Gratitude for a Second Chance

At fifteen months of sobriety, I didn’t imagine I would be still living in a chemical dependency residential program. One would think by now, I would have moved on. But this just isn’t the case. Matter for fact, I will be here for a couple more months as I continue to take care of some dental issues.

Living one day at a time and practicing patience with the process can be difficult at times. Yet, I continue to believe I am here for a reason. Therefore I’m grateful for the continued support I receive while I go through this process, as frustrating and difficult as it may be at times.

Back in August, I finally stepped in a dental office to take care of some plaguing dental issues. I went through two surgeries, ten teeth extractions to remove “problem” teeth. I thought I was in the clear to move on with a partial denture and the rest of my life. Again, this wasn’t so. After going back to my regular dentist, they decided it would be best just to have the rest of my upper teeth all removed and a full denture placed. Back to the oral surgeon I went to schedule two more surgeries.

Monday, the first surgery was completed. Yesterday, I went for a follow up. I was surprised I was in no pain and cleared for the last surgery to be scheduled on November 20th or sooner (I’m on the cancellation list). Immediately after my appointment I got a call from the dentist to schedule the impression for my full upper denture in early January. There is a four to six week healing period after the last surgery. It’s my understanding after the impression is taken, again there is another lengthy period of time before the actual placement of the upper full denture. So, reality sets in as I may not be moving on until February or March of 2020. Despite this, I’m okay with it.

During this whole time I have seen a lot of people come and go for various reasons. Many leave on their own accord, only to relapse because they thought they were ready. They did what they wanted to do and they failed. I don’t want to be that person – again. As someone reminds me in meetings, “[this program] is the last house on the block for me. Either I stick with this time around or I may not be back and probably end up dead”.

I am not squandering this second change of changing my life, as this may be the last chance. I am grateful I developed “a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty”. I have learned, “Living on Life’s Terms” can be difficult at times. I don’t want to be here, I want to move on. Yet, I have to remember I’m here for a reason. Perhaps there are life lessons I’m getting a chance to refine before moving on. So, every day as I review my day I ask, “What lesson(s) did I learn today?”

The point I am trying to make is, no matter what life may throw at me, I have the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, a Higher Power, a Sponsor and a network of sober people to help me stay sober every day. Without these things in place, I know I would be dead or living a miserable existence. Instead, today I’m grateful to be alive and sober.

Minor Milestone – 8 Months Sober

Eight months ago, I woke up in a daze. “My Gods, I’m really getting a chance to do this again?” Deep down, I was scared like a child lost in the dark. I took a deep breath. My fear was slowly washed away as I practiced gratitude for waking up alive and sober. A new journey began.

Every day since I do the same thing – practice gratitude when I wake up. There are so many alcoholics and addicts who don’t get a chance to live the next day succumbing to their addiction in the night. I believe we are all on this Earth for a purpose. Therefore, I take every opportunity to appreciate those things around me because where I was headed was my own grave.

Things had to change since my last sobriety of ten years. In the last eight months I have learned so much about myself. It was only through my experiences with Alcoholics Anonymous I was able to stay sober.

After my short stay in an impatient treatment center, I immediately got involved in my local recovery community, specifically Alcoholics Anonymous, to begin working on myself. Instead of waiting seven months, I immediately got a Sponsor who took me through the Twelve Steps. Every day, I attend at least one meeting, if not two. I’m also involved in CoDA (Codependents Anonymous) because it was in part due to those behaviors which got me to where I am today. I immerse myself in several commitments (coffee, chairman of meetings, District meetings, etc.).

Early recovery can be rough at times. Adopting the principles of AA helped me live “One Day At A Time” and “Living Life on Life’s Terms”. We all have “good days” and “bad days”. Today, first and foremost, I 100% don’t drink. Secondly, if I’m having a bad day – I get out of myself. SELF has always been the problem. I have been “given spiritual tools laid at my feet”, so I need to use them: going to a meeting, trusting in my Higher Power, speaking to my Sponsor, helping another alcoholic / addict or sometimes just being kind to a random stranger – try it sometime!

