked and she suggested I drop everything I was doing and immediately rest, then call the doctor in the morning. Did so, actually taking a nap, then called the doctor. They had a cancellation, so I was able to be seen within a couple of hours. Reported to the office with a blood pressure of 172-97-65. I ended up talking to my doctor and someone else (I’m not even sure what she was). We basically talked about stress and living a healthy lifestyle. After the conversation, I cried but it made all the sense in the world. I had to slow down before I had another stroke.

By now I’m sure you know what I had to do; I had to made the hard decision to withdraw from SNHU.

It may have been the best decision to save my life. By the time I got to work the next day, I actually got a compliment at work, “Mike, something’s changed. You don’t look so stressed out.” It was true.

What it comes down to is I was living in this expectation to get that degree. Look, I’m going on 50 years of age. I have health issues due to my alcoholism – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression on occasion, etc. I also don’t like in a ‘big city’ nor do I have any intention of moving back to one. Is it really likely an employer will look at my resume after college, with no experience in the computer science field, at age 50 (everyone knows they DO take that in account), living no where near a metropolitan area with (currently) no transportation and says, “We’d like to make you an offer…?” Don’t think so.

I just makes sense, at least to me. Now I’m back to taking care of myself and I feel much better about it.

No regrets.

Another Term Starts . . .

As many of you know I’m attending SNHU to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with an emphasis in Software Engineering. I think this is the third, perhaps 4th term; Terms just blend in together when they go back to back. Last term I excelled in HIS100 – Perspectives in History and IT140 – Introduction to Scripting. This term is also going to be challenging with HIS200 – Applied History and MAT140 – Precalculus (that is how they spell it??).

Work remains the same, “Same shit..different day” but I toned done my mouth quite a bit, just nodded and concentrated on what I need to do for the day. It’s best for my mental health and my continued employment. More broken promises, the blame game, hypocrisy at its best and clashing of egos (including mine at times) is just exhausting. Therefore, instead of giving in to it all, I’m just going to ignore it. Now all I hear is, “Wha….wha…wha….wha”, then nod my head and get back to work.

I was able to order a new hard drive for my old computer. The computer which I ordered on the fly isn’t the best (memory wise) and freezes quite often with all my apps and webpages open. It was frustrating. Luckily, the installation of a hard drive is much easier these days, from those in the past, so it took like two minutes. Loaded Windows, another easy installation, and I’m done.

In a way, I’ve found my quiet, comfortable self again; the Self I enjoy to be with to move through this world. I just hope it stays for a while. I missed it!

An Afternoon with Prince Harry & James Corden

Back in the late 1980’s, I believe it was 1987, I had the experience of a lifetime. My sister was part of soccer team which was invited to a tournament in Europe. We spent three weeks touring various countries (England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Scotland). Since my youth I’ve always had an interest with the Royal Family following them ever since. As you can imagine it’s extremely rare to get a glimpse of them in doing real things.

I happen to find this YouTube video of Price Harry with James Corden from February 2021.

I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a long time. First of all, I enjoy James Corden. He’s particularly funny most of the time. Second, to see Prince Harry without the pomp and circumstance of Royal duties is just amazing. It’s nice to see him and listen to him talk about his life, including things with his wife Megan Markle and their son, Archie.

It’s hilarious, here are some spoilers:

  • James Corden and Prince Harry have English tea on the top of a double-decker bus and something goes terribly wrong (non-scripted).
  • Prince Harry, “The first words Archie said was ‘crocodile’ [big grin from Dad]”
  • A stop at the real home from the Prince of Bel Air. Really Prince Harry you didn’t just do that?
  • The ending had me in tears…

The dialogue between the two the whole time was insanely hilarious too.

Watch it, if you have time. It was the best 20 minutes I’ve had in a long time.

Oh and yes, I’ll be watching the Oprah special on March 7, 2021 too.


Counting Down the Days

Working and going to college full-time can be quite a stressful situation. One misstep, your behind and find yourself struggling to get back things back to current. Yet, when you put your mind to it, you can gain that momentum back to take a breath of fresh air. With a couple weeks left, the end is near. So is the end of 2020 and a much needed vacation from everything.

When I started this term, I thought it wouldn’t be difficult at all. It’s only two classes. You got this! Oh, how I was so wrong. My confidence was slipping. I was at a point where I was contemplating not returning next term. I honestly didn’t want the additional stress in my life. What was the point?

