Practicing Principles in Life

I’m not one to celebrate minor milestones like the eleven months of sobriety I have today. When I turn to quiet introspection of “what it use to be like, what happened and what is like now” for myself, it always happens to be on a monthly anniversary. The world around me has changed drastically in the last month. Most importantly, I have changed. Isn’t that the whole point of sobriety?

The hardest lesson for me during the last eleven months of sobriety is watching ego and pride. Isn’t that what go me here in the first place? I became so selfish and self-centered. Nothing else mattered; I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it, I wanted it two weeks ago and I would do anything to get it. There was a feeling of entitlement; I deserved it for all the hard work I put in or the pain I went through. Complete and utter BULLSHIT!

After going through the Fourth (4th) Step I began to understand again where I had done. All that guilt, shame, fear, insecurity, etc. was brought to the forefront – again. There were “defects” I didn’t address the last time I was sober. I knew they existed but did nothing about them. This time I have made a point of working on them. Thus I have seen a definite change, a needed change.

As I continue to do what I need for my sobriety, I see others shy away from me. Recently, both roommates have just gotten very distant. Today, I’m actually okay with the whole change of scenery. I’m no longer wanting companionship, approval, friendship from those people who are not allowing me to move forward. They have their own problems. They are walking down their own paths to recovery or relapse. I would offer my help but both are unwilling, close minded and just reverting back to their selfish self-centered behaviors. I don’t want to use the cliche, “Been there, done that” but its true. It lead me to path I never (and don’t have to) ever travel down again.

Today I’m more aware of myself and those around me. It’s important for me to USE to “spiritual tools laid at my feet”. If I don’t, I just have to look at my past. Instead, as instructed, I look at myself and the part I played daily. Had I been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking or afraid? If not, I move on. If so, I know what I need to do immediately. Do I get hurt my others? Yes. However, today I’m not angry or resentful. It is what it is.

I have a sense of peace and serenity in my life. I’m happy to be where I am today. I’m grateful to be alive, sober and “practicing these principles in all my affairs”.

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!

Reflection (The Big Move)

It’s been almost 30 days since I moved from a small town in Upstate New York to even a smaller village (1500+, 2010 census). There was a lot of apprehension at first. But as time went by I trusted all things would work out. Despite my complete solitude of “living in the sticks”, I absolutely believe I made the second best decision of my life.

I had some fear, whether I expressed it or not, about moving. The worry was whether or not I could really afford such a place because part of me felt I was only fooling myself. Thus, I had/have another fear in a few months I would have to move again. At this stage, I don’t think such events are going to transpire. Keeping a positive outlook certainly, helps.

In addition, I have learned minimizing (or the minimalist lifestyle) is actually working for me. There is a bunch of stuff in the front bedroom. Most of it needs to be moved in its respective places. For instance, all the computer equipment, fitness weights, and filing cabinet should be moved to the room I”m occupying. But I don’t want to clutter the room I’m living in because I enjoy the space.

While I still don’t have furniture, it still feels like home. Most of my time is spent in the kitchen, one bedroom, and laundry room/bathroom. Some have asked, “Why a three bedroom for a bachelor like yourself?” One bedroom is where I’ll sleep, wh ile another is going to be my computer/spiritual/fitness room. The third bedroom (in the very far future) will be set up for a guest to visit.

I still don’t have financial control over everything. Since I just moved in I’m paying partial bills, so doing so does frustrate me a bit. I haven’t visited a grocery store for ONE big trip and then making little trips for other things; I just don’t have the money set aside for a big grocery trip yet. However, I have saved significantly on gas for my car. The last full tank of gas was almost a week ago instead of every two to three days. I’ve even cut down on smoking. Since I only smoke in my car or at work, one pack of cigarettes can last two or even three days. It’s just going to take time and I have to be patient.

While there are a few fears left (i.e. what happens if I need my car fixed, I can’t afford this or that, I lose my job, etc.), they don’t bother me too much.  Instead, they tend to creep up but fade away rather quickly. To be honest, it also gets very dark since there is the one street lamp on the other side of the road at night. My front porch light blew out during a rain storm. Therefore at night, I get a little nervous. But everyone else doesn’t have one single light on, so I have to trust something won’t happen. These things will subside in time.

I just absolutely love the solitude. It’s not that I’m anti-social or isolating. I think this time in my life is a period of reflection and spiritual growth. Since I’ve finally left the rat race of the city/town, I can dedicate some full time to the spiritual side of me, which lately is really lacking. I have set a special date which my daily routine will begin.

All is good in the country, despite my solitude from the rest of the world.

 

 

Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle

minimalism-min

Most of my life, both in active addiction and recovery, I have stockpiled crap. During my active addiction, it was like another obsession, “I could always use this later . . . ” However, during my sobriety, its more on the lines of, “I don’t want to lose this . . .” With my pending move to a new home, I’ve decided to adopt a new minimalist lifestyle. As Step 12 suggests, “. . . , practicing these principles in all our affairs.”

First, I put a twist on the most common slogan, “One Day at a Time”. In this case, taking the monumental task of just one section of the current home. After reading hundreds of articles on a minimalist lifestyle, I finally got my arse up away from the computer to tackle the walk in closet.

I took a tape measure out from a toolset (one I’ve never opened) measuring the space to be approximately 5 feet deep by 7.5 feet tall. It was stacked with stuff about 4 feet. Bags of JUNK from front to back. There are old computer parts (printers, screens, misc., etc.) and bags of unknown origins. So I took the most difficult step for me – throwing it all away. While some of it sits in the front room, a quarter of it sits in my car ready to be hauled to a willing commercial trash can.

It was a difficult task. Part of me, the new me, didn’t want to bother looking into the bag. If I didn’t know what it was – trash pile. On the other hand, there were strong impulses to go through each bag, “Just in case, you may need something . . .” It reminded me of my early days of sobriety. So, I adopted the same principles like I do in my sobriety:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol the compulsion to save things –that our lives had become unmanageable.

Like in sobriety, I admit complete defeat. My Gods, I’ve buried my Self in a pile of JUNK over 4 feet high! Why? Because of my fear of losing things in my life again. I’m accepting the truth of the situation. I don’t and can’t live this way anymore. There is no need. I’m attempting to hold on to material things which, in reality, have no meaning in my life anymore. They are just things. I should no longer fear losing everything. I have to let it go!

Already, I have a sense of relief and sadness. I’m relieved the task if over. It’s been years, day after day, I told myself I would get rid of everything. Now the junk is out on the floor and ready to go! It’s like writing Step 1 on paper. Yet, part of me feels sad I’m throwing a part of my life away. Am I? Perhaps I’m not “throwing a part of my life” but simply “closing another chapter in my life, getting ready to write a new one”!

I made a promise to myself of change. I”m moving to a brand new place with the absolute minimum. It’s like writing a new chapter in my life on a blank page. I’m actually excited. I don’t know what the future holds, as it has yet to be written. But I do know this, We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” That is the goal and I’m just one Step, closer!

 

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

living_life_on_lifes_terms.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Two Days We Should Not Worry

Two Days We Should Not Worry

~ Author Unknown ~

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.
Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with all its possible adversities, its burdens,
its large promise and its poor performance;
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow’s sun will rise,
either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow,
for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.
Any person can fight the battle of just one day.
It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad,
it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, Live but one day at a time.

Family Worries

Typically I wouldn’t talk about my Sponsor in a public post by I need to get this off my chest.  He’s so annoying! This isn’t the first time, nor the last.  We go through periods where we just have to spend time apart.  It appears this time is coming again but there are other concerns to take into consideration.

I met this gentleman at the beginning of my sobriety, more than nine years ago.  He was an unlikely match but became a big influence in my life.  He and I have been there through the good and bad times.  I am more than grateful for his continued presence in my life.

Lately, I have noticed the affects of old age.  He’s lonely, needy, forgetful and, at times, just an unbreakable stubborn man.  He knows everything; he’s been everywhere, he’s done everything; he’s got all the answers, yet asks for my suggestions but doesn’t take them.

He’s suddenly in a mood to “downsize” since his move to a new apartment.  I mean literally getting rid of everything in his life.  At one point, he wanted to live in his car (during the Winter in NY) to save money for an apartment.  Finally, many of us convinced him to get an apartment, so he’s living in a studio apartment from a two-bedroom apartment.  Every time that I see him, he’s accumulated more and tries to pawn it off on me.  He just can’t understand the work, “No.”

In the last couple of months, his forgetfulness is increasing.  Sometimes I feel like I’m at work talking to own of my residents who has dementia.  So I practice patience to a point.  But many times I just clamp down my mouth because he wants to argue I’m wrong and he’s right.  For instance, he asked I take off the 25th and 26th to drive him down to his brothers.  I agree putting the request in work.  Yesterday, he wanted to know what time I would be over to take him to his brothers.  I reminded him he circled the dates in two weeks.  He apparently changed his mind, didn’t tell me, so now he’s arguing with me.  UGH.

Heart and Sassy, his cats, are also quite old (19 years – he says).  Sassy is not in good health.  Again, he’s been asking for me to take care of them. At first he didn’t want to take his cats with him to his new apartment.  He wanted me to take them.  Ummm….NO.  I’m just not ready for pets right now even though I love them both as my own.  According to him, “I can’t take care of them anymore.”  But they are in his new place doing fine, yet I don’t know how long Sassy will last.  As I look at the situation, I think he’s trying to avoid the inevitable, the cat’s  passing away.

The other day when I visited, I almost blew my top.  He asked for a suggestion but wouldn’t let me get a work in edgewise.  Instead, he talked over me about something else.  At one point, he got on his phone, put his headphones around my head and asked me to listen to the Abbot & Costello’s “Who is on first…” skit when I was trying to tell him something.  We also got into a small argument of I’m right and you’re wrong, which I simply conceded.  Apparently he’s been a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) but can’t tell me what CNA stands for? UGH.

Honestly, I see the decline in health and mental status.  It scares me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be there for him but I’m also afraid for his future.  We’ve agreed to his future wishes (end of life) and I’ll respect it.  I just don’t know if I’m prepared for it, right now.

Oh Gods, now I have to cry . . .