The work continues no matter what life throws in front of me. As long as I stay connected in Alcoholics Anonymous “practicing these principles in all our affairs” one day of sobriety suddenly becomes eight months. It’s an amazing journey with much more to come I’m sure.

As my Sponsor says at meetings:

Sobriety is to be enjoyed, not endured.

I’m grateful to be alive,

I’m grateful to be sober,

and I’m grateful to be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thanks for letting me share.

Is This a Bad Day?

I woke up this morning, tired as hell. Typically Thursdays are a relaxing day with just treatment group in the morning, a coffee commitment and meeting at noon, then the rest of the day is for me. But added to my day today, I have meetings with two people I sponsor, as well as meeting with my own sponsor. I have a sense of being overwhelmed. My thoughts, “Have I gotten to involved in my recovery. Do I need to take a step back. Is there a thing of “to much recovery”?

My roommate, the one having his own issues, was up late last night inconsiderate of me and our other roommate. He just was. I’ll leave it there. I called my sponsor earlier in the evening. The message was I have to worry about myself. Damn it, that is so hard sometimes especially when you live with someone who you are concerned about – I feel helpless.

One person I sponsor comes over every morning so I can help set his day straight. On the other hand, he is always asking for a cigarette. This is going to stop when I speak to him later in the day. I understand where he’s at and I’m willing to help him. However, there is a point where I must set a boundary – this is his recovery, he has to do the work and not become dependent on me.

Treatment group question – Why are you here? What is it going to take for your to complete? I was just honest. I don’t want to be there. I’m mandated in a sense because of my residential program. I’m not getting anything out of treatment groups. However, it is my hope my experience I share in groups about the topic helps someone else.

I’m walking home, talk to a few more people about recovery. I just want it all to stop just for a minute. I need to reset. Yet, as I’m walking home a thought occurs to me, “Perhaps this is not a bad day. Just maybe, if you let it, it will turn around.” I truly believe all the things I’m involved in are for a purpose, not only for myself but to help others. I just have to make the appropriate changes in my life and sometimes appropriate sacrifices (i.e. not getting enough sleep).

Before I started writing, I checked people who made comments or replied to a comment I made on their post. I replied to lackadaisicalwhimsy ‘s post about a recent relapse, getting back into recovery and not being motivated. lackadaisicalwhimsy replied to me saying how it helped and motivated them to take action. So thank YOU, lackadaisicalwhimsy for getting me motivated to do what I need to do when “I’m not having such a good day!”

That alone has just turned my whole day around. For me, that is how recovery works. I recognize my Higher Power wouldn’t have put all these people in my life is there was not a reason. I need all this because inside me I still have thoughts running through my head – in reality, I need to get out of myself!

Now, let’s get things done!

Thoughts on My Mind

After writing here yesterday, a few things happened which are on my mind and even more things are stuck in my head. The purpose of this blog is two fold. First, this blog is for myself to write things down. In effect(?) putting them on paper so I can deal with them – using Step 4 or Step 10, if need be. Secondly, showing how my program of recovery works to others. It really falls back to the AA Preamble and Step 12.

Oh goodness where do I start . . .? First, if anyone has comments, suggestions, concerns or thoughts, I am always open to ANY. I don’t take things personally. I’m learning in my own sobriety through other people’s experience how things works, so “suggestions” are always welcome. With that, here we go.


Now I think about it, perhaps I should put each of these as one post each instead of a GIANT POST. Thoughts?


First, I will never disclose what I talk about with those I sponsor, as it should be. However, I don’t think I’m crossing a line when I write about what is going on with me. Here is such a case.

As mentioned, I have someone I sponsor. While I have experience in my past, I don’t want to repeat it. To make necessary changes so it does’t happen again, I apply the “honesty, open-mindedness and willingness” principles.

As I look at those past experiences today, I can say I was NOT a good sponsor. Not because they didn’t stay sober. Instead, I really didn’t do what a good sponsor is suppose to do when you take on this responsibility. Instead of thinking, “I got this . . .” This time I’m going to be working closely with my Sponsor taking his suggestions. Lastly, I’m willing to listen to those suggestions and try new things. Only through this process, in my own experience does this process work.

Typically a new sponsor guides this new “protege” as he/she was taught by their sponsor. I am willing to do the same. When I met with my sponsor, I shared where I have been, then he did the same. It was only after that, when we have a common connection, did we move forward with reading the Big Book line by line starting with the Preface.

In the meantime, the person I sponsor has been speaking to me daily. We all have issues at the beginning. I didn’t know how to live a sober life. That is what a sponsor is for – to help another alcoholic guide you and point you in the right direction.


As this process continues, I noticed some codependency issues starting to emerge. Codependency to me is like the role of a care-taker. Instead of focusing on myself, in my past I went to any length to ensure those I sponsored had a needed everything no matter what the cost to me. It was a relapse just waiting to happen, which it did in the end. But I had to go through that experience. I’m grateful I did because today I’m more aware of those destructive codependency behaviors.

I’m involved with a local Codependents Anonymous (CoDA) which meets weekly. Again, I was grateful for the meeting later in the evening. Another point to be made – if I’m willing to receive messages from my Higher Power, I just have to listen. In the meeting, I discussed my concerns, we did the readings and BAM – there is was in print, yet again. My solution – let go of my past! When necessary talk to other codependents about your past and ask your Higher Power to relieve you of your past mistakes. Simply, let it go!


Right after my CoDA meeting is another AA Big Book Study meeting. Last night we read “To The Wives” from the Big Book. I didn’t plan on speaking because I don’t have an experience. But someone brought up how this chapter was the starting point for Al-Anon. Oh – I have experience with them!

When I had four to five years of sobriety in my past I was enrolled in a chemical dependency degree program at a local community college. The chairperson and professor of the core class – Chemical Dependency I (first year) we were required to attend various “fellowship” meetings. One term paper at the end of the semester was all about what we learned.

The professor is a member of AA, I knew well. She knew me and my experience in AA. She brought me aside after class one day saying:

“Michael, for the final project paper, I want you to do something different. I know you have knowledge of AA and NA. I don’t want that because you won’t learn anything. I would like you to seek other fellowships, whether its Al-Anon, Codependents Anonymous, Over-eaters Anonymous, SMART recovery meetings, etc.”

I told her I would seek Al-Anon, Codependents Anonymous and SMART Recovery. She warned me certain groups and/or members of Al-Anon are NOT receptive to recovering alcoholics in their meetings. Learning from my sponsor, I didn’t set expectations.

I went to a local Al-Anon meeting which was in an office next to an the auditorium which we held our local AA meetings. Struggling with myself – do I want to really do this, should I do this, I have other options – I reluctantly sat down and introduced myself. But I lied.

The first thing out of the chairperson’s mouth to start the meeting was, “We are family members who either had or live with an active addict in our homes. Therefore, if you are in recovery yourself, we ask that you leave as this meeting is not meant for you.” I was shocked – what discrimination, right? Do not judge, I thought. So I kept my mouth shut and listened.

Halfway through the meeting I started to cry. I cry openly these days. When there was a pause between people sharing, the chairperson asked, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yes. But I lied to everyone here. I’m a recovering alcoholic.” There weren’t moans or groans, no eyes rolled, no huffs and puffs. I was asked to continue sharing, thus I did.

My experience at that meeting was one of the most humbling experiences in my sobriety. I know what I did to those around me (or as I know refer to it as ‘what I thought I did’). In all honesty, I didn’t realize the magnitude of destruction I may have caused to others in my own active addiction. This experience brought me a better understanding of the pain and suffering those around me went through when dealing with me in my active addiction.

Crossing a Line

I’ve brought up before I’m really working on my codependent issues. In my past, I watched people fall and I was there with a shovel to scoop them off their ass back on their feet. Not today. I can’t force sobriety on someone else. At the same time, if I know someone is struggling, I have to let them live their life, yet be supportive when and where I can. I can’t save them.

I live with two other guys who have problems of their own. I have been there to support them but I have not gotten involved – period. Right now, the roommate who wants to move in with me after our completion of this residential program ( now at the first of next year) is in a really bad place. Not only myself see it, our other roomate is concerned (who is very codependent himself – again, I stay completely out of it) and many of our friends in recovery ask about his welfare, “Where is X? I haven’t seen him in meetings? Is X okay?” I can only say, “I saw him walk to the bathroom today, so I now he is alive and breathing. That is all I can say.” I leave it there.

But it’s been three days. He has not gone to a meeting. All of his time has was spent in his room with his door closed. He usually cooks at night which he didn’t do either. His anger is increasing as things crash here and there with “F******K”. The very few times we have spoken, we speak very little if anything at all. Everyone knows the issue he is going through – a failed relationship.

Update quickly 10:30 am:
Actually there is a bit of a change because he’s sitting right next fixing his bike. He went somewhere (an appointment) came back, started to joke with me about where I’m going this afternoon (another post for sure). But when we ask, “Are you okay?” Grunt – complete shutdown. UGH!

He and I share the same sponsor. I’m been asked by others in the community to speak to our sponsor because they are concerned. But I’m conflicted as to where or not I should. Part of me feels like a scapegoat for the others who don’t have the balls to talk to our sponsor themselves. Even though I can tell them, “Tell him yourself.” I doubt anyone has done it. Yet, part of me feels an obligation because my roommate at this point has completely shut down. My sponsor may already know this. The question is, do I even cross the line? Really I don’t have an answer, so I’m going to ask my Sponsor anyway.

Update 4:30 pm:
My roommate came out, made a smart remark to me, out of no where, which I ignored. My other roommate just came home is hungry so I asked this one, “Are you doing to make dinner or do you want X to make dinner?” Response, “I don’t care.” Another question from me, “Do you want to eat now or later?” Response, “I don’t care”. Now I’m disappointed because I thought he was better than this? **head to desk**

18 Years Sober Living in a Halfway House

Perhaps I shouldn’t write this but I’m making the choice to do so. No I’m not taking this guy’s inventory. What this gentleman is doing is not only harmful to himself but to others. Mr. XYZ recently arrived at the halfway house from rehab. Honestly, I don’t even think he’s been here a month or just over a month. He’s really testing my tolerance, pity and patience.

At our anniversary meeting, where medallions are handed out for milestones in recovery, he stands up to pick up his 18 year medallion. Usually there is clapping when someone picks up a medallion. Not for him. We were all shocked and many of us just shook our heads. That’s right “18 years alcohol free”, his words. He’s at the halfway house “because of drugs” which he categorizes as “x months free from [this drug] and I relapsed on pot that’s why I’m here.” He said that openly the other day at yet another meeting. I thought the chairperson of the meeting was going to lose it! When he’s at a meeting and the chair asks for “people willing to sponsor” he raises his hand. I just learned today that THREE people at the house, all brand new to recovery are under his wing. Seriously? Oh, I have major issues with his complete disrespect of how the program(s) should work. Again, practicing tolerance, pity and patience. Also, what do I do? I don’t know – I ask my Sponsor.

Two New People to Sponsor

So while writing this I went to a noon meeting. Two of the guys from the halfway house, both at the same time, asked if I would sponsor them. I said “Yes” because I believe my Higher Power would not have put these people in my life unless I was ready. However, in the future, I am going to have to decline because three on my plate is going to be enough to juggle.

Drug Court

Lastly, when I was sober before working in the chemical dependency field, I had heard so much about Adult Addiction Treatment Court (aka “Drug Court”). I found that these sessions where public so I ended up going to a few, out of curiosity, not to judge anyone. Another eye opener. How could I not judge when people were telling a judge one thing and I knew another. Wow, the balls these people have. Sad really. Ok, I am judging. Today I went to a local DC. Same experience. Despite what I think, they will get what they deserve in the end. It’s not my decision, it’s not the judge’s decision, they are only doing it to themselves. I pains me to see these people who are given a chance under the strict circumstances to change their lives, yet STILL they don’t take the opportunity they are given.

AA’s literature “How it Works” partially reads:

” . . .Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with
themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.

Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, Chapter 5 – How it Works, pg. 58

Conclusion – I Swear!

As I look back at the above, perhaps there are things I need to work on just a little better, perhaps not. Yet, right now I feel all these things are happening for a reason. Perhaps I’m meant to go through this to learn “how to” or “how to not” handle these situations in the future. Obviously I failed in the past, otherwise I would be where I am today. I feel better writing them all down here. They are out. Now I have to take action whatever that action might be.

Just Today

In Alcoholic’s Anonymous we talk about, “One Day at A Time”. That phrase kept me sober for a long time the last time. I have been living such since I began my new journey. Sometimes, as of late, I get overwhelmed with sobriety; I feel like I’m doing to much. But my past experience shows me if I get farther away from AA, I will drink. Again, another slogan, “Keep it Simple” comes to mind. Here is an example.

Yesterday is written in stone; I can’t change what happened yesterday. Tomorrow is not here; anything can happen tomorrow, whether I want it to or not, so why worry about it. When I concentrate on just today, what I need to do to stay sober, life tends to run more smoothly.

Last week, my Sponsor and I completed Step 7, Step 8 and Step 9. Step 7, I did alone, asking my Higher Power to “remove shortcomings”. For a long time I didn’t know what it meant by “shortcomings”. I later learned, it simply means those defects of character (on Step 4) that can be removed quickly. I trust my Higher Power will do that, when I’m ready, while other defects may take longer, even a lifetime. Step 8, I made my amends list based on my list in Step 4 (moral inventory) and talked with my Sponsor about how I was going make my amends to such people. Step 9, making those amends, may not happen all at once. It may take years or they may never happen and I may have to find an alternative way (“a living amend”) to make such amends.

If you’ve been following me, I use the following analogy to explain the steps:

Think of the 12 Steps as a house; we are relearned to rebuild our lives. Steps 1 through Step 3, is our foundation; if we do not have a solid foundation or there is a crack in it, our house is going to fall down (relapse). Step 4 through Step 9 is like building a new frame, getting new plumping and electrical, etc.; we have looked at our part in our past, recognize we have faults (defects of character), but are willing to “set things right” (amends). Lastly, Step 10 through Step 12, we put on a new roof, fill our house with new things (new behaviors) and open the front door for others to come in (sponsorship and helping others).

With that in mind, I talked to my Sponsor about sponsoring others. We both felt confident at this point in time I was ready. Our recovery community is small with a halfway house, so those willing or who can sponsor are extremely limited. The point is I would not be only helping myself but helping others which ideally is in part what Alcoholics Anonymous is all about – “Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety (AA Preamble)”. Lastly, once I put that out there, I already have an individual to sponsor.

The “community” has asked that a person with six months sobriety or more chair meetings. A majority of those with long term sobriety attend meetings in surrounding areas but do occasionally, some regularly, drop in but they have no interest in chairing the meeting. Then there are those who have more than six months, who just don’t want to chair meetings – period. It’ s becoming a regular schedule for me to chair, on average, of four meetings a week. Unfortunately, I can’t get any relief. Two groups are part of my home group (Wednesday and Saturday), one group I started two months ago (Friday night) and Sunday night people tend to insist if no one else runs it, I do it even grudgingly. However, it honestly gives me time to sit, listen and reflect (relax in a way) of where I’ve been and where I am now. In a way its my time out but can be overwhelming responsibility if I let it get to that point.

We also had a local AA District business meeting this past weekend. I volunteered for two positions. The district website and the registrar. Neither are overwhelming, if I choose not to overwhelm myself. For instance, the website hasn’t been updated in a while. My own selfishness wants to bring everything up to date. Really? If anything, what are two things most important to a person who visits an AA website? One, a list of local meetings. Two, local recovery events. In all honesty, the rest of the information on the website doesn’t matter to most visitors (it shows in the statistics). There is no need to overhaul or change it – this is what “I” want to do, my own selfishness. Instead, I need to concentrate on being useful to others.

*** Break time – went to meeting and guess who chaired – LOL **

The point to my whole rambling is as an addict I could complicate all this like the cliche, “Making a mountain out of a molehill”. It is only through my experiences, if I do can become insane. Instead, I take one thing, one day at a time. What really is important is my sobriety today? Keeping things simple in my life instead of living in a chaotic mess. With that comes much gratitude. I can enjoy the little things in life – my new freedom and happiness.

Problems in the Inner Circle

Trust for a recovering addict is one of those hurdles they must overcome if they are to remain sober. We don’t have to trust everyone. Doing that, based on my own experience, is a detriment to yourself; I learned doing so only hurt myself. However, there are three people I know who will help when I’m having a roller coaster of a day in sobriety. I was shaken to my core, didn’t know what to do, took the tools I was given and used them.

I trust the two other guys I live with and we’ve developed a good relationship with each other. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. Here it comes . . . BUT! When someone crosses the line or breaks that trust, it can get ugly if you let it.

One roommate has people coming in and out of our apartment. While I respect it, there are times when it does get annoying, especially some who just don’t bother to knock, walk right in straight to his room. However, that issue was settled so we lock our front door.

The other day a friend of my roommate made a visit. This person we all know from the recovery community also knowing they struggle with their sobriety, half the time not being sober at all. To make a long story short, they were visiting my roommate, produced a bottle of alcohol and were immediately asked to leave. On the way out they slammed our door. We all agreed this person or any other who is under the influence is no longer allowed.

Not my circus, not my monkeys - Polish Proverb
Polish Proverb

This same roommate burn incense in the bathroom. Honestly, three guys living together, we all have our “blow up” moments. I get it. However, my experience also tells me something isn’t right. Is he trying to mask something else, like marijuana? I put that thought on the back burner. Trust. However, the other day, I went to take a shower. The fan is running, incense burning and I’m floored with the smell of marijuana. Really? Seriously?

As I’m taking a shower my head is racing at a hundred miles per hour. Do I confront him? Do I just “let is slide”? Do I tell staff? I consumed by anger, frustration, fear, worry, etc. I simply didn’t know what to do. Addicts are reactionary; addicts tend to react to situations instead of thinking them through. I sent a text to the roommate basically saying, “Hey, I know what you did/are doing!” Before I did anything other drastic, I called my Sponsor.

We, who live in a residential recovery program live by a double edged sword. On one hand, everyone is ideally (never happens) suppose to be sober/clean. On the other hand, we have rules telling us if we suspect use of illicit drugs we are responsible for inform staff, otherwise we may suffer consequences. It’s a situation all of us struggle with and debate with staff all the time.

My Sponsor gives me suggestions. Still allowing this thing to have room in my head, I decided to take a walk. There is meeting in an hour, so I can eventually get to it. As I’m walking I’m in connection with my Higher Power asking for guidance. Suddenly I realize I am literally lost! I had made a turn here and there, walked across the main road and walked into unknown territory. It was 11:50 a.m., this even started at 11:00 a.m., there was a meeting at 12:00 p.m. I had to view Google Map on my phone to figure my way to the meeting.

People rarely can tell my state of mind. Usually I get the, “Mike, why do you look so mad?” In reality, I”m happy as a clam. It’s facial expressions I haven’t been able to change since my disturbing childhood of neglect. People won’t know how I’m really feeling unless I specifically tell them.

An hour meeting, I sat in silence. Part of me wanted to shout what was going on but we all know, “..what is heard here….stays here” doesn’t always stay true in the rooms. Especially when half or more of us live in such close proximity of each other. I half paid attention to what was said, trying to hear a message. The other half was muddling what I was going to do about this situation. For a good twenty minutes or more, I felt like my body just wanted to get up and RUN. I was uncomfortable and I didn’t like it.

After the meeting, my other roommate and a friend walked to the store, so I tagged along. At one point my roommate asked, “How’s Mikey doing?” I responded, “I’ll talk to you later. I’m not good!” The part I left out is this roommate had no idea yet what I was going through because I wasn’t entirely sure to tell him because of things he is currently going through (depression and he was a “pot head”). He then recognized something was wrong, tried to use humor to brighten my mood but it didn’t work to well.

On the way back from the store I got to talk to my other roommate. He suspected the same thing. I asked him what we should do. We agreed in time, if our roommate is actually doing something, he will get caught and he’ll have to deal with the consequences. Once I got everything out in the open, I felt much better.

There was a lot I learned out of this situation. I will continue to learn as long as I’m “honest, open-minded and willing”. There are three people I have completely trust: 1) my Higher Power, 2) my Sponsor and 3) the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (talking to another alcoholic/addict). We’re given tools in this program to use to help better our lives. I choose to use them!

The Plan & Epic Failure

I have a thousand emotions running through my veins right now.  Perhaps it’s not the right place nor the write time to write about it.  But I need to get it out, otherwise I’m going to go crazy. The plan was to politely tell my Sponsor I would like to remain friends, ending our AA relationship, but it turned out to be an epic failure.

Joe and I arranged to have lunch at a local deli.  I was already expecting to be asked, ‘So what are you pissed at me about.”  I was right.  Not five minutes through the door the question was asked.  Really? I told him it was not the appropriate place nor time.

After our lunch, we met at his house.  First words, “So, go ahead and lay it into me . . .” Really? The plan was to bring up such topics as:

  • Putting salt in open wounds (recent rude, condescending remarks via text)
  • Interrupting
  • Hypocrisy (saying one thing, yet doing another)
  • Pawning things on others
  • Not accepting responsibility for own faults

In a calm nature, I explained that I had enough.  He interrupts about something completely different. **grind teeth** We disagree about comments made the other day, so I pull out my phone.  Joe, “I now what I said, you don’t have to show me.”  Really?  Obviously you have forgotten.  Then he doesn’t listen, just blabs away blaming everything on me.

I was done.  I got up and left.  But then I had to return to get MY DVD player which was on loan to him.  He gave me choice works, “You’re going to take my only entertainment?” (because he has no cable, something he CHOSE because he can’t afford it). “What about the cats?” Seriously, Joe.  You’ve had them for 19 years (he says) and wants to pawn them on me. “You’ve become so vindictive since you’re new job.”  Seriously . . . “Mike, why are you running.  You always run from your problems and don’t face them.”  Ummm, okay.

People in AA tell me all the time, “Mike, what the HELL do you see in that guy.  He’ll just f**k  you over, like everyone else.”  I’ve ignored those comments for years.  He was a really nice guy with the right intentions.  However, since his argument with his landlord, then moving to a new place and downsizing considerably, he’s become another person.  A person I choose no longer to be associated with anymore.

I want to punch a wall, cry my brains out, scream at the top of my lungs. But honestly, I feel sorry for him. One of the few strong relationships, besides his family, now gone. I know he thinks this will just blow over in a few weeks or months.  It won’t.

I wanted to be civil. To help him understand why I felt the way I did.  Instead, he didn’t want to hear it.  He wanted to turn everything around on me. Not having it.

Another chapter in my life is now closed.

The end.



Getting Off the Rollercoaster

“Please stay seated as the cars enter the terminal. Once the train comes to a complete stop you may depart. Please enjoy your day.” The last week feels like I just got off another rollercoaster. My Sponsor and I, despite what he believes right now, aren’t exactly on good terms. I’ve turned into a workaholic lately, partially because of my own selfishness and other times its beyond my control. An ongoing relationship with an incarcerated individual finally came full circle; karma kicks his arse – again. Yet, through all the ups and down this week, I truly believe my future will bring new beginnings.

A post this week, A Short Fuse, I wrote about my relationship with my Sponsor. Despite what he believes, I don’t think that this relationship is salvageable. Here we are full circle again, a rough time in the relationship and I feel I just need to get off. It’s just not healthy for either of us.

I’m become a workaholic. Monday I worked 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. because a third shift employee called in unable to work. In that case, I was mandated having no other choice but to work a full shift. However, once you are mandated for the week, typically you are free to choose otherwise if it happens again. Last night, two employees called unable to work on third shift. I had already started working at 12 p.m. at the request of my Director of Nursing (DON) and another employee left at 9 p.m. to return at 4 a.m. to relive me. Only she didn’t show up at 4 a.m. nor did she show up at 7 a.m., as scheduled. Thus, I worked a 19 hour day (12 p.m. to 7 a.m., if I’m doing the math right?) However, I told them I would NOT be working this evening, which was granted with no questions asked. I need rest before I get as sick as some of our residents recently.

I ate my McDonalds (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on the couch, I passed out at some point only to wake up to the loud, pounding of drums from the downstairs neighbor. It’s not his fault; he can only assume that I work a normal 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. So I’ve been up a couple of hours doing little things before I head back to work.

Not surprisingly, I received a letter from my friend who is incarcerated in an Upstate prison. I haven’t heard from him in two weeks, yet the last time we spoke I knew that bad things were brewing in his corner. As he wrote me, “It was a matter of time before I got sent to the box. Now I’m here until May 15th.” Apparently, he was involved in an altercation. Again, a good thing for both of us. I knew he was reverting back to his old ways which would eventually lead him to this situation but he ignored my warnings. It’s nothing I can control. It provides me a breather from the exhausting communications via phone that were beginning to get out of hand.

I asked for this. I prayed for a period of peace for myself to take care of myself. Now I can. Though I have worked long hours, the funds are helping to secure a new home closer to work in the near future. For those of us working during Storm Stella, we received an unexpected bonus last week. I was also reimbursed for my hotel expenses. There is the overtime pay too.

The 30 inches of snow laid down last week by Stella is almost non-existent due to warmer temperatures and recent rains. Spring is beginning to bring about change. A change I’m looking forward to in my life. The rollercoaster has come to an end.

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?

What A Sponsor Does for Me

My Sponsor and I have known each other for over nine years now. We have a strong relationship. As mentioned, after receiving my nine year medallion, he is one of three people who saved my life. He’s been there, night and day, through my “growing pains” of sobriety, thus I am eternally thankful. However, there are times the relationship feels as if I’m about to jump off a cliff; the relationship doesn’t seem to be working. Yet, there are times, like yesterday, when I’m reminded why he’s my Sponsor.

After an exhausting week at work, due to Storm Stella, the plan was to stay at home.  With my job as a CNA, I don’t have a luxury of two days off together. Three days off, like this weekend, is exceptionally rare. I wanted to make the most of it getting things done of my ever growing personal to-do-list. But my Sponsor always seems to put a dent in my plans.

This is the part where I feel the relationship is no longer working.  At the age of 76, I’ve noticed an increasing number of signs attributed with his age.  He tends to be very forgetful, yet insistent he’s always right.  That in itself just drives me nuts, as I just grind my teeth and bare it.Over the years I’ve known him, I have learned he can be a hypocrite.  Another annoying side of him. Lately, he’s become needy and dependent on me.  Every day off he “suggests” I come help him with tasks he should do for himself.  Of course, I indulge him, only regretting my decisions every time.

But there is another side of him – the reason he’s my Sponsor.  While his suggestions can become numerous, he’s typically spot on. For instance, I haven’t been to a meeting in quite a long time.  Yesterday, he made the strong suggestion I need to attend more meetings. Part of me struggles accepting his suggestion, while the other part of me knows he’s exactly right.

A while ago, I made a commitment to attend the noon meeting at a local church daily to myself.  I made it a couple of times, then just stopped going. Excuses: I was to busy having more important things to do; I wasn’t getting any messages for myself there; it was a waste of my time. Then almost every day, I ridicule myself for not going. As I look back, selfishness rears its ugly head putting me on the pity pot. Houston, we have a problem!

But the more I think about it, my Sponsor is right. I need to get involved going to meetings to share my experience, strength and hope.  I’ve seen to many people go down that road never to return again. It’s my experience meetings are an essential part of your recovery – it is a must and should not be ignored.

Therefore, I need to get back to reality. I need to stop thinking and just DO it. That is why I have a Sponsor – to give me a reality check and help me keep my sobriety in tact.