As I concentrated on a rough draft of my persuasive essay for English, I got behind a week in my math class. Then the walls really started to close in. Then the debates stated with myself. Why are we doing this to ourselves? We know better. Are you going to let history repeat itself? Or are you going to take this as a lesson to learn from the past to challenge yourself to do better and change?

Got home today from work, sat down to concentrate on my two math assignments and a discussion. As typical with classes, the first have is a review while the second is typically new material. Now it’s a little more challenging, however I got what I needed done for the week. Now I’m current. I can breathe.

The year of 2020 was challenging. However, those days too are starting to dwindle. Started a new job, moved into my own place, and started college. I forgot I put in a vacation request for the end of December. A notification arrived this morning it was approved. It’s just four days from Dec 27 to Dec 30 because I have to work ‘key’ dates. The college term ends the week before, so I’ll be free to catch up on other things I have put aside – small house projects.

The point I guess I’m trying to get across to myself is my own self-doubt. Despite some negative things going on (mainly work), I have the ability to make things happen. Concentration and determination. I can’t falter now. The end is right around the corner.

Looking from the Outside In

I’ve woken up in a nasty mood. After working on an English assignment I found many discrepancies but haven’t heard anything back. My neighbor invited someone back in her life, so here we go again. I feel like I got screwed because of the holiday next week, so I’m working an extra day. Part of me feels it’s just me being stupid.

Despite the working conditions I’m dealing with right now, I came home in a relatively good mood. I keep trying to tell myself, “Just go in, do what you can, go home and be done with it.” It’s worked well so far. But underneath it all, I must be lying to myself. Why can’t people people just work together to get things done? I must be living in a dream world. Reality – no one gives a rats arse about the next person. It’s sad.

Planned on coming home to complete an English assignment for the week. As I’m reviewing a writing plan of a peer, I went back and forth with an Announcement sent out and the actual instructions for the assignment finding discrepancies. In the Announcement, it stated we had to respond to TWO PEERS writing plans. Well, dammit, my oversight. Yet, in the actual assignment, it specifically states, “You will respond to one peer…”. In addition, the writing rubric and grading scale only mentions ‘peer’, not ‘peers’. Am I attempting to call foul on a technicality? First thought which came to my mind was my Sponsor, “You just have a problem with authority, so you try to pick everything apart to your advantage. Character flaw? Further instructions state to use 4-6 to answer questions, download MS Word doc, then repost in discussion. But I don’t have access to the 4-6 lesson? WTF. Two emails sent to the instructor but I’m not sure if it’s my English or math instructor who is Jewish and takes Saturday off for Sabbath. I respect that so I sent an email to a peer reviewing my work. I haven’t heard from either. Part of me blames myself for waiting until the end of the week when I should have started the assignment earlier in the week. However, I have accepted the idea I can just turn it in late with a 10% penalty. Thus far, I have A’s on the rest of my coursework, so it shouldn’t be a big hit to the rest of the semester.

Throughout the day I’ve heard, “F..[this], f..[that]” from a person my neighbor has apparently invited back in her life. It’s been peaceful downstairs for the last month or so. They ended the relationship because she finally ‘saw the light’. A week after, he totaled her car in an accident, so she had to withdraw from her 401K to get a new one. Now he’s back annoying as all HELL. Woke up several times because of his loud obnoxious, yelling obscenities. Is that the reason for my bitchy mood? Lack of sleep and disrespect from the jerk downstairs?

Lastly, I should be, at least in my opinion, looking forward to a three day holiday. My two days off Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday off. Those of us on third shift get it off for Thanksgiving having to return to work to prepare for “Black Friday” on Thursday evening. At first I was scheduled for Wednesday night, which after review the boss said, “It’s funny because you were the only one in the store scheduled that night.” When he switched the schedule he had me off on Monday and Wednesday. Then in another conversation he decided to change it to Tuesday and Wednesday with me working Monday, a sixth day this week, to have the forty hours for the week. Yet, I assumed we all have three days off, two regular days off and the third paid day off. I guess I am wrong and I’ll just keep it at that.

When I step back and take a look in I’m not sure what is going on. I’m surprised it’s week four of the term, halfway to the end. There have been some rough patches but I’m pulled through thus far. Work is work – that is never going to change. Why do I even car about my neighbor?

Wait a thought …

Having I been living in a glass house and someone threw a stone?

Don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but it does to me. In the end, I have to trust things will work out in the end. Perhaps this is all about acceptance?

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

p. 417, Acceptance is the Answer, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous