Batten Down the Hatches Matey

I wrote a post about how life is normalizing, yet it was kept as a “draft” so I deleted it. After I wrote the post, everything changed. I snapped at work writing my resignation for the following day. After talking to my Director of Nursing, who wouldn’t accept my letter of termination, I rescinded it. However, my level of trust in anyone or anything is at an ultimate low.

The month of October was a very difficult month for me. As you know, October 5, my cat passed away. Knowing the stages of grief, I didn’t expect it to last a complete month. Death for me is something I see on quite a regular basis working as a Certified Nursing assistant where many place their loved ones for “end of life” care. But when death hits home, it’s a whole different ballgame. Luckily I had a three day weekend ahead of me in an attempt to clear all the lingering cobwebs. I knew nothing would change at work unless I changed myself; there wasn’t anything I could do to stop the flow of a raging river as I sat helplessly on a stone in the middle of it.

As soon as I walked in the door Tuesday all the way through Thursday night the tension and frustration rose to new levels. I literally blacked out, cutting everything around me out in silence during a conversation, until a co-worker shouted at me. I walked away, not saying a word, wrote my letter of resignation for the following day at the end of the shift.

But then the guilt set in as I just learned my proposal to work 3-12 day shifts and another 8-hour shift was approved. My Director of Nursing was still in her office talking on the phone. I placed a note on her desk, “I’m on break, if we can talk I would appreciate it.” So for another 30 minutes, I spilled my guts out (yet again).

While I no longer have a high regard for this person, as I used to in the past, our conversation was still civil. She wouldn’t accept my letter of resignation because she “understands your[my] level of frustration” while puzzled by events just preceding our conversation. I explained to her I need to protect myself because no one else would protect me in the long run. She hasn’t convinced me of her “pipeline” plans. But I was willing to give my new schedule a chance. Honestly, is it going to change anything? Not at all. However, making her a promise, I would “stick it out for now”, I watched her shred my letter of resignation.

Now I’m in the process of working a full week straight, plus I picked up two additional 8-hour shifts on top of that, until my next day off on Tuesday. Sunday, I begin to work 3-12 hour days, another 8-hour shift having three days off. If I choose, I can also pick up more hours for a small incentive and overtime.

Again, I do not work for the potential of more income (though it’s quite a nice surprise in my pocket). I work as a CNA because I care about the lives of the residents I care for on a daily basis. Therefore, I will continue to report those who do not meet the expectations of the Department of Health in New York State. On the other hand, I must continue to watch out for myself, as I trust no one.

I feel alone in a vast ocean approaching a turbulent storm.

Batten down the hatches, Matey, ‘cus there is rough seas ahead!


During my sobriety, I have left jobs because of the threat to my sobriety. There was a brief time where I’m currently employed (almost a year ago) which I was in a very bad position. But I go through it with the help of my ex-sponsor. This time, because of my estrangement from him, I have to take matters in my own hands. This weekend was “the straw the broke the camel’s back”, therefore I need to take steps to find new employment.

People don’t seem to realize that Facebook can be insightful to who people really are, as a person and their professionalism outside of work. It is one thing to claim, “it is my opinion and what happens after is not my concern.” But when a post has over 50 comments directed toward one individual, it is just disgusting, disrespectful and stupid. You don’t have to be a computer genius to delete a post when things obviously get out of hand.

Today, I learned another lesson: never again will I friend a person on Facebook I work with for any reason. There must be a line that must not be crossed. Since I have no control over what other’s post, I can control my side. I took the initiative not to get involved. Others did not. The post became public to those who should have NEVER seen such behavior (friends of friends) which ultimately are the family members of those that we care about on a daily basis. What infuriates me more is the complete ignorance and disregard of not doing something about it.

In a nutshell, I am outraged. So much so it has consumed me in the last 24 to 48 hours. If I have complete disdain for the people I work with then I need to change my environment. It is not healthy for me.

It’s time to update the resume and put myself out there for a new employer. It’s going to a hard road to travel. There are a lot of considerations I have to take into account that will affect me in the future and years to come. But it is something that must be done, sooner rather than later.

Tired Mentally, Physically, Spiritually

The last week has been mentally, physically and spiritually draining. It’s not my home life, it all has to do with my job. I attempt my best to report to work with a clear mind and positive thoughts. No matter how hard I try to keep my head clear halfway through my shift I become angry, annoyed and frustrated. There are some things I just can’t ignore. At the end of the day, I feel like I’m the only one that cares.


I can’t count on my fingers how many times this week I’ve said, “I’m just going to walk away after this shift is over.” Seriously, I’ve thought about handing in my badge, not caring about my license as a CNA and just giving up. Unfortunately, anywhere else I go for employment, the same thing is going to rear its ugly head. So, I know it’s not the solution.

In addition, there would be a significant pay cut. But my own employer has just sent a notice out stating our pay rates are about to change, “Your supervisor will inform you of the changes beginning October 1st.” Another person implied we would be getting raises to accommodate the loss of differential pay. So, for now, we’re left in the dark.

As much as management applauds the work that I do, I take their words with a grain of salt. I do what I do because I’m required to do so by the State of New York. But the expectations of the other employees is not the same. People do whatever they wish to do without any consequences because they know management won’t do anything about it. They can come in late, leave halfway through a double shift, call off or even do a no call no show.  When they report back to work they still have their job. One employee who complained recently was told, “Right now we have other priorities to take care of…” For me, such a statement implies management does not care about the employees.

I’m back in this revolving wheel of work, eat, sleep then do the same thing the next day. I’m too tired physically, mentally and spiritually to do anything else. My days off consist of moping around the house like a chicken with no head because I can’t concentrate on one thing.

I’ve been at my job a whole year, as of today. I’m not sure if I can survive yet another. Perhaps it’s time I look at other alternatives.

Letting Go

I’m proud of myself, yet there is much I am still learning about the principle “Letting Go” specifically in the workplace. Workplace stress affects us all in different ways. Some people have the ability to handle it. While others, like myself, have difficult times. In recent days, I’m taking new measures (or steps) to not let work relationships bother me.

Many times in this blog I have written about my frustrations at work. Working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) I’m responsible for the lives of those I care for, all the while dealing with different personalities of my co-workers, and attempting to manage my own life in sobriety. At times this can be a monumental task.

For instance, we have 30 residents on a floor. We are divided into three teams to handle the workload. With a particular group of individuals, we work as a team to accomplish our tasks. We set a plan in motion at the beginning of our shift of how things should flow to ensure we are successful in our responsibilities. But at the end of the night, I’m frustrated because a majority of the work is done by one individual. My fear is I will be accused of not doing my own workload.

But at the end of the night, I’m frustrated because a majority of the work is done by one individual. My fear is I will be accused of not doing my own workload. I have talked to this individual to “slow down” allowing the other two of us to “pull our own weight”. Yet, I feel my concerns fall on deaf ears. What bothers me the most is when this individual turns around to complain she is doing all the work.

In addition, this individual takes it upon herself to work with an active injury. Knowing this, I’ve suggested the individual takes measures to ensure their own welfare. Again, my concerns and suggestions fall on deaf ears. Yet, the individual will begin to loudly complain, “I just can’t do this anymore . . .” It gets annoying after a while.

What does this have to do with me? Absolutely nothing – that is the point. This individual is responsible for their own choices. No matter how annoying or frustrated I get, this individual is causing her own chaos. I have to remind myself of the simple principle of “Letting it Go”.

My fear of being accused of not doing my own workload will subside. It is my understanding this individual has already taken measures to change responsibilities in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’m trying the best of my ability not to let my frustrations and annoyance get the better of me. That in itself is the challenge I face.






Living Life on Life’s Terms

Nine days ago I had written, “Peaceful and content“. Despite the uneventfulness in my life, I was okay with where I am and where I’m going in my life. Nothing really has changed. However, as many have recently written in their own blogs, I am experiencing some challenges. Typically I don’t talk about work for various reasons. Work is just another chapter of life which we have to navigate the sudden turbulence that occurs from time to time. “Living life on life’s terms” can be difficult at times.

I’ve been a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) since September 2016, finally getting license in November 2016. There was a moment in time when I questioned my decision to pursue this new career. It brought me down a dark path, a path I had walked down in the past and vowed never to walk down again. I survived not drinking with those in the recovery community  and I’ve been grateful for everyone’s support.

Today, my bones are telling me to, once again, “batten down the hatches”. This is typical in a nursing home environment. Staffing issues continue to plague my employer. For example, I am the senior CNA working on the 2nd shift (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) There have been several new employees who have come and gone for various reasons. It’s unfortunate but we can’t seem to inspire people to stay employed.

To add to the mix, I have learned a resident has now confided in a social worker to review actions by employees for possible abuse and neglect. This is something typical in a nursing home, Unfortunately residents have to wait and can’t be cared for at a moments notice, thus feeling neglected and/or abused. However, it’s come to my attention myself and another recent full-time employee may be under the microscope.

Honestly, this scares the crap out of me and upsets me at the same time. While I have nothing to hide knowing I’ve done my job, at times above and beyond what I’m required, part of me questions, “What have I missed?”. When I can’t find answers, I’m frustrated a resident would bring up such false accusations.  “Did I do something wrong” and “How dare the resident do such a thing!” These are questions I shouldn’t ask myself.

I have learned in situations like this I need to remain confident in my abilities. My past teaches me my old way of thinking (my stinking thinking), doubting myself and my abilities, lead to lies upon lies eventually picking up a drink. However, if I’m honest with myself, I know differently. But even when we have almost a decade of sobriety, these thoughts try to creep into our conscious.

