Difficulties

For some reason this week is difficult for me. Last week I was full of gratitude. This week is a whole other story. I don’t like how I’m reacting to things. I call people but people never call me back. Online meetings just aren’t the same as face-to-face meetings. When I get a feeling “something is wrong” I know I need to change things.

Last week I was going to write about the increased gratitude I have for having many thing in my life. Many are bitching and complaining about being cooped up, not working, at home with their families all day long, etc. Really? Yet, in normal circumstances you can’t wait for a weekend, want a long vacation or crave the attention of your family because you don’t think you have enough time for them? Now you have that time, so make use of it.

I am categorized as an “essential” employee, so I don’t get the luxury of time off. The only changes in my life are no face-to-face meetings and no customers in the store when I work, otherwise its just like any other normal day. Sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble and wish I could be walking in your shoes. Then the bubble pops and I snap back into reality – what the hell is really going on?

As I’ve started to work again, I noticed many things I still need to work on. Not working, yet working on sobriety is completely different. It’s much easier. Working and living sobriety is just plain much harder. I recognize this, so I have to put more work into my sobriety.

For instance, last night, I let the temper get the best of me. Things just weren’t going my way. That was problem one. The little things turned into big things and it just kept getting worse and worse. I let it keep getting worse and worse until I walked out the door. I need to take the time to take a deep breath and be grateful I have a job right now. I also need to remind myself “things will happen when they are suppose to happen”.

Right now, my search for an apartment is at a stand still. There is absolutely nothing in the area available to rent. I wanted to move out April 1st. Now that isn’t going to happen. To compound the issue, I have a new roommate who moved in this afternoon. My two roommates woke me up when this was happening so I only got about five hours of sleep. Here we go again – the little things frustrating me turning into big things. Problem two I need to work on – do I really need to let this shit to bother me? No. At least I have a roof over my head – be grateful.

Frustrated, as is everyone else, so it’s normal. But part of me feels selfish thinking the way I feel. So I’m glad I actually read, slowly, my own daily readings. There was a message there I needed to hear. I’ve been just posting and not really reading my own readings lately. I need to stop myself and read them, practice them and work on them. That is how this whole sobriety things works in the first place, right?

And there you go, my mood is changing. Suddenly I don’t feel as bitchy and whiny. Sobriety can be a wonderful thing, if I let it and work on it.

Making Mountains Out of Molehills

Here is just another example of how sobriety works in my life. On Friday nights, after we return from a meeting, my roommate and I turn on A & E’s, Live PD. My roommate really got on my nerves last night. This morning the 24 Hours a Day – Little Black Book resonated with me on all levels.

Personally, I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with the show, Live PD. Perhaps it reminds me of the insanity of my own alcoholism; giving people piles of shit (lies) believing I’ll get away with it. Yet knowing in the end I’ll get caught in my own web of lies at some point. I thought I was acting normally. It’s just so obvious these people are doing something wrong.

Back to my point . . .

My roommate doesn’t do just one thing – ever. Typically he’s on his computer playing a game AND playing a game on his phone. All the while he jabs me with this remark and that remark. Last night, he was playing a game on his computer and another on his phone. Also talking over the TV on Discord (a gamer’s voice chat program) and throwing little jabs at me – which he admits he purposely does to annoy me. It’s an emotional roller coaster for me. Do I practice tolerance and patience? Or do I just turn around and stab him with the nearest object I can get my hands on? Instead, at around 11pm, I had enough. Not saying a word, I just walked outside, walked to the corner to smoke a cigarette and played PokémonGO.

Thought for the Day

When you allow yourself to be upset over one thing, you succeed only in opening the door from the coming of hundreds of other upsetting things. Am I allowing myself to be upset over little things?

24 Hours a Day – The Little Black Book for Saturday, June 22

I know what I need to do, yet I don’t want to do it. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with any codependent behaviors, as it’s mostly fear based thoughts. Thus, the morning readings come in to play:

Meditation for the Day

I would do well not to think of the Red Sea of difficulties that lies ahead. I am sure that when I come to that Red Sea, the waters will part and I will be given all the power I need to face and overcome many difficulties and meet what is in store for me with courage. I believe that I will pass through that Red Sea to the promised land, the land of the spirit where many souls meet in perfect comradeship. I believe that when that time comes, I will be freed of all the dross of material things and find peace.

24 Hours a Day – The Little Black Book for Saturday, June 22

We all have character defects we need to work on. For me, it’s taking things personally and getting angry over it. Through my own experience, people tend to criticize others when in actuality they are looking at themselves. Honestly, I do it all the time. But I’m learning to stop judging the other person, instead look at why this person annoys me so much. Is it something I need to change in my own life? Or is it simply something I need to “Let Go, Let God”? Sometimes I just take like to damn seriously.

When I get in these situations, I always think of this –
which puts a smile on my face:

Today, with this beautiful weekend upon me,
I will not let fear ruin the enjoyment of life!
Thank you, Yoda, for your wise words!

Slow Acting Poison

As typical with nursing homes, we are short staffed, especially on the second shift (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Last night I worked another 16 hour shift. Working at least one 16 hour day per week besides the 4 day, 12 hour work week is becoming the norm.  I am not the only one, as there is a large amount of stress for us all. However, when your co-workers act like children from high school moaning and groaning because they didn’t get what they wanted, my blood just boils. In this type of environment, when people are stretched thin, things just don’t get done. In the end, it’s the residents that suffer. So here I am thinking about calling in sick – but I won’t. It’s times like this I look at my last ten years of sobriety for answers.

For instance, when I got sober, I made a commitment to myself – no matter how bad things got, I would not drink. The various slogans of the program come into play. Yet no matter how much I spin this one or that one, it just doesn’t seem to work.For now, I feel like I’m white knuckling through it.

On a daily basis I’m saying the Serenity Prayer right before I go into work:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

No matter how much I try to ignore all the negativity, it’s like a small acting poison. Day after day my frustration and anger just build breaking my strength to deal with the situations appropriately. Honestly, I have blown up at the wrong people and wrong places, yet I don’t regret my actions. I simply can’t ignore the transgressions of others. I have a responsibility set before me NOT to ignore them. Yet my concerns continue to fall on deaf ears.

For me, “Let Go, Let God” hasn’t been much successful either. I can’t change people or the situations before me. I have done what needs to be done – my responsibility, therefore I need to trust that God will take care of business. While I do understand such changes may not happen overnight, in a week, month or even a year, eventually I trust that God will take over. In the meantime, I’m the one that continues to be miserable.

No offense, but my ex-Sponsor, “Spiritual Advisor” or whatever he likes to call himself these days is also not much help at all.  Unfortunately, at this time he’s the only one I have a phone call away but I don’t bother to call him. While I feel he doesn’t understand what I’m going through, he just throws out, “Get another job.” I wish it was that easy.

I simply just don’t know what to do.

All I can fall back on for now is, “Just One Day at a Time”.

Forget the past, today is a new night at work, go in and get it done.

It’s a choice one has to make with anything in life: to either believe in yourself or allow yourself to be sucked into self-pity and feelings of self-doubt.”

 

Depression – Coming Out on the Other Side

It’s been a rough week for me with the death of my cat, Heart. For the last week, I’ve been a miserable human being. Previous experiences taught me I would be going through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The two most prominent stages were anger and depression. The cauldron of anger was already stirred with my misery at work. My anger was misdirected to those I work with and the situations unfolding at work. Almost every day I thought about walking away from my job. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was dealing with enough pain, I refused to deal with more. Instead, I bitched and complained about everything and everyone around me. As I look back, I look like the fool (again).

As a Star Wars fan, I have to imbed this video in my discussion:

The path of anger led me down to the pit of depression. I had no motivation to do a damn thing. For most nights, I just watched episodes of NCIS on Netflix, fell asleep and repeated the same thing the next day. I didn’t even fight to get out: I didn’t care; I had no motivation to do anything; I could care less about the world around me. I did the only thing I could attach myself to – my computer and Netflix. There were periods of time where I thought I may be coming out of it. Then I would sink back in. I was tired of looking at Facebook. I wasn’t interested in playing Achaea, which I typically do in the morning.

There were periods of time where I thought I may be coming out of it. Then I would sink back in. I was tired of looking at Facebook. I wasn’t interested in playing Achaea, which I typically do in the morning. I didn’t have any motivation to cook nor go to the store, so I bought roast beef subs from the local gas station a few nights. I knew it was getting really bad.

Yesterday I convinced myself to talk to my Gods. For some reason (I just noticed yesterday) I lost power the other night, so my other computers were all off. I turned the one on I use for my spiritual practices to find 500+ messages waiting in my email box. So I made myself read them and make use of them. I guess it helped because some motivation has returned today.

I don’t know where this is going to lead me right now. However, I do know “there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” So, right now I’m opening the windows to my home, pulling back the shades and letting the autumn sounds and smells permeate my surroundings. It’s the beginning of coming out the other side.

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.

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:

yoda_fear

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.

 

A Short Fuse

I have short fuse: annoyance, frustration, then anger just keeps building up until I blow like Mount St. Helen’s. It’s those many defects of character I work on a daily basis I can’t seem get under control. In the past, I reached for the bottle because I kept those feelings tucked deep inside. Since then I learned tools to deal with them in an appropriate manner but many times I react before I think. The end result is disastrous – always.

For instance, here is a situation I am currently struggling with. I tend to make promises I can’t keep. It’s not intentional. People don’t seem to understand my schedule as a CNA change change on a whim.

Monday I had to work a double (3 p.m. to 7 a.m.) because I was mandated. My employer required me to work at risk of being fired if I did not. This is not something I choose to do nor I agree with nor something I can control. This is common in the nursing field; we can’t just leave our jobs until we are relieved by another person.

I had made plans with this person before I went to work on Tuesday but had to cancel. Tuesday morning I receive a text with a smart ass remark, “I figured that. You have to get your 10 hours of sleep. Tomorrow will be another excuse.” I was flabbergasted.

What I wanted to do, right then and there, was rip off his head and shit down his throat. Seriously. After working a 12 hour shift, after a three day weekend, after the previous weeks fiasco with Storm Stella? I thought it was unnecessary, uncompassionate and not understanding of my situation at all.
I didn’t respond nor have I responded to additional texts, as if nothing happened at all.

Part of me just wants to end the relationship or at a minimum take a break. The other part of me wants to attempt to talk to him. Problem: He is my Sponsor. I know him well enough, he’ll just turn this around on me, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

I vowed to NOT write about him in this journal, yet over the last couple of weeks, he keeps popping up.  Every now and then, we get to this stage in the relationship, we take a break for a couple of months, then repeat the cycle.  I don’t know if I should get off the merry-go-round or just grim my teeth and bare it.

Part of me feels a life long debt to him.  The other part of him wants to throw his hypocritical, selfish, self serving, insincere, sorry ass to the curb. **SELF:  Temper, Michael. Temper.** On the other hand, perhaps it is time we just part of seperate ways.

Any comments, questions or concerns would be appreciated.

What happens when your relationship with your Sponsor is no longer healthy for either of you?

Rambling About Honesty

Since my sobriety I have learned there are times to be honest while there are also times to keep the mouth shut.  But there is also a time when the frustration, anger and other emotions get so bottled up, they tend to spout out.  These times are scary for me because I’m unsure of the consequences of my decisions.  This is a part of me I work on daily – sometimes I’m good at it, others I’m not.

As you may know I am a CNA.  It’s a rough job.  There are staffing issues, personality issues, company policy issues and most of us are just fed up.  No matter where I go, these type of issues are common everywhere.  However, “the company” hired a Supervisor, so I’ve tested the waters.

There is an employee that I work with, young in age and young in experience (like myself) who just pissed me off.  She might as well have gone home because I felt like I was the only one on the floor.  Her laziness and the need to be on her phone every minute is just unprofessional.

I patiently waited for the Sup to talk to her privately.  Our discussion started with the employee rolling to bigger issues at the end.  She insisted that I stay, “Stay and I will be your voice.”  But I’m skeptical because of my last job experience.  I’ve heard that before, backs tabbed, then was unemployed.  So now I wait.

It’s a cruel world. I have a duty to report certain things. But at the same time people can easily turn it around perhaps jeopardizing my own license.  Management attempted to do that already.  I don’t want to get in those situations again.

Unfortunately, while there is an alternative to seek other employment it’s just not that easy.  The standard of living is much higher in the County I work, therefore if I choose to work closer to home I would take a HUGE pay cut.  I also know facilities around here already have very bad reputations.  Yes, my drive would be cut by three hours a day.

But as I was reminded, “Why are you here?”  Honestly, its not the pay.  Don’t get me wrong, the pay is wonderful.  It’s the residents I have known for the last four months.  I enjoy them and they enjoy me.  I provide them what they want and haven’t received in a long time.  So it’s just not the Sup that is asking I stay, it’s also the residents that I take care of almost on a daily basis.

It’s a sticky situation.  It grinds at me every day.  Even on my days off like today.  People tell me, “You need to leave.  If you don’t bad things are going to happen.  You’re not happy.  You need to find somewhere there is a balance.  You have enough on your plate (sobriety).”  Yet, with only four months of experience, a brand new license (Nov 2016), I can’t expect much if I choose to leave.

This type of situation is going to follow me anywhere.  I just have to practice patience, self-control and be selfish (only worrying about me, not the others around me).  But many times doing such is easier said than done!

A Mouse In a Running Wheel

In the past, I’ve been complimented on my tolerance of other’s behavior. Lately, I find that I have less tolerance each day. The behaviors of everyone, including myself. It has been months since I searched the Big Book or the 12 & 12 for some advice.

Some days it is so hard to just bite my tongue. It feels like the fuse is lit to an atomic bomb. It starts with one, then another until I’m boiling with frustration and anger. Through my own personal experiences I learned to do something quickly. However, some days are better than others.

Here are a few passages that put things in perspective while also giving me a solution. The Big Book reminds Us, “We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look at them as sick people (70) . . . Love and tolerance of others is our code (84)”. The 12 & 12, reminds Us, “Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellow actually means” (92).

For example, before I even leave town just driving to work gets me unsettled. Pedestrian traffic is typically non-existent. But I always find that ONE pedestrian who just pisses me off. They want to use the cross walk at the wrong time; they think it’s clear to cross, my side turns green, yet I wait for them to cross while people are honking their horns in frustration. Other times they cross the street instead of walking to the corner stopping the flow of traffic like it’s New York City. But these feelings are reduced when I drive through the countryside on my way to work.

We all work in environments where some people just get on our nerves. My tolerance of my fellow co-workers is another issue. Every day, I start work with a clean slate. Yet it only takes a few minutes before I’m back where I was yesterday. No matter how hard I try to leave it at the door when I leave work each night, it’s just not easy. Unfortunately, talking to anyone is a waste of my time. A change of job was suggested, however no matter where I go in the medical field or another profession, this type of environment is not going to change.

This is what exhausts me each day. I see how it wears me down during the day. My forgetfulness of what needs to be done at work rises because my frustration/anger side tracks me. I feel guilty because I broke yet another promise made earlier in the day. There really is no way out. It’s like being a mouse in a running wheel for the entirety of my day.

Same shit. Different day.