Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle


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