While it’s still nerve racking, I know my place in all this – I have done nothing wrong. I can’t control what others think or say. I have to be steadfast (firm and unwavering) of my actions. When all is said and done, the truth will be found. “Living life on life’s terms” is seeing the situation for what it is. We must live in the present without fear of all possible outcomes. I just have to remind myself of that today






Moral Inventory

Recovery is a life long process. I am not perfect. There are times in my life where I can fall flat on my face. But those are times when I need to look at my defects of character, taking a moral inventory, to learn from my mistakes. After reading some other recovery blogs, I responded to another that perhaps such would help them in their situation. I came to realize I was the one that needed a hard look at my moral inventory.

I strive to work with others at work.  Sometimes it is very difficult if the other party is unwilling to do the same. I simply try to do my best at avoiding any situations that raise my temper. I admit I can be a hot head knowing it will get very ugly if I let my temper get the best of me. My anger is my number one defect of character I try to work on daily.

There is one person who knows how to push my buttons. She knows she is in complete control and grinds me to the ground every time we work together.  The other day I didn’t walk away. Instead I chose to stand my ground. When someone accuses me and such accusations may jeopardize my career – we have problems! I blew up at her. Unfortunately, the event took place  in front of other employees, residents and the supervisor on the floor.  It was a terrible incident.  After it was all said and done, I accepted my part and any consequences of my actions.

Thankfully yesterday was my day off. I tried not the think of the incident, letting it go. But it kept creeping back to the forefront of my thinking. There is definitely a resentment building. With that resentment is anger. Usually anger is triggered by fear.

Today all I can think of is this quote from Yoda, in Star Wars:


At this point, I’m not sure what I should do, if anything. If I’m approached regarding the situation, I will be honest and accept any consequences. However, there is a greater chance this may not even go any further.

Par of me is not worried about the accusation at all. My supervisor piped in during the argument, “…that is false, to my knowledge.” She also gave me accolades on my job performance. I also learned she was displeased with this same individual while working with her on the floor (third party information). This individual also had another incident with another employee the previous day, then simply left the job an hour early after it was over. Therefore, she might be digging her own hole.

Yet, part of me worries if it does come back to haunt me. Recently, there have been a string of employees who have left or been terminated for various reasons. Again, part of me says, “If it happens, so be it.” But the other part of me fears the termination of my employment.

For now, I’m not going to do anything until approached.  I believe, for now, it’s the best solution. If I were to add more to the incident, I could be adding more fuel to the fire. Instead I’ll trust in my Higher Power – everything is okay. In time, she will have to deal with her own karma.


The Foot Dropped

Another work related post.  In reality, a circle of events.  The point here is there is always positive with the negative.

My gut, which I tell people is my Higher Power, was telling me, “Mike, careful, something is just not right.” After the last couple of days events at work, I decided the best alternative was to keep to myself.  During dinner, my supervisor and the Director of Nursing (DON) paid me a visit on the floor.  They wanted to talk. “F**k. What now?”, I was thinking.

In a nutshell, I was given a verbal warning for my time management skills. Apparently my co-workers feel that I’m to slow at doing my job.  The DON also threw out I had mentioned I said, “I have until 11 p.m. to get all care done, so I’m not going to rush.” Oh, it gets better.  Another incident happened the other day which was brought up (which due to confidentiality, I can’t disclose here).  However, it ties into everything.

I completely shut down – mumbling, then not saying anything during the meeting.

Basically my employer is covering their own arse.  While the employer attempted to ask my side, I refused to say anything because I already knew they had made up their mind pointing the blame at me.  I was right.

Later in the evening, I switched floors to do care on some other residents.  There is a another CNA I’ve been talking to which I have connected with.  Her and I are on the same page.  She recognizes my fellow co-workers, “out to get you”.  I had disclosed to her I’m a recovering addict and my frustrations of the other day “driving me to drink”.  She in turn talked to my supervisor, apparently after their meeting with me, about her concerns not only how staff is treating me but the truth of what is really going on in the facility.  As we worked together, she was willing to help me with new time management skills she learned  over her 12 years of experience.  At the end of the day we chatted for about 45 minutes.  It was a great relief to know that she too was a recovering addict knowing exactly what I was going through.

I also had a talk with my supervisor expressing my concerns.  She reached out to me because “I saw that you shut down during the meeting, so I wanted to talk to you.” She is willing to address my concerns and try to change things.  She is beginning to recognize the problems (sexism, lack of communication, no teamwork, etc.).  After our discussion she asked that I don’t put in my letter of resignation (because that was exactly why I was talking to her in the first place).  So I’m giving her a chance.

Despite the bad news at the beginning, I was relieved at the end of the day.  I had felt completely alone.  Now I know that I’m not.  I have to be patient, willing to give it time for the wind to change in a positive direction.


I have vowed not to include work on this blog for various reasons. However, when my professional life (work) impacts my recovery, there is an opportunity for others to learn how We, the recovering addict, deal with our addictions on a daily basis.  This is one such time.

I am now a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) with only five months of experience.  The facility that I work at is currently understaffed, badly.  Everyone is miserable.  I vowed not to get involved, do what is required of me and leave on a daily basis without a further thought of what went on.  While that worked for a while, I have found that in recent weeks, I too became miserable.  Right now, I’m not in a good place.

I never boast about how many years of sobriety I have because it doesn’t matter.  Each of us just have today.  After nine years of sobriety, the last couple of days, I am struggling with keeping my sobriety.  Last night, it peaked; I thought about drinking.  Did I relapse?

Keep reading . . .

I knew that my job was going to be challenging.  A CNA is not an easy job.  The job is disgusting at times (literally); I take care of the elderly who can’t take care of themselves in all aspects of their lives, including toileting themselves. You just get use to it.  Residents can be quite the handful at times; each one has a range of medical problems and mental health issues.  As a CNA, you are required by state law to respect their rights.  You have to be a CNA because you enjoy those that you help no matter what is presented in front of  you.  Don’t get me wrong, I love working with these people no matter what they do or say to me.  I know that they are struggling inside to keep the last sanity they have, in the only way they know how.

On a daily basis, I am treated like shit by residents and even my own co-workers.  I am the low one on the totem pole, thus people take advantage of it (many times to the extreme).  In addition, there are not many male CNA’s.  Nursing is typically a women’s field.  I’ve been told “. . . you just have to deal with it”.

Right now, I feel like I’m fighting for my job.  I feel like my co-workers are all against me including management.  The don’t listen to what I have to say, as if I’m speaking a foreign language.  They don’t help asking me to do things that I’m not suppose to do.  Then when I complain of the illegal activity, they turn my words or events around as if I’m the problem.  They don’t help me when I ask for help, instead think I’m just an incompetent person.  There are dead wrong – I take the necessary time to ensure that my residents are cared for in the proper fashion and with the dignity and respect that any human being deserves!

Sorry I’m getting on tangents, but bare with me . . .now how sobriety plays a part.

Before I go into work, I say the Serenity Prayer.  During the day, I must say it over 1,000 times.  I’m not a person that prays.  Recently, I have really asked for guidance and help, yet I get no relief. Is there a lesson here that I should be learning besides patience and tolerance because if there is, I just don’t seem to get it.

Psychologically, its torture.  I don’t want to be there, nor do I want to work with my co-workers.  But the other side of me doesn’t want to abandon my residents.  They are human beings and should not be treated in the manner that I have witnessed.

My Sponsor and I have constant communication.  He doesn’t understand why I still work there.  He believes I should just look for another job and leave. With only five months of experience, it’s hard to get another job somewhere else; it’s just not that easy to pick up, leave and get another job.  He doesn’t understand because he hasn’t been in my shoes.  However, he has given me suggestions.

Last night, I called him on the verge of tears.  I was going to just walk off the job and I didn’t care about my license as a CNA.  I had a fear that I was going to drink; I didn’t trust myself.  I have so much anger, resentment, fear, etc. built up, I just didn’t know what to do.  We talked on my break but I have to cut him off because Gods forbid I was late coming back in.  The point is, he was there for me.  That got my through the last hour of work, home and I DID NOT DRINK.

This morning we went out for breakfast (I had to pay – another issue, later).  As always, he made suggestions.  Some I can do, others are difficult to implement.  But I still listened.

One suggestion was attending meetings.  I don’t go to enough because of my scattered schedule, complacency and timing.  All excuses.  I don’t MAKE THE TIME to get to meetings.  Yes, it would mean less sleep (I drive three hours a day to work, plus an eight hour day, so do the math).  But there are plenty of meetings right before work, that I can just attend a meeting, then drive to work.  There is even a meeting in a town that I drive through every day.  I just haven’t ever been to a meeting there.  So I’m going to take his suggestion because that is what Sponsee’s should do – ACT on SUGGESTIONS given by our Sponsors.

I have now lost my train of thought, if I really had one.  Recent events have put my mental capabilities to shambles; I can’t think straight, I can’t concentrate, I can’t remember even the littlest things.  It’s rough.  I know it and I need to DO something about it.

This is where I feel that I’m a hypocrite.  I tell people going through something like this to think of a river, you’re standing on a stone in the middle of a river.  No matter what you do (build a dam to block it or control it), build a bridge or try to avoid it, etc., the river is going to keep flowing around you.  You need to DO something, like step off the stone, before the river just pulls you downstream and drowns you.  But do I take my own advice?

Perhaps this time I should!